Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

Adventure Memories

I have so many memories of different things that happened the first year or so after we bought the farm and started working on it.  This is sort of a collection of short stories that have happened out there that I wanted to make sure we didn’t forget.  Okay, that I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget.  Jim’s memory is pretty perfect.  Like elephant perfect.  My memory?  Yeah, it’s pretty flawed.  Actually my memory is completely non-functioning sometimes.   So I tend to write down everything I want to remember!  So here are my favorite stories so far…Fair warning though, this post is pretty long.  Sorry!  My memory needs that much help to remember…  Wait…what was I talking about?  Just kidding!  It’s not that bad…yet…

Just after we bought the land we took the kids out there and went hiking around.  It was December and although it wasn’t that cold it was drizzly and cloudy.  Maybe not the best day to showcase our dream farm.  We were so excited and wanted them to be excited too!  It didn’t quite work out that way though!  We hiked around for all of 20 minutes before Maylin got stuck in a briar patch.  Let the fun begin!!  And the complaining too!!  Maleah’s boot came off in a mud puddle and Camden didn’t want to be carried but he didn’t want to walk either.

We tried to remain happy and excited so it would rub off on our kids.  Didn’t work.  At one point the complaining was times 3 and I felt certain we had just made the biggest mistake of our lives.  In all fairness though, the weather was miserable that day and we had no business taking the kids out there and expecting them to be thrilled to hike over a 100 acres with a brilliant smile on their face.  I can always hope though, right?   A few hours later, we made it back to the truck with Cam asleep in his carrier on my chest, Jim was carrying Maylin and poor Maleah was exhausted from all the walking.  It was good exercise though!  We loaded up in the truck and I saw a neighbor drive by with the most comical look on his face.  I couldn’t stop laughing imagining him hearing us talk to our kids as we made our way through the woods.  “Stop complaining right now!  Look at that beautiful creek-I said LOOK!!   I told you to be happy right now!  Wow! Did you see that deer?  Are you listening?  You will love this property!  We will be soo happy out here!  What is wrong with all of you?  This property is going to be an adventure for our whole family!  We have made the biggest mistake of our lives!”  Can you imagine what that neighbor thought of us if he heard even a fraction of our comments to our kids.  Yep, he probably thought, “There goes the neighborhood.  Or the whole country!” I hope they found it as amusing as we did!!  However, since that particular neighbor never waves at us and still doesn’t talk to us I’m thinking he might not have found us amusing!

At least when the kids were playing King of the Forest, they weren’t complaining….or being annoyingly loud.

Awww, they can be so cute…sometimes…

The first time we took the kids into the Old House to show them around they were fascinated just like I was.  Maylin wanted to have sleepovers in there for a birthday party.  I just love her sense of adventure!  Jim decided that he wanted to look up in the attic.  We found a broken old desk shoved into a closet and realized that was how you got into the attic.  Jim shook it to make sure no snakes were coming out and then proceeded to climb on top of it to make his way into the attic.  Just as he went to pull himself into the attic something ran out from under the old dresser and scurried towards us.  Let the screaming begin!!  Maleah would have made any tap dance teacher proud and Maylin didn’t know what to do.  That is until the large gray mouse ran on top of her shoe!  Let me just clarify here that the mouse was the biggest mouse I have ever seen.  It wasn’t a rat but it was Very large!  When it ran on to Malin’s shoe she jumped sky high and could not stop screaming.  The poor mouse was terrified too and jumped from her foot on to her leg and was scrambling for somewhere to go.  I was holding Camden and he had no idea that Maylin thought she was being eaten alive by a rat.  He thought the whole scence was hilarious and started giggling and kept giggling.  I tried to calm Maylin down as the mouse jumped off her leg and ran out the door.  Let’s just say that it took quite a while to calm Maylin down.  I tried to convince her that the mouse was trying to get in her pocket so it could be her pet and go home with us.  Maylin quickly declared she would no longer wear anything with pockets!  She is a very quick thinker and has a potential career as a lawyer.  Heaven help anyone who ever opposes her.  If she can’t outthink you she will outlast you!  It took the girls a while before they willingly went into the Old House again.  Camden on the other hand always wanted to go in there and see more screaming and laughing.

Poor Maylin wouldn’t step a foot into this place for months after the mouse incident.  

In early summer 2016 we were trying to plant grass seed along the driveway.  The kids were helping some and playing some.  They were mostly curious about the neighbors though.  They were doing some yardwork around their house and swing set.  Suddenly a boy yelled “Snake”.  The Dad yelled, “I’ll get the weedeater!”  My head snapped up and so did Jim’s.  I have honestly never heard someone run for a weedeater when they’ve seen a snake.  Apparently, that is something I have missed out on in my life.  Who knew???  I’m not really sure I would want a snake and a weedeater together.  Whew, can you imagine a mad snake wrapped up in a weedeater and getting slung at your leg… or at your head?  Nope, I think I’ll leave the weedeater for weedeating and leave the snakes to them selves for the most part.  Anyway, we watched the neighbors chasing that snake for probably 10 minutes with a weedeater!  They would shove the running weedeater at the snake and the snake would somehow find a way to get away.  I have to give it to them though, those people were persistent…and maybe a little crazy?!?!?  At times, I couldn’t help laughing and at others I had to stop myself from running to help the poor snake.  All in all it made for an entertaining afternoon and quite the memory.  Now, when we see a snake, I always yell, “Honey, get the weedeater!!”

