Merry 2021 Christmas

After the nineteen months of “2 weeks to flattening the curve“, I felt like reaching out and had intentions of using up the stack of free Christmas cards I’ve accumulated. They’ll go back in the drawer for another year because despite my good intentions, somehow with everything going on I ran out of time… again. On the bright side, this Christmas letter comes with more pictures and links 🙂

We built again 2020-2021, an alabaster white modern farmhouse. I had forgotten while typing this one that I skipped writing a letter last year. We got our CO the day before our 31st anniversary.

For our big 30th anniversary we had a packed lunch by a river. On our 31st we only worked a half-day moving some very tall Leyland cypress, before Duke Power got to them, then went to Greenville SC to pick up our vanity tops and have lunch out. We’re not quite finished with the foundation rock but we moved in May. May is also the same month we listed and sold our gray craftsman home that was our favorite so far.

The hardest part for me was leaving Trinity’s body buried there but Duke Power butchering our hedges and coming on to our land was the final straw for me. That, and we can see the writing on the wall with the large parcels of land near us priced so high that not many individuals could afford to put a single-family home on. The greedy city just sees tax revenue and are rezoning land regardless of the negatives and poor infrastructure. I plan to finish my already started blog posts about this last build and everything we tried new, so check back if you’d like a peak.

We’ve filled up all the house spots on the land we bought in the 90’s, but don’t use a pen to add our last address just yet. We plan to have this house ready to list in April 2023 because after YEARS of praying for the perfect land, we found it (well, pretty doggone close) and closed on it in October.

The next and likely last Maxwell House will be on its own hill! Well, last home before we’re Home. I’ve quit procrastinating about getting stuff listed for sale or donating because a lot of stuff is NOT moving again! We’re going to have to actually pack stuff or better yet hire out for this last move. No more riding in the back of our vehicles and holding on to things. On our new very wooded land, we actually had to remove a lot of trees and do extensive road clearing and tons of under brushing. If you look closely in the picture above, you can see my hubby in front of the 130′ burn pile. I think we should do a poll on how long that monstrous pile is gonna burn.

On the 4 previous homes we’ve built, we planted almost all the trees because the field used to be a cow pasture. It is a tad worrisome being up on the new land when the wind was howling. There seems to be a fine line between taking too many trees and leaving ones that could crush us. We had to take some trees for a spot to build, some were lost when others were downed. Hubby promises we can buy some large trees after the big trucks are done. In fact, I’ve already started some Chinese Pistachios from seed and bought a 3′ tall Deodar Cedar. We loved the 40′ one we had at the last house. I searched many a place to find it and it didn’t look like it grew hardly at all for several years then took off. So pretty!

The driveway progress

We’re going from our shortest driveway to our longest. I’m gonna hate totaling up what we’ve already spent before we even get started on the actual build. The land is only a few miles away but feels like another world. We hope it stays that way at least in our lifetime. We went from hearing cars to hearing gunfire. We bought “don’t shoot me orange” clothes to wear and bear spray. We want to go from home lights to star lights. We plan to cut in some walking trails. Nothing like hiking on your own land! Finding this land had God’s hand all over it and we feel so very blessed and grateful. The house planning starts again, one last time where we try to smush in all the features we liked about the last homes into one. Well, I’d like to find some reasonably priced unique doors. Wish we had places like Joanna Gaines has to shop. It is already so different on a wooded parcel and so different that this was is just for us without doing things others may like for resale. We planned to wait until the delays and price gouging returned closer to the old normal before starting, but changed our minds with what is happening to our neighborhood and the fact that we’re not getting any younger and still do most all the construction ourselves.

As soon as we got the driveway to the top we went up for our first of many sunrises. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the sun AND the moon standing in one spot before. I had to do a pano for the picture but I could see both without moving my head in real life. Not the best sunrise sky I’ve ever seen but it was still so special to me to see our first sunrise from our own little mountain. Okay, hill.

I hate to leave Tyler to work on it our last build as much as will be needed especially after being out of the house so much working on this home we’re in now, but we’re ready to get to the woods! I would love to be at two places at once, working on the land and new house with AND home cuddling with Tyler. He is doing well for his age. He’ll be 15 in April. He sleeps a lot but still has short bouts of running around playing too hard. He has become WAY more talkative since Trinity passed. Like he never shuts up. 🙂 Guess he had a lot to say since he didn’t talk much his first 10 years unless carrying one of his soft cry-n-carry toys. He makes all sorts of sounds but hardly any like “meow”.

My dad would’ve loved this land! Well, he would’ve loved it even more if power lines were not nearby. After we bought it, I discovered hubby’s great uncle used to own it. We’ve seen turtles, white squirrels, deer, a mouthy piliated woodpecker, turkey, proof of a bear but no sightings yet, and a coyote so far. I always choose one white ornament for the year. I couldn’t find a modern farmhouse so I went with the white squirrel one. We’ve had a pair in this yard and the land.

We’ve had Covid 1.0. Hubby had Shingles before he got around to getting the shingles shot, and he snapped the cartilage off some ribs while working in the trusses. His poor body! I’m pretty sure anyone else would be on 100% disability with his daily pain. If only he could’ve told his younger self to go easy on it.

I wanted to trade my car for a truck but decided to wait for 4 years or so after I saw what was left of our economy and our freedoms, and car part shortages. The new half-mile driveway may need 4WD.  We didn’t do as much goofing off as I’d like but we saw a few waterfalls mostly in August for my birthday We did go leaf looking twice and we saw EIGHT bears on the BRP. This was the year some of my family finally got up in time to see a parkway sunrise. I’m in awe every single time. It’s been ages since we’ve had a vacation but we do enjoy drinking a beverage on the porch with our feet up and Tyler sitting between us. I had a few book cover jobs but didn’t go on hardly any photo outings and it’s been way too long since I’ve seen my photo friends. Hubby lost a few customers over his voicemail but he’s not the least bit upset over it.

We’re having a hard time remembering what we used to do for fun. Seriously. I miss seeing friends and I’m tired of all the division and people trying to make you think the way they think about issues. I remember when people could disagree and still be civil.

Here are a few pics from 2021 that I don’t think I’ve already shared in my handful of blog posts this year.

But it’s Christmas. Time to celebrate Jesus. I don’t know what I’d do if we didn’t have the rock of His Word and promises to lean on.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and pray you know and accepted Him and His wonderful gift of eternal life.

Merry Christmas and blessings for 2022
~ The Maxwells