Opening Doors

While the design of the house with Crystal was moving forward and we’d decided to work with the EcoSmart Team, we were also finishing up the Yurt build. Things were such a whirlwind around that time and we were excited to be finished the Yurt so that we could “relax” and enjoy the rest of the summer, spend time in the yurt, and focus on the design of the house. Though for us fate had another idea.


One morning, I called up my good friend, Benjamin, and asked him if I could take some cindercrete blocks from his retaining wall he was demolishing. I hadn’t talked with him for awhile and naturally he asked what I needed them for. “Well, it’s a long story,” I hadn’t told him about our recent life transformation, “we bought some land south of town on the river, and we’re going to build a house, but I need the blocks to build a foundation for our chicken coop when we move it out.”

“No way!” He replied, “Where?”

I started to describe the directions to him, but midway through he interrupted, “You didn’t by the place with the awesome outhouse, did you?”


Sure, enough he knew the spot dead on. Turns out his wife’s parents own a tree farm just up the road from us. It had been for sale for a couple years, but they’d recently taken it off of the market. I knew that her parents lived somewhere south of Saskatoon, but south covers a lot of area. “We’ve been coming down there for years and swimming off your sandbars and playing with our dogs out there,” he said.

I knew I should have put those no trespassing signs up earlier!

A couple days later – in fact, the day before we planned to build and finish the yurt – his in-laws, Doug and Linda, rode down the gravel road on their bikes to introduce themselves and invite us for coffee. Absolutely, we wanted to visit their farm. We’d actually looked at it on MLS while it was for sale when we were looking at property. It had two houses on the site, one theirs and the other a modern little guest house that I thought was pretty cool.

Three days later, exhausted from building the yurt, we were tired and wanted to go home, but thought, let’s go for coffee and check out their place. If we didn’t go today, who knows when we’d have another chance?

Doug and Linda fed us coffee and we brought cupcakes. They gave us a tour of the house and grounds, but I was really excited to see the little guest house that they called “The Cottage.”

Linda told us that they’d lived in the Cottage for three years while renovating the main house. “It’s a shame no one is living in it now. We tried to get a student in horticulture to come rent, but it’s tough to get a renter this far out.”

Frick, I thought. We would have rented this place! But we had just slaved away building a yurt for the purpose of it being where we would live next summer. “Out of curiosity, how much would you have charged?”

On the drive home I got thinking though. I said to Darcie, “What if we rented that place… Like now? Like if we sold our house and lived here for the winter and then in the yurt next summer?”

This whole process of finding and purchasing the land, beginning the design process of the house, and meeting the neighbours had seemed so fateful – so many chance encounters, coincidental meetings, amazing timing – here was just another one. We’ve compared this whole experience to opening doors. A new door comes up in front of you. Do you open it up and go through? Or are you worried about what might be on the other side? Are you willing to see where this next door might take you? We’d already come this far, so why not walk through another door?

By the time we got back to town, we’d made our decision. We were going through the door.

I called Linda and told her, “Yea, so we were talking and I think we’d like to rent your place. When could you have it ready for us?”

Well, so much for the rest of our “relaxing” summer. We were moving to the country.


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