My Own Narnia - Homesteading Aspirations Realized: Pics and Essay on My Rural Acreage

October 10th, 2009

Where's the Wardrobe?

I felt as if I had just stepped through some wardrobe door and was tramping into the heart of Narnia. I expected to find the lamp post any moment, telling me this was indeed the western wilds. But I found no lamp post.

I heard a shuffling and branches swayed as something approached. But there were no bells, and it was neither Father Christmas, nor she who had made it always winter, but never Christmas.

Instead, I found my great German Shepherd dog hurtling toward me, ecstatic with the feels and smells of the new snow.

My husband wasn't far behind, and we met for a brief moment and a kiss beneath some overhanging cedar (mistletoe doesn't grow here), then I moved on, to explore the views behind the next snow-laden branches.

My Own Winter Wonderland

Here was quiet, and mystery, and a great peace. A romance more mature than that of my marriage hovered among the trees and clung more pure than icicles to my surroundings.

I knew I wanted to call this windless bit of earth home.

My husband came behind me and said, "In October."

I turned to face him, knowing he meant that it was too early for such snow in October, yet I longed to run with him through the piled crystals. Of course, we'd both fall flat on our faces if we tried such merriment, but the spark struck by the night's storm urged me to try it, and I grinned at him. As if he knew I was about to pull him into something reckless, he turned away, and said, "Let's check the house for leaks."

Accordingly, we went.

White Horse, Like in My Childhood Daydream

Courtesy of: http://photos.igougo.com/images/p301216-Minneapolis_MN-white_horse.jpg
Courtesy of: http://photos.igougo.com/images/p301216-Minneapolis_MN-white_horse.jpg

Homesteading Dream Since I Was Eight

When I was nine, I wrote a story that had been shaping in my head for months, scuttling among my schoolwork assignments and interrupting my Sunday devotions. I breathed no word of it, not even to my mother or sisters, until it took shape on paper. It had four children, whose names I don't remember, and they stumbled into a series of worlds through an underground chamber discovered in their father's midwestern pasture. Of course, the story was patterned after C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, though I did not consciously recognize this then, and wouldn't have cared, had someone pointed this out.

Still, there was one major theme that had nothing to do with C.S. Lewis or his writings. While, in certain worlds into which my characters went, there were animals who talked, and mythical or made-up creatures, and in interplay of good and evil in which good came to have the upper hand, my story was based on the dreams of my heart. In the first place into which the children stumbled, through the network of tunnels, there was an old woman, and I named her Dorothy (don't asky why). She lived on a farm, alone, and raised many kinds of animals.

Dorothy did not live alone because I wished to do the same; I didn't. She lived alone because, at eight years old, I had not yet discovered husbands. I couldn't imagine Dorothy doing everything she did with another person in tow. She never grew lonely that I know of, and she never complained. She did her many chores with a steadiness and a gentleness that I someday hoped to obtain. She was a teacher at heart, and taught the four children who landed in her care a variety of skills and concepts which I would have been glad to know. She let them ride her horses (especially a mild white one named Stardust), and she taught them to know the plants and their virtues. She let them milk her cows, and cuddle her lambs, and sit watching the noble deer who inhabited the woods near her home. She taught the sisters to spin wool, and the brothers to be gentlemen, and she seemed ever-wise.

She was a guiding light.

Eventually, the children returned to their pasture and their parents, but they never forgot Dorothy.

Neither have I.

The darkness and the snow was rather magical, even in town.
The darkness and the snow was rather magical, even in town.

Making the Most of My Dreams

In a way, she is who I want to be (minus the name - I'll keep mine, thank you). She is active, industrious, and wise. She is sweet-tempered, treats her critters and acquaintances alike kindly, and knows what she wants out of life.

Of course, I do not envy her - I have a husband, and she doesn't.

But, I envy her position - she has a farm, and I don't. This is where my very own winter Narnia comes into play.

My husband I started out our first days in the tiny town he had called home for ten years. That was nearly eight years ago. He wants a German Shepherd Dog breeding kennel. I want horses and goats (and sheep). None of these things are possible in our present situation.

Then, through an improbable chain of circumstances, we found out last summer that my dream property was potentially for sale. On it was a 1928 house, still set up to 1928 standards. There was an excellent windbreak (necessary in this windy country of Colorado), and several acres of fair pasture. There was only one catch...well, two. One - the owner lived in New Mexico, and had had many offers superior to ours over the last 15 years. He had taken none of them. Two - we discovered the well didn't work. Even after having parts replaced, and being pulled six times, it didn't work.

