Home on the range

Well, we have some big news at the Woodwards.

No – not the baby. You already know about him.
No – not that I ate an entire row of Oreos on my own in one sitting. (Don’t you dare judge me.)

Ryan and I are officially landowners. We bought 17 acres of property and signed all the papers yesterday.

Eek! So excited.

Every time we turn down the road to the land, I start singing “Home on the Range.” And Ryan reminds me that there are no antelope in Illinois. But there are deer, in case you were wondering.

But there are hills! And there’s a creek. WE HAVE A CREEK!

After closing, we went out to the land and walked around, checking everything out. There were two snapping turtles in the creek. WE HAVE TURTLES IN OUR CREEK!

I just kept saying, “Can you believe this is OURS?”

The backstory:
We weren’t actively looking for something new since we just moved last September, and we definitely were not planning to buy land with no house, but you may remember that we were trying to get back to the country before we bought our current fixer-upper. We knew we wouldn’t be in our current home forever, but this is a happy detour. We hoped to find an old farmhouse someday and fix it up.

There are a few challenges to this plan – the existing house had to be a style we liked, in a location we liked, with land we liked, in a good school district, within a reasonable driving distances to both our workplaces (on opposite ends of the metro area) … can you see the pickle? Nothing was quite right.

Well, fast forward to February and Ryan stumbled across a listing on a local website for 17 acres near our hometown. Ryan called and we drove by the property with my dad the next day.

We hadn’t even got back to the car and I was smitten. Not only was the property in our hometown, it was also quite picturesque, with rolling hills and water and trees, in the school district we both graduated from, within a half hour for both of us to get to work and within 15 minutes to both our parents.

A few days later, we met the owner at the land and we walked much of it. Due to a divorce, they were selling. We were the first to see it in person, which made me feel like we had an edge. But the owner’s phone was literally ringing the entire time we were there and before we left, another guy and another couple came to see it, too.

We hadn’t even driven a mile away when I told Ryan, “If we don’t put an offer on this land, I think I’ll regret it.” Now, we’ve had several houses since we married, but I’ve never felt this emotionally attached to any of them. (It could be because the houses we have purchased have been disasters.)

Blame it on the hormones, but in my mind, we had already built a house, started a garden and our children were playing in the creek.

While Ryan questioned if I was letting my emotions get the best of me, I also knew that practically speaking, this would truly meet all of our needs and help us reach some of our dreams. I was ready to jump.

Ryan liked it, too, but he was also concerned about practical considerations like how we were going to pay for it. (Small concern.) After talking through that, I wanted to immediately call and put an offer in on the land. Like. Now. (It was 9 p.m. on a Tuesday.)

Ryan made me wait overnight. I didn’t sleep a wink. I tossed and turned and worried and stressed. At 6:30 a.m. the next morning, I called Ryan at work to ask if he called the owner. (He hadn’t.) I called again at 8 a.m. And 9 a.m. He finally talked to the owner soon after and we met up with him to talk about the offer. We walked out of the meeting with a verbal acceptance.


(As an aside, Ryan made me promise not to say anything about the price when we met with the owner and let him take the lead on that. This is so NOT Ryan, as he usually defers to me to lead the conversation. But I was so all-in that he was sure I would ruin any potential for dealing. In the end, I know he was probably right.)

There were a few hiccups in the past month, but mostly just communication issues. We felt pretty happy to be signing the papers yesterday.

The plan:
Right now, the plan is to spend some time cleaning up brush, getting rid of the old scrap that’s everywhere and maybe planting some additional trees. Ryan’s talking about building a barn or garage this summer. (Because we aren’t busy having a baby or anything. :))

And he’s looking to buy a tractor, which he’s so stinkin’ excited about. I guess we need a tractor since we’re practically farmers now. I did make him wait until we actually closed before buying a large tractor. Putting my foot down. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Long term plan? We’ll build a house. (We’re thinking we’ll wait at least a year or more to begin building. Ideally,ย Ryan would like to do most of it himself, with the help of our handy family and friends. So, save the date folks – I’m thinking we should have a blog-readers barn raising.)

