Making Home Sweet Home

Making Home “HOME SWEET HOME.”

I know FOR SURE we must have talked about this before, but it’s on my mind with this new old farmhouse I’ve got. How does one MAKE a home HOME? How do you take four walls and make them your own HOME SWEET HOME? How do you create a HOME that nourishes and nurtures your family?

I’ve come up with FIVE WAYS to do that.

I have to tell you. When I first saw this old farmhouse (a year ago now!) and stepped through the door for the first time…well….

The very first word that came to my mind was “HOME.”

The agent brought us in the side door, opened it up, and I saw those stairs with burnt orange carpet. I saw into the kitchen with the old linoleum and the brick fireplace. I saw into that dining room with the fuzzy wallpaper and fireplace of its own.  The house had been closed up a long time, so it smelled like your elderly great aunt smells. You know, when you lean down to kiss her and her clothes have that musty, moth ball smell? Stinky, but HOME, HOME, HOME. I knew immediately. I had just walked into My Forever HOME.

And then. We had nothing but problems with the transaction. It fell apart and came back together many times. My nerves and my husband’s were shot for months and months as we tried to resolve all the problems that arouse. On again, off again, like some bad addictive romance. And quite frankly, the whole affair cost me 20 pounds. Pounds on, not off, because I tend to be an emotional eater. We lost our HOME and got it back many, many times. Even at closing an big issue arose about a right of first refusal and the thing almost fell apart. Yikes. On. Off. On. Off. Dream comes true. Psyche! Dream falls apart.

And then. Finally. Together, me and my HOME. Ah…..

So this is my HOME. And yes, we are still living out of boxes.

I know you want to see pictures. Thank you for wanting to. But believe me; you don’t really, not at this point. The construction and renovation is coming along well, but it is slow (and loud). Our furniture is not here yet. We have stacks of boxes everywhere. We are living with very little.

So. We have our little antique oak claw foot table that we bought out of someone’s garage when we first got married. And our old tattered loveseat that seats two. And a couple of other chairs. That’s pretty much it.

And yet.

It feels like HOME here.

How can that be? When all our good stuff hasn’t arrived yet. None of our pretty things are here.

AHA!

Perhaps HOME doesn’t come from a store; perhaps HOME means a little bit more. (taking liberties with The Grinch’s speech.)

It’s not the decorations or the stuff. It’s something else.

So here I am. Living in country bliss. With two pairs of blue jeans. A few beat-up shirts. A Sunday-Go-To-Meeting-Dress and shoes. And that’s about it. Coat, hat, gloves, boots. And I thrive. And I sing. And I dance. I am overjoyed with the life I have lived these last 60 days. I have never felt so alive. “This right here is living.”

Driving these country roads, especially in autumn, is touching me in a way that I can’t describe. Could be that I’m pushing 50, but it makes me tear up if I’m alone.

I took my flipvideo with the other day and recorded a drive I made to go to my horse lesson. I just hung it out the window because I wanted to share it. It’s jerky and weird though. My daughter said she couldn’t watch it because it was making her car sick. But I tell you this. I have never felt the need to hang my flipvideo out my window before. I had James Taylor and then The Avett Brothers blasting on the CD player. Heaven must be a lot like this.

Happy as a Lark.

Happy as I’ve ever been.

I’m living over the rainbow.

Folks have asked me if I’m disappointed in any way; if I expected too much from this place; if the dream was better than the reality. NO! Not at all. It’s better than I even imagined it would be.

But the pretty stuff will be coming. I’ve enjoyed the simplicity of these times and don’t want to lose it. I’m thinking about balance. I’m considering how less really is more.

I’ve enjoyed not having a large space to clean and keep up with. I’ve enjoyed sleeping on a mattress on the floor. I’ve enjoyed not having to take off make-up at the end of the day because I never put any on. I gaze out the kitchen window at the hillside while I wash dishes. (Haven’t had a dishwasher other than people in the last 2 months.) I’ve come to appreciate the slower pace here. It was hard at first, but I HEART it.

