This past fall we reached a fork in our path. There were many things that led us to the ‘fork’. The loss of two of our farm dogs in the spring and summer. The realization that we would probably need to change our farm business model in order to increase our profit margin. The fact that we are not getting any younger. The increasingly pressing need to invest in some much needed house renovations and many other issues and events that caused us to take stock of our current situation and to give serious consideration to where we want to head in the future.
After much thought and consideration, as well as tears and heartache, we decided that we needed to make plans to ‘retire’ to a more manageable lifestyle. We still want to be involved in gardening, landscaping and farming to some degree, and we have been thinking about relocating to Vermont for several years so after much soul-searching we set our sights on moving to Vermont. I know, it seems like a big change for a couple of native Texans, but we welcome the challenges of long winters and loads of snow. I spent seven years in Cedarburg, Wisconsin as a young adult so I have a pretty good memory of what the winters were like. I also remember how nice the summers and falls were, and how easy it was to grow plants and vegetables with the long days, long growing season (relative to our two short growing seasons in central Texas), frequent rain, moderate temperatures and lovely, fertile soil. Vermont is a lot like Wisconsin with respect to the seasons and climate, but it has ‘mountains’, whereas Wisconsin is mostly rolling hills, making skiing an attractive activity.
So we have been very busy for the past few months planning and preparing for our move to Vermont and now we are well into the “get-er-done” phase. Closets and cabinets are being cleaned out with many items going to Goodwill every week. Renovation projects have been identified, vendors contacted, bids obtained, vendors selected and work scheduled. If all goes according to plan we should be able to put the house on the market by the end of March (fingers crossed!).
The first major renovation project, the new roof, has been completed and looks very good. The old roof, a simple, old silver/grey metal roof was as unattractive as it was dysfunctional. The new roof color is a definite improvement and will look even better once the balcony railings have been replaced and the wood exterior is all repainted.
The second major project, all new windows and sliding doors, started today and should be complete by the end of the week. So far, this project is going pretty smoothly and the new windows are not only going to look much better than the old ones they are going to be soooooo much more energy efficient. I am also anticipating much less dust in the house once the new windows are installed.
Meanwhile, Ron and I are working on curb appeal projects such as landscaping, tree trimming and hanging the new farm sign. I have been pruning and weeding in the courtyard for the past couple of weeks and it is starting to look much better. We’ll be adding some new perennials and annuals to the courtyard beds as well as replacing the courtyard fountain which should look great once spring kicks in and all the plants fill out and start blooming.
There is still much to be done, and the selling of the farm will be a challenge unto itself I’m sure, but we are on our way and it feels good that we have chosen a path and set a course for the next chapter in our life. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.