|image from etsy.com|
I toured two small farms in Ledyard, CT after work this afternoon. Both had pretty nice houses (one a very small ranch, the second a contemporary home), both were 5 acres, and both were formerly farms. The first was better than I was expecting - mostly cleared land (under power lines), with several outbuildings, gardens, and blueberry bushes. The second was worse than I was expecting - a giant horse prison surrounded with paddocks that were basically concrete the earth was so compacted.
Neither gave me a warm feeling, despite the fact that the first property came close to fitting the bill. There just wasn't any space to grow or improve. The location of both homes was convenient, but I'm still just not thrilled about the idea of moving back to Ledyard, the town I grew up in. I love the story of the Odyssey and I'm all about ending my story close to home - just not a few streets over from where I started. That's a little too close. Ledyard has that "stuck in the woods" feeling, but at the same time the "I'm surrounded by other houses" feeling. Like I said earlier, not thrilling.
I'm feeling pressured to jump on the optimism bandwagon (and I DO trust that something will work out, and I am hopeful), but today I was feeling like the bandwagon should just leave without me. This is still my dream, everything that I've been working for, and despite the recent disappointments, I'm just not ready to settle anywhere. Negative Nancy's in the house, ladies and gentlemen.
The biggest pressure is certainly coming from myself, and my desire to finally have a home. But I would say the second biggest source is the loan agency. The funding came in today for my mortgage (hooray?) and I passed the final stage of the application process. The bid even came back for the home appraisal to be done in the next two weeks, but that's where I have things stalled. I've been honest with the loan officer, but legally I'm still under contract for the Lebanon farm. The agency is optimistic that if I can find a comparable property in the next couple of weeks that they can hold the funding, make a few minor tweaks to the application, submit a change of address for the appraisal, and (theoretically) close within a month and get started! How's that for optimism? I feel a little queasy just thinking about that form of warp-speed farm purchasing.
(By the way, I haven't told them that I resigned from my job, which puts a minor fork in that plan, but one I can figure out how to resolve).
It's just a lot to take in. Saturday we're seeing another 5-6 farms (yay marathon part II), and after that the property list is pretty slim pickings. We can either wait for something else to come on the market, start searching for properties without a house, expand our search to a county (and try to transfer the loan application), or go door-to-door begging people to let me farm their land. I'm leaning towards keeping my fingers crossed that one of the Saturday properties works out.
I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to do with my life if the whole farming thing doesn't work out. I can make do for this upcoming season, sure, but what about the future? What do I want to do if I can't make my dream of running my own farm business a reality? So far the only thing I've thought of is that I want to take a nap. I'm upset and exhausted and frustrated that I'm having trouble seeing the whole picture.
So, what is it I plan to do with my one wild and precious life?
Eat good food. Surround myself with loving and happy people. Continue to learn and feel inspired. Spend time with my family and visiting friends. Do meaningful work. Accomplish something incredible.
I can do all that without a farm, but I haven't given up just yet.
P.S. Today is my 5 month anniversary of retiring from my farm manager job and committing myself to finding a farm of my own. Each month I've posted a progress report to remind myself of everything that I've done and everything I hope to accomplish in the next month. I've given it thought and decided to skip this month, despite making lots of good progress, because ultimately I feel like I'm back at month 1. Moving on.