So close and yet so far away…

So close and yet so far away…

failI haven’t written in a while, I know.  It’s been a difficult summer for me, to say the least.  And it’s been hard enough to admit to myself that we’re not moving, let alone admitting it to the world in writing here on the blog.

We’ve attempted construction loans with 2 banks, and failed.

We tried for a “Land Equity Loan” with a 3rd bank–thinking that maybe instead of a $90-thousand dollar construction loan we’d attempt to borrow $40-50-grand to put in the foundation and utilities, and we’d just live in the basement for a couple of years.  But we met with failure again.

Reaching the bottom of the barrel, with no other options available to us–we applied for a small personal loan, in the hopes of settling a used mobile home back up there in the same spot we were in before.  But still no luck.

I’ve been forced to accept the fact that we’re just not going to be able to get there this year.

Our credit scores are good, but we don’t have enough lines of revolving credit to satisfy the financial system.  That’s partly because Keith and I prefer not to get deep into debt.  We’ve always bought used cars, paying cash.  We don’t have a mortgage, or any other sort of large loan that we pay on every month, and we avoid credit cards like the plague.  We also have no savings and are living paycheck to paycheck.

We own the property–our 50 acres of heaven in the woods.  We own the farm-business we laughably call “Runamuk”–but merging the two has proven difficult to say the least.  It stings because I know with a burning passion that I could be doing so much more.  All of the best laid plans and intentions Keith and I have for Runamuk and the old Burns farm are waiting in the wings, just out of our reach.

failure is not finalAfter this brutal realization I fairly dragged myself around in a deep depression for a day and a night.  So intense was my sorrow.

It eats me up inside.  From town I can feel that land calling to me.  Sometimes while I am washing the dishes I imagine that I am looking out over the orchard of ancient apple trees.  I dream of early morning walks and after-dinner strolls, hand-in-hand with the children while the dogs run ahead down the long dirt road.

Sure, that vision is incredibly romanticized, but I’m also realistic about the road ahead.  I already practice my farming lifestyle, even if only on a micro-scale.  I’m prepared–and even looking forward to it.  I’m looking forward to the back-breaking labor, the toil and sweat.  I know and embrace the early mornings and long work days.  I accept the joys and adversities that come with working hand-in-hand with nature.  I am aware that this path I have set my sights upon is not for the faint of heart, and I know I am ready.

Whatever it is that draws me to this place, this forested hillside, speaks to the part of me that yearns for the farmers’ life.  The part of me that revels in rising with the sun, the same part that enjoys the smell of dry hay, and manure, the feel of dirt on my hands and under my fingernails.  It is a forest of possibilities.  Where goats can frolic and sheep can gather, chickens can scratch, and rabbits can nibble wild clover.  The children will run a muck over the hillside, healthy and happy with nature close at hand.

I see the need for small-scale farmers, for clean, healthy food, safe from tampering and from contamination, and I know that here is a place where I can grow this food–not only for my own family, but for others as well.  I can be a part of the solution to the world’s food problem.  I know I can.

plan bSo I pulled myself out of my funk (you can’t keep me down for long!), and set to work devising a plan to get us where we want to be.  No longer are we planning to take out a huge construction loan so that someone else can build our house for us.  Nope–now we’ve got our sights set upon the cordwood house–and I like it so much better!

Because of the requirements banks demand, had we gone with a construction loan Keith would not have been able to have his hands on every part of the house, as he so deeply desires.  And these same stipulations the financial institutions impose on their construction investments are not open to alternative housing such as cordwood building.

The best part of it all is that we will be able to construct the Runamuk homestead without taking out a huge loan and putting ourselves and our farm into debt.

Of course the delay is disappointing, but it is not the end of the road for Runamuk.  We are fortunate to be able to continue to expand our apiaries, and we still manage to produce fresh produce directly from our backyard to feed our children.  We are active in our community, promoting sustainable living, and pollinator conservation.  And I will not give up on this thing that is my burning desire–Runamuk Acres will grow and persevere.

Thanks for reading and for following along with our journey!  Stay tuned folks!


  1. Diane Hanlon

    After being directed to your site from Joybilee’s site, I enjoyed reading about your farm this morning. I, do have just one question for you… what is a cordwood house? Is it similar to a log cabin? Thanks for an enjoyable morning and look forward to reading more.
    Have a great day,

  2. angischneider

    I understand your disappointment. We bought a house a year and a half ago and it was harder than we ever expected, even with a decent credit score and 25% down. The hang up was that my husband had 3 parttimes jobs instead of one fulltime job – it was crazy. I’m glad you decided on plan “B”. I’m going to link this to today’s post in my When Life Hands You Lemons series.

  3. Sharon

    Wow, what an incredibly delightful post!!!! Thank you for sharing your story, Sam. It is inspiring to see how your desire is leading your footsteps. A maze…you better believe it, but YOU are going to make your dream a reality and others will learn from your hard, but exciting journey from your small beginnings of Runamuk to your vision!!! Sending you lots of hugs. You keep on keeping on woman!!

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