The Leap of Faith Between a Dream and Reality

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I will never forget the exact moment that Al told me about Primrose Station. He took me out to eat at one of our new favorite restaurants, the Lalla Grill, in Monterey, CA. He sat me down, showed me photos online, and started talking to me in a gentle but urgent way about his desire to buy this piece of property. His passion for this particular building was apparent by the way he thoughtfully crafted the argument that we needed to purchase this building—as soon as humanly possible.

I’d known a few important things about Al before we got married (which was just a mere six months before this conversation). He loved old brick buildings with a lot of history and character. He loved Montana. He was wicked smart and worked hard. He dreamed big and was tenacious about accomplishing his goals. So, when he told me he wanted to purchase Primrose Station, I said, “Great! Let’s work on saving up for a down payment on that property. It might take us 20 years, but I’m totally supportive.”

Fast-forward one year, Al had been watching the property online and mentioned that the price had dropped substantially a few days before. I was intrigued and asked him to look it up so that I could view the property again. He went to the realtor’s website and it had dropped again just that day. My entreprenereual husband saw this as an opportunity that he could not pass up and wanted to move forward any way possible—I, on the other hand, was scared shitless.

Fear is a funny thing because it freezes your brain and makes it impossible to think creatively, rationally, or dream big. I knew what Al and I brought to the table: an intimate knowledge of our local community, a strong work ethic, supportive friends and family, a sense of adventure, a love of learning new things, and a desire to leave a legacy for our family and our community—but—as with anything or anyone that you are intimately connected, I also knew our weaknesses.

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The next 12 hours were a leap of faith for me…and a boxing match for Al. I chose to trust him in this decision and he navigated me through the process of “winning” the bid to buy Primrose Station. I had never purchased a vehicle, nonetheless a 5000 square foot historic landmark on a piece of land. I was in grad school. I had no income or savings. I was switching careers. I was a newlywed. He confidently rushed forward and I held on for dear life.  Now, this is not to say that I did not participate in the purchase. I did, every step of the way, but our attitudes toward the project were like oil and water. He wanted to win. I wanted to know that our future was still secure even if we did something as seemingly crazy as buying an abandoned train power station outside of town.

My sense of adventure (or ignorance), Al’s persistence, and some creative financial management enabled us to buy our dream property 19 years early and here we are! We have moved past that first important benchmark—which was to have a beautiful space in which to build a business and home. Now, we have a whole slew of other challenges/opportunities knocking on our door. But more importantly, we are ready to have you join us on this journey as we build our small business. We will be establishing the site on the historic register, making improvements to the building and the land around it, becoming more self-sufficient as we grow an annual garden and raise animals, and working to move forward every day.

Eek! We’re Starting a Business

Hummingbird Feeder

I’m Erin, the wife. I think that I can say that I am like many other women in this modern era.  In my twenties, I was moderately ambitious with my career and thought little of tending to a home. I was proud to have more than one kind of cheese to offer at a party where I distracted my guests with copious amounts of wine. I could make chocolate chip cookies and chicken. Most of the time, I shopped at the “cool” grocery store, with a bulk food aisle and organic, locally-grown produce. But–here’s the irony–I didn’t really know what made that grocery store so “cool”. I just knew that the products they offered were often too expensive for my meager wage, but I still wanted to shop there.

It took a few more years (and a lot of help from my patient husband) for me to truly understand the vibe that thoughtful, local  business emanated. It invested in local farmers. It created an inviting space to do a mundane chore. It smelled good, everything looked fresh, and as ridiculous as it sounds, you wanted to shop there because you would either bump into someone you knew…or bump into someone that you wanted to know.

So, now we are building our own business! We want Primrose Station to remind us of every beautiful, inviting place that we’ve ever visited. We will challenge ourselves by doing construction projects on the building, raising animals and food, and making this location as dynamic as possible. Join us on this journey as we report on our latest projects, skills, and adventures!

What’s our goal?

Primrose Station

This blog is all about Primrose Station, an ongoing project my supportive wife and I embarked upon just a little over a year ago. We know where we’re going, and this blog is going to serve as a reminder of where we’ve been, and hopefully will inspire and motivate others to dream big!

I’m Alton, the husband, and I’m really interested in self-reliance. My wife, Erin, is really into community. We found this piece of property and thought it would make an amazing home: plenty of space, out of town but close enough, beautiful historic building, and the price was right. As time went on we decided we’d really like to make a business out of it, to allow us to have the freedom of being our own bosses while also getting us more involved with our local economy and community. We’ve come to the conclusion that we’d like to expand into some neighboring properties to get a small farm going, while renovating the train station into a small B&B. To this end we’ve accomplished a fair amount in the last year, and we’ll keep pressing forward. I was accepted into the Veteran’s Entrepreneurship Program at Oklahoma State University, and that program is helping to refine the business plan and really get ready to own our own business. We planted fruit trees, started chickens and rabbits, grew our first garden, and bought an old 1939 Ford tractor. We’re learning how to farm while slowly moving forward on getting the station fixed up.

After this introductory post I’m going to post pictures and stories, how-to’s, links and info often. Anybody interested in entrepreneurship, homesteading, self-reliance, or old tractors, please drop us a line or stop in to MILW substation #10 some time (that’s Primrose Station) and say hello!