The TBN story & how it all started…
Recently I received an email about my blog…. stating the painful truth that it was “too technical.” I’m not sure what that means, but I’ve taken a few days to evaluate my purpose for writing this blog. Considering the fact that I’ve dedicated this site as a way to inform and educate the backyard horseman and pet owner, technical seems unavoidable. However, I take all feedback quite seriously and to me “technical” is just another word for stiff. The one thing every writer tries to avoid and I’ve allowed it to bite me right in the butt. So I’m going to ease up a bit, loosen the reins and take a new approach to writing. A farm and ranch lifestyle is a constant learning experience. I’d like to share some of those real life stories with you, and give the text book posts a rest.
First of all, let’s begin with who I am… and not what I know. My sister tells all her friends I’m a cowboy, that’s a pretty big stretch of the imagination. However, I do like the sound of it. I asked her why “cowboy” and not cowgirl, her answer was simple. She told me a woman who likes to fish isn’t called a fisherwoman is she? Good point Sis. Anyway, a cowboy I am not, but I’m comfortable with the term horseman as my acquired identity. Cowboys are out on round- ups, sorting cattle, and ridin’ broncs. Not exactly something a Southwest transplant from Chicago can boast. I was always more interested in roundin’ up the cowboys… but that’s a whole different story.
As a young adult I didn’t even own a western saddle. I was a competitive hunter-jumper and earned a modest wage working for the finest the Polo circuit in Illinois. Shortly after I moved to Arizona I traded my jodhpurs and English sport horse background, for a Billy Cook rope saddle and a pair of Wranglers.
I would like to say the TBN Ranch is a result of hard work, and pain staking sacrifice. But the truth is it was the token of a miracle. After years of trying to find an affordable horse property, I finally accepted the fact that boarding my horse was the only option. It is said that nothing worth having comes easy, but not so in this case.
November, 2004, noon…
The doorbell rings at our home, standing before me was a friendly well dressed woman, she smiled and introduced herself as Barbra, a realtor. She handed me her card, and before I could say a word she informed me she had a buyer for our house. I told her there must be some mistake since our house wasn’t for sale. What she said changed our lives forever. “Everything is for sale if the price is right, isn’t it?”
She had my attention.
We owned an ordinary three bedroom, two bath single family home in a quiet neighborhood subdivision. The property was the size of a postage stamp, and every third house was identical. It had the Stepford Wives feel, and a home owners association that was hell bent on keeping that appearance. They kept us all on a short leash, nevertheless, it was our first home and we were proud to own it. Within two years we put in a beautiful pool and our home sweet home transformed from ordinary to extraordinary.
I invited Barbara in; after all, I was curious, and skeptical, but all ears. She got right to the point, and I was stunned to learn that somebody had made an attractive offer on our house… for more than TWICE our mortgage loan. However, I knew my creature of habit husband would be a hard sell on moving again, especially after putting the pool in. I couldn’t say yes or no without talking to him, so I asked for the near impossible in an attempt to stall for time. Barbara looked like a Barbie doll walking to her Lexus SUV in her high heels. But if she was going to make a commission on this deal she better get home and change into a pair of boots. I wasn’t at all interested in moving unless it was to a horse property, and Barbara had until tonight to find me one. I certainly was in no hurry, but apparently the buyer was. His offer was neatly tucked under Barbara’s arm just waiting for a signature to close the deal.
It was nearly dinner time when Barbara once again stood at my front door, and I must say looking a bit frazzled. I was certain that she was back with some clever selling tactic to persuade me to sell. Even though she probably came up empty handed on the horse property. I was eager, yet hesitant, and at a complete loss of words when she said, “Get your purse and come with me. I found something you might be very interested in, and there’s no time to waste!”
What! She’s kidding right?
“Is it far?” I asked.
“No, five minutes, just get your stuff and we’ll talk in the truck.”
Oh my, I was excited and scared all at the same time. By now I was feeling like I put her through a lot of trouble, and I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to move. Not to mention, this was a pretty big ordeal to throw in my husband’s lap when he came home. Less than five minutes later, we pulled in the large circular driveway of a white ranch house surrounded by beautiful desert landscaping. My first thought was this Barbara gal hadn’t a clue that there was no way we would ever in a million years qualify to buy that spread. I was immediately sorry I went, fearing yet another disappointed. I just wanted to go home and forget the whole thing ever happened. She on the other hand, was almost overly confident in her ability to make both sales.
I stuck it out and toured the property, it needed some work, but of course, I loved it. It was a distressed property, bought by an investor as a quick turn-around sale. But there was nothing quick about it, the house stood vacant for six months. Now the seller was anxious to sell; and there I was with a hefty down payment from a mystery man who wanted our nothing special house.
I heard the back door open, and I cringed. My husband was home.
“How was your day?” He asked.
“Ummm… well, how about I sold the house?
It was an understatement to say he looked surprised, but he did in fact go with the flow considering the bizarre chain of events. It was apparent Barbara would be a permanent fixture in our kitchen until he went and looked at the horse property. He did, made an offer, it was accepted, and by nine PM our house was sold.
We moved three weeks later. The mystery man turned out to be a single woman who drove a corvette, a doctor, who could probably have bought any house she wanted. Made us wonder if she knew something we didn’t. I mean, was there gold buried under the house or what? Whatever her reason for wanting our house didn’t matter. She got what she wanted, and made our, well… my long-time dream come true… today known as TBN Ranch.
To see before and after pictures of the ranch: The Seven Year Makeover
amy elizabeth, TBN Ranch