But I'm not giving up. Neither is my dear husband. Can you see why?

Early morning sky. Who needs stars when you have snowflakes?
Early morning sky. Who needs stars when you have snowflakes?
No wind...a local miracle.
No wind...a local miracle.
Puppy loves it as much as we do.
Puppy loves it as much as we do.
There are deer to chase, and raccoons to smell, and, yes, skunks to hazard. And puppies to breed.
There are deer to chase, and raccoons to smell, and, yes, skunks to hazard. And puppies to breed.
Cozy, yes?
Cozy, yes?
It comes complete with unique, hand-crafted wooden sculptures...
It comes complete with unique, hand-crafted wooden sculptures...
...in several different varieties.
...in several different varieties.
Still, it will be perfect for goats and dreams.
Still, it will be perfect for goats and dreams.
Even if it takes a Jeep to get up to the house.
Even if it takes a Jeep to get up to the house.

Christmas Eve Magic

I Am Resolved

I'm praying to be in by Christmas Eve.

My family and I are confident that God has saved this home for us - that the owner has not sold, because in some future way, the place was ours. Perhaps I'm dillusional...but I'm happy that way. I feel as if, for the first time in several years, I have hope. My dreams can run and frisk.

This Christmas, God willing, my children will get to help decorate a real Christmas tree, set with plenty of space about it, in a well-lit room full of 80 years of memories. The tree will be real, and smell of real resin, as there is a small pine that needs to come down.

This New Years, God willing, I'll be able to realistically resolve that I will have my own goats, and, eventually, the children will have their own ponies.

This mid-winter, God willing, the children will learn to ice-skate on the duck pond a mile down the frozen gravel road.

This spring, God willing, I will plant a garden into which will drift no poisons from careless foggers and weed-control specialists.

This summer, God willing, my children will be able to play outside beyond the reach of child-molesting perverts, and the peering eyes of prying neighbors. We will have leave to work in our own ways, with our own goals, and our dreams will thrive.

Next October, God willing, we will have a home to call our own.

And Christmas will come to my Narnia.

So What's Your Dream?

What Is Your Dream Lifestyle?

  • Traveling wherever I want, when I want.
  • Homestead or rural.
  • Urban, with lots of cultural choices.
  • Other (please leave comment).
See results without voting

© 2009 Joy At Home

More by this Author


Comments, and My Updates on Our Ownership 23 comments

Scott 6 years ago

Cool!


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Yes, it certainly was, as the temperature ranged between 14 and 18 degrees F. ;-)


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

This sounds wonderful, Joy, just make sure that you don't need the help of a lion to get rid of winter -- unless it is the Loin of Judah!

The place is beautiful, and I love the wooden sculptures.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Aren't the "sculptures" beautiful? There is a warm presence about the old cottonwood tree, as if it's still full of summer memories, and still hears children's voices beneath where its leaves used to spread.

The Lion of Judah already lives there. Spring will come again, and in the meanwhile, it will be gorgeous outdoors, and cozy near the cookstove fire indoors.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 6 years ago from Sebastian, Fl

Wow. Hard to imagine such places still exist in this world. I'll keep praying for you and the house.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Jarn. I know I'm a bit obsessed over this place. My original goal was to share the beautiful snow, but without a specific angle, I was afraid the pictures would come across only as so many Christmas card wannabes. Hence, I shared my dream.

You're welcome to come visit as soon as we've got it livable. :-)


LiftedUp profile image

LiftedUp 6 years ago from Plains of Colorado

Oh, Joy at Home,

All I could say as I looked at some of those photos was "Oh! Oh!". I can just sense the peace, the other-worldliness that is in the midst of those trees, and how they seem to truly shut the rest of the world out. I used to feel that way sometimes when I went down to our tireswing as a kid. The swing hung at quite a distance from the house, and I loved being down there alone.

You know you have awakened a couple of things, don't you? I want to see that story with Dorothy in it, and I definitely intend to track down this Enya music. Thanks for letting your heart shine through so vividly. I will keep praying for your home to come to you too.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

LiftedUp, the story with Dorothy no longer exists, except within my memory. I don't know what happened to the original copy; I suppose I threw it away, after discovering how dopey my gradeschool writing was, sometime during my teen years. Perhaps I'll re-write it someday.

Thanks for your prayers.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

JoyatHome, it was a joy to read! Maybe I am the Dorothy in your story. No husband, and a ten acre hobby farm with lots of animals.

