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BUYING A FARM ON INSTALLMENTS




           
FARM IN HOTCHKISS COLORADO



           The Grand Mesa set on the north, its colossal bluff, dark against the clear blue of the morning sky.  The narrow highway turned eastward, rolling with the hills.  As the miles passed, the countryside began to flatten, and to show its wares of agriculture.
          “Let’s turn off the main highway and maybe we’ll find something for sale among these farms,” Mom suggested.
          Deryl drove the car north on the paved side road.  We wound our way up and down the roads, passing bare orchards and golden brown fields, intermingled between sparsely placed farmhouses.
          “Deryl, stop the car!”
          The automobile came to a halt and we followed Mom’s stare.  Sitting back from the road was a large two-story farmhouse.  Its windows were bare and dingy in the sunlight.
          “It doesn’t look lived in,” Deryl commented, “But there’s no “For Sale” sign.”
          “We could enquire at the neighbors and see if they know anything about the house,” Mom suggested, as she nodded toward a modern bungalow up the road.
          Deryl drove the Ford into the driveway of the small house and went up to the entrance.  A short, gray-haired woman opened the door.  Behind her stood a tall older gentleman.  We watched as Deryl gestured toward the two-story.  The door opened wide and Deryl stepped inside.
          “It has definite possibilities,” Mom said as she eyed the vacant house, “Yes, it’s just what we’ve been looking for.”
          I studied Moms profile.  What enabled Mom to lead us to a vacant farm?  I knew her direction had come from an inward intuition.
          A few moments later, Mom rolled down the window, as Deryl returned to the passenger side of the Ford.
          “The farmhouse is their old homestead where they raised their children,” Deryl said as he leaned against the car door, “It was too much for them to care for so they’ve built this newer home.  The old house has been rented before, but now it is vacant.”
          “Are they willing to rent it again?” Mom asked.
          Deryl’s face displayed a sly grin, “Well, I asked them if they would consider selling it, and they said they have been pondering the idea.  There are ten acres with the house.  They want us to come in and discuss the matter further.”
          While Deryl and Mom entered the house to discuss business, Chuck, Bronco and I decided to go exploring.
          The yard of the homestead was huge, and had at one time been painstakingly landscaped.  The embankment of the front yard was walled with white and gray stones, and flowers had once flourished within a man made tiered garden, which was covered with over growth.  Large oak trees stretched their roots under dormant grass, while their long branches shaded the yard.  The siding of the house was faded white, revealing brown undertones.  Patches of light and dark gray shingles covered the roof.
          Extending from under the second story was a large encircling veranda.  On the south side, in the center of an enclosed porch, was a back door.  A large walnut tree spread its limbs over the entranceway.  Behind the house, towards the west, was a wired fence enclosing an empty chicken coop, three wooden sheds, and land as far as our eyes could see.
          Our investigation was disrupted by the honking horn of the Ford, as it drove on the graveled driveway.  Deryl and Mom were beaming as they left the car.
          “Guess what?” Mom asked excitedly, and then proceeded to tell us without our guessing, “They are willing to sell the house and the ten acres on installments.”
          I wasn’t sure what installments were, but from Deryl and Mom’s exuberance, I figured it must be a good deal.
          “Let’s take a look at the inside,” Deryl said, holding up a silver key loaned to him by the older couple.
          The wooden floor of the back porch squeaked as we entered the house.
          “What a good sized kitchen,” Mom exclaimed as she walked around the white room.  The echoing sound of our footsteps and voices bounced off the barren walls and high ceilings of the old homestead.  The rest of the down stairs consisted of a dining room, bedroom, living room and an adjacent chamber off the living room that was painted “dark green”.
          “This could be another bedroom,” Mom decided as she surveyed the area, “But that color would have to go.”
          We climbed the open staircase that faced the front entryway.  The stair steps were in need of a coat of varnish, as was the thick walnut banister.  The upstairs hallway revealed three bedrooms.
          “This is a big room,” Deryl remarked as we entered the east bedroom.
          “It has a nice view,” Mom said as we looked out the triple windows overlooking the gray veranda roof and the front yard.  A single window on the south wall overlooked the side yard.
          Deryl and Mom were discussing buying the house as we left the upstairs.
          “It would take a lot of work, although the inside is in better shape then the outside,” Mom said, “With a little labor it would make a nice home.”
          “If we buy it, we’ll have to sell the house in Albuquerque,” Deryl said.
          This last comment brought me up short.  My heart sank at the thought.  If we sold the house on Childers Drive it would be burning all the bridges behind us.  Dave’s prediction was becoming more and more impossible.
          (The house on Childers Drive, in Albuquerque, was paid off from Daddy Slim's insurance. Now it would be sold.)