2019 Recap – The Year that Broke My Barn and I Found My Heart

Jan 26 2020
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2019 Recap, starting with a record-breakingly-awful winter that went way beyond driving us all out of our minds. When I wrote my first blog post in January of 2019 I was feeling pretty good actually! My pellet stove was keeping up, I had a warm and wonderful home, and, at least compared to the winter before it, things were going just fine in my life. I bought myself some ridiculously awesome jammie pants and, for the first time EVER, stayed in them and did nothing. I know, it sounds silly, but I’m usually dressed and in my shoes within 15 minutes of getting out of bed. A conversation at a family gathering enlightened me that its genetic.

My uncle: Every morning around 4 or 5 I get up, get dressed, put my shoes on, get a cup of coffee and then stare at the wall thinking, What the hell am I doing?

My uncle’s retired and that sounds awful. And yet, I was doing that – albeit way later in the day – but still! So, I stopped it! I gave myself permission to stay in my jammies and, gasp, not even get out of bed until I feel like it!

I had no idea what I’d been missing.

Now I’m an addict. ALL of my neighbors know I wear zebra striped fuzzy pants to feed the horses and I don’t care.

My mom stopped by one day, took one look at my outfit, and asked: Going to Walmart?

Winter photo gallery of my northern MN farm This year winter really slammed us. Officially, as of right now, we've had snow for FOUR months

My new Landry Room

Finally we have come to my reveal of my new laundry room! Yep, I am not longer calling it a closet - I believe this space deserves to be labeled a room.

My remodeled entryway

Before and after of my multi functional entry and dining room that is also now doubling as my office and mudroom too! See how I transformed this space

Also, for the first time EVER, in 2019, I took a full five days off from my day job and completed My Laundry room and tackled my entryway complete with refinishing the floors, fixing all of the warped trim (from that awful wood stove I got rid of in 2018) and repainted the ENTIRE ROOM!

But what was a not-so-bad winter turned into the worst winter EVER. Official temperature was -42 at the airport five miles from me and the wind chill was -67. And then, to add insult to injury, we went on to have record breaking snow falls.

I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH: IT WAS DANGEROUS AND REALLY SCARY!

I’m now on a first name basis with everyone who works at my local liquor store and I joined the wine card club for discounts. Our first snow was in late September of 2018 and our last was in late April of 2019.

I LITERALLY SHOVELED SNOW FOR SIX MONTHS!

My old barn, along with thousands of others throughout the midwest, did not get through it unscathed. It was devastating and sad and just heartbreaking. But no one was hurt, my horses were safe and sound and the falling of my barn was, honestly, just a matter of time anyway.

It was still really shitty though.

Living in the coldest spot in the nation during the January 2018 polar vortex in northern Minnesota. Horses water, being sure to stay safe and warm.

After the worst winter in weather records my ninety year old barn's back broke. I am so very sad and so very sorry to say that part of her went down.

My 2019 Birthday Present to Myself: A Stay-cation vacation to Work on My Kitchen! Painting away the smoke stains and surviving this horrible awful winter!

My new kitchen reveal!

DIY Farmhouse Kitchen Reveal, somehow I took space AWAY from my kitchen and yet I ended up with MORE storage and a bigger feeling kitchen! A small remodel!

(One thing about being trapped inside for so long, I got a lot done but boy was I sick of my house by spring!) On top of the excessively long winter we also had a really late spring too granted most of us locals just started to pretend it was spring anyway lol.

After completing my entryway I had moved on to my kitchen, tearing out the closet, fixing the entire room, repainting and refinishing the floors. Since I moved into this old place in 2015 I can finally say what I accomplished in 2019 means I really LOVE my kitchen now.

When “spring” FINALLY hit I was out-of-my-mind ready to get outside and finally tackle my summer to do list! First, I moved my horses’ stock tank into the back of my garage and got the electricity disconnected ASAP from the barn.

