Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Life is a Journey

It will soon be time to say goodbye to our 62 acre farm that has been our home for 15 years.  We started here with a 100 year old house in need of much repair, an old barn that deperately needed a new roof and a lot of optimism. Our love of the property with its 15 foot waterfall along the driveway blinded us to the reality of what might would be required to modernize the old house so it would be comfy and cozy.  In fact we had originally planned to build a new house in a different location but we loved the setting of the old house that overlooked the barn and large garden area.  Two massive trees provided shade from the summer sun and there always seemed to be a pleasant breeze on hot afternoons.  The decision to keep the existing house set in motion a 5 year journey of renovation, rebuilding and discovering talents and skills we didn't know we possessed.

Our new farm is 2 miles of bouncy, back road from our original home in the woods.  We commuted 30 minutes one-way, back and forth in our faithful Toyota truck.  In very rainy or snowy weather the commute was impossible since part of the road was creek bed.  It was either flooded or frozen making travel nearly impossible.  On those days we had no choice but to stay home.

Over time we reframed entire exterior jenny lind walls, replaced roofs, replaced floor joists and tore down assorted additions that did not work for us.  We replaced all the plumbing, all the wiring and built our kitchen and bath cabinets.  We installed a water system which automatically pumps water from our spring, to our cistern, and into our house.  Once we had hot water we moved in.  Inside finishing continued for another 2 years.  We slept in whatever area of the house that had a spare spot to fit a bed.  We had a "temporary" kitchen that lasted for a year and a half.  The upstairs bedrooms were the work area and housed lumber and tools.  There were no stairs.  Fortunately there was ground level access to the upper floor.  One summer Don built the stairway, using creek stone to make a unique access to the upper floor.

Once we decided to raise dairy goats and chickens, we began another contruction period, adding various sheds, coops, small barns, and fences.  Now that we have a functional homestead it is time to move.  Isn't that always the way it is.

Our move is local. We will just be a lot closer to town with easy access.  At this stage of our lives we decided it was time to simplify and downsize onto a property that would see us into our old age.  We will still have dairy goats, a garden and an orchard.  We are enjoying planning new facilities, a new garden,  and working on projects again.  In the near future we will have to sell the farm into which we have poured much blood and sweat.  It will be a sad day in some ways but change is a spring board to new experiences.  We are both looking forward to this next phase of life.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


As the name implies, this has been a very intermittent blog, nearly two years in fact since my last post.  It seems as though I just ran out of things worth saying.  However, 2016 brings some exciting news.  We are moving Twiggity Farm!  We moved to West Virginia 20 years ago following careers in the earth sciences.  In a somewhat spontaneous, think with your heart and not your head decision, we bought the most backwoods, off-the-beaten path homestead we could find nestled (or maybe more accurately, crammed) into the steep hills of Roane County. From the very first day of the move we realized this was going to be an adventure of epic proportions for this now ex-suburban couple.  But before we look ahead to the future, here is a glimpse of our first homestead where we lived for 5 years.


More driveway.

Our 7-sided house.

The "facilities".  The only facilities.

Our kitchen with matching 1930's gas and wood stoves.

The bathing facilities complete with gas burners.  Buckets were required for "showers" although in summer you could parttake in a refreshing outdoor shower.


Driveway in winter.