Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Third Times a Charm?

I put in an offer on the Ledyard Mini Farm today.  My third offer to purchase a farm in the past 6 months and I'm REALLY hoping that the third time's a charm!

Yesterday I took my posse (parents, fiance, agents) to see the Ledyard farm.  The objective of the visit was to see just how much work the property and buildings needed and whether or not it was worth it.

We hosted a very democratic dinner after the tour (well, for the most part), and even though it is my decision to make, we all agreed that we really liked the property and could fix it up nicely, if we got it for the right price.

SO, without further ado, the NUMBERS!

The house was originally listed on the market in 2008 and has been on and off since.  It was listed from $340K - $275, but was most recently listed in 2010 for $299K until the contract expired.  (The house is not currently on the market, but their most recent listing agent shares an office with MY agent and the current owners are supposedly eager to sell).

My real estate agent's Comparative Market Analysis valued the home at $267K and zillow (an online home estimation resource) valued it at $249K.  Neither of the computer systems have been to the house, the numbers are based on area properties that have sold.

This is what I very generally estimated the cost of the repairs to be.  I actually have no idea if the figures are that accurate (except the furnace - that's a professional estimate), but it seems pretty good. ;-)

·      New Roof……………………………………………………$9,000
·      Update Furnace/Heating System…………………………...$6,000
·      Update Kitchen, update appliances………………………...$6,000
·      Replace flooring…………………………………………….$6,000
·      Update 2 bathrooms………………………………………..$4,000
·      Repair/upgrade electrical panel…………………………...$1,000

·      Regrade Driveway………………………………………….$5,000
·      Repair outbuildings (siding, barn roof, electricity to barn, water to barn, barn windows and door)…………………… …………………...............................….$10,000
·      Repair apartment porch, indoor improvements………......... $2,000

Total estimated repairs (known)……………………………….$49,000

So, yes, pretty much everything needs to be repaired, updated, or replaced.  The house is livable, however, and in a bout of confidence K and I agreed that we could do a lot of the work ourselves, over time.  We don't know much now, but we'll learn quickly about how to renovate a home!  At least there is no shortage of ideas.

So I put in an offer for $217K, which I justified as being the CMA value of the home, minus the estimated cost of repairs (though, ultimately, I just picked a number!).  If we can negotiate a price over the next 48 hours, we still plan to do a home inspection and take major costs into consideration, but we're more or less agreeing to do the majority of the work ourselves.

I'm going to put this in writing, so that I have confidence if the negotiation gets tough, that I'm not going to negotiate above $245K.  It will be really hard to walk away from this property, knowing that it would be impossible to put together a contract before I lose my loan next Wednesday, but I can't pay more for the house than it's worth.  I really don't have a back-up plan if buying a farm doesn't work out (not only because of the loss of funding, but because I've pretty much seen everything on the market).  So, clear eyes, full hearts, CAN'T LOSE!

In other home-buying drama, I FINALLY talked to the lawyer today about getting reimbursed for the home inspection fee of the Lebanon Farm.  She has sent them a letter, that she doubts they will respond to.  If they don't respond, I can sue them in small claims court (at a cost of $35).  If they don't show up to court (which she also said is likely), then I will be awarded the money through a lean put on their house.  This whole process could take several months, and I need to be out of that contract this morning (yes - I'm taking a risk putting in a contract today, but with the expectation that the owners of the Ledyard farm will not outright except my offer and I will have time to renegotiate).

Once I release the current owners of the contract, I lose out on getting the money back for the inspection (unless I sue them and hope they don't show up).  If I sign that I agree to be released of the contract, I am also agreeing to release them of any liabilities.  I'll just have to chock it up to a loss of almost $1,000, which sucks, but is better than jeopardizing the other $1,000 they are holding with the contract.  Does your head hurt yet?  Because mine does.

Here's to another night of restlessness and finger crossing! 

I'm basically looking for a miracle here.

P.S.  Photos by K from last winter of my snow-hating chicken Barrington (now a resident at yale!).  Here's to hoping this evening's storm isn't a big deal.

