i don’t remember the first time the idea of a farm hit. one of the first that comes to mind was when we moved to our first home on a quarter of an acre. we had such a big yard. i could have chickens just like martha stewart. we could have a huge garden. i could put up our own food. i could have a clothes line. we’d live off the land. how. cool. but then, the home owners association was formed barring everything from chickens to clothes lines. we also learned that we didn’t (at that time) really have the tools or skill to garden or landscape a yard of that size. even if we had, a septic had been installed in such a way that the prime area for a large garden really couldn’t be used as such. we also longed for the charm and character of an older home.
when we moved to our older home, i became a master gardener and refined my gardening skills. my husband began to get involved with me, and in a few seasons we grew enough to supplement our grocery bill. our tiny yard was slowly being taken over by our growing garden. we also became more interested in our food, and loved the concept of a small, self-sustaining operation where the table was supplied with meat, milk, cheese, etc. provided by livestock lovingly fed and cared for.
we would sit out on the back porch in the evenings and speculate.
maybe someday we’d have what i liked to call a charlotte’s web farm. i’ve since learned it is called a hobby farm: a white clapboard house with a red gambrel roof barn housing chickens, goats, sheep, geese, ducks, a pig, and a cow. add the token barn cat, and a sheep dog – picture perfect.
it was last fall that we decided it was time to move and we began to wonder: how realistic was “the place in the country”? after some research, and scratching out some figures on paper, we were delighted to discover it was within reach. our first step then was to decide – how big?
we were so naive.
remembering how overwhelmed i felt when i tried to mow our quarter acre lot i decided that anything over three acres would be way too big. i had also begun to read up on homesteading and noted that much could be done in a reasonably small area. however we also wanted a place that felt secluded. we didn’t really want any neighbors too close by.
we were invited by our realtor to come out and visit a five acre lot to get a feel for size. we both imagined driving way out into the country, turning off onto a dirt road, and standing in the middle of a wheat field: the wind whipping through our hair, nary a soul to be seen for miles around. we were shocked to find ourselves instead in a neighborhood, houses on either side and across the street, the five acres just a very large lot in a nice development. five may have been much larger than a quarter, but it wasn’t quite large enough to give the secluded feeling we were looking for. 7-10 acres was more like it.
now that we knew what size, we needed to settle on a location. since my husband travels frequently with his job, we didn’t want to be any further than half an hour from the airport. it was suggested we take a look at a small agricultural community about twenty miles east of where we live. one beautiful fall afternoon we went for a sunday drive and we loved what we saw.
it was small.
it was quiet.
it was very unassuming.
we had seen an online listing for ten acres and a pond and set out to look for it. after driving around for nearly two hours we never found it but we did decide that we liked the community and the location. the gently rolling, grassy stretches of sparsely populated land were exactly what we had in mind.
however, in discussing all this with our realtor, it was suggested we look instead at another place about 20 miles north. this particular area didn’t have the flat, grassy stretches . it was more rocky and woodsy, but it was beautiful in its own way. it had a larger town with a wal-mart super center, restaurants, a library, and park with a beautifully flat jogging trail. in spite of how we felt about the small town we looked at first, we decided we should be practical and settle instead somewhere a bit closer to some amenities. the fact that it was situated close to a lovely lake was a perk.
one afternoon, i found what i thought would be The Spot.