I think I can handle this view. Sure beats the heck out of traffic and close neighbors and street lights.

So, that’s the latest scoop in our lives! To say we’re excited is an understatement. It’s cheesy, but it really is like all the plans we’ve been making are coming together.

Any questions or tips for the new landowners?


  1. says

    I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy for you both! What a great opportunity. You were smart to go with your gut, Kim. Can’t wait to see the little one up on that tractor! Enjoy!

  2. says

    Eeek! SO exciting- wow! Big changes are a coming! I love the property- it’s really pretty. Nice choice you two, congrats!!! I’ll totally come help with the barn raising- haha :)

  3. says

    That view! It’s amazing! Congratulations! I can’t wait to see what you guys do with it. We have dreams of owning a couple acres one day. Is some of the 17 acres farmland? If so, you should totally rent that out if the former owner/you aren’t already. My mom owns 22 acres that belonged to my grandfather, and she rents it out to a local farmer.

  4. says

    Congratulations! You two are adventurous! I wouldn’t even know what to do or where to begin if I had 17 acres. Looks like a perfect place to build a dream house and raise a family.

  5. says

    Holy crap. This is FANTASTIC! Oh I’m just so excited I don’t even know where to start. It’s just beautiful. And I dream of mine to own ‘land’ too!

    Where will the house sit? Where will your driveway be? Will you have chickens? a goat? barn cats? Will you farm? Garden? Will you have a guest house so I can visit? I can cook a mean breakfast … with fresh eggs … if you get the chickens of course. Are you going to host fabulous outdoor summer barn parties? And sleep in the field under the stars? Will you only wear overhauls from this point on?

    Oh! I can’t take it!!! I’m so excited!!!

  6. says

    Little boys in cuffed-up muddy, overalls playing with turtles in the creek!! Aaaaahh I can’t wait for this to happen! I’m so excited for you guys, this is so huge and gorgeous and so very ‘you’. Congratulations guys, count me in for a barn raising. And then squatting.

  7. Betty Harper says

    You guys will absolutely love it. I am so happy for both of you!! Not sure if I would be of much help with the barn rais’n, but I’ll bet that I could help provide some refreshments to those workers!! Love you guys :)

  8. says

    Oh gosh, I can’t wait to see your plans for this place unfold. Owning land is one of the best things ever :) Personally it’s a bit flat and open, but I’ve never lived anywhere not totally treed or mountainous, so I might be a bit biased ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. says

    !!!!!! I totally didn’t see that coming!! Wow, this is so exciting – what an adventure for you and your growing family! I can’t imagine a more perfect place to raise a family – it looks amazing, and I can’t wait to follow along on the ride! Congrats, you two!!

  10. says

    I AM SO AT THIS BARN RAISING!!! And by now you probably know I’m not joking. Kim, I don’t even know how to tell you how happy I am for you guys. It’s beautiful. It’s perfect. AND IT’S YOURS!!!!!

    (Also? You could add your own antelope. Everybody needs some antelope.)

  11. says

    Oh my gosh, I am SO excited for you guys! (And a teensy bit jealous, too!) That land looks incredible–it’s always been a dream of mine to own a big old chunk of land and build the perfect dream house on it, and you’re doing exactly that! I grew up on a 19-acre piece of land with a big gorgeous house (farmhouse style, but built new), and it was SO perfect as a kid–we played outside CONSTANTLY and loved it. This is awesome! I’m so excited for you! (And, if it’s not creepy of me to ask . . . wanna email me and let me know what town it’s in and what school district? As a former QC-er, I’m curious!)