So, back to my question: how does one make a home a home?

I’ve done my time on Pinterest and blogs and Houzz. I see all the pretty and chic farmhouses decorated to the hilt in white, white, white.

But they don’t feel like home to me. They feel unreal, uninviting. Yep, I’ve got 3 dogs and a cat and I want a horse and cow and goat and chickens. White? Not going to happen. Not in a million years.

I can’t keep the grass and dirt off the floor. I can’t keep doggy’s muddy feet off the sofa. I want a house I can live in. Not a house that looks like a magazine photo shoot or a room in a museum or furniture store. I want to be cozy and comfortable and US.

You should see the house we left behind. Fancy. Not us.

Just sayin’.

So I’ve come up with FIVE ways to make a house a home. FIVE THINGS that don’t cost a penny.

One. Making HOME to me is being pleasant, patient, polite, to each other. Leave the bad moods at the door. We can all think of a reason to be grouchy, but why grouch up somebody else’s day? Family should hold each other up, not tear each other down. There’s enough of that when you walk out the front door.

Two. Making HOME to me means making delicious food. Baking bread. Making soup. Creating delicious meals. And of course, making cookies. (My daughter recently gave me a username on something as “The Crazy Cookie Lady.” She knows me so well!) This first one is a favorite easy kid-friendly recipe.

 

No Bake Yum Yums

And this one is to die for.

Seriously.

The Best Cupcakes Ever

Three. Making HOME to me means family. My parents came up to see us recently and it made my house, with boxes stacked and scattered, feel like HOME. It was so nice to eat breakfast with them and hang out all day. For those of you who visit with me on facebook, you know that my Daddy drove up my old truck, Elvis. Yay, Daddy! Yay, Elvis!

Four. Making HOME to me means pets. I love living in a house with dogs and cats, dirt, fur and all. I haven’t lived very many months in my whole 49 years without an animal in the HOME. And. I can’t wait to add some farm animals to the mix. My challenge will be to keep the farm animals out of the house.

Five. Making HOME to me is creating meaningful space both inside and outside. Maybe it is hanging photos of people and places that mean something. Outside, it’s starting a garden. It is having a fire pit or circle to gather around on chilly nights. It’s coming together and creating our own special rituals and traditions.

What about for you? What does making HOME mean to you?

There’s no place like HOME….There’s no place like HOME…..There’s no place like HOME…..

Hey- Went to a groovy place on Sunday, an old closed amusement park called The Land of Oz. It was open for the weekend as a fund raiser. VERY GROOVY place with a very 70’s vibe. I really enjoyed it and will post all the pics on my personal blog if you want to see them.

This will give you an idea of what the weather became.  Cold and windy and blustery and rainy. Brrrrr…I caught a picture of the Wicked Witch coming in to change shifts.

We rode the ski lift down in the wet, cold rain. Our hands and faces numb. We were the only people on it by then. Everyone else had the sense to take the bus!

But for me.

Oh my, riding that ski lift down ’twas PURE AWESOME.

 The reason I bring it up in the first place is this.

A quote from a certain “Kansas Farm Girl named Dorothy.” Check this out:

My heart’s desire is truly here.

At HOME SWEET HOME.

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

www.rebekahteal.com

PS  Building the first fall fire is one of those things that are a ritual for us. Come fall, I carefully watch the temperatures and on the first day where the high is below 60, well, it’s time for our first fire! Here, at this house, as I mentioned, the fireplace guy told me that NONE of the chimneys were safe and sound for a fire, or even vented logs. Eight fireplaces and can’t use a one! Well, your good vibes helped me out. The second opinion fireplace guy came. (The way I operate is this: I keep getting opinions until I hear the one I want.)  So the second chimney guy came and said he could indeed most likely make some of these fireplaces safe and sound, but it would be about $2,000 per fireplace opening. So. That’s not going to happen right now. Today the high was 47, fire weather. Instead, I just turned on my electric heater with moving pictures of flames. You gotta go with what you have, right? Anyway, the addition we are putting on has a keeping room, so we are putting a brand spanking new fireplace in there. It should be ready to burn in a couple of months. YAY! Then when I locate that money tree, which I’m pretty sure is on this property somewhere, I’ll get all of the fireplaces working again. The main thing is that IT CAN BE DONE. That makes me feel better just knowing that. YAY!