P.P.S. Happy Leap Day!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Fight to Farm

image from

The mini-farm in Ledyard has been on my mind lately.  Even though the town that the property is in is not where I would like to be, the location is perfect (so close to my family!).  And there is just something so appealing about the raw potential that property has, and knowing I could make it beautiful.

Sunday my real estate agent called - she had spoked with the current owners about my concerns with the agriculture zoning in Ledyard and they called back with a list of neighbors that were able to receive permits to farm.  They also left me the number for the head of the agricultural committee in town, who also runs a very successful farm operation, heads up the farmers' market, and happens to be the neighbor through the woods in the backyard.

I talked with him for about an hour on Sunday and then he called back again this morning to check-in.  Like most farmers out of the organic movement of the 70s, he's full of fire and passion for what he does.  I told him briefly what I was hoping to do (a small, diverse family farm with veggies, small fruits, chickens, and pigs) and he said it wouldn't be a problem.  I told him about my degree in sustainable agriculture and that I grew up in that town and just wanted to contribute to the community.

Long story short, the ag committee in town has agreed to support me 100%.  And they're pissed that the town officials gave any other impression.  They even offered to help plow my field this first spring, and potentially to rent greenhouse space.  It's totally the opposite of what I was worried about: here is a very small community of farmers looking to help in any way that they can to ensure I succeed.  My heart is full.

To get around zoning challenges, they recommend I register the farm business at the state Department of Ag (something I don't anticipate having trouble doing, as I know most of the people there) and then bringing my Tax ID to the town, which will essentially have to register my business after that.  The ag committee offered to join me when the tax assessor comes to tour the property and reassess for agricultural value.  He's a good friend of one of the members and in a small town, networking is number one.  Fighting for what you need is number two.

SO, tomorrow I'm going back to see the property one last time and hopefully put in an offer.  I really hope that I haven't built it up in my head (I sometimes have a tendency to do that), and that the list of repairs isn't much longer than I think it will be (I'm bringing along my dad to help assess).  God willing, I can put in an offer and have a contract by the end of the week, with just enough time to revise my business plan over the weekend and re-present it to the loan agency.  God willing.

Maybe this less-than-perfect plot of land will be just where I was meant to be.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Farm Tour: The Third Marathon

A surprise snowfall put a minor wrench in our farm marathon plans for the day (a few farm owners cancelled at the last minute), but we still made it up to the southern part of the "quiet corner" to check out 5 more properties.

The first property was in Killingly (about 50 minutes from home) and it was really lovely.  The garage had a really nice studio overlooking the property (perfect for a classroom), the house was nice and had a basement apartment, and there were several new-ish outbuildings, fenced in pastures, and a gorgeous pond.  I would have REALLY liked it, were it not for the fact that looking at the house from afar, the roof was sagging really low.  Listed at $375K ($75 over budget), the cost of repairing the roof and all of the other problems would have probably been prohibitive.

The second house we went to go see was a new construction, set on 8 acres of rolling pasture and listed at $209K.  Sounds too good to be true, right?  Well, turns out the 8 acres was all wooded and the house was only a foundation (set to be finished in 45 days).  The builder we met with was really nice and took us to a similar home, but I told my real estate agent that I felt like a pilgrim standing there.  It was really difficult imagining what it would look like with a house and cleared land.

The third property was also listed over my price range ($379K), but that was about the only thing wrong with it.  The house was in excellent condition and the property had a large vegetable garden, 3,000 blueberry bushes, and 50 apple trees.  My mom thought it would be the perfect spot to have a wedding. ;-)

The fourth property was in Scotland, CT - right near town.  The views were gorgeous, the house was in excellent shape, but the "farm" portion was a little cluttered.  It was designed for mini horses and had a bunch of raised bed gardens everywhere.  It was very nice, but I didn't have a great feeling about it.  Sure enough, after looking it up on the web soil survey, the land is classified as "extremely stony," which would make it difficult to grow vegetables.

