Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Finder's Keepers

Dogwood blossoms always remind me of my Grandmother. Years ago she owned this incredible antebellum home in Louisiana, Missouri. It had slave quarters in the basement, a "widow's walk" looking out over the Mississippi (so the lady of the house could stand and look at the river while she waited watching for her man to come home), and lots of nooks and crannies for a four year old to hide in. Hiding in crannies pops to mind since I distinctly remember my mother chasing me around the house while I was fleeing a spanking. (I painted my aunt's lamp with foundation! Do you remember that, Melanie?) She also had many dogwood trees on the property. I'll always remember her bringing me to one of the trees and telling me about how the centers of the flowers were a reminder of Christ's crown of thorns. The four white petals with their magenta marks symbolize his sinless hands and feet pierced and injured by the nails on the cross. I was only four, but I remember that talk and my sweet Grandmother's arms and voice sharing with me the joy of noticing the small things. My Grandmother was a role model for me in so many ways. I miss her terribly. There are beautiful dogwood trees all over Northern Virginia. I took this picture while I told my own four year old son my Grandmother's story this Easter season. You know, many people know very little of their Great Grandparents. I need to tell my children more stories of what a wonderful woman she was! The dogwood is the state flower of Virginia. Perhaps I'll plant a tree on the farm!

So, my friend Jen asked how we found this wonderful home to live in. Some of you may know that my husband and I have longed for a simpler life for a long time. We recently made a life change that made that more possible, though it involved greater risk for our family. My husband turned civilian, and made one small step toward becoming a gentleman farmer. We moved to Virginia and found that the countryside is beautiful, the people are interesting, the proximity to the Nation's Capitol is convenient, and a lot of our heroes either lived nearby or still do! We love it here! We'd love to purchase a little house in the country and raise chickens, but we already own a house in Colorado, so feel that to take on that kind of debt would be perhaps reckless in this economy. Still, we looked! I was looking for great deals in real estate that would tempt me to go ahead and throw caution to the wind and make me apply for another mortgage in spite of my fear of debt. I was browsing real estate in Fauquier County when I saw an ad for a farmhouse for rent on a 500 acre farm. I thought, "Well, it couldn't hurt to ask!" I contacted the advertiser, asked a few questions, told him we were a big family that home schooled and wanted to raise more of our own food. He invited us to visit and see if the situation suited both parties, so to speak. We went after church on Sunday and looked and looked and I fell in love! My husband was perhaps more skeptical, but I managed to convince him. It turns out he just didn't see what I saw. When we returned to sign the lease, he was excited, too! He was even more so after he went shopping at the local farm supply store and realized he was getting ready to buy chickens. He came home with a big grin on his face and I think a bit more content.

I'll write more about what I've learned about the area in another post. Before I do that, I wanted to see if you all wanted to help me name the house. I've decided it's a cottage, by the way. I know, I know, it's not mine to name, technically. But, still, as long as I love it as I do now, I must call it a name. Besides, it seems all the houses are named around there! So, I'm thinking something to do with joy, happiness, contentment, industriousness, husbandry, legacy. How about Contentment. Too pithy? Do you have any suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. I have always had a hard time naming things - my bikes, the car, nothing had a name. The dog came to us with a name already. (Not entirely true as I named each of my 5 hamsters with names of 4 syllables.) Maybe it comes from a fear of commitment - the whole army brat thing. That's right! I'll blame my parents. :) But I have always liked house names and place names that are multiple words. Like Heart's Desire. In the Narnia books, their place is Cair Paravel but I don't think that would suit your "cottage". At Flickr, I follow the progress of a wonderful woman named Mary Anne and she lives on a road called "Almost Heaven".
    I think something like "Chicken's Roost" would be too prosaic. A children's theme, perhaps? I'll think on it.