Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I'm feeling a tad melancholy. I long to be on a farm. I have owned two farms and lived on one of them.
We bought a place in Snowflake, AZ a few years back. It was remote. And peaceful. And quiet. So quiet in fact that once when I was sitting on the back porch I *heard* a bird's wings flapping before I actually saw the bird. It was the kind of place where an Indian Brave could have been painted as he stood at the point of our hill with the wind blowing the Eagles feathers on his headdress and walking stick. It was a very cool place. Snowflake is in the high desert in Arizona, meaning that it gets cold in the winter and actually snows occasionally.
The farm was 20 acres, with a tiny house, barn, and big building that was unfinished, so it could have been made to be any building we needed. The property had a man-made pond, complete with coy fish and cattail bushes. There were a few fruit trees and many other trees too.
We never actually *lived* in Arizona though. We had plans too, but at the last minute (we were told by our realtor that an offer was being made on our house) Steve felt in his heart that we should stay put. So we did.
The farm that we *did* actually live on was in Kentucky (click to see original sale info from years ago).
It was in a part of Kentucky that still has Amish living there. In fact, we lived in a remodeled Amish built house. It had electricity, but was heated by a wood stove. I am a pro at building a fire in a wood stove, and was the official fire-builder. Our house was wonderful! It had a balcony that the children adored, a huge upstairs hallway that was as big as a room where the wood stove was. It was *my* favorite room!
The upstairs hallway wasn't in the hustle and bustle of the daytime "stuff" to be done, but kind of out-of-the-way. It was lit by all of the windows in the bedrooms, yet seemed kind of darkish, in a nice way. It had views out of the windows on the doors too, on the east and west of the house. I loved sitting there rocking in my chair talking on the phone to my family 2000 miles away, and I loved lying by the fire in the winter. It was the warmest "room" in the house in the winter and was where I put Matthew's crib when he was born 6 weeks early during the coldest part of the winter.
Our house was located on 120 acres of land, about half in woods and half in cleared pasture. We heated with wood from the dead-fall trees on our property. We drank water from our own well. We heated the water and cooked with propane that was held in a large tank outside that was filled a couple of times a year. We were about as self-sufficient as possible, and it was wonderful.
Steve worked at home during that time. He worked for a company based out of California doing web work before the .com crash.
The kids homeschooled all the years we lived there. Ah well, there was those 5 months that they went to a small country school, but we decided we liked being together too much to continue that.
To get to our house you had to cross a large creek that bordered our property on the north side. Usually it was dry, but occasionally during heavy bouts of rain we'd get trapped at home by a high and fast flowing river. It was exciting and relaxing to be stuck at home for a while.
After crossing the creek, you'd follow the dirt road past our fruit trees bordering the creek on one side and the cornfield on the other. At the duck pond, the road turned right and continued on to our house. A small creek continued to border the road on the left.
Before crossing the creek to go the house, you could go into the wonderful animal barn where the children loved to play. I loved caring for the baby animals that were in the stalls filled with nice clean, golden straw, and occasionally I got to milk our Jersey cow, Buttercup. Buttercup originally came from the dairy across the road from us. The dairy sold her to us because she only had 3 good teats, and therefore they couldn't use her. There were several cows to choose from, but Steve chose her because, as he later told me, "She was the most beautiful cow at the dairy." I always felt that if Buttercup was a woman I would have been jealous of the admiration Steve had for her beauty!
After visiting the barn and seeing Buttercup the Jersey milk cow, Patches our large Nubian wether goat, Dolly our unshorn sheep, and Beauty our little Nubian nanny goat, you'd turn around and head toward the house.
A small footbridge spanned our small creek that ran in front of the house. It was the bubbling sound of that brook that we went to sleep to every night from spring to fall, as we laid in our beds after a long day of work and play and listened.
It was also in that creek where the children played most days. They caught and released crawdads, dragonfly naiads, and all kinds of other creatures. It was where the animals, domestic and wild, got their drinks of water. Oft times the children would catch buckets and buckets of box turtles and with sadness release them every evening.
If you could make yourself walk past the creek, you'd follow the sidewalk to our big front porch that was the full width of the house and about 6' wide. A porch swing was usually in use on the left, with some child upstairs on the balcony. Entering into the house, you find yourself directly in the dining room, with a gorgeous soapstone wood stove on your left. That wood stove is my absolute favorite, and I long to buy another someday.
The kitchen had a HUGE pantry, about the size of a normal bedroom. It was full of all of the basics. The rest of the house was like a typical big-family house: 6 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a nice sized laundry room (with a window with a great view!), and an attic the full width and length of the house. It was an ideal house.
There was a shop the size of a smallish house (upstairs and down), and the kitchen of the original house on the property hooked together by planks spanning the divide. The shop had been used by the Amish to cut & sand their wood, while the kitchen was used finish the wood. A small sawdust shed was out back.
Our large chicken coop bordered a HUGE garden that was probably about a quarter acre in size. On the other side of the garden was a pond fed by the creek that ran into it.
Going the other direction, there was a turkey coop that was smallish but nice. A large tobacco barn was on down the creek a ways, past the rows and rows of wild raspberry bushes.
Down the piece a ways was a "hidden valley". It was the most peaceful place, surrounded on all sides by woods, with a bubbling brook bordering one side.
If you followed the logging road up on the hill you'd find a beautiful meadow. I hear there is a house there now.
I do believe that those years that we lived in Kentucky was a gift from the Lord, to remind us how Adam and Eve must have felt in the Garden of Eden years before.
After 5 years of living in our part of Eden, Steve and I felt it was time to move on, and that is when we moved back to Utah where we were, for the most part, raised. And here is where we've stayed. Someday, though, I hope there is another farm waiting for me.