Monday, April 4, 2011

A Birthday Trip To The Farm

Sunday was my 54th birthday. When asked what I wanted to do, I said, "Let's all go to the farm!" Am I single-minded, or what? LOL

Here's a few pictures we took that day...

It was a lovely, sunny day, if a bit cool and breezy. 

I sent someone more agile than me into the attic with a camera. Looking for the possibilities for expansion up there. The brick mass of the livingroom fireplace dominates the area. When warm, that is free heat. We have an exposed chimney on the second floor here, and a woodstove in the cellar, and you would not believe the heat that comes off of that brick. It passively heats this entire floor.

This is one of the eves, and that is original wood. Yes, it looks old, but the roof was patched and reshingled not too many years back, and doesn't leak anymore. That looks like chestnut to me, and is likely 150 years old. Connecticut used to have chestnut trees in all the forests, until that blight after the turn of the century wiped them out. The woods behind my present house is full of old stumps and tops, as well as sprouts that never make it past the sapling stage. This wood is priceless, because it's part of our history. The house I'm told was original owner built around his service in the Civil War.

The one surviving window up there looks out over the north side of the house where that little side yard is. Someone had made a room up there. I'm told some of the flooring is chestnut too, and we will salvage every piece possible.

This is a stick chimney for an oil-fired water heater. It is bricked in downstairs. These are things we will have to dodge to gain room. We'll see how this goes. For this year, it needs flooring, insulation, electricity, and new windows.

Chestnut planks make up the old stairs to the attic. Like I said, we will save all we can. Someday I might want a piece of furniture made from that stuff. I'll bet these very trees were cut on the property, and sawn to shape.

We took a walk out on the property again, mainly to show my mother around. This is the back of the garage.

A shot of the metal roof on the barn, and a crowning cupola.

The far end of the barn, from over by the block building.

The base of the old silo is full of soil and weeds. I'm trying to decide how best to use that area. Will have to give it some thought.

Ma and Lee investigating the barn. It was locked on the other end so they just peeked inside over here.

Nice view of the back of the barn. I was standing just below the edge of the property.

From behind the barn, looking up toward the house. That taller tree is some sort of maple, it had blossom buds.

Lee and Ma checking out the block building, which was locked. You get an idea of how big this building is.

The block building from the side.

Behind the block building is some sort of pit. We need to fence that back in again. Not sure why it is there.

Ah yes, the pond again—this shot from the marshy lower end.

Shrubs and small trees are growing in some of the low end. That is good wildlife habitat, and I want to put up wood duck boxes.

Another shot taken through the brush.

Cattails in beds.

Berming around the pond is fairly high. No flood worries there!

There was enough wind to add a bit of rip to the surface of the water.

What a gorgeous day it was though! I wish I had a dime for every time my mother said "I love this!" LOL Moving is not easy to contemplate at any age, and she is 77 now, but still can't wait to get settled in over there.

Everywhere you look there is something picturesque. That pond is the highlight of the property though.

This is that little brook channel that leads out of it. At this point you have moved more than halfway around the pond.

Where the brook leaves the pond. It drains toward the back of the property, away from the buildings. That is the deep end too.

The 'boat launch' area. I want to open this up. It is roughly about 3/4 around the pond.

The trail around the back, with the wooded hill to the right (roughly south) and the pond on the left. The lower end has closed over and we had to crawl through it. Ma lead the way, she couldn't get enough of that area. We heard a whole chorus of wood frogs in there! They make a quacking noise like ducks. Never saw them but heard one 'plop' into a vernal pool at the edge of the woods.

My mother the adventurer after her walk around the property. She's smiling because she's so happy about all this. It is a much easier piece of land to walk around than where we live now, which is has a lot of steep hill and boulders. That is the white pine tree line that borders the road and the garden is way back there. We've just emerged from behind the pond.

Lee after our walk, he had a great time too. It's a good, healthy walk for a heart patient, relatively flat and once the brush is gone, will be easy going. We had to check ourselves for ticks later, but all were dressed appropriately so we only found a couple of loose wandering ones on our clothing. This kind of walking will help us both get back in shape. Where I live now, even the roads are hilly. Here at least we can do laps. Plus there will be all sorts of chores to do, made easier by having a property that isn't so steep!

A lovely vista, with the house and other buildings in the distance.


We all rested for a while at the picnic table by the crabapple tree between the house and barn. Ma and I got curious to poke around again, and so we got up to investigate. On the north side of the house, what I thought was rot doesn't look as bad up close. It is well off the ground at least. And last time, I missed that water faucet—hope that still works! That gives me one on each side of the house. :D

This is that little garden in the lawn on the north side, with rhubarb planted on the edge just coming up. I gave the present homeowner these divisions of my plants some years back. I'll be moving the rest of mine over there eventually. I have to see if there is anything permanent planted in there first, but will likely wall this in and give it to my mother for flowers. We walked around some of the edge of the property on this side and found several small fruit trees and a clump of forsythia. The front of my house here has a line of yellow-blooming forsythia ready to pop, so this already feels like home.

Recently I was out to one of the garden centers with the family, and the grandson wanted to pick out some seeds for our new garden. I got to pick the sunflowers, he got the rest. I'm so tickled that he wants to put in a garden with me, this is his third year and he is just as enthusiastic as he was the first time. I had hoped at least one of my own sons would show some lifelong interest, but it was a fleeting thing. Now, I'm starting a new generation on the path to understanding Nature's wonders.

I will have one set of neighbors here I already know, for the son of the man who has been living on the farm for 45 years now owns a place up the hill behind the pond. He and and wife have twin four year old kids of his own, a boy and a girl. Very nice folks, I feel right at home with them, and I'm sure I'll be seeing plenty of them too. We stopped in for a bit before going home, and saw pictures of a garter snake, red tailed hawk, bobcat and a weasel in its white winter coat taken on his property. So this is a wildlife haven too, just like the place I am leaving behind, where the deer bring their fawns down the hill, foxes call each other at night, wild turkeys troop through my backyard at dawn, and various kinds of owls serenade the starry sky. 

Leaving a home you spent a good part of your life in is never easy. I've been living here almost 29 years, and yesterday I just turned 54. That's over half my life, I was 25 when we moved in. Both my boys were born and raised here, and they are now around my age back then. It helps a lot to know that all the hard earned money and sweat equity we put into this place will be enjoyed by those who have always called it home. Easier for me to move on that way, turning the stewardship of this little plot of heaven over to them, and for the landowners of the farm to turn their place over to us.

When you love the land like I do, I guess it shows, because we were the first ones to get offered this rare opportunity to have our dream property at a very affordable price. I don't look at that place as just another set of projects, but as a wonderful old farm that needs some TLC to become my last homestead. You can't put a value on that, it's priceless. My life is now at a turning point, where I will have to adjust to an empty nest of sorts, though I'll still have a house full of middle age and elder adults. Now that my kids are raised and getting launched into their own lives, I have the time to focus on what I want to do. Writing of course is the big career aspiration, but fixing up and reclaiming this old farm is going to keep me very busy well into my sunset years. 

So yeah, it was a very happy and reflective birthday, even before the cake and gifts! *s*

Peace and serenity of a new spring to all,

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