We’ve been super busy here at Goebel Hill Farm starting seeds, planting trees, hatching chicks and sifting through the stuff, of course. We’ve been doing that since way back in 2008. As I mentioned in my last post we knew there had to be a few vehicles under all of those blackberries when we bought the place and in order to move them on, we learned we needed to have a notarized abandon vehicle affidavit. It was the only way we could recycle or sell them. So I got on the internet, printed off the forms and called the Snohomish County Sheriff.
We spent a beautiful day in May 2009 crawling around out behind the barn and wandering through the pastures uncovering cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and trailers while the sheriff radioed in the license plates or vehicle identification numbers to try to determine who owned them. By the end of the day, we had 26 abandon vehicle affidavits! Fortunately, the sheriff was interested in old cars and knew something about them. We were impressed with his knowledge, but that’s not saying much…anyone knows more about cars than we do. The whole time he was here I had this nervous feeling, as if I was going to get in trouble. Of the 26 vehicles we found, only two were complete, the rest were in pieces; taken apart and spread all over the property. I’ll let you reach your own conclusions about that!
We found this 1956 Buick Century Wagon buried under piles of car parts right under our noses alongside the barn. We did not know this car existed for the first few months because there was so much stuff on top of it. We decided to put the wagon on Craigslist right away because it was in the way. We needed to move it. The barn was leaning and we had to start the huge project of straightening it up and putting on a new roof before it fell over.
We posted the wagon on Craigslist late in May of 2009 hoping someone would be interested in restoring it because it is so funky! Turns out lots of people were interested in seeing the car; people came from far and near to check it out, but no one wanted to buy the car. We were asking $500 for it, but I don’t think it was the price that deterred them. No, this was something you had to be all in for – or forget it. The car was a mess. A huge time consuming, expensive restoration project. After a few months, I started to feel like a game show host ushering in contestants, sadly, we never had a winner. We spent all summer showing people the car and by September we were weary of looky-loos eating up our time. We figured that car would be in our way all winter. Our farm has awesome, deep, soft agricultural soil and when it starts raining in late September there is no way a tow truck or trailer could pick up that car where it sat and make it back out without getting stuck.
Then one day in mid-September I got a polite email from Ryland, a high school student from Oregon. He very matter-of-factly wrote that he’d seen our ad on Craigslist and he would be coming to Washington to buy the car that very weekend. His straightforward, naïve approach made me smile, but we were tired…I cautiously told my husband that another person was coming to look at the car.
Ryland showed up that weekend, just like he said he would, towing a rented U-Haul trailer, with $500 in his pocket and a friend to help him load the car. He glanced quickly at the wagon and apparently found it acceptable because they set about figuring out how to winch it onto that tiny little rented U-Haul trailer; it barely fit.
They got the car loaded and strapped down the best they could, then bounced off down our windy gravel driveway, over the hill and off towards the freeway and the long ride back to Oregon! I worried about them the whole time. I worried the trailer would break from the weight of the car or the car hood would fly off on the freeway; it was only tied down, not attached to the car. Ryland kindly emailed later to let me know they’d made it home to Lake Oswego with the wagon. Relieved.
Two years later, he sent us this video:
A happy ending! Ryland believed he could make that car run, made a decision to do it and he did it. He believed he was enough…a wonderful, positive force in the world.
Ryland and the 1956 Buick Wagon at Goebel Hill Farm in 2009
We’re still in suspense over what else is buried out there. We’ll keep you posted, of course.