Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Good-bye, Hello

Sometimes saying good-bye is a long, drawn-out process.  When Herb and I first laid eyes on Zephyr Hill in September of 2008, it was love at first sight.  We knew instantly that we had found the place where we wanted to live--even more than our beloved East Brow house on Lookout Mountain.  By early November, we had packed up whatever wasn't needed to stage our old house and had moved here.  By March of 2009 we had the East Brow house staged and listed for sale.  And then the wait began . . .

Over the past two years since we moved out, I went back periodically to clean.  Each time I would give my beautiful old house a mental hug and say, "I love you, House."  And I did.  I loved my new home, but I loved my old home, too.  I had poured so much of myself into it, and in the process, it rooted itself in my heart.  I knew that the only way I could happily say good-bye to it was to turn it over to someone else who loved it like I did.

Then in October of 2010, a couple came to visit who liked the house.  That was an answer to prayer!  Unfortunately, I hadn't thought to pray that the buyers would be nice!  :(  And so began more than three months of dealing with them.  One consultant told us she has never heard of buyers making TWO complete home inspections and six additional inspections!

Finally, in early January, our second contract with them looked like it would go through with a tentative closing date of January 31.  We were still busy riding every single day for Brandy's rehab, but we found time to start getting ready for a move out of the East Brow house--and a major influx of STUFF here!  Bundled up against the freezing cold, we organized our storage shelves in the hay barn  to make room for lots of boxes.
The Big January Snow kept us close to home, but we got in extra hours of riding in it, and Sunday, the 16th, was our last day of riding.  On Monday, the 17th, we headed over to the East Brow house to begin sorting and packing.  I felt like a mother defacing her child as I began climbing the step ladder to take down pictures that had hung there for years.  And yet, with all that we had gone through with the buyers, the desire to be done with it all out-weighed the sadness.
I sorted stuff into categories:  Sell, Move, Recycle, and Trash.  Herb packed!  Every day we went to the house to work, and at the end of every day he loaded the Beast full of boxes, took them home, and stacked them in the hay barn.
When the sorting was done, we both packed.  The living room held the Move pile; the parlor was crammed with the Sell pile--and still there was more to be done!
By the 20th, we didn't quite know what to do next, and we were slowing down like a clock that needed winding.  That evening Jim and Laura Pettit came to our rescue, the clockworker and his wife, to wind us up again!  They brought a hot meal which we ate off paper plates on the sheet-draped dining room table, certainly the last meal we would ever eat in that room or at that table, since both were to be sold.  Then they started packing like whirlwinds--and by the end of the night, our packing was all but done!
There was still plenty to do, but we could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!  Several Covenant College students responded to our "Help Wanted" ads.  On the 26th, two great young men helped us move everything for sale to our rented booths at the Antique Mall.  The next day another young man helped us move almost everything else home.  Both times they were such cheerful, willing workers that we actually got done in time to enjoy ourselves while taking them to dinner afterwards!
On Friday, the 28th, three hired movers from Two Men & a Truck carried off the last four large pieces of furniture from the house . . . but refused to move the concrete Greek statue from the front yard--the main reason I had hired them!  Panic!  How could we find a four men to move it in the next 24 hours?  But God was good, and after several phone calls we had three men from Moving Solutions lined up to come Saturday afternoon with Herb as their fourth. 
Saturday, the 29th, was a beautiful, balmy day--more like spring than winter!  At 9 a.m. we picked up our six Covenant College angels (I mean, students) to begin cleaning the house.  At noon we took a break for pizza and Coke on the terrace.  My heart wrenched as I thought of the countless happy hours we had passed on that terrace around the table with friends and family.  The table was gone, moved to Zephyr Hill the day before, but the stone wall made a perfect seat for enjoying the fresh air and the breath-taking view.
After five hours of work, the cleaning was done.  A total of 40 man-hours had been spent scrubbing the house, and the floors were clean enough to eat off of!  The students and Herb loaded the truck with our arsenal of cleaning supplies, and I walked through the house with my camera to capture a few last memories.
I stood in the living room, my mind full of thoughts. After only five hours in the house, several of the students said they absolutely loved it and loved "getting to" clean it.  They had felt that intangible something about this house that touched almost everyone who ever walked through the door.  It is a house that has been filled with love and joy for much of its 120 years, and it is a generous house that blesses those who enter.  That was our prayer for it when we dedicated it to the Lord in 2001, and God has answered it richly.

Good-bye, dear house.  I will always love you!  There will never be another house quite like you.  We have cleaned you so well because we honor you.  You have been a wonderful house.  I'm glad your new owners love you, too.  Be good to them as you were to us, and teach them to love generously.
That was yesterday.  This was today.  We came home from church to another beautiful, balmy winter afternoon.  We carried our lunch out to the back yard where our old table awaited us in its new place--a leaf-strewn hill instead of a stone terrace, with a different, but beautiful view in the distance.  In fact, that mountain beyond the trees is Lookout Mountain, so I think the table will feel right at home.  May it soon have crowds of people around it!

Hello, Zephyr Hill Farm.  I love you.  I will always hold the East Brow house in my heart, but you are Home now, and I'm glad to be back.


  1. Go Mom and Dad! We"ll miss East Brow, lots of good memories but love Zephyr Hill Farm!

  2. Great pics and writing, Susan! I'm so glad for you that the move is in the past! I understand about how you loved your East Brow house. I loved my Edley house in Lynchburg and have wonderful memories of our life there--3 of my kids were born while we lived there!

  3. @Jenny, yes, and now we can stop living with one foot in the past and keep both feet firmly on Georgia clay!
    @Barbara, two of my good memories from that house involve you and Karen being there for my 50th birthday and you and some of your kids being there for Jenny & Jean-Marc's wedding. Such big happy crowds that house could hold! What you said about three of your kids being born in the Edley house made me realize that three of ours were married from East Brow. And Monique lived there even before we did when she rented it from us with her friends; and Jean-Marc lived there with us before he and Jenny got married; and one of Cameron's first meals with us was in that dining room!

  4.'s been a while? Still breathing there under that pile of stuff from East brow? Playing house and re-arranging? How are the animals? Give Kanga ears and Feffer a kiss for us. And Peeboo too. forth down the line. But not the chickens. They peck.


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