In retrospect I can see that the greatest strength of youth is ignorance. When you don’t know the struggle you dream freely and when you can’t comprehend the price you seem willing to pay anything. How great is the price of knowledge…. lol
Watching my own parents struggle and not knowing any other way served me well. I spent the first 18 years of my life watching my daddy build. He could take nothing and turn it into something. It was because of him that I now look at every object around me and understand its workings.
I was very young when I started dreaming about building my own home. I had seen it done step by step before me, and I found nothing that I was incapable of doing. In my heart I required it of myself, and at the age of 21 it felt like a natural undertaking. Corey and I had begun to dream about expanding our family and we knew that a small apartment in a big city would not be the ideal backdrop. We would spend our evenings walking through housing developments sites. I do not remember crossing any yellow tape, or ever reading a single no trespassing sign. That one fact in particular seams a little odd to me, looking back, perhaps a little dangerous.
We roamed freely observing the realization of so many peoples dreams, and we talked about obtaining a home of our own. Sly as I was, I laid my foundation slowly. I asked Corey things like “How smart do you think the boys building these houses really are?” and “Do you think they are as smart, or as capable as you?” (Well let me tell you if they were, I would be with them not him… choose your man wisely) We wondered, talking about how things went together and how easy it all seemed. Those memories of dreaming (and manipulating) are some of my favorite. In short, I was able to bring him to the realization that it was the only obvious route we could take in life. We would build our own home and we required it of each other.
Around the same time, while driving through a remote part of North East Washington I came across a lonely sign nailed to a not so lonely tree. I was in no hurry so I stopped. The sign read For Sale By Owner and it had a number written at the bottom. I looked around at the beautiful landscape, jotted down the number, and after making my way back to civilization I made the call. I was not really interested in that piece of property, as pretty as it had been, it was right by a county road and in my heart I was looking for something a little more tucked away. I called because I wanted to see if he happened to have any other properties for sale. The man I talked to was a Mr. Chantry. He ran a small timber business. He purchased large plots of timber land, selectively logged them, and then turned around and sold for what appeared to be a reasonable price. Corey and I had been looking at other properties and these prices seemed to line up with our hopes. I count myself blessed the day I met him. It turned out that he had quite a bit of land, two plots of which seemed to match my description of paradise. After work on separate evenings I traveled with Mr. Chantry to look at both. They where equally promising and before I knew it Corey and I had signed a contract to purchase 50 acres on top a small mountain. Boy was that easy……..
It was the 9th of May 2003 when Corey and I pitched a tent and put our shovels to work leveling the ground. By June of that year we no longer had our rental. Did I mention I was due to have Alexandrea in late October. Yes…. I was pregnant and homeless, living in a tent on top a mountain, with an old logging trail being the only thing connecting me to humanity. No water, or electricity, or well anything beyond a few blankets, a skillet for cooking over a camp fire, and dream in my heart.
Corey and I spent the summer speculating first snow fall and pacing our efforts accordingly. We had three months before the weather turned chilly and likely 5 before snow. Corey was still working full time, with as much overtime as possible. We had decided it was best for me to no longer work, so I spent my days playing house wife to a tent and the developing shell of a home. In the evening hours we would work till it became too dark to swing a hammer. I was so grateful for the little help that Corey’s dad could offer. On those days I got a little bit of a break. But really I think Corey took the brunt of it.
As you can imagine it did not take long for my circumstance to penetrate my confidence. It’s an easy thing to dream, but it’s another entirely to do. I remember days when all I longed for was a shower. Packing in our own water did not afford many luxuries, and the dusts that stirs under construction is too touchy feely for my liking. We consumed enough chili and hotdogs to last a lifetime. I was uneducated in the art of camp fire cooking and had never heard of a dutch oven. It was either chilly and hot dogs or hot dogs and chili, I sometimes ventured to throw in a potato. I am not saying I possess ptsd from living in a tent. What I am saying is that it took me 13 years to develop the desire to go on a camping trip with my children. The cold hard dirty ground in all it’s charm could not entice me to sleep upon it. Nor could the invasive wilderness whose sole purpose was to outgrow and devour its inhabitance lure my heart into longing.
I am beyond grateful for the ignorance I possessed in my youth. As humans we can do great things… HARD things. For me however I have found that the most rewarding things I have done I have done with my heart and not necessarily with my brain. Who, using a sound mind would choose to be homeless? By acting with our hearts desires and hoping on a brighter future for the young child growing inside me, we chose to do something HARD. Ask us to do it again…. We would probably consider our option… I know it would be worth it even now. If you have a dream, make it a reality. It is only hard for a short time.