The fifth property (no photo) was in North Stonington, but was a foreclosure.  I don't know enough about foreclosed homes, but I do know that they can be a headache to purchase from the bank.  The house was outdated and the land was thickly wooded (no one seemed to know the property boundaries).  It seemed like too enormous of a project to even begin to think of where to get started.

Tomorrow my agent is going to run a comparative market analysis on a few of the properties to see what an appropriate offer price would be.  I'm still a little stuck on the Ledyard Mini-Farm I saw earlier in the week, but I'm having a terrible time communicating with town zoning.  I called twice and sat at the town hall for an hour yesterday waiting to meet with someone, but no one had a clue what is and isn't allowed and it's not printed in the zoning regulations.  Monday I'll try again, and if I get nowhere I'll set up a meeting with the mayor.

The loan officer called today to check in and sent over a bunch of paperwork to sign.  I'm still in the game, but the next few weeks will not be easy.  Hopefully I can wrap things up with the Lebanon farm and get my money back, draft a contract for one of the farms I've seen, and negotiate a fair price.  I'm still scouring the internet, but the properties are all becoming a blur.  I have a few listings from the CT Farmlink program, but they're not too promising either.  I'll be so happy when I finally find a home and come up with a plan for the season.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Summer in February

source unknown

I had barbecue chicken (with THIS super simple BBQ sauce recipe) and potato salad (with eggs from my girls) for dinner tonight.  Add that to the sunny, 50 degree weather we had today and I darn-well celebrated summer in February.  This warm weather makes me nervous about what's to come this growing season, but I'll take a beautiful day when I can get one.  The sun felt SO good today.  :-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Farm Tour: Ledyard Mini Farm

entrance to the house 
Finally!  I have an optimistic post to write for the first time in weeks!  (and I do apologize for all the negativity, but this process is a LOT harder than I thought and writing really does help me to sort through my thoughts).

This afternoon I visited a property in Ledyard. The current owners are friends of my real estate agent and the property is not currently on the market, but it was on the market for over a year and they are very interested in selling.  Last time it was on the market, it was listed at $299,000 - which is in my price range (but seems high).

front of the house (yup - it's mostly underground.  not exactly what I imagined my house would look like, but beggars can't be choosers)
On first impression, the property was not really what I was looking for.  The dreariness of winter (even though it's been warm!) doesn't bring out the best in farms.  But after a closer, more open look, the property has everything I've been looking for.  I don't see it as a place I would settle at long-term, but I can certainly see living there until we get our business established and have a better understanding of exactly what we're looking for in a farm.

2 bedroom apartment over a 2 car garage (apartment currently rented at $800 a month)
One benefit of the property is that it has an apartment - currently rented for $800 a month.  It's been rented steadily for the past few years and that additional income would mean that I wouldn't need to work a second job.  That's a HUGE benefit.

The house is in need of updates, but is in pretty good shape.  Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, with an open kitchen/living room out onto a large deck.  It even had a wood stove!

chicken coop, garden shed, 5 stall horse barn (in need of some roof repairs!)
Aside from an oversized garage (with AC/heat, electricity,water, and plenty of storage), there was chicken coop (with water), large storage shed, and a 5-stall horse barn (with electricity and water).  There was also a large field (over an acre) with irrigation running out to it, and a few dozen blueberry/raspberry bushes.  The fields are fenced in and the woodlands in the back are open, abutting a brook.  It's not a beautiful farm, but it's got good bones.  And I really think that I can make it beautiful.

main field
It feels SO good to have an option.  I'm still not sure it's the one, but on Friday we're going on another marathon and hopefully this weekend I'll have a better idea of where I want to go from here.  I still have two weeks to pull this together and tonight I feel like I might actually have a chance.

all photos by my mom

Monday, February 20, 2012

Farm Tour: 5 Farm, 5 Dud Marathon

image from

This past Saturday I toured another 5 properties in New London county to purchase.  I fully intended to go through farm by farm, outlining the pros and cons of each property (and giving out awards like "Most Glittery Ceiling," "Fattest Pet Dog," and "Most Unusual/Disgusting House Smell"), but here we are two days later and the bottom line is that none of the farms had potential.

