Here We Go Again
After the previous year’s land purchase deal fell apart, we weren’t sure what 1999 would bring. We had all winter to plan, so when spring came around, we were ready to go. We eliminated some areas but wanted to revisit several and check out some different places too. Also, we had determined that we really needed a property with a house already in-place. That way we could rent it out until we were financially ready to make the move.
In late April, we struck out on our quest for property once again. We planned to start back where we had ended the previous year, with out first overnight stop in Crossville, Tennessee. From there we would proceed on to far northeast Tennessee – the "point", where Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia converge. Then we would head on into North Carolina; and finally we would circle back and end up at the farm in Tennessee where our Alpacas were being boarded.
A Slight Change Of Plans
Right out of the gate, our plans changed. We found out about a Llama/Alpaca show that was to be held in Tennessee on the same weekend that we would arrive. The lady that owns the farm where we boarded our Alpacas was going to be there as a fiber judge; and offered to transport one of our Alpacas to the event if we wanted to enter the competition. Would we? Well heck yes! We had her take our first cria, Forrest, born in September 1998.
We got to the event that Saturday afternoon and worked with Forrest a bit. He had only been haltered once or twice and was a bit nervous and fidgety. The following morning of the competition, Candace used some of her animal therapy skills and worked with him. Once we got in the show ring, he was a true champion, with no fidgets at all. When we stopped and were supposed to stand still, he was like a rock. All of our competition was squirming around. As we had learned last October in Conyers, Georgia, stillness is very important. If an animal will not stay still, the judge has a very difficult time doing an evaluation and will many times downgrade their marks or just pass them over. We took first place in the juvenile class (under 1 year) and won our first blue ribbon!
Something Old - Something New
After the show we went on to Crossville and spent three days there, looking at various properties. We were working with a new realtor this time and she was great – a straight shooter, to the point, knowledgeable and most important of all – honest! On the first day, we found a property that we really liked. It wasn’t as spectacular as the land that we almost had but it was very nice and really was a much better match for our needs. Candace said that she felt it was right the minute she stepped out of the car onto the property.
We were in a bit of a quandary. It was only the first day of our search. We didn’t want to let this one get away but we really wanted to complete our trip and see everything. We wanted to be sure and leave no stone unturned, so we continued to look. In the meantime we placed an offer on the property, effectively getting our foot in the door and giving us the right of first refusal, in case someone else should come along and try to snatch it while we were still searching. We figured that in a worst-case scenario, we might lose our earnest money. Weighing the pros and cons, we decided it was worth that risk.
For the next two days we looked at quite a few additional properties in the Crossville area. We re-visited our favorite several times, even getting a gentleman who digs ponds to go check it out and confirm that a pond could be successfully built down in the woods.
After seeing it all in Crossville, we proceeded on to our stop in the Tennessee "point" and then on to several stops in North Carolina. Now, we were comparing everything we saw to our place in Crossville. Our place – has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? As a total package, nothing else we saw anywhere compared.
This Is It!
We were one day ahead of schedule, so we went back to Crossville and looked at our favorite again. While we had been looking elsewhere, we had gone through several offers and counter offers. Once we returned to Crossville, we came to an agreement on a final price.
At this point you’re probably wondering – are we ever going to tell you about the property? Well sure, we won’t leave you hanging any longer. The property consisted of 35 acres of land – 8 to 10 in pasture and the rest was wooded with a variety of hardwood trees. There was a 2300 square foot 2-story house, a small barn, and an even smaller storage shed. And the birds – there were all kinds of neat birds. Birds that we don’t see down here in Texas – Bluebirds, Gold Finches, etc. We loved it! It was out in the country but not too far. It was only a 20-minute drive back to the center of town and only about half that to get to the Cumberland Mountain State Park and the Jack Nicklaus Bear Trace golf course.
Crossville is a small to medium sized town. There is no huge shopping mall, but they have a Lowes, a Super Wal-Mart, Krogers, a small outlet mall, various restaurants and a professional theatre playhouse. From our place, Knoxville and Chattanooga are about 1½ hours away and Nashville is about a 2 hour drive. So we found what we were looking for – somewhere away from it all but not too far away. All in all, it was amazing how smooth the purchase of this property went. It was very obvious that God’s hand was in this and it was meant to happen. Mission accomplished - we were on a roll!
Finishing Up And Heading Home
We finished up the trip, driving to the farm where our Alpacas were boarded. It was time for shearing day. We worked hard with the rest of the crew and came back home a few days later with several boxes full of Alpaca fiber. Some of the fiber we kept and we'll eventually get it processed and made into an alpaca garment for us to sell or wear. The rest we sent off to the Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America. But most importantly, we came home with our future home in our hands. This was a very busy, and this time, successful working vacation. We accomplished everything we had set out to do and had fun doing it.
We closed on the property near the end of May, about a month after we got back to Houston. In the meantime, our realtor had searched for someone that would lease the place. She was successful, and our renters moved in on June 8. We’ve gone through several sets of renters since then; but one certainty in life is that things change and we try our best to roll with it.
So There We Were
So there we were. We had a plan and now we had our place – our future home. Someone else was getting to enjoy our Tennessee place for the moment and sometimes that was quite frustrating; but that was OK, or so we thought. We weren't absolutely sure when, but we knew that someday we would be there. Then we’d enjoy it too and be able to say "Give us a call or drop us an email. Come see us at our place and meet the Alpacas." All we had to do was wait. But sometimes waiting is very hard to do. Click here to read the continuation of "Our Story"