Monday, April 15, 2013

Tales of a hopeful farmer

     There is a part of me that has always wanted land.  A chunk of forest, a piece of the prairie; not fussy, I just want land.  Perhaps it is the genes from my Iowa farming ancestors, but I love the idea of land that is mine - to use or not, to hold intrust for my children and future generations, to be able to go to when I want to be somewhere not developed to within an inch of its life.
     After much consideration and too many hours of internet searching, as well as a fruitless day driving around with a realtor, my husband and I think we have finally found a spot.  The trick was this - find a place that is not too far away so we can get to it at least twice daily to feed any livestock we might have on it.  On our street there is a small farm with horses on it which has been for sale, on and off, for a couple of years.  It was back on the market, and we went to look at it and made an offer. We are now in the (un)enviable place of signing a million papers, waiting for appraisals and inspections. Waiting for this before we can do that.  Waiting.
    It is a small farm with a small house on it and a small barn.  Once a dairy farm, the classic large, red barn collapsed some years ago and the owner built a small 6 stall barn for his horses.  There are about 64 acres, and the layout is very narrow and long.  The property is about 2 - 2 1/2 acres wide and very long. There is pasture with hills and some flat, and then forest with a stream that goes straight up hill to the crest of Franklin Mountain. All in all, it is about a mile deep.
    The waiting is killer at this time of year.  While we do not think we are going to get our sheep just yet (a few classes are in order first) we do want to get some of the fruit trees planted before it is too warm.  I am itching to order the trees, but my husband  (always the reasonable soul) thinks it might be prudent to wait until we have signed the final papers, so we are not buying a dozen fruit trees and possibly ending up with no farm to put them on. We are researching plans for chicken coops and milking parlors.  Deciding the merits of a truck over a tractor. Discussing small ruminants - sheep, definitely; goats - debating. Do we move the bees there?  Maybe - but there is a fair amount of bear activity. Should we get a guard animal for the flock (once we start it)? If so, what - a llama? A donkey? A dog?  So many things to decide, but so much that we have to wait on.
    This new adventure will also make us landlords (Auntie Lynne and Uncle Dave - I am thinking of you!).  The house on the property is too small for our family, and already has tenants in it who want to stay, so, voila! Landlords and farmers all in one. 

View from upper pasture looking down at the house(rt) and barn (left)

The View from the big hill - upper pasture

Pasture is fenced all around, only needing small repairs

Anything that has all three children holding hands is worth the money

Walking down the mountain in the stream bed
The gate at the bottom of the upper pasture
Drew by one of the amazing trees

Such great texture!
Looking down at the barn

One section of pond - somewhat overgrown

Our view

The stream bordering the forest and the pasture