Lori Davis writing on living your ideal life…
Sitting on our porch this evening my husband, Mike, and I realized we had finally done it.
We had finally completed our dream.
For years, we had dreamed of getting a plot of land in the mountains away from the hustle and bustle, to fix up and retire away.
We didn’t know where the land would be. We only knew it would have four seasons, good climate, beautiful scenery, and nice people. And it had to be affordable.
Last night, while sitting and rocking in our chairs on our farm house porch, watching the setting sun dance down the foothills of the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, we looked at each other and said, “We finally did it.”
Our journey truly began when we retired in 2013, and started the search for our dream property. In June of 2015 we settled on a beautiful 22-year-old Queen Anne Victorian farmhouse on 15 acres in East Tennessee’s charming town of Maryville, outside the entrance of Smoky Mountain National Park.
The house was well kept but lacked features we were looking for – and the 15 acres were completely overgrown. The farm had been left unmanaged for years. The property sat on the market for over two years without any buyers.
Through the rusty metal sitting along the drive – and heaps of old farm trash – we saw potential. We knew it was a monumental task to transform this landscape and we wondered if we were too old to do what needed to be done.
But the potential and reward was just too great – so we signed on to transform this under-performing, high-potential farm into our dream retirement oasis.
Our transformation started by converting the old barn on the property into one that could accommodate livestock. We built stalls with wood Mike milled from trees and now we stock sheep, horses, goats, alpaca, and chickens. On craigslist, we found quaint chicken coop and added a Victorian style garden to it with white picket fences. In this garden we grow vegetables, flowers and medicinal herbs.
Next, we hired a tree service to prune all the big branches of the beautiful oaks that surrounded the house, so that we now wake up to panoramic views of the mountains every morning. The majestic mountain views previously went completely unnoticed due to overgrowth.
We cut down the over-grown landscape and pulled up trees by the roots and scrub, by hand and with pick axes. Beneath the undergrowth, we found massive trellises that are now repaired and growing grapes.
A new horse barn and riding ring have replaced a big pile of debris and old farm wood. We carved out hillsides and put in lawns where there were once briars and wild scrub trees. Mike sculpted the contour of all the rolling terrain with retaining walls to begin to give shape to the landscape.
We added railings to the full wrap around porch, and put up light fixtures we found at a salvage store. We painted the decks a deep grey and the doors a dark blue, all in sharp clean contrast to the white of the house.
On the porch tonight with ice tea in hand, we can say there is nothing better than living out your dreams.
Some people are in awe of what we’ve done but have a list of reasons why they themselves can’t make such a transformation happen. However, many more are inspired and have realized that buying a piece of land and transforming it, one step at a time, is possible.
They understand the simple path to accomplishing this – stop talking and start doing. There will be difficult moments – but they pass. The feeling you get accomplishing a major life change like this is so rewarding there is no comparison. Pursue your dream with everything you have got. It just may be the best thing you ever do.
P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in Truth & Plenty. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.
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