On July 5th, we celebrated our one year anniversary.

During the rest of July, I quietly celebrated and pondered our one year anniversary in this little farm house.


Here were just a few of my concerns before we moved in:

  • No dishwasher
  • No garbage disposal
  • No central air
  • No central heat
  • No water softener
  • No insulation (Yes, that’s right – no insulation in the Dakotas)
  • Only two windows open, the rest were painted shut decades ago
  • 6 inch slope in the floors in two rooms
  • Full of family possessions
  • No farm-family separation
  • No guest bedroom
  • No closets
  • No ventilation in the bathroom

Does this remind you of your first house? Your grandparent’s first house? In the past year, I’ve talked to lots of folks who can relate! 

At the beginning of this stage of life, I felt that I was the only 20-something woman in America who faced this unique situation.

Of course, that’s never true. There are plenty of women who have a similar story.

I’d like to tell you that I loved every minute of living in this house, but I haven’t.

I’d like to tell you that we’ve been warm & cozy and I didn’t mind hand washing dishes, but that is not true either.

Even though I know these are special days we will look back on and cherish, sometimes I can’t wait to move out!

A few “horror stories” 

One way of coping with a less-than-ideal situation is humor. And, what I call, swapping horror stories.

Some old folks just love to do this, “When I was a kid, it was uphill both ways to school…in the snow…and my shoes had holes.”

So, because it is warm and I can laugh about it now (no promises next December)…here are a few of my favorite old farm house horror stories from the past year. Someday, I’ll tell these to my grandchildren while they roll their eyes:

  • On December 23, we hosted Christmas with John’s family after working the cows. After opening presents around our very first tree, we began discussing how cold the house gets. John has a laser thermometer, so just for fun…we showed our guests just how cold our little bedroom can get. I believe the pillows came up at about 35 degrees and the back wall registered at 25 degrees. (Is it any surprise that we are expecting a baby this fall? No.)
  • Record low temperature? 17 degrees in one corner of the living room, I cried.
  • After working in my office one windy afternoon, I grew tired of the howling. I shoved a towel into the space in between the two window panes. That stopped the howling, but not the gentle breeze. Thinking I was insane, I got a lighter from the kitchen and took it into the bathroom. I was determined to find the leaky spot. Yes, indeed, there is enough of a breeze in one corner to BLOW OUT a lighter.
  • Our house is so close to the main barnyard, I’d have more privacy in a New York City high rise. Do not for one minute image that because I live in a state with less than 800,000 people that I feel any sense of isolation or personal privacy. I’ve never lived in a less-private place.
  • (As a side note, we are installing one more electric heater in our bedroom this summer. So, hopefully we’ll be a little warmer in the coming winter. Also, please don’t worry about the baby. The studio/nursery is the warmest room in the house. The crib is in a nice & toasty spot. All is well.)

Poetry makes it better

Around this one year + one month anniversary, my best friend Lucy happened to give me a very, very fitting birthday gift. She too lives in a chilly, small farm house with plenty of quirks. The framed poem, which has already become my new mantra reads:

Love grows best in little houses with fewer walls to separate.

Where you eat and sleep so close together, you can’t help but communicate.

And if we had more room between us, think of all we’d miss.

Love grows best in little houses

just like this.

 Your stories?

Anyone else have a funny, old house “horror story”? Please share!

What are the quirks of your newlywed living situation?

If you’re out of this stage of life, what do you miss most about your first fixer-upper?