Taking the Plunge

The decision to purchase my grandma’s farmhouse in rural southern Illinois took a few years to make.
When I first brought (my then boyfriend) husband, Blaine, home to southern Illinois to meet my family, he would often mention how much he loved the countryside and all of my friends and family there.
Southern Illinois countryside, photo by my husband

Blaine grew up in North Dakota and the landscape is mostly grassland with very few trees.  Grandma’s farmhouse is located in Harrisburg, Illinois, which is known as the Gateway to the Shawnee National Forest.
The purple arrow below the title points to Harrisburg. The green parts of the map are all forest land.
For him it was love at first sight. The forest, that is.
And me too, he says, but that’s for another story.  🙂

We traveled there to visit family and friends often over the next few years while continuing to live and build our careers in Texas. The idea of moving to Harrisburg was always something in the back of our minds, but we didn’t see how it would be possible. In our line of work, there aren’t many jobs available in southern Illinois.

Blaine’s ‘office’.  (Note the Texas drilling rig in the background, 2012.)
My “baby” over the past couple years

It was my cousin who suggested we should buy grandma’s house a few years ago.  We initially laughed it off.

Then thought seriously about it.
Prayed about it.
Decided we might buy grandma’s house.
Then decided we wouldn’t buy it, and instead travel the world chasing our careers.
And finally we forgot about the whole idea for a year or so…

Until one day in 2014 when we were chatting with our Houston neighbor Nan, she said “When y’all move back home to Illinois, let us know…”

We realized we’d become so busy with our jobs and life in the city that we had forgotten our little dream of living life at a slower pace in the country.

Around this same time, grandma Hannah had been staying in an assisted living home for a while and it was obvious she wouldn’t be able to move back to the farmhouse. The family starting thinking about what to do with the house, and we let them know that we were interested in purchasing the property!

The family had the property appraised by a third party, and after some prayerful consideration, my husband and I decided to offer the full asking price.

Our offer was accepted. :)Soon after, our home in Houston flooded.

Our Houston home flooded Memorial Day weekend 2015, here we have our furniture piled up on a dry “island” within the house

We took it as a sign and it further reinforced our decision to move north.

Labor Day weekend 2015, we traveled to Harrisburg and signed the paperwork to close on Hannah’s Hill property. I remember that it was a rainy morning on the day we closed.

We visited the house one last time before driving back south to return to our jobs in Houston. To our surprise, water was flowing in through the den’s ceiling!  After a quick trip to the hardware store to buy tar, Blaine and my dad had the roof patched up in about an hour and we hit the road.

My husband patching the roof on the morning we closed
The long drive home 🙂
We would soon find out that this was only the beginning of our repairs to be made to the property.

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