Has the owner of that farm in Colorado accepted your offer yet? Hope everything turns out the way you want!


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Aya, it sounds as if you certainly could be Dorothy. You certainly have shown much thought and wisdom in many of the comments I have seen you leave on other peoples' hubs. I was surprised to discover this morning that I never became your fan. I remedied that.

We have not completed the deal yet with the house. The owner is a bit hard to get a hold of, and we had to try for two solid months before getting ahold of him again, after our initial contact. It turns out he hadn't checked his e-mail in some while, and his spam filter ate most of the ones we sent anyway. He also hadn't gotten any of our phone calls. But, as of last Sunday, the ball is rolling again, and I will update as I come to find out more about when we'll be able to call the place ours. (I'm acting in faith, saying "when", not "if".)

I'm not sure what confession of faith you'd make, if any, but if you feel so inclined, say a prayer for the deal to go through in the best way possible.

Thanks for reading.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

General Update: We have a spoken deal with the owner - a deal which includes only a portion of the total acreage, but which suits everyone involved, and is a good agreement. We should have access to the pasture, though most of what we'll own is trees.

We are in the process of cleaning out the house and garage. This is a long and somewhat tedious process, as the ancient woman who lived there never threw anything away. The mice, spiders, and beetles have had the run of the place for 15 years.

For more information about the homestead and our efforts, see my blog: http://joilene.wordpress.com/


nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

Beautiful.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, nicomp. I can't wait to actually live there.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon

I'm excited for you and your family! I loved the mythical way you spun the tale and described your entering into the snowy world. Beautiful pictures! I roamed around with a camera and a smile when we got our first snow in October too.

Thank you!


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Jane,

Thank you for your encouragement. We have had a surveyor out to set the boundary lines, and are in the process of finalizing the property deal. We're spending much time out there, continuing to clean the house and outbuildings and sort through what may be valuable and what obviously isn't. That in itself is proving to be an education. :-)

I get tired of snow sometimes - after eight months of it, even brown and grey are alluring colors! - but I'm always excited at the coming of winter weather. I feel twice as creative when it's snowing, and many of my best memories involve snow and cold - even using a pickaxe to break the ice on the water tanks for my farm animals while growing up. I just want to give my two young children some of the same chances I had, and a safe place to be.


"Quill" 6 years ago

Love the writing and the personal experience you have with the Father and the blessing of a husband and family all filled with a heartwarming love that touches deep in my spirit.

You have a new fan and I know that I will be blessed in reading on...Please do keep writing

Many Blessings


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Quill, your comment lifted my heart.

I truly believe that God designed this place for us...I keep finding more evidences that He was thinking of my family, as we go through the belongings left on the place. I have found tools and books and supplies that we were in need of, and while the work has been hard (and will continue to be), I continue to be glad of the opportunity. We also have good neighbors, and are surrounded by people we've worked with and been friends with for years. That is priceless.


NewHorizons profile image

NewHorizons 6 years ago from Gozo, Malta, EU.

Hi Joy, beautiful writing and creative descriptions. I love winter as well, but I've never seen real snow, except on TV (mild Mediterranean climate). It's true when it's raining and I'm inside sitting comfortably, it's more inspiring for the writer or creative individual. I like to hear the raindrops ticking on the window panes and I feel more relaxed and imaginative. I thank God for everything.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

NewHorizons, thank you for your warm remarks. It's nice to meet other people who feel the same way about winter and creativity!


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

General Update:

We began moving into the house early in January. We still have not done any of the house improvements we planned on - painting, re-doing floors, etc. - but are living there full-time now.

I am continuing to sort through things, and there is much cleaning to be done, but much of the main floor is quite livable.

We have very little furniture moved in, and are still living primarily out of bags, but actually living out there is everything I thought it would be. It is quiet, peaceful, with room to grow and change and dream.

I do not yet have any goats on the property...too much going on at once to add goats into the mix.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West Virginia

Thanks for sharing your magical place with us all. It is grand when you find the place that was meant for you. I am glad that you are making this house your home. Life is wonderful and I am so happy for you.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 6 years ago from United States Author

Lady Guinevere,

Your comment is very encouraging. Thanks for sharing my joy in the home I've long waited for, and was beginning to think I'd never find near at hand.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 5 years ago from United States Author

We actually got to have a real Christmas Tree this year! I think God must have planted the small pine just for us. He put it so close to a larger tree that it was unlikely to survive, so we took it indoors and hung it with homemade decorations. It looked a bit like Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree, admittedly, but it was fun, and the kids had a blast.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working