Home Is Where Our Hearts Are
My home is set back from the road and sits on a little rise with some towering trees all around. It is almost like being in a forest; you’d never know you were in a major city if it weren’t for the sound of cars on the freeway a half-mile away. I bought the place back when folks were afraid the state was going to come through and build a second highway. Many sold quick, thinking they’d avoid being bulldozed. As happened, a gasoline shortage made people think twice about building roads. The planned new highway was cancelled, leaving all that space vacant. The state later converted it into a wildlife preserve. I like to go for strolls in the hills around the abandoned highway route and follow the creek to the picnic area in the preserve.
My wife and I moved into the original farm building and lived there while we refurbished the barn. We put up new siding, installed a solar panel on the roof, and added new rooms and a full kitchen. We also put in new baths, plumbing and a new heating unit. When done we moved into a totally refinished home in a barn that had the latest appliances, heating and plumbing, as well as a fireplace. It took a lot of work and the contractors were busy for weeks. I let them do all the major work; we saved the “DIY” projects for outside where we are working on them to this day! But we enjoy our “country” living inside the city. And we grow a lot of our own vegetables and herbs; it’s really satisfying to eat home-grown vegetables.
In fall and winter I often hike through the woods and brush along the road and collect dead wood to bring home to burn in my fireplace. I usually wear some heavy winter outerwear, because it does get kind of chilly when hiking through the deep snow we get in this part of the country. I’ll have on my Eddie Bauer down jacket, some fleece-lined gloves and a hood. They keep me warm when hiking through snow and biting winds.
In summer I go upstream along the creek and do some fishing from the bank. I like to catch some fish to bring home and cook over an open fire. Indeed, my wife and I often go camping in the woods that extend to our north. It’s not really “in the country” but it’s far enough from town for us to feel as if we’re a hundred miles away. We use Groupons to buy outdoor clothing and camp supplies at up to 40% off and free shipping on clearance items. Taking advantage of those deals helps make our little mini-camping trips real enjoyable adventures.