I purchased myself a battery operated chainsaw and totally love it. It was actually fun (for the first time ever) to cut up wood because it was me dreaming of all my future bon fires and not cutting up wood to freeze to death in my house all winter.

I know I’ve said it before but I WILL say it again, my ex putting that wood stove in the middle of the kitchen to heat the entire house with was the absolute stupidest idea possible. And my getting RID OF IT in 2018 was an absolutely spectacular decision!

(And I can really say that with total confidence as my new pellet stove and electric heat got me through that awful winter and the last one without a hitch! And its taken me nearly two years but I have finally fixed and repainted out all of the smoke damage done to my home too.)

One of the things I looked most forward to in 2019 was being able to garden again!

I built raised beds in my garden and OMG it was so wonderful! And I also made diy “irrigation” for my garden and flower beds just to make my life easier too. I ended up pickling 45 quarts of cucumbers and dilly beans!

I am NOT planting that many cucumbers ever again OMG!

I tackled my garage ASAP and then, throughout the majority of the summer, I kept working on it and will be appreciating that awesomeness literally for the rest of my life. My cousin’s 40th birthday party gave me my initial push as I can’t fit 100 people in my house!

Making DIY do it yourself irrigation for my vegetable garden raised beds and my perennial flower beds using old, leaky discarded hoses, practically free!

Making DIY do it yourself irrigation for my vegetable garden raised beds and my perennial flower beds using old, leaky discarded hoses, practically free!

Saying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pellets

Saying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pellets

Using very heavy livestock mats to make a very over qualified area rug in the back of my garage. Horse stalls, underfoot mat for over concrete.

Installing a new screen door on the side of my garage, digging a weedless solar lit path and using pallets to turn my stock tank into an insulated bench!

It was SO amazing for the party!

Having my entire yard filled with friends and family, this home and place being able to accommodate them, is such an incredible joy for me. Come hell or high water, I will be having a family party here at least once a year for as long as I possibly can.

First I insulated the garage and added power.

Then (with some help) I covered the walls with bubble wrap insulation.

Then I added an access door, a new path and,

finally even repurposed my livestock mats under the new seating area!

There’s still a lot more plans and work to be done out there but I’m really on my way to making my garage dreams come true!

My peonies and perennials really did glorious this year throughout the summer and I took full advantage of the nice weather working down around my little farm.

In the horse shed I added a “wall” to give them fully three sides out of the wind and did a little organizing out there to make my own life easier too. My hay storage moved to the east side and I tucked my grain up in a better spot while also adding some shelves and a solar light!

Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!

Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!

Adding a wall of plywood, shelves and hay storage for my horse shed along with a solar light! August late summer photo gallery of tiger lillies blooming

Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!

Summer vegetable garden and updates on the farm, eating dinner in the garden, blooming perenials of every kind and a ton of peony, peonies, blossom, bloom!

Updating my Horse Shed - The Dog Days of Summer Winding Down. Adding a wall of plywood, shelves and hay storage for my horse shed along with a solar light!

Updating my Horse Shed - The Dog Days of Summer Winding Down. Adding a wall of plywood, shelves and hay storage for my horse shed along with a solar light!

Adding a wall of plywood, shelves and hay storage for my horse shed along with a solar light! August late summer photo gallery of tiger lillies blooming

Saying goodbye to summer, embracing cooler days, harvest, pickle, harvesting the last of my garden and preparing for winter with hay and pellets

Summer is absolutely my season!

Still though, in 2019, when the weather turned back to fall I was ready to get back to working on my home after spending six months outside lol.

I have to believe that people who don’t experience winters like we do probably live their lives much differently. Pretty much the only time I’m inside the house during the summer is when I’m sleeping and the only time I shut my bedroom windows is if its raining!

By the time fall hits my house badly needs to be cleaned and I am ready to enjoy walls again. Especially after I finally completed the one BIG job that I had to get done before winter that I absolutely LOATHED the thought of.

All the stone that my ex put up on my house that was falling off is officially totally gone. I ripped it all off along with all of the ancient stucco behind it. I fixed my house, prepped it, flashed it and put up new siding.

