Friday, July 12, 2013

Mama's New House Site

Our Few Acres was wonderful. Now when we came up to the mountains, we still stayed at the house in Hidden Valley, which was just a mile or two from the farm. And, yes, I am taking liberties referring to it as a farm, but in our world it was land, had fences, and had cows therefore it was the closest thing we had to one. Most Saturdays I spent just walking around exploring, watching the cows, or riding around the area with Daddy.

Dad and I soon learned that around the curve just before our gate, lived a wonderful family who had recently moved to the area. He was a retired Naval Commander. And he, his wife Gloria, their son, and daughter-in-law were all living in this small white tenant house on their property.  They (as in the Commander and his son) were in the process of building a huge home, up the hill behind their current house, with a porch that wrapped all the way around it. Daddy and the Commander hit it off immediately. And, they promised to invite us over as soon as they finished the new house. They loved to entertain. Little did I know then how true this was.

Of course, Mama wanted to build on the farm. So she started looking for house sites. Daddy told her she had 13 acres to choose from. He would move his cows to suit her, once she chose where she wanted to build. She started down by the gate in a pretty wooded area, but soon decided that it would be too noisy by the road. The Lower Pasture was considered but it was small. Then she got to the Upper Pasture. This was the obvious choice. Daddy went back to his cows and told her to let him know when she made up her mind. About thirty minutes later she came back,. "I found it. It's perfect. Come see."

So we all headed to the Upper Pasture. She walked toward the top and we followed. No surprise here, she obviously wanted a view. She kept walking into the woods. And, she wanted shade. We kept walking. Things were going well until she crossed the fence and we followed along. Next thing we knew we were standing on the top of this mountain with a 360 degree view of hills and valleys below. It was breathtaking. She walked to the highest point, turned around, looked at Daddy and said, "Here." "Right here? You've got to be kidding. You know when you crossed that fence you were past our property line?" "I figured as much. But this is where I want my house." He just looked at her, then looked around at the view and shook his head.

Eventually we all went back down the hill, across the fence, and returned to Our Few Acres. Daddy knew the discussion was not over. Mama was going to build her house on top of that hill. After some inquiries, he found out who owned the land just above the Upper Pasture.  It was a nice family, Hoyt and Roland Jones. Her family, the Kerr's, had owned the land for generations, still worked it,  and were extremely well thought of. With hat in hand, he and Mama paid them a visit. After some discussion, they agreed to sell them the two acres that would include the top of the hill and the land between that and our current farm. Only one stipulation, they would have to purchase the remaining 198 acres of the tract.

There was no way Daddy was going to purchase 200 acres of land for my mother to have one acre to build a house on. Certainly, somewhere on their current 13 acres there was a suitable place. However, being a gentleman, and not wanting to seem rude, my father agreed to go with Roland to look at the property.  Maybe he could convince him to part with only 2 or 3 acres after all.

They went up the road behind the Jones' home. As they got to the end of the road, Roland made a right turn through a gate. There was this unbelievably beautiful piece of property with rolling hills and meadows, pretty woods with poplars and other hard woods, and  an apple orchard. Dad was speechless. And, then they drove through the field to the top and there was that view. They started discussing money.

After a deal was made, that I think included free prescriptions for the Jones and their family for life in addition to the cash sales price, Mama and Daddy drove back up the road to take another look at what they had just purchased. Daddy looked around. "I hope you are happy now. This is a damn expensive house site." Mama's response was, "Well, I don't know. All I did was select a house site and somehow you finagled a cattle farm to go with it."  That was the afternoon we went from Our Few Acres to High Acres and Mama finally had a place to build her house. And, Daddy had 213 acres he could call a farm.

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