Almost a year has passed. We settled on the Farm In Orange, aka “Old Manse”, on November 15, 2019. Christmas blew by us, and the weekends have been wholly consumed with packing the cars and driving back and forth! The house in northern Virginia sadly and slowly empties, getting ready for closing in late April. Almost two decades of memories bulldozed over, all my plantings silently begging me to take them to the farm. Will I get used to the hour and a half commute? Bittersweet moments.
I love the slow seduction of winding roads and the sweetness of fresh country air.
Our graceful old home is sadly in need of so much renovation! As we peel back the rotting plaster we find severed sewer pipes, rotting lathe, earthquake damage, dozens of layers of paint that have completely sealed up the windows (in one way a blessing in disguise, no drafty gaps and the other side – no ventilation)! The porte cochere doesn’t actually have any connected beams or joists.
My midnight jaunts with a little Woodford Reserve out on the balcony above, to lay and star gaze, have luckily not caused any cave-ins! So much to do. The attention deficit disorder has reared it’s pesky head. I have picked a corner in which to focus and start plastering.
Before and after in my corner…
Soon we attend our first farm equipment auction – I am pining for spring, the earth, and fresh green shoots poking their heads up through my dark red Davidson clay loam!
Saturday mornings when everyone is sleeping in, and all is quiet, I immerse myself in Zillow exploring the valleys and rolling hills of Virginia. You would find me looking into barns, researching used tractors reading up on green manures, dreaming of the day that it would become reality. The reality of taking all the efforts and lessons learned from planting every square inch of my suburban yard to a sustainable farm. Somewhere that my dog eared copy of Gaia’s garden can lay peacefully on a shelf, in well deserved retirement, where it can gaze across green lush acres, the results of the content graciously given from it’s pages.
I was lured by carefully crafted photographs and well written descriptions of perfectly restored southern estates, only to find the land had the wrong slope or that the rail road bounded the longest length of the property (not the peaceful destination of my imagination), and even worse, that there was no water. On one of these jaunts, my sister and I decided to stop by a vacant property that was conveniently along the way. As we rounded a stretch of ancient boxwoods the beautiful green fields unfolded in front of us presenting a gradual southwest facing slope gently rolling up from a sparkling lake fed by two springs. Absolute Perfection. The land grabbed my heart. An offer has been made, a website started, and this week The Farm in Orange is legally born.