The first four properties, for one reason or another, had not enough usable land (either because of wetlands, steep slopes, or being too thickly wooded).  The fifth property was actually pretty nice - nearly 8 acres of horse pasture/woodlands with paths, and even an antique apple orchard (all in need of improvements).  The house was nice too, but in the end I don't feel up for maintaining an 18th century, 5 bedroom farmhouse.  The listing price was $350,000 ($50,000 more than my loan amount), but the cost of improvements (even just to bring it up to a level to be able to get insurance) would be cost-prohibitive.

I know this is the worst thing to say, but at the first two farms that I put in an offer to purchase, I just had a feeling.  I was excited and hopeful and could imagine myself establishing a life there.  I'm waiting for that feeling again.  I really hope I find it soon.

Yesterday I scoured the internet and sent another 30-ish potential properties over to my real estate agent to review and set up viewings for.  All of them are further from home than I was hoping to be, but I'm optimistic that the distance won't matter much if I find a beautiful spot to call home.  Tomorrow I'm going to see another property in Ledyard, and hopefully later in the week/over the weekend I'll see a bunch more.  It's an exhausting process, but hopefully it will all be worth it when I find another property.

Still no word from the lawyer on the Lebanon farm.  I'm SO eager for closure, but apparently this is just another lesson in patience.

I feel good that I'm doing everything I can right now to find a farm, but it still just doesn't feel like enough.

Friday, February 17, 2012

15 days

image by tere arigo

I received a letter in the mail today from the Farm Service Agency officially announcing that the funds for my farm purchase have been obligated and that the loan is complete.  I have 15 days to sign off that I received the letter and agree to the terms and conditions.

A week ago this would have been INCREDIBLY exciting news.  It would have meant that the farm was mine and that I could close a full 6 weeks early, if the owners were up for it.  It's a huge accomplishment.

But instead, the news was bittersweet...the deadline weighing on me.  I have 15 days to find a comparable property to substitute into the application or my chance at buying a farm this year is most likely gone.

Tomorrow I'm going to see 5 more farms on the market in New London county - pretty much the last few currently on the market that I haven't already seen.  There is a good possibility that I will be able to transfer the application to the Windham county office (because my loan officer is also in charge up there), so if nothing works out tomorrow, next week we'll move further north.  It's further from my family than I wanted to be, but I need to give this opportunity a fighting chance.  I've worked so hard for this, I know I need to give it all I have to give.  No regrets.

I made a few pity-calls today to the state to see if they knew of any properties that meet the criteria of the loan that I may not have come across.  There weren't too many options.  Monday I'll try calling the county UConn extension agency.  Though, it seemed like everyone I spoke to today already knew about me and my situation (my how word in the farm world travels fast!).  I feel blessed to have so many people who care and are rooting for me.  That has to count for something, right?

As one woman at the USDA said on the phone, "You just need a miracle, hunny.  You just need a miracle."

15 days and counting.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sassy Radish Inspiration

image from

Check out this blog post from a fellow risk taker (turned food blogger) on her one year anniversary on quitting her job and pursuing her dream.  It can be done, folks.  It can be done.

Farm Tour: Ledyard x2

image from

I toured two small farms in Ledyard, CT after work this afternoon.  Both had pretty nice houses (one a very small ranch, the second a contemporary home), both were 5 acres, and both were formerly farms.  The first was better than I was expecting - mostly cleared land (under power lines), with several outbuildings, gardens, and blueberry bushes.  The second was worse than I was expecting - a giant horse prison surrounded with paddocks that were basically concrete the earth was so compacted.

Neither gave me a warm feeling, despite the fact that the first property came close to fitting the bill.  There just wasn't any space to grow or improve.  The location of both homes was convenient, but I'm still just not thrilled about the idea of moving back to Ledyard, the town I grew up in.  I love the story of the Odyssey and I'm all about ending my story close to home - just not a few streets over from where I started.  That's a little too close.  Ledyard has that "stuck in the woods" feeling, but at the same time the "I'm surrounded by other houses" feeling.  Like I said earlier, not thrilling.

