Yesterday some pretty amazing things happened. I went with Bonnie, Oliver and The Logger to go check out a farm in Pawlet on the border of Wells that they were thinking about buying. The land is owned by The Larsons, who I had met a few nights before when they were invited over for dinner. I thought the Larsons were amazing people and they seemed to really be interested in helping Bonnie and Oliver succeed. The land is not on the market, there are no brokers or real estate agents involved and they would sell it for the same price they bought it for. They are dairy farmers and they think that a partnership with vegetable farmers would strengthen both businesses. They would trade dairy for veggies and use some of the land for pasture, which provides great fertilizer for the plants. When they left the house after dinner Bonnie asked me what I thought of the whole thing and I asked her if we could move tomorrow.
The farm is about 30 minutes from here on a back road to Wells. It's a very quiet road and the views are so spectacular. The house is right by the road, which makes it easy to get to in the winter snow. Especially because the Jeep could not make it up the first big hill in such deep snow, so we got out and walked around the property.
Those tracks in front of the Jeep are from a snow mobile.
Oliver first led us into the woods and The Logger stated that there was no good logging wood in this section but plenty of fire wood. Oliver then took us to the better of the two barns, which he planned to make into a WWOOFer house. I took a look at it and said "no way." He talked excitedly about the changes he would make and how great it would be for summer housing. I asked him what he planned to do for a bathroom and said there would be a composting toilet and a shower head "around the back." No way Oliver, I don't mind pooping in the woods, but I draw the line at a crappy shower after a long day of work. But then again, I can't speak for all WWOOFers and I'll be in Dorset again by summer (using a crappy indoor shower).
Ummm. But there are no walls on that thing. And how do you explain the phantom pants?
The other barn is so structurally unsound that it's falling apart and just needs to be taken down. It used to be used for Dairy, but now it might be good for scrap wood. Part of the structure seems ok and might be saved, but for the most part the farm needs a new barn. It was at this point that my camera battery (which said it was full when we left) died. No more pictures. Arg.
"Stop wasting my battery Oliver."
The last part of the tour was the farm house, which Bonnie was not at all excited about. Honestly, from the outside, it's an ugly house. When we went in, it was still an ugly house. It had so many weird spaces and all the walls and ceilings looked like wooden floorboards, which was really odd. The place also smelled a little uninhabited, because it had been for a long time. The rooms were pretty small and the whole house has only one bathroom, which is right next to the kitchen. However, there is a great fireplace downstairs in an amazing room that was added on later. After a very long debate in which everyone was interrupted several times Oliver finally made a plan for renovation that sounded pretty great. He would move the kitchen to the living room space, knock down a few walls, and put a sink and toilet upstairs in the kids bedroom. My only input was that he should draw out a groundplan and really look at the measurements to make sure there was room for everything, including his two huge refrigerators and three bay sink. It sounded like a really exciting plan, but it could end up being an expensive one. I told him that if he bought the farm, then the Logger and I could live there this season and start the renovations while he farmed his last season in Manchester. He asked me how many day a week I worked for the theatre. Six. Ha.
From there Oliver wanted to take us up to see the rest of the woods and see what kind of trees were there and if there was good logging. Bonnie said that she and Talula were too cold to trudge around in the woods, so she called the Larsons and asked if Bonnie and the kids could go over and see their place and say hi. I decided to go with them, because the Larsons have horses and I would pass up a freezing walk in the woods to go meet some horses any day. We talked Guv into coming with us by telling him he could pet the cows and horses. I told him that petting a horses nose was one of my favorite things to do, which it is. Guv agreed, so off we went, leaving Oliver and The Logger to go look at trees.
Talula is not into this whole snow thing.
The Larsons live right across the street on their own huge piece of property. The house they have there is amazing. Apparently it used to be a much smaller house and then they built a larger house right onto the back of it. So the front part of the house is used mainly for interns and one of their sons. It has its own kitchen and living area and four bedrooms. Not too bad, especially if they decide to share WWOOFers, which was talked about a little. Although I'm not sure if I would chose to live with the Larson family over the Levis family, especially because the Larsons eat meat. Boo.
Two of the Larson kids took us out to see the cows and horses. There were two dairy cows, though only one was producing because the other was pregnant. I don't think I've ever pet a cow and I was a little charmed. I've always thought cows were very sweet-looking creatures and these cows seemed sweet enough. I love their big sloppy noses and wide foreheads. They are such oddly proportioned creatures, with their jutting hips and bulging bellies. Bonnie pointed out that it was hard to tell which one was pregnant, even though she and the cow are due right around the same time, about a month and a half from now.
We met one horse, which Guv was shy to pet. It's funny how he was all about petting the cows, because he had done so in the past, but was hesitant to pet the horse, which he has less experience with. I was the opposite. I stuck my hand under the horses nose and let her lick my hand. I love how most horses will do that. It must be the salty sweat on people's palms, but she was also licking the gloved hand of one of the Larson kids. Guv got a little lick. When I told Cynthia Larson about my experience and love of horses she told me to give her my email address because she could use some help. I jumped at the opportunity and could not write my emil down fast enough. How exciting if I finally get to work with horse again. I've spent so much time in farm country Vermont and these are the first people I've met with horses. Yay!
Anyway the farm is beautiful and the house has potential to be beautiful at some point. I'm not sure you could find better neighbors anywhere. Here are a few more pictures I managed to get in before the camera died.
Walking back to the Jeep.
Now imagine that in the fall and summer.
The Logger is uncertain of how to carry something so small and squirmy.