Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Why would two professionals at the height of their careers (and income earning) start daydreaming together about making a radical change, taking a leap, and taking on new risk to buy a farm? Excellent question. 9 months into this journey, we have asked ourselves this a few times. But mostly, our question has been: when can we start?
Bob spent many summer hours helping his grandfather work his farm. Working side by side with his taciturn grandfather, Bob learned the skills of construction and masonry, machinery maintenance and repair, gardening, animal husbandry, and woodlot management. He also gained a strong work ethic that carried him through his military and civilian careers. Through moves and career advances, returning to New Hampshire to run a farm remained a retirement dream.
I grew up in the suburban Hudson Valley. While my parents were the first generation to move out of the city, my grandparents still remembered life skills from their childhood (Ireland and Ukraine) and so my family threw themselves into making the most use of our modest lot, gardening and canning and making pickles. Many summer afternoons were spent weeding the large garden, and many summer dinners featured fresh-picked tomatoes, still warm from the sun. This experience proved sufficient for me to qualify as a Agriculture Extension Agent in the Peace Corps. And so, after college I had the blessing of spending two years under the warm southeast Asian sun, learning to plant rice. For many I think there's a nostalgic desire to return to places where we were happiest and though I had major wanderlust for most of my adult life, returning to the Hudson Valley and having some land and goats started to seem like an excellent final chapter.
So what started out as us each sharing one-off observations about farm animals we love, or favorite garden crops quickly evolved into us full-on daydreaming together about owning a farm. Sitting on our couch in our sunroom in Fairfax City, VA, we spent a fair amount of time envisioning our dream farm, where we'd locate the barn, what trees we'd have in our small orchard... When the opportunity came to make an offer on Bob's grandfather's farm, we decided to give it a shot. After some family negotiating and moving money around, we drove up to New Hampshire in a snow storm to sign the paperwork.
We now find ourselves owners of a 28 acre farm in need of a lot of work. Which we are itching to do. But we still need to finish out a couple more years of professional work here in DC, fatten up those 401Ks, and do everything else to get ready for our next, probably favorite, adventure.
So while we'd prefer to be fixing fence lines and building chicken coops, we've had to satisfy ourselves with other tasks. We've been working on developing the farm's logo (yay!), building a website, working with an architectural firm to design the new farmhouse, and lining up family and friends to help with all the work that's waiting for us.
What started out as random daydreams on our couch is now a reality... and we can't wait for the real work to begin!