Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Farm History

Let me begin with a little background information. Our farm was originally bought by my husband Jack and his close friends Mel and Liz. The original property,called Bethlehem Downs by its previous owner, was 37 acres of farmland and woodland that included a contemporary, loft house with pool and hot-tub,
an A-frame guest house and a 200+ year old two story log cabin built over a freshwater spring. This spring is one of several that feed a beautiful pond. A four stall bank barn with attached woodworking shop and green house are visible from the road and are adjacent to a 3 acre pasture.
From farm photos

A dilapidated run-in shed stood in one corner of the pasture...as home to many mice, rabbits, squirrels and several undesirables such as raccoons and opossums. The agricultural extras included an aging orchard, blueberry bushes, a blackberry/raspberry patch, and a 50 X 50 vegetable garden much in need of some TLC.
From farm photos



Several years after purchasing the main property, they were able to obtain thru auction an adjacent tract of 80 acres of woodland.

I came into the "farm family" in 2002 and immediately fell in love with the place. I found that I could not wait for the end of the week to once again be able to spend time there. I soon learned my way through all of the trails and began to have a vision for the future of the farm. I dreamed of a rich, fertile garden producing enough vegetables to sustain us thru the winter. I dreamed of home-baked apple pies and jam and muffins loaded with fresh, tart blueberries. Jack envisioned a pond teaming with fish, a green house full of herbs, and seedlings and Bonsai plants. We saw a vision of our future with children and grandchildren and friends....enjoying natures's wonders and the bounty of our earth. And so we set to work, magnetizing the future that we wanted for the farm.

Our visions became clearer and more attainable with the news that Jack's sister and brother-in-law, Becky and Mike were thinking of re-locating from Reno, Nevada back to the East. I think it dawned on both Jack and I at exactly the same moment that the perfect situation would be for Mike and Becky to move to the farm. And so we set out to figure a way to make that work for all of us. We offered the possibility and spoke with Mel and Liz. Being both generous and easy-going, they were willing to give our idea a try. And so it was decided that we would sell 5 acres to Mike and Becky for them to build a home and re-establish their lives in the farmland of Central Pennsylvania.

Up to this point, our farm had been a weekend retreat, a place to hike, bike, watch birds, and generally just relax with friends and family at the end of the week. We had dabbled in a bit of agriculture, with no great results due to the fact that we could not devote the necessary time. In November of 2005, we began the project. We demolished the old run-in shed, tore down the aging pasture fence, and renovated the horse stalls in the barn. We reduced the number of stalls in the barn to 3 so that they would be larger, the fourth and much smaller stall would be used as a tack room. We added sliding stall doors, stall mats and equipped the barn for horses. We had the pasture fence rebuilt and had a new run-in shed delivered from Lancaster.

We were on our way to becoming a real farm......on our way to realizing our dreams.

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