I'm feeling pressured to jump on the optimism bandwagon (and I DO trust that something will work out, and I am hopeful), but today I was feeling like the bandwagon should just leave without me.  This is still my dream, everything that I've been working for, and despite the recent disappointments, I'm just not ready to settle anywhere.  Negative Nancy's in the house, ladies and gentlemen.

The biggest pressure is certainly coming from myself, and my desire to finally have a home.  But I would say the second biggest source is the loan agency.  The funding came in today for my mortgage (hooray?) and I passed the final stage of the application process.  The bid even came back for the home appraisal to be done in the next two weeks, but that's where I have things stalled.  I've been honest with the loan officer, but legally I'm still under contract for the Lebanon farm.  The agency is optimistic that if I can find a comparable property in the next couple of weeks that they can hold the funding, make a few minor tweaks to the application, submit a change of address for the appraisal, and (theoretically) close within a month and get started!  How's that for optimism?  I feel a little queasy just thinking about that form of warp-speed farm purchasing.

(By the way, I haven't told them that I resigned from my job, which puts a minor fork in that plan, but one I can figure out how to resolve).

It's just a lot to take in.  Saturday we're seeing another 5-6 farms (yay marathon part II), and after that the property list is pretty slim pickings.  We can either wait for something else to come on the market, start searching for properties without a house, expand our search to a county (and try to transfer the loan application), or go door-to-door begging people to let me farm their land.  I'm leaning towards keeping my fingers crossed that one of the Saturday properties works out.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to do with my life if the whole farming thing doesn't work out.  I can make do for this upcoming season, sure, but what about the future?  What do I want to do if I can't make my dream of running my own farm business a reality?  So far the only thing I've thought of is that I want to take a nap.  I'm upset and exhausted and frustrated that I'm having trouble seeing the whole picture.

So, what is it I plan to do with my one wild and precious life?

Eat good food.  Surround myself with loving and happy people.  Continue to learn and feel inspired.  Spend time with my family and visiting friends.  Do meaningful work.  Accomplish something incredible.

I can do all that without a farm, but I haven't given up just yet.

P.S.  Today is my 5 month anniversary of retiring from my farm manager job and committing myself to finding a farm of my own.  Each month I've posted a progress report to remind myself of everything that I've done and everything I hope to accomplish in the next month.  I've given it thought and decided to skip this month, despite making lots of good progress, because ultimately I feel like I'm back at month 1.  Moving on.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I am Loved.

image from

Happy Valentine's Day!

A lot of folks balk at the commercialism of Valentine's Day (which is admittedly difficult to ignore), but I really do feel that it is a good opportunity to remind myself of how much I am loved.  Plus, eating a cupcake and watching 150 preschool kids dressed in pink and red dance around to love songs at the Valentine's Dance is a pretty good way to spend the day. :-)

My engagement ring is a new (very sparkly!) reminder of a very special kind of love I've been blessed with (by the way - I bought my wedding dress today!).  The quiche I had for dinner, made with eggs from my very own chickens, is another reminder.  Knowing that despite the roller-coaster of emotions from losing the farm and quitting my job, I have a supportive family and wonderful group of friends is a third.  The list goes on and on, but I can say with confidence that I am loved.  And I'm so grateful for that.

These days, I take comfort in what I can.  Thinking about the future - even as far as next week - is overwhelming and stressful.  I have 7 farm tours set up for this week (that I'm trying really hard to get excited about!), but beyond that I don't feel like I have much of a plan.  Even the (back-up) farm that I was hoping I could still lease for the season is unavailable.  I know there is plenty of opportunity out there - I just need to find it.

But for tonight, I am loved and that's enough.  One step at a time.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Moving On


source unknown

I'm a pretty big believer that a really good hug, a long sleep, and a hot pastrami sandwich can make anyone feel better - so yesterday that's exactly what I did. 

I only climbed out of bed in the morning to tend to the chickens and make sure they were going to have a great day (ie. fed them lots of treats of beet tops and bread crusts), and aside from a few midday errands I spent the rest of the day lounging around and scouring the internet for potential properties.  My parents had a very similar day (minus the chickens) and together we came up with a pretty long list of houses for sale in the area, which I then decided to sleep on.

