Stepping Up

Mill St Home collageIt’s about time for Ana to put her money where her mouth is, for I have found a small farm to purchase. Very small to be sure, just over two acres. A size I would have sneezed at in my younger years, but now in my 60’s and farming by my own steam without a companion other than my critters, it is what I can handle. What I hope I can handle.

There are adequate outbuildings for my needs.There is open ground with plenty of sun and some shade. An apple tree and berry patch are already in place. There are neighbors, including a pasture of horses with which I hope to spend long hours conversing.

There are woods. Not a lot, but perhaps enough to feel like home.

Yes granddaughter, there are trees to climb.

It is at the ends of our county’s transit reach, but possible to manage – sometimes. It is quiet, and not on one of the roads that are increasingly becoming pipelines for rural folks to get to work in the big town.

This opportunity frightens me. I am afraid I will not do it justice. I am afraid that my aching back and strained finances will not meet the challenge. I have not just yet started to imagine the steps to take, though that is coming slowly.

First I can see where my flowers will go when spring comes back around. A stump in the front yard will hold my large enamelware pot of Geraniums. The ledge under the picture window can display more, or hold my house plants. My Azalea, a gift from my daughter, will go between the 40 year old Rhododendrons. Forsythia and other flowering shrubs will be planted along the road way to provide a buffer for the view of my neighbor’s house, yet allow me to see the hills beyond.

I hope to move a small barn further back from the house as it blocks the view from the back porch. I imagine sitting there with a cool glass of tea and pondering the chickens I hope will grace my small holding. I imagine a hot tub.

The vegetable patch seems a little more daunting. I haven’t had that much space to work in a long time. Can I fill it, and keep it going? Will the weeds overcome me? Worse, will the need for extra employment keep me from seeing my plan to fruition?

I am starting to ponder used furniture.

There were actually two places I as looking at. One needed a considerable, very considerable, amount of work to make the house livable. Not just nice, but actually functional. It’s cheaper, and the work is definitely cut out for whoever purchases it. It is a smaller property with no obvious good space for a garden. Perhaps when the derelict small out buildings are torn down, one will appear. Unfortunately it is on a pipeline road, so the noise and danger will start in the wee hours of the morning and reappear in the late afternoon. So cheaper yes, but not so appealing.

The other home is in move in condition with appliances that convey and not much needed more than a coat of paint. As with any place, there are improvements I would (will) make if time and money lend themselves to it. 1st off – big windows that look off to the back yard and the woods beyond, and that horse pasture I was telling you about. Why do architects always put the big windows facing the street?

I’ve had some good news from my financial advisor and the hope is springing up. Time to stock up on seed catalogs and Mother Earth News. Plan to talk to the neighbors about folks with big roto-tillers. Time to figure out what plantings I will take from here, and where they can go for the winter. Be still my beating heart, is it time to dream of piglets? I’d better hold on that until the building is ready and the fences – definitely the fences.

The first phase is in progress. Offers and counter offers have been made. I have begun to think of the place as mine. My friends, and my financial advisor have encouraged me. My daughter has envisioned uses for the field. I am looking up pruning manuals for apple trees. My dog has been laying her scent trails.

Why do I always move in mid-winter? I am buttoning up the gardens here for winter. So much would normally stay in place, but now I must consider those perennials I wish to take with me that I may not be able to dig up in January, no less replant. There is not a basement at the new place. Perhaps I can dig them into a compost pile here and later there to get through to spring. I will have to ask at the garden center. Should I dismantle those garden boxes I made this spring? If I moved now I could take the dirt, but will that be possible in January?

I will start boxing my things and tossing now. It is so much easier to make those decisions at a leisurely pace. I don’t own that much, so the actual move should be able to be accomplished with nothing more than a pickup truck.