My family moved to Safe Haven Farm in 1994. We’ll celebrate 20 years at this crazy old place this Labor Day, and for the first time in 20 years, when we wake up in the morning, my dad won’t have to go to work.
Actually, the tables have turned completely, and I’m the one who has to go to work in the mornings now. He gets to stay home and play in the dirt and break stuff all day long, and I have to put on grownup clothes and go be professional. But I guess he had to do that for 40+ years, so he’s earned the time off.
Life’s new chapter
My mom retired at the beginning of June. My dad retired at the end of June. And they are both in the process of moving back out to the farm after seven years of living in the big city. We’re still trying to get their house sold, but in the mean time, we’re slowly getting the old farmhouse ready for multiple occupants again.
I had a roommate from January to July, my best friend who has now hopped back across the pond, and that was the first time more than one person had lived full-time in the old house since 2005. I’ve been there on my own since 2007. But we’d always planned for mom and dad to come back when they hit retirement, and that day is finally here.
So now our lives are crazy busy trying to get everything ready. Without going into tremendous detail, the house is 100 years old (which is really old for Kansas) and it’s about 3,000-square-feet. It’s a gigantic old farm house in the middle of 640 acres of wheat and alfalfa that date back to the land rush.
If walls could talk
I grew up in this house. It’s been my safe haven since I was 11. The walls of this crazy old place watched me write my first real story and every succeeding story since then. The fence posts at the property line were witnesses to the fight scenes I acted out in the weeds, and the orchard gave me a place to read my Trixie Belden books on autumn afternoons. I’ve welcomed kids without families into its rooms. I’ve introduced people to my favorite movies in its basement. I’ve watched friendships start, romantic relationships begin, and sisterhoods deepen. There’s no other place I’d rather live.
And now I’m super excited to welcome my parents back. Most people think I’m crazy, but that shouldn’t surprise anybody, right?
The first thing that we’ve got to get done is to clean the place up. It’s honestly gone 20 years without a really major deep cleaning, so that’s what we’re working on for the next two weeks. We rented a gigantic dumpster, which is big enough to fit a car inside, and we are slowly but surely working on filling it up.
There’s always a story
But like anything that happens at Safe Haven Farm, getting the dumpster there became a hugely entertaining story. We had a huge rain storm the night before it was delivered. We didn’t really think about it. Granted, I nearly slid off the gravel road on the way into work that morning, but that’s not a big deal.
Well, it became a big deal when the big truck with the dumpster came down the road. He didn’t just slide off the gravel road, he got stuck. Seriously stuck. My dad went out to talk to the guy, but no matter what they did, they couldn’t get the truck out of the mud. So they had to call a tow truck in from Hutchinson.
The tow truck got there and pulled the big truck out of the mud. It took 15 or 20 minutes. Then, the guy dropped off the dumpster and left—only to get stuck again. So it was good the tow truck hung around.
It didn’t surprise me, actually. Snowplows get stuck in the snow on my road. So a big dumpster-hauling truck wouldn’t be any different. I felt bad for the poor driver, though. He wasn’t having a very good day.
Today we are working solely on the second floor of the house, which will be my domain when mom and dad get moved back in officially. I’ll put up pictures when we’re done. In the mean time, look for #safehavenlife for photos of my adventures on the farm. And now you can keep your eyes peeled on this blog for funny farm stories, since there’s always something wacky or insane happening here.