Category Archives: Farm

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

My middlest child graduates high school this year.  My youngest graduates next year and then goes on to the local community college.  When they graduate from there, my time here in this house is over, for good or for ill.  So in three years, I’ll be starting my next great adventure.

I’ve started doing exercises to try to get into the headspace of what that will be like.  The plan is to move to a farm, or at least a farm-in-the-making.  I’ve been imagining this place since I was a kid.  We had friends who were farmers when I was growing up, and their places were always magical to me.  Especially the hay barns.  Hay barns are cathedrals to me, with the same power of scent and the same transfusion of light.  So I want to move to a place I can live in until they carry me feet first out the window.  I’ve drawn pictures and maps of what my farm is going to look like, created business plans, collected infrastructure ideas.  If visioning is creating, this place already exists in the world, just waiting for me to be ready.

I was in the grocery store the other day, buying 3 gallons of milk that will last 4 days and cost more than gas, and it hit me.  In a couple of years, a half gallon will probably go bad in my fridge, as I won’t have a bunch of teenagers drinking it all.  That was followed by the realization that my food budget will plummet when my kids move out.  That’s kind of overwhelming to think about.  I’ll be spending more to feed my animals than to feed people.  Weird.

The latest thought experiment has been, “What will I take with me when I move?”  The answer is, surprisingly, not much.  Considering the fact that I live in a 3 bedroom, 3 story house, I think I can fit everything I want to take into one large Uhaul.  I’m taking the freezer, the china cabinet, and one arm chair, but that’s pretty much it for the furniture and large appliances.  I’ll take all my small appliances and cooking tools, but none of my dishes.  Some special glassware pieces that I inherited from my parents, but none of my wedding china.  The TV and games, but none of the Ikea shelving or the leather couch.  I salvaged that in the first place, I’m sure I can salvage a replacement.  None of the beds, except my old spindle bed which has been in storage for years.  One dresser I inherited from my father.  Probably not my fiber wardrobe, as the new house will have a whole room dedicated to my crafting.  The camping gear.  Maybe the books?  I’ve purged my collection pretty hard, but most of those books I haven’t touched in years.  My garden tools and bike.  The pie safe that has been stored in the shed for 20 years.

Really, for the course of a life, the longest I’ve ever lived in one place, it’s not much stuff.  But somehow, thinking about letting all that go, starting clean with only what I identify as MINE, is incredibly liberating.

I’m really ready for a new beginning.

If Wishes Were Horses

If Wishes Were Horses

I spent a lot of time on my fantasy farm today.

Actually, I was in the office, working as hard as the lingering remains of my cold medicine would allow.  But a part of my brain was at the farm.


While we were in Woodstock, Nikki and I agreed that we could be very happy living in the Catskills.  Which, as it usually does, led me to look at real estate.  We have a very small budget and very big dreams, but I did find two properties that I really love.  They’re further west than I would like, but they’re both within half an hour of three college towns, which to me means library, culture and food.  The rest is up to us.

So I’ve been thinking about orchard placement, pasture layouts, greenhouse construction, shop colors, all the big and small things that might go into the place.  Being so close to so many schools, we might be able to barter room and board for manual labor, or offer studio or boarding space in exchange for design or animal help.  I even looked up internet providers for both places.

I’m finding that my criteria for the perfect place are expanding over time.  Originally, I wanted a place near the mountains, woods and ocean (which is why we were looking at Maine), at least 5 acres but preferably more, an older house with at least one fireplace, and at least one cool barn.  I have now had to add to that that it has to be int he coverage area of an NPR station and within half an hour’s drive of a UU church, preferably one with some pagan presence, or at least open to it.  As the kids get older, I’m having to worry less and less about schools.  My job, assuming I can keep it, is one I can do from home, and there are people elsewhere in the department who live far away and only telecommute, so there is precedent for it, which means I have to worry about being in a location with job opportunities.  And working from home would work well with the needs of farm maintenance!  People keep warning me about winters in the places I’m looking at.  Dude, that’s WHY I’m looking at those places!  I need decent winters!

Unfortunately, it’s not happening any time soon.  I need to get the kids through school first.  So three more years minimum.  Unless I win the lottery.  If that happens, I’m not waiting.  Well, yeah I am, but I’ll use the three years to do the renovations on the new place so it’s ready when we are.

Of course, I have to buy tickets…