  12. says

    This is so super exciting!!! I’ve seen you pinning pretty house plans, so can’t wait to see where you and Ryan we’ll decide to build your future home on the property! :)

  13. says

    Oh, this is so exciting! That land is BEAUTIFUL! I consider myself a city/suburb girl – but definitely find that piece of land appealing! Too bad all we have here in our “country” is sand and cacti. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. says

    Yay! I’m so excited to hear the details! And really excited to bring Thomas and McKiddle to play in your creek. Look at me inviting myself to your unbuilt house, I have no manners.

    Congrats landowners!!!

  15. Martina says

    This is amazing, congratulations you two! One day we hope to own our own acreage as well, but we just haven’t found the right parcel of land (yet).
    What an exciting time for you, a new baby on the way and now a whole new future full of prospects and opportunities!

  16. says

    How exciting. It looks absolutely gorgeous. It is our dream to someday own land and build in the country, so I am a bit green with envy right now. Well, I suppose the commute would be a bit much!

  17. The Atwoods says

    Oh what a view!!! It’s beautiful, Kim and I’m so happy for you and your man…what an exciting time in your lives!

  18. says

    Oh Kim, it’s beautiful! I love how interesting and colorful the property is – definitely some good memories to be made there! A huge congratulations to you guys. :)

  19. says

    that is amazing news! I’m totally jealous! Most land around here sells for about $20,000 an acres, makes it just about impossible for the “average” person to buy any. So HUGE congrats to you and Ryan for being able to pull off such an amazing achievement! I can’t wait to see the final product!

  20. Brandi @ His Shabby Her Chic says

    What a beautiful piece of land. Congratulations! It looks like a great place to raise a family.

  21. Debbie @ My Little Mess says

    Congratulations on the land purchase!! It’s is gorgeous and I can’t wait to see what you do with it. I am totally jealous of your creek, by the way.

  22. says

    So many life changes. It is all coming together for you guys, I am so excited for you. Congrats and I cannot wait to see what you do.

  23. says

    Holy cow I can’t believe you were able to keep this a secret! Good luck! What a massive project and big lot of land on top of building a house. My parents did the exact same thing and it only took +3 years longer than they planned. : )

  24. says

    Congrats…I can’t wait until we are at the point of buying land. Of course I want enough to have a large farm. Looks like it will be lots of fun for the little ones to play on.

  25. yeoldesandwichshoppeva says

    Ohmygoodnessgracious! This is so exciting! Congratulations on buying your very own piece of land!

    It’ looks very, very picturesque and sounds like a wonderful place to raise a family! Especially with a creek!!! I can’t wait to hear more about the plans you guys dream up for it!

    I’m so very thrilled for you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Hilary says

    What a beautiful piece of land, congratulations! I can’t wait to see pictures when everything is green…views like that are why I love living in Illinois!

  27. Sarah @ { rad: renovations are dirty } says

    Congratulations! This is going to be such an amazing adventure. :) The land is stunning.

  28. Anonymous says

    Awesome! Are you planning to stay home with the little guy or continue working? Are you leasing the last to farmers or will you be farming it yourself?

  29. says

    I’m glad this all worked out!! Ryan can park his tractor in front of the house…’cause I’ll know you’d miss having something parked in front of your home!

  30. lupakitty says

    How neat! I’m so excited for you guys. I keep bugging my husband that we should buy land out here in Illinois as well. I can’t wait to see what plans you have for it. :3

  31. says

    Kim, Congratulations!! That is SO awesome! I would love to own land someday and Alex (who is fully capable of it) would love to build a house himself. I’m beyond jealous and SO happy for you!!

  32. says

    Kim and Ryan,
    Woo Hoo!! You will love living in the country and the kids playing in the creek! We love sitting on our back porch and only seeing fields and watching the sun set! It is a wonderful life and a great way to raise a family! Very Very happy for you :)


  1. […] we know it, our little family will finally be in our place in the country. From the moment we walked onto this land (when I was pregnant), I just *knew* it was for us. I could imagine my son playing and exploring. […]

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