I don't mean to be a Debbie-Downer (or even a Negative Nancy), but of the 20-ish properties I forwarded to my real estate agent this morning to set up viewings for, I'm excited about 0.  There are very few properties that are greater than 5 acres (10+ is my ideal) that have any cleared land.  I'm still just searching in New London county, in hopes that the loan office would be able to keep my application and transfer the property, but I think that could be overly optimistic.

So, I'm coming up with lots of other plans.  First on the list is to file a lawsuit and get closure on the Lebanon farm so that I can just move on.  Second is discussing alternatives with the loan agency, which I'm not looking forward to.  Third is resigning from my job at the preschool.  That may seem like a rash decision thrown in the mix of all of this turmoil, but there's been a really strong lack of job security (mixed with unnecessary drama) and I just don't need the extra stress right now.  I need time to come up with a better alternative.

Which brings me to item number 4: coming up with a plan for this season.  Even if I find the perfect farm tomorrow and everything goes according to plan, moving in the middle of June is just too late to really get started (but would give me a great jump on next season!).  I'm still looking to purchase something very soon, but also returning to some potential properties to lease in the short-term.  I may also look into purchasing land (without a house).  My goal is to just keep working on this project and seeking new opportunities.  I couldn't be more disappointed, but I do trust that something will come up.

There's got to be a farm out there for me.  And if not?  Well, I always wanted to be a ballerina.  I'll find my path somehow.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I lost my farm today.

image via
I woke up to this email in my inbox (forwarded from my real estate agent at midnight):

To Whom It may Concern,
In the lengthy amount of time it has taken to negotiate the Home Inspection Repair list, we have had time to reconsider these requests. We feel that the amount of items, and items requested are unreasonable and have decided not to repair anything at this time. We have decided to sell the home “as is” and will not be fixing any of the items listed.
I was shocked and left feeling uneasy - a renegotiation like this just isn't legal.  I had heard a rumor earlier in the week (from a very reliable source) that the current owners had been unable to get financing for the farm they were trying to purchase.  I had been treading carefully since then, but felt protected by the contract.  My agent called their agent to see what was up, and she told her that the owners were very offended that we found things wrong with the house they built with their own two hands and were taking it very personally.

Before my real estate agent had a chance to call me and tell me the news, the sellers called back and said that they were withdrawing the offer on the grounds that we were unable to come to a mutual agreement.  I was stuck at work (having a HORRIBLE day there as well!), so my agent ran down to the lawyers office to get feedback and advice.

Long story short, the sellers were able to find a loophole in the contract.  Because we weren't able to come to an agreement before they needed to withdraw the contract, I'm just out luck (even though I feel that giving me less than an hour to respond is extremely unfair, especially so early in the morning).  Our lawyer doesn't think it's worth the cost to sue over the disagreement, but we're filing a lawsuit on Monday morning.  They've taken my home and my business (and potentially ruined my chances at getting this loan that I've worked for over a month to get), and I expect to at least be reimbursed for the cost of the home inspection (which totaled just under $1,000).  The lawyer feels pretty confident in our case and I will at least be a little satisfied when that money is returned to me.

But it doesn't change the fact that for the SECOND time this winter, I have to start all over in my search.  I'm determined and have a team of people helping me scour the internet for potential properties in New London County.  I'm trying my best to stay level-headed and optimistic, and to not compare the properties to the one I had my heart set on.  Trying is the best that I can do.

To be honest, I feel a little numb.  I'm angry about how the sellers dealt with the situation (that's a bit of an understatement), and feel desperate for something to happen that makes it feel a little more fair (ie. being compensated for the inspection/having the house burn down because of the shoddy electrical work that we identified in the inspection...too much?).  I also feel desperate to find another home, and to hear from the loan agency that I can keep my application on file if I am able to find a substitute farm in a short time frame (fingers crossed).  I feel a little hopeless about getting started for this growing season - knowing the loan application process takes 100 days and that it's near impossible to start a farm in June.  Deep down I DO trust that things will work out.

