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Serving: IN

How to meet the neighbors before you move in

TAGS: Farm Life
Courtesy of Joy McClain Mike and Joy McClain in front of their front door
HOME AT LAST: Joy McClain and her husband, Mike, had lots of people both watching and helping as they built their pole-barn-style home.
Joy’s Reflections: Start building a unique house and the people will come!

If you build it, they will come — especially if it’s a pole barn house. They will come sit outside in the lawn chair they threw into the back of their pickup truck. They will get there early, even before the building crew arrives, to get the best spot underneath the shade tree.

They will offer advice and notice little details they do not want overlooked. They are like supervisors or contractors, only they don’t receive a paycheck. All that matters is that you’re building. They heard about it, so they came.

In the initial stages of building our home, if we had to leave, we felt like things were in good hands. “The guys” were watching to make sure everything went according to plan. They made me want to pass out lemonade and homemade cookies.

“This is what the Amish must feel like on barn-raising days,” I thought to myself.  

Our sweet friend Joe was our bona fide supervisor, with unlimited contacts and resource information.

A salesman at Lowe’s went the extra mile for me on some light fixture deals because he wanted to build a pole barn home and asked to bring his wife over. 

A man we didn’t even know who lives a couple of miles away stopped in a few times. He was starting to plan for his own pole barn home.

Since last summer, as my husband did all the inside finishing himself, there was a steady parade of interested onlookers.

Proud and strong

I am quite proud of all the hard work that went into our home — and grateful for the many hands that made it all possible. No one deserves more credit than my hardworking man. I can count on one hand the number of days he took off from laboring on our home. He accomplished a life goal and a dream we’ve shared since we were engaged.

The barn-raising theme carried through the process in the way of community involvement. From those sweet men, wise from experience, who supervised the early process, to those who came by because of similar dreams, to all the hands that lent time and talent — we hope we displayed gracious hospitality and a sense of gratitude.

It was not the easiest time to be building a home or trying to get materials. Because of the pandemic, the most widely used phrase thrown back at us was “out of stock.” It was a piecemealing sort of build, but we got the job done, and now that we are officially in and enjoying the fruit of our labor, our wearied bones can get some rest.

This summer, as the parade of visitors comes by, there will be time to sit on the porch, tilt our heads back against the rocking chairs, draw in a deep breath, and talk about when neighbors we didn’t know became friends. If you stop by, I’ll have lemonade and homemade cookies ready.

McClain writes from Greenwood, Ind.

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