Reminding myself of the purpose of the homestead I rededicated myself to reality. Taking a deep breath and stifling the inner child that rears her spoiled pigtails far too often, I dug in to dream more realistically. A farmhouse. That's all I need.
Like a dream sequence in a war movie in which the hero longs for home and sees it so vividly in his mind that he's able to soldier on for one more, Oscar-worthy battle scene, the house from Field of Dreams came easily into my mind, complete with ball field, acres of corn and mitt toting ghosts. (I told you the inner child awakes at will!) Mentally erasing the ball field and players, I had something I could work with.
Running back inside to search for plans, I typed in "farmhouse" and "2 story" and, what should appear? A house named, I kid you not...The Field of Dreams. It was destiny, I tell you. God Himself had known the house for me and guided my Google search like King Arthur to the Stone of Excalibur.
My heart a-flutter, inner child skipping with heady giddiness within, I looked at the house details. 3500 square feet. 3500, a number which would require nearly 3 times the budget we must build this house with, a size of home in which I could raise my livestock INDOORS! Every home I have ever lived in COMBINED would be about 3500 square feet.
Crushed, disenchanted, feeling the beginnings of despair creeping onto me like the kudzu that crushes the life out of anything left sitting still too long in Alabama, I glanced to the bottom of the page. "Smaller Families May Also Consider: The Mountainview". At first thought, Mountainview sounds like somewhere you'd bury a good horse or rent a honeymoon cabin but I clicked on it anyway.
50% plain as brown paper, 50% adorable, my house looked out at me. It's what you might imagine if someone said the word "house" to you. (Unless you, too, have been to too many Ripley's Believe it or Not museums...or are an architect...or Hugh Laurie.)
It has everything I had written down as "No Compromise Requirements": front and back porches, a master bedroom big enough for my library (which is, incidentally, about the same size as our local library, God Bless Mississippi), a spot for a fireplace (which I will replace with a potbellied, wood-burning stove because they can heat a house unlike a fireplace, which The Professor often reminds me, create "negative heat".), and a bathroom big enough for the biggest bathtub I can find.
Looking at the plans, I could see The Kid happily reading some obscure work of dystopian fiction next to his dormer window which looks out on our slice of near-utopia, I could smell the bread I will bake in my country kitchen tucked away under the optional loft which will hold our desks and overflow library. I spotted a wall that could house my neglected, untuned, turn-of-the-last-century upright piano and even imagined my garden gnome, Sheldon, smiling out at me from among the fictional species of foliage drawn by some artist, cursing his job as a houseplan renderer and spicing things up with fanciful vegetation.
I had found our house. If I'm honest, it doesn't make my heart sing like castles and oddities that would put me in the Guinness Book for best roadside attractions. But it doesn't feel like a costume, either, like stucco homes and pseudo-mansions created to make the nouveau riche bourgeoisie feel like venerable states-people no matter where they build their brick and fountained monstrosity.
It makes me feel like a pioneer couple: half hard-working, forethinking husband building what his family needs to survive, half loving wife, feathering a nest to make the utilitarian shelter into a lovely home. I trust this house to serve its purpose, but I also think it will be a homey little addition tucked into the pines that cover our hill.
I may have to find some other way to get the attention of my beloved Ripley's but, believe it or not, I like my house plans. Just fine.