We have an open door policy. You’re welcome to come on over and hang out with us. But, given that we live out here in the boonies, where livestock poop and Jack Russell Terrors and allergen-unfriendly things float through the air unchecked, we couldn’t rest easy if we didn’t give you a list of warnings and disclaimers before you bring your young, impressionable children to our humble abode. (And for those of you who can’t hear my voice…well, I’m laughing as I type this out. It’s inspired by some wacky things that have happened here in the last few years, comments people have made, and other silly thoughts I have as I putter around. This is intended as humor (though maybe it’s not really funny – I make no guarantees!). ‘Kay?)

– Sometimes the farmers down the road spread manure. And, according to the city folk, it ain’t the most pleasing aroma. Me, I kinda like it. Them, they don’t so much. So…maybe it’s best to bring a gas mask. You know, in case you might find yourself, um, queasy. Going in the house won’t help. (See below.)

– We don’t have central air. We only have open air. As in windows. We open them. Air flows through. It’s a great system that’s been working out here for 100 years or so, and while it isn’t so comfortable on hot August days as we might wish it could be (those are the days we’re bumming cold water from the shower and other people’s pools), it’s better than nuttin. (And we do have electricity, so the fans help too!)

– The dog won’t hurt you. He just needs to be ignored. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But seriously, if you ignore him, he will not see you as a game and you might thus be spared from going home completely covered in white hair. However, if you show him the least sign of affection, or you pet him, or you speak kindly to him, we do not guarantee your safety.

– You can’t run over the dog. We’ve been trying for years. Somehow, he eludes the tires, even as it seems that he’s right under them. If you CAN run over him, we have a prize for you. But you won’t. I promise. Just drive.

– The barn has the sheep. They will let you pet them. They’re bigger than you think they will be, and they smell like livestock, because they’re…livestock. But they won’t hurt you (well, the ram might, and that’s why we tell you to stay away from him). They’re sheep. All those parables about lambs and flocks of sheep? Well, we see them in practice. You’ll be OK in the barn. (Well, as long as you don’t hang from the rafters or walk on the part of the loft floor that has missing boards or hold the pitchfork the wrong way or…)

– That electric fence? Don’t touch it. Don’t pee on it. Don’t mess with it. Seriously. We’re not kidding. And we’re not responsible for you if you do. Period.

– Um, yeah, I use the lines outside for laundry. It’s a combination saving-electricity thing and a love-of-hanging-out-laundry thing. So when it’s hot and sunny, I’m obsessively hanging out laundry (but not underwear – c’mon now, we have our pride!). Call it a personality quirk, call it a freakish thing, call it weird, whatever. So you’ll see my towels, the torn t-shirts we wear to bed and to work around the house, and the five outfits my daughter had to wear yesterday, right when you pull in, right beside the garden. What can I say? I like color. 🙂

– No guarantees that there won’t be dishes in the sink, clean or dirty.

– I’ll try to vacuum and pick up before you come. But…well…here’s the thing. The house, the kid, the dog, Murphy’s Law, and the dark side of my personality all conspire together to make sure there is a mess somewhere and that there is something forgotten. So let’s laugh ahead of time and just sit in the kitchen and drink lemonade from glasses that are clean while our bare feet walk around on a floor that’s not so much (clean).

– The books. Yes, I have read or will read them all. You want to borrow one or two or five? OK! Great! Have a seat! Want some coffee? Can I get you anything else before we dive into our conversation?

– Yes, we have high speed internet (yes, we have the internet), even waaaaaaayyyyyy out here. We drive cars too, and have electricity and running water. Pretty cool, huh?

– There will be weeds in the garden, because I have an equal opportunity policy. The weeds have an equal shot before I yank them and pull them and grapple them and enjoy getting my fingernails caked with dirt wrestling them.

Not that you expected anything but a lived-in old farmhouse, though, right? You know, from what I’ve said before that we’re just tooling around, doing our best, seeing the humor around us. But in case you thought maybe we had a Jenn-Air and a full-service patio bar, to go with our fabulous barns and great views, well…maybe you have us confused with people somewhere else.