I had a few friends that lived outside of Bend, (where we lived) in a little community called Tumalo. Most had land and a few had horses.
As a kid one of our neighbors had horses and I was allowed to ride one once. It wasn’t a good experience. Whoever synched up the saddle didn’t do a very good job of it. About the time that horse took off on a trot, the saddle started slipping sideways.
I still remember my brother Johnny laughing so hard as I desperately clung to that saddle slipping around to the side of the horse. When he finally got the mare to stop he said I looked like I was trying to be a stunt rider. I didn’t think it was funny at all. That was my one and only time on a horse, until I was 32.
A friend gave me a few pointers and I started riding one of her horses. I was immediately hooked. I didn’t get to ride often, but I took every opportunity she offered. And every time I went to visit her in Tumalo, my heart would tug at me.
Things weren’t going so well at our home on the golf course. The golf course was becoming a nuisance, and my marriage was falling apart. Looking back I can see I wasn’t the only one concerned, because when I told my husband I wanted our boys to experience a farm life, he agreed.
Coming from a city boy, that was a big concession, and so I set out to find us a farm of our own. What I found was we couldn’t afford to buy a nice place in Tumalo. But we could buy a fixer upper.
When I say fixer upper, I really mean to say, dump. Our realtor set up an appointment for us to see a 20-acre farm and we loaded up the boys to go take a look. As I stepped over the cow pie to get into the front door, I tried my best to see the potential. I’m not kidding about the cow pie. They were everywhere.
All of the animals were allowed to be anywhere and everywhere. Even in the house.
The house was filled with cats, dogs, bunnies, ferrets, chinchillas, and … a pig. My oldest son threw up, and my youngest being just five held his nose and said in a very loud voice, “Pee Eww, this place stinks!” The owner of the foul-smelling place, said, “This is a working farm, son. You’ll get used to it.”
Glancing over at my husband I could see he was ready to bolt. With a nod we glanced at the little farmhouse and escaped as quickly as we could.
From our car we could see the big run down barn, and bigger shop that was part of the farm, but we had no desire to brave a look inside. As the car rolled down the quarter mile driveway, my wheels began to turn.
I wanted this place.
In an act of complete trust in me, my husband agreed to make an offer on it. This was January 1992, and by the end of that month, we were the proud owners of a completely run down cat infested 20 acre mess with stunning Cascade Mountains views.
PS…I have photos for this post, but not in digital form. I’m traveling and won’t be able to add pictures, until I get home. And, oh, do I have some doozies. 😉