Third times a charm, right?  Please?

I don't even feel like focusing on wedding planning because we were planning on getting married at our farm, and I haven't begun to imagine a new plan yet.  I don't feel like going to my farm planning class tomorrow because I've already planned two farms in the past 4 months and neither of them have worked out.  I don't feel like having to tell all of my friends and family that I lost this property over and over and over and have to listen to them try to comfort me.  I DO feel like curling up under the covers, but that won't get me closer to my dream.  I just need to keep searching.  At least the search is going much faster now that I've seen so many of the houses on the market.

I can't believe I have to start all over again.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


image from
My head has been in the happiest whirlwind the past few days.  Buying a home, starting a farm, planning a wedding.  So many details to attend to, I've been having trouble staying focused!

I'm embarrassed to say that I still haven't ordered my seeds.  The catalogs got a little buried underneath the paint samples I picked out for the house, the bridal magazines my mom gave to me, and the stacks of other projects that need to be done.  What can I say?  I'm easily distracted.

I've been going back and forth with the current owners over the inspection report and the home improvements I asked to be made.  I think we're finally nearing an agreement.  This afternoon I drove up to Norwich to sign the final paperwork for my loan application.  Tomorrow it will be processed!  The last detail is a home appraisal, which I wasn't nervous about until my loan officer told me that she was.  Bah.  They put a request out for bids, and it usually takes 6-8 weeks.  As long as the appraisal comes back pretty close to the purchasing price (close enough that I could fudge it with my last bit of savings), I'll be pretty much set!

I'm incredibly fortunate with my timing - as my application was submitted just before this quarter's funding came in, so my the funding for my loan is currently earmarked for this quarter!  This could change, of course, but it's HUGE news.  It means that the money will most likely be available as soon as I need it, rather than needing to send my application to Washington and wait for a request.  I'm trying not to get too excited, but it's hard not to be optimistic.  I really need this to work out, but unfortunately the details are out of my hands.

Home. Farm. Wedding. Home. Farm. Wedding.

It's all really happening.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Loan Application: Complete!

image from

I received TWO letters in the mail today from the loan office: one stating that I am eligible to receive funding through the Farm Service Agency Beginning Farmers Loan program, the second stating that my application is complete!  I spoke with my loan officer this afternoon and she just has a few more things to adjust before the mortgage gets sent out for review.  After that, it's just a lot of waiting!

I also heard from the current owners today, that they would like to move the closing up a month.  It's not possible until I hear back on the mortgage (really NOTHING is possible until I get a mortgage!), but it's sort of exciting to know that if the funding comes through, I could move into the house even earlier than planned.  But I'd just be happy to move in on time, before the growing season gets under way!

This weekend I will be buried in planning - finishing the CSA plan, crop outline/maps, and seed order.  It involves lots of hot beverages, comfy clothes, and color coordinated office supplies.  (And maybe even some thoughts of planning a wedding!).  I couldn't be more excited!

This is all really happening...

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Best. Groundhog's Day. Ever.

I think I'm still in shock - what a surprise!  :-D

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Unhappy Campers

image from

The current farm owners were NOT happy to arrive home this afternoon.  Apparently the septic company which I hired to do the inspection (against the suggestion of the current owners) did a crappy job filling in the hole.  Oh, and there was an entire survey crew in their driveway that arrived without notice.  We're all assuming that the Farm Service Agency ordered the land surveyed as part of the loan application, but they didn't notify anyone.  Their real estate agent was able to calm them down (I would have been pretty upset, too!), but it's never good when people get upset under stressful circumstances.

Did I mention that I also had the list of mandated home repairs sent over this afternoon?  There's no time like the present, right?

I'm hoping it goes over well.  And that the loan application can be completed in the next couple of days without any more snags.  It's probably a combination of working with 150 disease-ridden preschoolers everyday and the stress of purchasing a farm, but I've been sick every day since the new year and would love enough peace of mind to get a full night's sleep.  At least once before I buy a farm and I'm up every night worrying about something new!