I want to share with you a little something about the three people who own Two Mile Ranch. The three are my children: Chase, 22, Noah 14, and Cara 14. While you won’t find their names on a deed, title, mortgage or court record, Two Mile Ranch belongs to them. I’m just borrowing it for a while.
My search for land began in earnest in 2002, after musing and dreaming of different ideas and realizing that despite my hard work, incredible good looks, and spoon-bending mental powers, there was not much chance of leaving my children much of a nest egg. But land is always land, the financial value may rise and fall, but it’s always there and all the scientists in all the world haven’t figured out a great way to make more of it. A place to come home, return to, and connect with nature always grows in value.
Much of the work on a ranch is daily care taking: keeping up with the consequences of altering the landscape. As William Paul Winchester shares in a A Very Small Farm:
There is almost nothing an amateur working alone cannot do, from building a house or a barn or a shed to stretching a fence and hanging gates. And pitted against his constructive and orderly efforts are the familiar antagonists of a small farm — age, weathering, hard use by animals, and the consequences of altering the landscape.
But some improvements will only be enjoyed by my children and perhaps their children, 10, 20 and 30 years to the future. The row of crab apple trees along the highway will offer a shaded, blooming vista by 2020 or so. The native grasses in the pheasant habitat will have matured nicely. The apple, cherry and other fruit trees on the east side of the cabin will be in their prime. And as a private joke to a few of my readers, I might even have the trim finished on the cabin.
I don’t post much about my children — mostly to protect their privacy and let them build their own lives. But this is Father’s Day and I think a great time to honor my children. They excel in ways every parent would be proud. They make good decisions, surround themselves with great friends, and share a magical connection that few siblings know. If it is true that “the acorn never falls far from the tree,” then credit is also due their mothers, who have instilled values, love, and pride in each of them, through hard times and joyful celebration.
Two Mile is theirs. Enough room for the three of them to build here and be as close — or as far — from each other as they choose. It will be secured in a legal trust: to keep it mortgage, judgment, and divorce proof, and will require the three to agree should they choose to sell. And while I hope they choose to deed it to their children, the choice and future are theirs alone to make.
But I joke, too, that when it’s time for me to leave, they may drive directly from the funeral parlor parking lot and head straight for the real estate office. Kind of like that old Ole and Lena story:
Ole finally dies, leaving Lena to settle his estate. She goes to the newspaper and places an obituary:
The newspaper editor, says, “Lena, I know money is tight, but you shouldn’t feel restricted in your time of sorrow. You should write more about Ole and the first FIVE words are free.”
Lena paused for a moment, and with the hint of a tear in her eye, re-wrote the obituary:
“Ole died. Farm for sale.”