I also went ahead and put in a new outdoor spigot and another outlet on the front of my house too along with new grading and mulch on top of it! PHEW!

Summer to-do-list finally finishing my garage, putting in raised beds in my garden and replacing the stone on the outside of my house with siding!

Tearing off the fake rock and stucco, fixing the old home wall behind it and replacing it with vertical siding on the wainscotting outside on my home

After fixing my home, flashing and mulching I am now putting up brand new vertical vinyl siding over house wrap around the south, east and west of my home!

Improving the grade with garden edging, plastic, weed fabric and mulch. Covering the entire front of my home's foundation, the last step before siding.

With the completion of that I literally crossed the last thing off of my summer-to-do-list.

And then something happened in 2019 that I didn’t even see coming. I was so ass-to-the-grind-stone to fix and finish and clean up what I felt were “emergency” things after my divorce that I hadn’t really thought what it would feel like to get passed them all.

It just hit me.

No longer being in my home with the weight of so much to do around me (smoke damage is a very terrible thing). No longer looking at my trashed garage and thinking about how it needs to be fixed and finished. No longer constantly worrying about water damage etc from the rock that was falling off of my house.

I moved in here in 2015 and I’ve never been in this situation before.

Of course I still have lots to do lol! But now its things I can’t wait to do to improve my home and my life, to not be fixing but to be building forward… Is fricking amazing!

And, even more amazingly, in those months last fall, when I landed in this incredible moment, I also met someone.

Or maybe its not amazing at all – maybe it just makes sense.

I had so much I wanted to do, so much to fix and focus on for me… I needed to reclaim not just my entire home and property but also myself. During those years men were an utter waste of my time.

I needed to LIVE. And I totally did.

I was single for two years and really I was alone here with no real help during the two years of my marriage before that too. Its a cliche we’ve all heard before that proved true for me.

When I healed, finally loved myself, stopped hiding, stopped looking and was just living and loving and appreciating the life I had to its absolute fullest – is when Lodi came into it.

(And Annie too – my Lodi came with a lovely little doggo. I lost my last dog in Easter of 2016 and had simply not had the heart to adopt another, it was the longest I had ever been without a dog in my entire life… My mom stopped by one day and saw Annie’s dishes and doggy stuff spread around the house she told me, “Its so good to see that here again!” I couldn’t have agreed more.)

Life Changes, Happy Beginnings & the 2019 Fall Photo Gallery After being alone for two years after throwing my ex husband out, I actually met someone. Happy

Life Changes, Happy Beginnings & the 2019 Fall Photo Gallery After being alone for two years after throwing my ex husband out, I actually met someone. Happy

I think the idea that the Universe works in mysterious ways might just be bullshit. Maybe when we’re ready our hearts holler them home. I knew I’d been hollering for him when I realized how badly I’d been missing him… and I didn’t even know him.

He took my hand the first morning we were together and we danced in my kitchen and I cried.

It is remarkable how much can happen in two years. When I threw my ex out I was so worried about making enough money to survive that my family literally bought me several months worth of essentials for xmas! (Toilet paper etc.)

But over the next couple of months my finances adjusted to just me being here paying for just me… and it turned out I’d been paying my ex A LOT of money to live here, lie to me and cheat on me.

After I threw him out I wrote a plan that I called Operation Blissfully happy. The idea was that maybe now that I had control over my finances I could get everything paid off so I would be able to pay extra on my mortgage and be totally debt free within 10-15 years.

When I wrote it it felt a little far fetched but…

Almost two years to the day my divorce was final, at the end of 2019 – that dream became my reality!

This is the MOST adulting thing I have ever felt: I AM THRILLED! I have no debt besides my mortgage! I can’t believe how much can change in just a year or two. If nothing else 2018 and 2019 taught me definitively to just keep going.

Work relentlessly toward your goals no matter how far fetched they may seem.

