Carrie and Mike Rigsby found a 100-acre hideaway only minutes from where they work and shop.
Breezes waft across the lawn, cooling the summer air. A gravel road curves around a pond brimming with lily pads. The Rigsby’s four-bedroom house looks over a freshly mowed clearing, surrounded by dense woods.
The family moved out there five years ago with their three daughters: Jessica, now 21; Emilee, 17; and Katelyn, 9. They also have a small army of dogs, including Dixie, a blue heeler; Bella, a Yorkie; Molly, a shih tzu; Zoey, a golden retriever; and Prince. Rigsby described Prince as “a little bit of everything.”
Over the years, the Rigsbys built their dream house, added a swimming pool, a swing set and an elevated playhouse. They also cleared away trees, briars and boulders that had littered the backyard.
“It was just kind of an eyesore,” said Carrie Rigsby, a nurse. “We sort of slowly cleaned it up.”
She said her husband used a tractor to haul the boulders away.
Earlier this year, he hauled many of them back for a new flower garden and sitting area.
Boulders surround a flower garden that features azaleas, begonias, peonies, hostas and a cluster of trees.
“This is kind of my pride and joy, my Mother’s Day gift,” Rigsby said. “Eventually, I’d like to put a hammock out there.”
Behind the flower plot are two boulders as long as benches — which is how the family uses them.
“You can sit on those rocks,” Rigsby said. “The two rocks came out of the ground where the pool is now. They came out as one piece.”
Rigsby said her husband joked that he wasn’t going to move them again.
The garden and boulder benches complement a shady sitting area, where the family and friends gather around a fire pit.
Rigsby, who likes to repurpose things, recalled converting an old wooden porch swing into a glider.
“I dug it out of a fire pit,” she said.
A wire fence borders the clearing. Behind the wire fence, a pair of goats roam through acres of trees and munch away at the underbrush.
“My husband’s goats, actually,” Carrie Rigsby said. “They eat everything they come across. They eat a lot.”
Katelyn reached her arms toward a low tree branch and said, “They can basically eat all the way up here.”
A zipline with a wooden board seat extends from the playhouse, past the pool to end beside the house.
“We have a lot of kids who like to show up at our house, lots of entertainment,” Rigsby said.
A shady porch stretches across the front of the house, offering a panoramic view of the woods and pond.
“This pond was here when we got here,” Rigsby said. “The lily pads were natural with the pond. In about three weeks, the pond will be white with blooming lily pads.”
Kids fish and cattle drink at the pond, she said.
“It’s 6 feet deep with 4 feet of mud.”
Rigsby said she likes to sit on the porch in the morning.
“It’s really pretty in the morning,” she said. “Deer come down at the pond, and it’s really beautiful.”
Inside, a craft room and recreation room fill the second floor.
In the craft room, Rigsby and her daughters do “you name it.”
“We sew, we paint, we have a Cricket machine that makes decals,” she said. “Whatever we want to do, we do in the craft room.”
The room brims with ribbons and fabric, and multiple colored scissors are hung in neat rows.
The recreation room features a microwave oven, a dorm room-sized refrigerator, foosball table, and air hockey table and what must be THE go-to piece of furniture in the entire house. It’s a black, low-slung round spinning seat the Rigsby’s bought at Mathis Brothers.
“We wanted something different here,” Rigsby said. “It looked comfortable. You can curl up in it. Three people can curl up in it.”
Downstairs, a granite counter sweeps around the kitchen, letting Rigsby see into the living room as well as the backyard.
“I like open space, I don’t like to be secluded,” she said. “When we built this kitchen, I knew what I wanted. I wanted an open kitchen. I spend a lot of time in here. I wanted to make sure I was connected to my living room. I knew I wanted to look out the back porch.
A mud room/laundry room doubles as the family “locker room.” Each family member has a wooden nook where things could be hung or stashed. The office also features a built-in desk, where Mike Rigsby does much of his office work. He drives a Fort Gibson school bus, has a herd of cattle and operates Okay Mini Storage.
Arched doors open onto a formal dining room adjacent to the kitchen.
Each daughter has her own bedroom. Each bedroom has a built-in desk and a shelf about a foot and a half from the ceiling. Each daughter has one painted wall. Jessica’s room is deep red. Emilee’s is green. Katelyn’s is pink.
Jessica has her own bathroom. Emilee and Katelyn share one.
The family moved to this country estate after outgrowing their old house, which sat on 15 acres, Carrie Rigsby said.
“We sold it and bought this property, which had an old house on it,” she said. “We remodeled that house, sold it and built this one.”
Location was property’s main appeal.
“It’s seven minutes from the schools, and five minutes from Harps,” she said, referring to the grocery store.