The curvy salvage of painted wood came from the Re-Store, and I turned it into this sign during the last few summer weeks we spent in our townhouse. It was decided – in the fall we’d be moving to the country and this little project made it real for me.
I wish I could remember exactly how it started. How did we get this crazy idea, this idea that two newlywed suburbanites could just pick up and move to the country? True - it had always been in the back of our minds, filed under "someday". But after two years in our first home - a thoroughly modern little townhouse in a new subdivision – a clear and compelling voice said, "Now."
"Do it now."
The bee was officially in our bonnets. I spent many hours entering Google search strings of "farm life", "rural living", "country life" and "farm stories". I pored over any Country Living magazines I could get. For the first time in my life I could visualize how big an acre was. But what I wanted most was somebody to tell me in their own words what it was like - what it meant - to live in the country.
And then I found it. The one website that changed everything for me. David and Sharon's lifestyle represented what I wanted, but just hadn't realized yet. They were two young people, living in the city, with careers and bills and debt and something missing. Until they find an old abandoned farmhouse in the mountain foothills of Tennessee. They named their new homestead Butterfly Hollow and have been “blowing life back into it ever since.”
At Butterfly Hollow, David and Sharon found the slower pace and financial freedom they always dreamed of. While I knew we could never really accomplish what they managed to (beautifully and painstakingly restoring the farmhouse by hand over several years), I was certain we could find that kind of life.
Now that bee was really buzzing, and we couldn't stop now! We drove almost the entire Southern Ontario countryside, looking for our own version of Butterfly Hollow. There was a six-acre place with an old tudor farmhouse. There was a 10-acre place with no house whatsoever. And then there was an 11-acre place with a cedar log cabin. Now this one had rolling hills, a stone fireplace and a hollow carved out in between two forests. Right away we tagged it Butterfly Hollow, so we'd know which property we were referring to as we mulled over our options.
After a nail-biting negotiation and closing process, the little log cabin was ours.
Nicknames have a way of sticking so Butterfly Hollow it was. Of course we felt we ought to be original and think of our own name for our new farm. But it really is a hollow! And what better way to pay tribute to our biggest source of inspiration? Having Butterfly Hollow as a namesake has always anchored our ambitions, reminded us of our reasons for living here, and represented the countless adventures we have to look forward to.
This October will mark the second year in our very own Butterfly Hollow. So far, we’ve clumsily cleaned up most of the overgrown gardens, figured out how to heat our home with wood and manage our well and septic system. One day we’ll build a chicken coop and a small barn. These two former “city dudes” will hopefully start a few riding lessons this summer at a nearby ranch, in preparation for owning a horse in a few years.
We’ve done a little bit of inside work as well. Some of the interior log walls were covered up with drywall. My best guess is that one of the previous owners started getting sick of “all that wood”. We spent our evenings last winter restoring these walls back to their original cedar state and ripping up old tile bit by bit to reveal the original rustic pine floors underneath. Those nights my thoughts often turned to David and Sharon and the arduous-yet-optimistic journey it took to make their Hollow their own.
Today, David and Sharon operate an intimate bed and breakfast out of the farmhouse. One day soon we hope to visit “the real Butterfly Hollow”, and tell them just how much their journey has blown life into to ours.