Today is a very special day… it’s my wife Ranae’s birthday. I am blessed beyond words to have shared the last 25% of her life with her.
As I think back on our years together, I am always amazed at how things seem to fall in line and “just happen” sometimes. We have made a lot of choices together as we try to create our “space” and life the way we both desire it. It’s funny to look back at all the things we have done in order to carve out our niche in the world.
We started an anti-spam/anti-pornography software company that we ultimately sold to another Christian and we moved on to our next venture.
We loved children so we decided to create a chain of indoor amusement centers for children. We grew the business into a franchised company and at one time had 14 franchised units around the country.
While in that amusement business, on a fishing trip to Colorado, I fell and broke my back. Soon after the accident things turned much worse very quickly… I had to have emergency surgery or else I would have died. My internal organs were shutting down and there was simply no time to wait. The doctors acted so quickly that they didn’t even wait for a Priest or Ranae to arrive at the hospital. It was truly an “operate now or he dies” sort of event.
I spent the next three years dealing with odd bouts of total body paralysis and countless other weird neurological disorders during my recovery. Ranae took care of me through all this and didn’t complain even once! She was a nurse by trade, but I was clearly the most important patient she has ever had so it was personal for her.
Instead of complaining, when I regained my ability to walk without a walker and only using a cane, Ranae came to me and said “It’s time to sell the amusement business and start what we have always wanted to do… volunteer as missionaries.” What could I say to the woman who had taken such great care of me, but “Yes Ma’am!”? As it turned out it was the best financial decision ever… selling our house just a few short months before the bottom fell out of the market.
So we had one heck of a garage sale and then sold our house. We bought a fifth-wheel travel trailer and began to travel and volunteer wherever we could find the opportunity. We volunteered at everything from being campground hosts to helping build Christian radio stations in the Pacific Northwest states of Idaho and Montana.
During all our travels, Ranae made absolutely certain that we included my youngest son Forrest (from a previous marriage). She spent days upon days planning his trips to be with us. She was much better at it than I could ever be. She and I would then travel in advance of Forrest coming, just to see what the place was like before he got there. We wanted his visits to be spectacular. And they were…. because of her.
Because of our love of children, she and I then decided to move to Guatemala to live at an orphanage and help as full time volunteers and missionaries. We loved it there, but after I witnessed a murder there, we decided it was time to return home to the USA.
After much investigation of the best area to live a self-sustaining lifestyle, we returned to USA and settled in Missouri in 2011 where we bought 30 acres of raw land. The intent was to build a ranch and call it home. We had done our research and Missouri was perfect for growing the type of food we wanted and living a self-sustaining lifestyle.
Missouri was perfect in so many ways. The land was beautiful. The people were great. But it just wasn’t home. Texas is our home and Texas is where we really wanted to be.
So we returned to Texas and bought roughly 6 acres of raw land here. We have been loving it ever since. We have a small cabin that is basically a one-bedroom efficiency apartment that we live in. We have a smaller cabin that I use for an office and a larger cabin that serves as Ranae’s office and a storage area.
It’s amazing what all has been done on this piece of raw land since we bought it. We put in electricity and water. We bought pre-made buildings and finished them out to be functional and aesthetically pleasing. Now we are creating the landscaping that will allow us to use the property to its fullest and will allow us to take a step forward towards our goal of a self-sustaining lifestyle.
We have cleared many trees (at least 45) and made a garden and fruit tree orchard area. This area will easily support our needs and allow us to donate a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables to the local food pantry on a regular basis. The donation idea was also my wife’s!
We are building a dual fence around the garden and orchard area to keep deer from coming into it and causing damage. It will also serve as a chicken run between the two fences.
Deer don’t like to jump into an area that has such a tight space between two fences. The chickens will keep bugs from coming into the garden and orchard. It’s a win! My dear wife thought of the idea.
Did I mention she is also a certified Master Gardener? She earned that certificate in the short time since we have been here on our Texas land. She’s remarkable! She has always been a great gardener, now she has a certificate to prove it. LOL
The day after Christmas, the excavating company called to say they had a worker that could come out with some heavy equipment and finish cutting our roads on the property, etc. So that was a nice Christmas surprise for sure and just in time for the early spring planting of the orchard trees.
This is the part that I love… stuff that comes together and lines up so nicely… we needed a way to drain water down the side of the property and into our pond. The worker who was here on the Track-Hoe dubbed the new creek “The Saint Ranae Waterway”. I think it’s an absolutely perfect name!
After meeting my wife for only a few hours, he had already figured out what I and anyone else who knows her already knows… she is a saint indeed!
Happy Birthday Saint Ranae. I love you more and more each day!
Below are some photos of the place we now call “Six Acres”…
The Saint Ranae Waterway!
The road comes down the property line and takes a hard left here where I am standing. The water continues around the man made island of sorts and flows into the Saint Ranae Waterway.
This area will be our main entertainment area. You can see the electrical and water lines along with the CAT5 computer cables and speaker wires. This area is situated on the western bank of our pond (so we can watch the moon come up while using it at night). It will be home to an outdoor kitchen; a huge brick barbecue pit with a spit for roasting hogs along with a plenty of room for dutch oven cooking, etc. At the far end will be a fire ring for a good old fashioned camp fire complete with Wah-Dingers! If you don’t know what Wah-Dingers are… stay tuned for upcoming posts! 😉 We are also installing “up lighting” under the trees to light up the area and reflect onto the pond on the evenings when the moon and stars aren’t very bright.