Sunday, December 14, 2008

How we came to live in Kentucky

Our homesteading adventure began in the spring of 2003. We had been looking for properties for several months while working our plan to pay off debts and pay down on the house we were buying in Bloomington, Illinois. I was working for the university there teaching graduate-level qualitative research classes. We desired to live in the country and to homestead. We planned a trip for the beginning of spring break in order to look at some properties in South-Central Kentucky. I'd found some interesting properties listed online by a realtor in Burkesville, KY. We made arrangements to view some of their listed properties on the Monday of spring break in March.

On Friday, prior to leaving for our short trip to Kentucky, I found another 54.5 acre property listed by another realtor in the area. I called to talk to the listing agent about the property, mentioning that we were going to be in the area at the beginning of the week and if we had time we might be interested in seeing the property.

We made our trip, and on that Monday morning, we looked at three properties. Two of them were not acceptable and one held promise with some limitations. When we went back to our rented house, I called the other realtor. He was sitting by the phone waiting for me to call. We made arrangements to meet him at his office and to see the property that afternoon.

After meeting him, we followed his vehicle along the curvy ridge roads to the place, about six miles outside of town. The entry to the property wasn't too promising, consisting of a 24' x 40' garage with a dirt floor and a 1972 vintage mobile home. I was hoping to look at the mobile home last because I anticipated the reaction of my wife, Anne, to it. But, Ramiah, our son who was 20 months old at the time, was sleeping. So, in order to not disturb his nap, we looked at the home first. It was dirty and smelled of mothballs. It had the effect I expected it would on Anne, and she was ready to leave. I encouraged her to see the property before making up her mind.

Anne rode in the agent's car down the hill to the bottom land. Down the hill was a tobacco barn in much better shape than the ones we'd seen earlier, although it was quite full of junk. However, there were nice fields, creeks, a small pond, trees on hills, and a nice ridge running through the middle of the bottom. It was secluded, private, and beautiful. It didn't take long to realize that this was the place for us.

We went back to the realtor's office and made an offer of $60,000 for the property. The listed price of $69,000 was out of our price range by a few thousand dollars. The seller counter offered $66,500 that night. We accepted the offer and signed the papers to buy the next day, trying to figure out how we would pay for it since it was still beyond what we had figured on, but trusting what we felt was God's lead in the matter. We spent a couple hours that day walking around the place before heading back to Illinois. We were excited, to say the least.

After we got home, we spent the next week getting our house in Bloomington ready to sell. We did some painting and cleaning. The next week I placed a For Sale by Owner ad in the newspaper and a sign in the front yard. By the end of that week, we had a buyer. Then, the buyer backed out, but God provided another buyer immediately. We were not attempting to make a big profit on the house, just to get our equity out of it (we'd payed a lot extra on the principle during the four years we lived there). We actually took a small loss on the sale, but we sold it quickly, and it was a blessing to the new buyers.

One of the complications we had was the usual escrow times in each place. In Kentucky, escrow usually takes 30 days. In Illinois, the common time is 60 days. We were able to set the closing on the Kentucky property for May 1, a 45 day escrow. We had to rush the escrow period in Illinois to make it 30 days, closing on April 30.

We packed and moved our things into storage in preparation for the closing date on our sale in Bloomington. The semester didn't end until May 15, and we couldn't move before then. My parents were gracious enough to let us live with them for two weeks after our house sold and before we moved.

On April 30, we signed our names dozens of times and concluded the sale of our house. We took a certified cashiers check from the sale and another one from what we had saved in the amount required for buying the property in Kentucky, and we drove overnight in order to be at the realtors first thing in the morning. So, we were technically homeless for only a few hours. We spent two days at our new property, cleaning the mobile home in order to make it fit for moving in to in two weeks. We slept in our van during that time rather than in the home.

We made the move on May 16, 2003. We rented a large moving van and drove it loaded with our possessions. My brother Mark drove his truck pulling my trailer with my 1950 John Deere MT on it (this tractor was bought new by my grandfather). My dad drove our newly acquired 1987 Ford F350 crew cab in our small caravan. Dad and Mark stayed for a couple days to help us move in and begin to get settled. Then, they headed back to Illinois, and we were on our own on our new homestead.



Here, where you mention the tractor, is where you should link to dad's post about the tractor. You know, for people who might be interested, and because linky love is good.

I don't see any kid pictures...


Kid pictures are forthcoming. Be patient.

Also, I've added the link to dad's post. Thanks for the suggestion.


Very Very cool story! It is inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

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