New Year, New Farm
December 29, 2012
We found a farm!
After a month or so of farm hunting, we got a message from a friend of a friend who had met a gentleman in search of some tenants. This gentleman had purchased a run-down farmhouse on 175 acres, beautifully restored it, and was passionate about seeing the farm brought back to life. Not a farmer himself, the friend of a friend directed him to our ad, which outlined all that we were looking for in a rental property. Sensing a good fit, he reached out to us and we scheduled a time to tour the farm.
Truthfully, I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of it all. It was a little too far away, a little more than we were hoping to pay, a little too much land, etc., etc. But my stick-in-the-mud attitude was no match for Bailey’s enthusiasm (while I’m often painfully practical, he is able to dream unreasonably big; we’re good at meeting in the middle), and we headed to the farm one Friday afternoon.
Long story short, it was the one. I assume that the feeling we had stepping out of the car is similar to what a young bride-to-be feels when she slips on “the dress” for the very first time. The farm tour seemed to go by very quickly and the whole thing was kind of a blur. And on the drive home, it all seemed too good to be true. I tried as hard as I could to find something wrong with it, but I couldn’t. Unlike any of the other farms that we had looked at, we were able to visualize our animals grazing those pastures, our furniture in that house. The garden, the pigs, the poultry; not only would everything thrive there, but there is unlimited room for growth. The money making opportunities seemed endless.
We spent two days talking about and literally dreaming about the farm, so we called and scheduled a second visit. After another tour of the barn, the house, and the property, we knew that it was where we were supposed to be.
“This is it.” “This is the one.” “This is the farm we’ve been waiting for.” “We have to take it.” “We have to make it work.” “We just have to find a way to make it work.”
And we did.
We got a key and moved most household things last week. The lease formally begins on January 1 and we told our current landlord that we’d be gone by January 15. Some friends with a big horse trailer have graciously offered to help us move the goats, sheep, and pigs on January 6. Between building housing and setting up fencing at the new farm, disassembling housing, taking down fencing, and mucking out everything at the old farm, we have a busy couple of weeks ahead of us. But it’s all so exciting and everything is continuing to fall right into place.
Here’s the new farm at a glance:
- 175 acres, a good balance of pastured and wooded areas
- There is some preexisting electric fencing
- On a dead-end road
- Huge 1933 Sears & Roebuck catalog barn
- The big, beautiful 1844 farmhouse was stripped down to its frame and has brand new insulation, plumbing, electrical, everything. But while it is basically all new construction, it has retained all of the charm and character of an 1844 farmhouse
- The kitchen is a dream. Granite, stainless steel, dishwasher, all of it.
- A large stream runs through the property, we have access to both sides
- You have to cross a magical little bridge to get to the farm
- The owner is passionate about good food and sustainability, he is communicable and does not live on the property
- A neighboring farmer fellow makes very nice hay that we’ll be able to buy. Incidentally, he stores his hay in the hay loft of the barn we’ll be using.
- It’s perfect
Word has apparently spread of our upcoming arrival, and we recently learned that a group of local farmers and farmy types are planning a soirée for the near future so that we can get to know all of the like-minded folks in the area. We’re really looking forward to it.
We will have many more photos to share once we and the animals are all moved in. We’re also looking forward to sharing some of the construction projects we’ll be taking on in the coming weeks. We have drawn up plans for some multi-purpose hoop houses that we will be able to use for chicken coops, broiler and brooding pens, sheep shelters, pig houses, as cold frames for starting the garden early, and much else. It should be a fun project.
If we had found this farm last fall, we wouldn’t have known what to do with it. But now we’re ready. We have the skill set, the know how, and the drive to make this dream work. This property is exactly what we need to take our farm to the next level, from serious hobbyists to the real deal. The opportunities are all out there, we just need to take advantage of them and not let anything keep us from following our dreams.