Leave a comment 20 Comments

  1. Rene Foust says:

    I am so happy for your and I couldn’t agree more! Home is where your heart is. I too made a big giant move last year; I took the leap and chased my dream. I hit a huge stumbling block last spring that almost sent me to the funny farm (really) and I almost put the for sale out! But I found a way through it and it is beginning to feel like home! My house and barn was in such bad shape that the day I took possession of the keys I was by myself and I was actually very afraid to even go into the house. I stood at the back door with my holy water and smudging stick and talked myself into it, I said to myself "this is your home now you can’t live in it by standing outside looking at it ….you have to go in" So in I went although very reluctantly. One year later I still have some minor things to do but I can’t believe how much work we did in such a very short time. Thanks to my son and all of his hard work. Good luck to you and I look forward to following your progress. Your words help inspire me as I live this dream out. Rene’

  2. Teri says:

    A huge AMEN to the first point. You made me tear up because this is exactly what I have told me family since my kids were small…love on each other here, in our home, in a safe environment because life will give you enough of it’s own beatings. First and foremost we need to bolster each other!

  3. Mary Beth Schwarz says:

    Your post is so touching! Indeed home is where we feel comfortable and loved with our family/pets around us. The personal touches of decor enhance all of this, but you have the core right now in all its simplicity. Mary Beth

  4. Debbie says:

    Your blog is truly enjoyable and I love finding kindred spirits…(O:

    But, I have to ask, what is a keeping room? Here in NW Florida, we have sun rooms, in-door porches, and up in Alaska we had a mud room. Yeah, it’s a total contrast…lol. The military does that to folks a lot.

    But, I’ve managed to keep my little chickens and a small garden and work full-time as a paralegal in a criminal defense law firm.

    Your home sounds wonderful, too. Thanks for sharing.

    Debbie…(O:
    ><>

  5. bobbie calgaro says:

    It is so great to hear your love of home. I also am a real homebody. I think that what makes home is what makes you happy. Our house is decorated in things that most would find out-dated or silly. I love boyd’s bears (remember them), country things, and just cozy house stuff. I also believe cookies made at home make a home, opening your home to family and friends, having things around that mean something to you rather than things that make you magazine perfect. But family is the top thing in your home. We live 400 miles away from our family but they visit often and that helps. We also have lots of things in NC that remind us of Pittsbugh and PA even though we’ve lived here for 35 years.
    Someday we may go back up there but for now we try to bring as much family and home as we can into our much loved house.

  6. Tami Robins says:

    We have left our home of 32 years in Colorado, and we are in temporary house living the "contract pending" ups and downs you describe so well. Our new home is in a small town in Texas, just outside of Austin. We are far from our kids, parents and extended family, the majority of whom live in Colorado,and it feel very "away from home." Your words were balm to my soul. Thank you. It was just what I needed to hear!