2019 Recap, a winter that broke my barn and a fall where I found my heart, After my divorce I am in a place of happiness now where I never thought possible

Comments

  1. January 26, 2020 at 6:19 am

    I have been following your blog for awhile now and I am glad to see you happy and that you have came to a spot in your life where you are happy and that you have someone to share that happiness with. It seems to me that your ex was nothing but an expense and a headache that you did not need. Keep living life your way!!

    • January 27, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Thanks so much Carol, hope you have an awesome week!

  2. Lynnie
    January 26, 2020 at 10:31 am

    I look forward to “hearing from you” every week. And I loved your Mom’s comment, “Going to Walmart?” I just sat and laughed until I had tears in my eyes!! Good luck to you, sweetie, with all the fun stuff you have planned … I can’t wait to hear about it all.

    • January 27, 2020 at 9:52 am

      Thanks so much Lynnie, I hope you have a wonderful week!

  3. Susan
    January 26, 2020 at 10:58 am

    Brave decisions all along the way! What an amazing year. So great to have brought Lodi and Annie into your life. The fact that you are going to have annual family parties here is such a beautiful change for you. No more being controlled or isolated!
    Do you have any plans for the barn? I remember reading an article about how prohibitively expensive it would be to repair.

    • January 27, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Susan, I am so excited for my summer parties! Hope so much I can have my whole extended family here once a year for BBQ and games etc. Currently I am still just staring at the barn from time to time. Financially I can’t afford to do much but I am so hoping some day there might be some kind of option to save some of it at least! Thanks so much for coming by, happy Monday!

  4. TERESA DALEY
    January 26, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    All good wishes for your future happiness. You deserve it
    Teresa UK

    • January 27, 2020 at 9:53 am

      You too Teresa, happy Monday!

  5. January 26, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    You know I wish you all the very best for this year and that it’s a really good one. But the best thing of all is that you have found out who you really are! And I like you (and I know you like yourself, too). Spring will be along at some point and then it will soon be time for outside living…. but before then, don’t forget to do a post of the updated living room! x

    • January 27, 2020 at 9:54 am

      Thanks so much Susan! Yep, I’m slowly hacking away at the living room, can’t wait to show everyone!

  6. Christy Roppel
    January 26, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    I love reading your blog! I am so proud of/for you!
    Can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for you! I do have a quick question: you talk about your horses, but you never (that I’ve seen) talked about riding. Are these just pets or do you get to ride too?
    Thanks!

    • January 27, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Hi Christy, both of my beasties are too old to ride anymore. They’re both going on 30 and my little mare is lame pretty much chronically. But they get lots of treats and love from everyone in my family – big pets!

  7. MADELINE l NEWTON
    January 26, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    so proud of what you have done in these last couple of years and just think you did it by yourself …feels so good right ,so many don’t think they can do it alone but with the guts and family behind you there isn’t anything you can’t do …so happy you have a new love in your life…sure makes it nice and relaxing when they want to do what you want to do…keep up all of the good happiness for both of you….love and much happiness….enjoy your new home and all of the animals and gardens plenty for you to eat…take care and enjoy all the hard work …

    • January 27, 2020 at 9:57 am

      Thank you so much Madeline, much happiness and love to you too! Have a wonderful week!

  8. Emie
    January 27, 2020 at 7:23 am

    All of the things you crossed off your “To Do” list for 2019 sounds exhausting! With all of that though… my take away from your post is never under underestimate what one can do if you put your mind to it. Also, in the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Here’s to a wonderful2020!

    • January 27, 2020 at 9:58 am

      Thank you Emie, here’s a wonderful 2020 to you too!

  9. Lorraine Wilby
    January 31, 2020 at 4:48 am

    Hi Tarah, love your recap. My goodness you worked so very hard all last year. What you achieved was amazing. Congratulations as well on finding a wonderful man and you weren’t even looking! I hope you are very happy together, you deserve only the best after your bad experience. Best wishes from Australia, 40 degrees here today! Lorraine xx💁‍♀️

    • January 31, 2020 at 1:34 pm

      Best wishes to you too Lorraine!

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