A few years ago we sold our house in Towson. It was a buyers market, we were ready for a farm, and listed it with an agent and crossed our fingers.
In less than 2 weeks we had a contract. In 4 weeks after that we were at settlement, I was no longer employed as an editor, and we barely had a place to live.
In the fall of the prior year, Homer and Claire had given a talk at a school about what we do on our farm. Then a tour to the 1st grade. Every kid was used to going outside everyday and had their own pair of rubber boots..so they were perfect to visit as a group.
One young man, 6 years old, told his parents that they needed to farm just like Farmer Homer. So that spring the parents called and asked for their own tour. Homer met them where we leased land early one morning. They moved pens, looked at how the grass was mowed by the cattle, how the electric lines worked, gathered eggs. Really early that morning Homer and I had realized the property we had bid on, in a short sale in Cecil County MD, might not become ours. We were selling our house and had nowhere to go. We had decided to each start asking everyone we met if they might know of an in-law apartment..that we might need a place for a couple weeks or a couple years..just until the right farm came available.
Homer asked this family about an hour later. They had an apartment on their property, and it was empty. We looked at it a couple of days later, said yes..went back to sign the lease and were greeted with a lovely family and a fresh baked cherry pie..with ice cream. Cherries that had been picked and frozen the previous summer. We knew it was right for us!
There was enough space that our chickens could stay right there with us. The laying hens and their pen was moved onto the farm and egg production began.
Every week I searched for farms. I drove all over central MD and PA looking for the right property for us..used google maps to see if a CAFO was close..stinking up the place..looking for grass growing.
And the entire time we were eating from the vegetable garden right outside our door. Not huge, not small, but amazingly productive. Best food going. We realized we must have a garden on our farm too. And fruit trees too.
And Patrick, the dog. The best rescue. Did not hurt the chickens, but woodchucks had no chance and the deer arrived and left quickly..and he was always up, always watching and chasing the things that did not belong. Keeping order when no one was home. Impressive, and all done with simple commands..leave it, get it..he understood the chicks and hens were wanted, rodents not so much.
When we found our farm we moved with just 2 weeks notice..packed up and moved all our stuff out of the apartment, the barn, our realtors garage, off of the farm where we had leased. There is a good sized hoophouse on the farm..it was badly overgrown, filled with trash and had no cover on it..but we have learned how to use it. To have vegetables right outside our door.
Last week Homer went back to where we rented/lived for those few months 3 years ago. Helped with clearing out and splitting up strawberries and brought them back and planted. Caught up with this lovely family and their dog. Got a chance to see that the horses are gone and instead cattle are in place. Flocks of egg laying chickens too.
The dog is still there, guarding and watching. He is the reason Homer was willing to adopt our Jack Russell, why he was willing to let a dog in his home.
Vegetables, strawberries, dogs, preserves..who knew we would learn so much from such a short visit? And friends too..we are indeed lucky, and rich.
Winter, I Hardly Knew Ye
4 hours ago