  7. Raynita says:

    Wonderful, just wonderful. That’s wisdom right there. We have lived in our home as we built it…yeah, I mean the first time we laid our heads down to sleep in it, we could see moonlight through the roof:) It was beautiful. After 15 years, we still don’t have baseboards….I have come to believe they are really not that important:) As I was reading your sweet words, it made me miss those days of living like gypsies. (I have always been drawn to the gypsy life secretly..shhh) You have so much freedom right now with your husband and daughter and pets. We let our big, beautiful Golden Retriever have a litter of 13 puppies right in our dining area (future dining area) and they lived with us until they all had homes of their own. Yeah,I did that! And I am Miss Picky..lol My two adult children will never forget those memories of puppies running all over our home on plywood floors. I tear up just thinking about it. You will never be the same with this freedom from *things* and you and your family will be so much better for it. Oh, on the outside animals not being indoors? Good luck with that. We had a baby mini donkey snuggle right up to the fireplace. Well, it was our future fireplace, at that point it was just a freestanding propane heater with a duct tape square on the logs behind it of where our fireplace would be one day. We now have that fireplace of our dreams built by our own hands. It was so worth the wait. So, thanks so much for your update on your fireplaces. I’ve been waiting for the last guy’s opinion and I like his better;) Breathe in every moment, Rebekah…….Raynita

  8. Flame Evermore says:

    So love what you’ve written about living closer to nature, especially with animals and the wild beauty that teaches us brilliantly about elevating the human spirit with a constant sense of wonder and grace. I’m now in a tiny cottage in a seaside town, only renting (with dreams of a country farm of course)but there are a few things I do, especially in Fall, that make my little home magical to me. So love going to the forest and bringing back as many twisted bare branches as I can find on the ground, intertwining and then amassing them over the really ugly, resident hanging lamp. Then I heat up a pot of wax, dip some beautiful and large Autumn leaves in and hang on all the bare brances with tiny orange ribbon, although just plain leaves are wonderful too. Also, that arduous task of pulling ivy can be surprisingly rewarding if you strip off all the leaves, leaving the little side pieces and weaving them into wreaths. Adding pine cones, acorns and moss now looks so cozy and at Christmas you can just add berries, etc. Then, because I can’t paint the white walls (ugh, this is a hard one), I take a huge, deep rust king sized sheet and push pin it to a wall, hanging pictures and artifacts and this instantly warms the place up in a Fall way. Thrift stores are a treasure hunt of interesting little frames that can be painted and either filled with pictures of the seasons or pods and small ferns, etc. and can be changed out seasonally. All these things make it so homey, especially if accompanied by a friendly, simmering pot of cidery smells. My gargantuan cat Zorro completes the nest and his constant purring tells me it’s home to him too. Thanks for all the inspiration. Looking now for a farm! Cannot wait.

  9. Pamela says:

    Oh, Rebekah, your five points are so spot on wonderful!!! I too am teary eyed. If only everybody could create a home environment like you describe. I already try my best. Thanks so much for putting it in words.

  10. Adrienne says:

    Home is where you exhale and breathe the relaxation of being where you want to be. Sit in a rocking chair in each room and let the walls speak to you. You’ll know what will make you comfortable. Check out paint or wallpaper samples and tape them to the walls until you find the one that’s best for each room. Do what’s necessary first (like the floor), then what’s needed as affordable (the fireplace), then what’s wanted (in a wish book). Invite your neighbors over and have them make suggestions while they sample your delicious baked goods. I received many ideas and gifts from mine when I lived in a log cabin. I kept hearing, "This would be perfect here" and it was. I also returned the favor and everyone got to know each other. Try it.

  11. bonnie ellis says:

    Rebekah: To me, home is where I feel loved, wanted and needed. A comfortable chair, a cup of tea, my kitties, my husband of 50 years and our favorite "stuff". We are lucky to own our home and that makes it special. It’s ours. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m really a home body too.

  12. Brenda says:

    Your list is perfect. I would not change a things. Of coarse a few pretty things always can put a smile on your face also. Wizard of Oz, my favorite movie evveer! I have probably said it so many times, everyone in blog land that post about it must know. What a great spot to find. I do not like heights so I would probably have been on the bus also, not because of the rain though. I just posted a picture of a beautiful tree in the middle of the local cemetery last week, come by for a visit sometime. I am so glad you are sooo happy! P.S. A happy mommy makes a happy home.

