The farmhouse I’d been fantasizing about? We bought it. Well, sort of. We did buy and house and it is out in the country. The house itself is new, the brainchild of some guy who bought the property after the original house burned down. It has a big, old horse barn, though, and nearly fifteen acres (hence the name). For being a new construction (or, rather, a converted pole barn), there’s no shortage of projects. I think my partner might start a drinking game based on how often I start a sentence with the phrase “we should really.” My ideas are generally good, but they often involve farm animals and/or large equipment. In short, they entail a combination of hours in the day, expertise, and disposable income that is beyond us at the moment. I’m a little out of control. I admit it. Still. We’ve done some exploring, built a compost bin. There’s been digging and even a little planting. The herbs have sprouted and we’ve decided to try our hand at growing hops. The vegetable garden still has a way to go, but I think we’re finally getting the hang of the tiller we bought off of Craigslist. It’s all very promising. We’ve also taken to naming the wildlife. My favorite is Phil, the muskrat. He ambled up the driveway shortly after we moved in and then, after near daily sightings, vanished. He reappeared in the pond this week, much to my delight. We’ve got birds chirping and peeper frogs making a racket all hours of the night. One of the Canada geese nesting in the back pasture met an unfortunate and untimely end; we’re still unsure if it was a fox or a coyote. But I suppose that’s life out in the country. In addition to keeping me busy, our adventures are providing excellent fodder for Built to Last, my second novel. It’s due out from Bold Strokes Books next spring. It features a college professor and the sexy contractor she hires to renovate her old farmhouse. It might also feature a muskrat named Phil…I’m still working on that.