My Storyhardt Farm

I was born in February 1986, I was home schooled and I was raised on my family’s golf course and my grandparents’ (retired) dairy farm in northern Minnesota. I bought a house in Oklahoma when I was 19 years old with the plans to renovate it and sell it for a profit with my boyfriend at the time and that story goes: I learned how NOT to do a renovation and it didn’t work out.

So, I came home alone with my tail tucked firmly between my legs, heart broken, pissed off and broke in August of 2010. That year turned into a landmark year for my mom and I, in the next two months my family sold almost everything (including the golf course) and my folks got divorced. Everything changed in that two months, every certainty, every belief, every plan I had ever had for the future – absolutely vanished.

diy home renovation refinishing

So then I grabbed my freedom by the horns and engaged in total fun. Everything I had missed by being home schooled. Everything I had missed by being tied to someone from another state for six years. What can I say? I had a lot of catching up to do! I had a lot of chapters to add my story! During that time I also finished and published my first novel. This story has a real sad note too though – during 2010-2013 I lost three dogs and my two Grandmas – I got back home just in time to experience a load of grief and I literally did all I could to drown it in alcohol.

I went through several boyfriends (definitely the good, the bad and the ugly) my mother said one day when it was all over that she was glad my “high school and college years” were done. I couldn’t agree more. There was just so much sadness to get through from the golf course all the way to Oklahoma and the last time I held my grandmas’ hands or touched my three beloved dogs. By the time the summer of 2013 rolled around I was ready to start working toward something again.

adopted dog diesel

With the passing of my grandma Charlotte my mom and aunt began the clean out of the 100 year old house, barn and out buildings. There was A LOT of furniture, far more then any of us had ever anticipated. Nobody knew what to do with any of it, no one really wanted to sell it but my aunt and mom took the few pieces they had room for (they kept everything my grandparents’ had ever made as they retired from farming to wood working) and then there was me, hand raised, grinning in shock at myself, I wanted it all. I had no idea why but my heart just burst! As long as I lived there would be no selling a single beautiful old piece, every single one of them would be a part of my story somehow!

furniture refinishing

And so we filled one whole stall in our garage and in August of 2013, almost exactly three years since I came home for good from Oklahoma, I embarked on my furniture refinishing adventure. It saved me. It gave me hope. It filled my heart when I was down and my hands, having done nothing but hold cigarettes and glasses of alcohol for the last three years, learned again how to create, mold, nurture. My body ached and creaked, my fingers tingled and I had purpose again and it was wonderfully hard work. And then a man I used to know drove up my driveway.

In April 2014 I began the adventure of the renovation of the 100 year old farm of my mom’s childhood, of my childhood, of all the years of my grandparents’ lives. My mom, brother, dad and ex helped me a lot but there was still tremendous struggle and many ups and downs. My ex asked me to marry him during those long, lonely months while I was working on the house. With almost nothing hired out, I finished the electrical and the plumbing in December 2014. In the summer of 2015 we moved into that old house, which had sheltered so many members of my family, and began what I believed would be a life together filled with honesty, love and loyalty. I was wrong about him in every way possible.

I can only say in relief that I did not let him stay in my life any longer then I did. Telling him that he had to leave was not an act of bravery but one of survival. No one who actually loves you will keep you from your friends and family or EVER make you afraid to go home. I had someone ask me after he left, “Aren’t you lonely now?” And I realized that I was less lonely, sitting at home alone, then when he had ever been there. I am ashamed to have fell for his lies but I am not ashamed I believed in love or the possibility of a happy ending.

Grandma’s house is completely mine so now it can actually become what I dreamed it would be on all those late nights alone when I was renovating it. A place all of my friends and family know they can come, stay and be welcome any time of the day or night. Now its time for get togethers, bon fires, whiskey and wine and cards against humanity, guitar hero and mario cart! Being surrounded by people that understand that these are the times that we work for, that make life worth living and that there is nothing more important.

With the divorce final on 12/15/17 – I started the long journey of eliminating all of the compromises I had made in an attempt to make my ex happy. It started with my new guest bedroom and library and then, one day, I came home and noticed how bare the front of the house looked. Once upon a time my Grandparents’ made a sign with their last name on it and my ex had replaced it with one that had his last name on it too. Now, with both signs gone, my little farmhouse had a bare spot and needed a name so, like with most hard decisions in my life, I went looking to my grandmas for help. My Grandma Charlotte’s maiden name was Story and my Grandma Eleonora’s maiden name was Neuhardt – with the combining of the two I christened my home Storyhardt Farm. I made my own sign and it felt as though my life, finally, clicked into the place it was supposed to be. Its sad that it took a broken heart to get here but it was also worth it in every way.

And I still believe in love and happy endings 🙂

Using vinyl words and lettering to make a new sign for the front of my house. Storyhardt Farm est. 12/15/17 Welcome to Grandma's House. DIY Do it yourself, tips on how to apply vinyl lettering and paint to an old sign with rusty old hinges for a farmgirl and country girl look!

Yes, you can do anything you put your mind to, male or female. Houses, furniture, none of it cares how old you are or how strong you are or whether you know the difference between a reciprocating saw or a jig saw. These are old trades and there may be no more satisfying a thing then the creation of a home, a room, a bathroom vanity, a saved rocking chair that was destined for the dump, a saved dresser that went from a beast to a beauty. This is the good stuff, the best of stuff, this is the stuff that gets under your finger nails and fills and nourishes your heart as well as your body. These labors transformed me just as deeply and completely as all of the transformations I have created along the way.

I hope this blog may inspire you to start your own adventure someday! Email me any time!

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