  13. Nan Roberts says:

    I love that you’re still living out of boxes. July 31 I finished moving 15 miles to my "new" rental house. It used to be the old "old South Beach post office" that has been attached with more rooms to the postmistressed house next door, built in 1959, I think. I wind from one end of the house to the other because of the odd rooms and doors. But the winding is more so because I am still living out of boxes. As I gradually unpack, empties stack here and there. I too am living more simply, though I have all my clothes because they stayed in the chests of drawers.

    And there is that smell. It’s damp here, and mildewy smelling and it used to have some other darker smell. Dogs? I struggle with that. It is getting better, but I don’t like it.

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to make this house home, too. I moved back to the Central Oregon Coast four years ago, after my mother died. That was always the plan. But it has been a struggle to make anything feel like home, even though this is stunningly beautiful country, with ocean and spruce trees and beaches.

    The house is fun, with slanting floors, and the sorting rooms of the old P.O. are still there, sort of the "garage". (No garage.) I’ve been spending most of my time building lasagna beds over the weedy, grassy and sandy yard. Also eating some of the edible weeds. My kale seeds from someon on Freecycle are sprouting. Also my garlic. I keep acquiring stuff for the beds, it’s wonderful. But my old cat and I spend a lot of time in our bedroom (the front office of the P.O., we think.)
    I might inherit some pet chickens in a couple of weeks, and I’m trying to figure out how to bring my bees home from the farm they live on inland. I have a very complacent and calm landlord. He thinks urban farming is great.

    I’m still not sure how to make this home, except by prayer and use.
    I love reading about your adventures on the farm.

    Nan

  14. Cindy says:

    I love every single word of this post! I know you hear this a lot, but if you and I ever meet we would be great friends! Your concept of home is spot on! I instill these things in my children and to all who walk through my front door…..or the kitchen door, which is even better! Home is the dearest spot on earth. Your blog makes me smile. Thank you!

  15. Joan says:

    HOME??? I think you have IT for sure, you made me feel right at HOME and I loved being there. And thank you for ENJOYING – even that which isn’t quite so enjoyable.
    God Bless y’all and LOVE!!!

  16. brenda says:

    sounds like you have found HOME. Enjoy the ups and downs of everything that comes life goes fast. I too live in a country home and the up keep can add up fast. But it sounds like in your heart you have decided that this is what you want so take it day by day, enjoy. keep us up dated love reading what is happening.

  17. Diane Van Horn says:

    Rebekah,
    I think you are home. I can tell from your posts how happy you are. Isn’t it strange how the feeling of home does not come from matching end tables or fancy curtains and perfect furniture arrangements. There is not one piece of new furniture in my home. My home is decorated in "Early Depression" and " Southern Wisconsin Landfill"! Some of the pieces I re-furbish and some I leave as is. I love that each one has a history and a story. I also have some heirlooms from my Husband’s family in the mix. I do have a ivory colored couch and dogs! Slipcovers are great and washed weekly.
    I do believe you have found your tree, now you just have to feather your nest!
    Love this post, you have made my day,
    Diane

  18. carol branum says:

    Hi,You can,t write it if u don,t feel it.I think u are a really nice girl.And would make a really good friend.have a good day carol B.

  19. Hi Rebekah! Oh how I love reading about your exciting farm-living adventures! I love your zeal and delight around every corner! I love your answers to what makes a home! I wholeheartedly agree!! In fact in a project that I’ve been working on I wrote something similar: "A house can be magazine-gorgeous but if the folks and kids who live there are constantly complaining, ungrateful and emotionally unavailable, what good is it? As women, we set the tone in our homes. If we are griping, irritable and self centered…our family will follow suit. To the contrary, if we’re cheerfully encouraging, making the best of each situation and counting our blessings (Aloud so our families will hear!), not only will our family harvest the blessing of joy, we will too! Let’s intentionally talk about the goodness of the Lord to our family every day. A thankful heart is a happy heart. A mama with a happy heart makes a happy home." You are a mama with a happy heart and you’re creating a happy home! Yay!!

  20. First of all I would like to say terrific blog!

    I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Appreciate it!

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