Camden didn’t really care what we were doing as long as he had his superhero friends.  

The first summer we were trying to burn a brush pile the grading guy and logging guy had made.  The kids and I played and picked up sticks while Jim kept busy watching the fire and playing on the dozer.  We weren’t too far from the Old House and Maylin was looking for rocks.  (She was in a rock/dinosaur phase at the time.)  She came running over to show me a beautiful quartz rock and I noticed that her face was almost all black.  When I asked her what had happened she said she had found painting rocks.  Painting rocks???  I asked her to show me and she led me to clearing that had pieces of coal scattered about.  The logging guy had uncovered them apparently.  Maylin had been picking them up and realized that they left black on her hands so she painted her face with them.  Oh, I only wish I had taken a picture of that!!  She looked adorable!  She was less than thrilled when I explained to her what coal was and that it was used to heat homes sometimes.  She was sooo disappointed that she hadn’t found magical painting rocks.  That poor kid.  Looking back, I should have just let her believe in the magical painting rocks for the time being.  Another Mom fail moment on my part….

When we bought the farm Maleah was 15 and wasn’t ready to drive yet.  However, we felt she needed to practice in controlled envirements.  What better place than a 100 acre farm with nothing but a beat up old Chevy, old logging roads, open spaces and trees that are going to be cut down anyway.

Now, just for the record, I have always thought Jim has more patience that me.  I learned that in some areas, I have more patience than he does!  Yeah, baby!  Teaching the kids to drive is one of those areas.  He would get so frustrated and ask her to go faster, or slower, or turn now, or don’t stop so fast.  When Maleah did stop she tended to stop suddenly and Jim would get out of the truck muttering about Granny drivers that gave him whiplash.  Oh, that man is too funny!

This is Jim’s old Chevy truck, which Maleah now claims to be hers.  She has learned to drive in this truck and therefore thinks that gives her the right to paint it pink.  

In January or February 2017 Jim had cleared a road that went to the highest knoll on the property.  Since it was winter and no leaves were on the trees I was excited to see the view.  Jim loaded up the kids and drove them up there while I jogged behind the truck trying to get in a little exercise.  Once we all got to the top-and Yes, they were there waiting on me for quite a while-the view was magnificent.  We had almost a 360 view!  Beautiful!  On the way back to the house site I found a small black snake that been crushed, probably by the dozer.  I picked it up and threw it on the windshield of the truck.  Jim has a slight aversion to snakes that I find rather funny!  Maylin completely surprised me and picked it up when the truck stopped.  She found the snake fascinating.  She found it even more fascinating that Maleah was terrified of it.  Maleah kept yelling to keep the snake away from her which, of course, was just an invitation to keep bothering her.  Maylin ended up chasing Maleah around the yard while Camden tried to keep up and I laughed hysterically.  I couldn’t help it.  It reminded me so much of me chasing my sister with snakes when I was younger.  I eventually intervened, mostly because I was afraid Maleah was going to hurt herself running away!

Look at that mischievous smile!  Maylin loved chasing her sister with that dead snake.  Kinda morbid, but definitely hilarious!

In Winter 2017 I had stayed at the property one night to keep an eye on a stubborn brush fire that wouldn’t go out.  It was about 2 am and it was lightly raining.  I had heard the neighbors dogs bark on and off all night so when they started barking again I didn’t think to much about it really.  Then their barking changed to a growling, snarling bark rather than a warning bark.  The barking was getting closer to the truck and then one of the dogs yelped and started whimpering.  That got my attention!  The hair on the back of my neck suddenly stood up and I quickly flipped on the headlights.  A very large black creature with a very long tail was loping right for the truck.  I think he was trying to hide under the truck.  When I turned the headlights on the animal got blinded and scared all at the same time and actually ran right into the truck.  THUD!  I heard the thud and then the animal ran off to the side so fast I couldn’t see it anymore.  I really believe that I saw a black panther that night.  Trust me, it will not offend me if you think I was just sleep deprived and kind of crazy.  I would never argue with anyone over the incident because I was really tired, but dogs don’t run like that.  Only cats can run with their tails up and their hind end higher than their front like that.  After a few minutes I got out to look for tracks and found only one that looked like a large cat track.  I tried to take a picture but it didn’t turn out in the dark.  However, I did discover the dent that the animal left in the bumper of our truck!

I could’ve definitely used the force that night!!

In early Summer 2016 we were waiting for Jim to finish up on the dozer for the day.  The sky was getting darker by the minute and my phone’s weather radar showed a big thunderstorm heading our way.  The kids were having fun playing and suddenly the sky opened up.  The rain slowly started coming down in huge drops, then progressed to raining torrential buckets down on all of us.  The kids and I love playing in the rain so, play we did!  We were all soaked by the time we ran to the car and jumped in.  I got some great pictures and we made some great memories though!

 Such great memories!!

I loved playing in the rain as a kid.  Heck, I still love playing in the rain!

We have already made so many wonderful memories on the farm.  I am completely looking forward to making more memories here!  Let the adventures continue!!

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