I decided I better get busy and journal a bit about our move to the country. My sons had posted these photos quite a while ago.
Our family lived in Fargo, ND, in the heart of the city. Jim taught in the Engineering College at North Dakota State University, and the college was right across a busy street from our house. It was a blessing that he could work from home, then walk over when it was time for his office hours or to teach a class. Jim's desire was to permanently work from home, and no longer had an interest in teaching in a secular university. Many times he would be squelched when attempting to bring his Christian faith into what he was teaching. Besides, he felt the Lord had something else in mind for our family.
We have four boys, and our backyard was too tiny to keep them occupied. We did not allow the boys to play in the front yard unless Jim or I were out there with them, since there were so many people walking by on their way to the university. Jim would take the boys out to state parks or the national grasslands -- anything to give them the freedom they desired to run around and enjoy themselves.
We felt the Lord stirring us to sell our house in Fargo and use the money to purchase land in the country. This search took approximately three years. Jim is originally from New Hampshire and I from Minnesota, but we both felt strongly that we wanted to stay in North Dakota. Our family spent a lot of time doing internet searches, putting out "feelers" by asking people if they knew of land available, and praying for the Lord's direction.
I will blog another time about the adventures we had while searching for land. Finally, on June 30, 2004 Jim called me on the phone to tell me he felt he had found "our land," and gave the owner earnest money. Later that week the entire family took a trip up to Bottineau, ND, and we prayed and felt that this indeed was the land the Lord had for us.
We figured the best way to transport all of our worldly goods was in a semi trailer. Jim found a company that sold old trailers, and one was driven up from the Twin Cities and came to rest on our front lawn in Fargo. I'm sure it was quite an eyesore for the neighbors, but it gave the college students something new to look at as they walked past our house to school. While Jim was spending time up here trying to contact companies to bring in power, phone, water, concrete, etc., I was back in Fargo, feverishly packing up. It was quite a trick to pack everything so the contents wouldn't shift when the semi hauled the trailer the 5 or more hours up to our land.
We were very thankful to have the Kenney family help us with the "big stuff." What a challenge to fit everything in! The work benches you see in this photo are now my kitchen counters in the basement we are living in. Boxes were loaded first, and then Jim's shop tools were placed at the end of the semi trailer.
There is an ordinance in Fargo against front yard parking, so approximately 5 days before our actual moving date a police officer showed up and asked Jim when the trailer was going to be moved. When he heard it would be within the week, he let us go and we breathed a sigh of relief.
This is the Bartlett version of traveling like the Beverly Hillbillies. We borrowed the Kenney's trailer and brought up to our new land (5 hours away) anything that could sit outside and be exposed to the elements. As Jim was pulling away with this load he almost couldn't make it out of the driveway, since the back end of the station wagon was too close to the ground to make the dip down to the road and the trailer hitch touched the ground. Whew! He made it!
Since we really wouldn't be unpacking for a while, I decided to use a recipe card box and list on individual cards the contents of each box. This made it much slower going in the packing business, but at least I knew when I needed something it would be easier to find. I can't remember the exact count, but my numbers on the boxes reached over a hundred (not to mention what Jim and the boys had packed of their own stuff!). We also packed all of our furniture into the trailer; good thing we never did have much, and what we had was almost all second hand! All the wooden objects needed to be wrapped to prevent scratching, etc,. and I was very thankful that on Mondays a certain thrift store in Fargo had 99 cent sales, so I came home with a lot of cheap quilts and blankets to do that type of packing.
We were thankful that one of our neighbors had a brother who did over the road trucking for a living, and offered to pull the trailer up for a better price than what another company had quoted us. I was a bit apprehensive, as this guy was very eccentric and I thought that if I didn't know whose brother he was I would be afraid we would never see our possessions again! He told us to relax, as his main job was to haul million dollar jet engines all over the country. His family had a lake cabin not too far from our location, and wanted an excuse to go up and do some fishing.
Well, we arrived at our pop up camper about 6:00 in the evening, and at approximately 8:00 the next morning our semi trailer arrived. Nothing to worry about, most everything survived without damage. The trailer was a life saver, as it was parked next to our utility pole where the outlet as located, and I could plug in my toaster oven or crock pot and do a better job of cooking than on the camp stove! I could also store some of our food items in the trailer, and it became our "home away from home."