Thursday, June 7, 2012

Judy's Place

When we decided to look for a small farm in 2009 preparatory to our retirements we invited Holly's mother Judy to join us in the adventure. Our intent was always to find a place that had two residences but that isnt as easy to find as it might seem and mortgage lenders dont generally loan on properties that have two residences so we were further limited to something we could pay cash for.

In todays climate of economic doom and gloom and particularly in this poor rural area multi-generational living situations are more the norm than not so we fit right in here. We all get along which is important but I think the fact that we each have our own place is critical (at least for us) for continued harmony and not feeling like we are burdening or overly dependent on each other. We share most suppers with Wednesday supper at Judy's place, we have separate utilities, we each have a defined yard and private space, and the fact that there are three of us working on the place has been extremely beneficial in getting this place functioning like it is as we all have strengths we bring to the farm. Its also nice that there is almost always someone here watching the farm and taking care of animals so we independently can travel a bit.

When we found this place the main house Holly and I share was actually in worse shape than Judy's mobile home but we saw potential in both and the price was right so we dove in with a vision that many did not share. Here are a few pictures of the combined efforts on Judy's place...we think its coming along nicely:

The entire farm was a blank slate with little in the way of landscaping or fencing and it pretty much looked abandoned which was good in a way because it has allowed us to create our own space.

On the exterior we have added new windows and doors, a new metal roof, covered front porch, sidewalk, back patio, planters, fencing, and lots of landscaping.
We still plan on adding a pergola over the back patio but it already gets lots of use. If you look at the before picture the back door was 3 or 4 feet off the ground and there was no back patio or deck at all.

Judy planted this garden and it has really taken off. She has Dog wood, Asian Lillies, Day Lillies, Mimosas, Rose of Sharon and other things I cant remember the name of. It also gives he some privacy.
Judy has some excellent views. This is looking from her back patio towards the shop and shows the garden bed she planted along the barn pen fence that has roses, hydrangea, clematis etc and is filling in nicely.
To give perspective, this is looking towards the main farm house from the back of Judy's side yard. We both have enough distance and designated yard we can call our own that neither of us feels like we are intruding on the other which I think is important to multi-generational living arrangements.
This picture from our back patio again shows the spatial aspects of our two homes and both households have developed sets of friends and a social life that is not dependent on each other. I mention this just to illustrate how our situation has been working well as I have had several folks with similar circumstances ask about it. Now days kids are moving back with parents, parents are moving in with kids, and even siblings are moving in together out of economic necessity. No two situations are the same but this arrangement works for us.
Judy has created a light, airy, and homey interior out of what had been a dark and depressing closed in space. She has 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths with the master bedroom and bath at one end and two bedrooms and a bath at the other. Separating them is the living room and kitchen and I really like the layout.

She has her master bedroom...
A dedicated craft and sewing room for her quilting...

And Chris keeps a room for when he is home 2 or 3 days a month. All in all its very functional and comfortable.
There was no covered porch at all when we moved in but this simple addition added a lot to the look and finctionality of the home.
Judy planted this Wisteria last year as a small twig and its now going wild. The three of us share a love of animals and the outdoors and gardening in particular.

And finally, we have a lot of cats running around that seem to congregate around the farm (the barn cats come and go) and they do a good job of keeping down the rodents and snakes b ut once in a while one shows up that is special and gets to come indoors. This is Judy's cat Piglet who showed up last winter at our doorstep when she was a couple weeks old and half frozen and severely injured. Piglet had been thrown from a car and now has permanent abraded spots on one side where she lost fur and skin, her face was broken so she has a lop sided nose and wheezes and whistles when she breaths like Jim Carrey in "Me, Myself and Irene", she is cross eyed, and her voice box was damaged so she cant meow or make other cat noises even though she tries, and she is very small and not likely to get much bigger according to the vet. For all that she is extremely affectionate, happy, and cute in an "Oh My God" sort of way that is hard to describe. She spends her days lazing in the sun and trying to catch butterflys and we are kind of glad we took her in.

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