Well, the past couple months sure have been eventful. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
Bad stuff happened
I referred out all my clients and I started a new job in October. It was with a marketing startup, and I thought it would be my dream job. Well it quickly unraveled. Things didn’t go as planned. I had to leave what was a completely untenable situation – financially and mentally/sanity-wise. It was a huge bummer, I really wanted it to work. It just was a bad fit. I was really, really disappointed and down.
Then our house got broken into and both our laptops were stolen. It was a bummer because yes, laptops cost money and also because it felt very violating to have our things rifled through (my clothes pulled out of drawers, our mattress flipped) but more of a bummer because I hadn’t backed up in over a month and lost tons of files (and hundreds of photos) that can’t be replaced.
Lessons learned, got an alarm system, on auto backup now. At least the dog was okay and I wasn’t home, right?
Then good stuff happened
Y’all know it is my dream to have a homestead with dairy goats and to live off the land as much as possible. Well, the same weekend that I was reeling from the fact that I had no work (and was scrambling to see if I could get a few of my clients back on board since I referred them out), my dream was literally handed to me. Anna, my yoga teacher training teacher, casually mentioned that her fiancee had a farm in northern Virginia, and he was looking for someone to live there to take care of the property. The farm was sitting there, unused, and he had to travel up frequently to check on things and maintain the land and the house.
Oh, and he wanted someone to live there and farm. And have dairy goats, to keep brambles chewed down and mow the lawn. Oh, and he wanted them to live there for free. Seriously? I got goosebumps all over. I came home that night and talked it over with Jimmy and he agreed to go see the farm. It’s in the mountains outside of Winchester, Va., which also happens to be where my BFF Genevieve lives! So wait, I get to live my dream AND live in the same town as my best friend! Eeeek!
We went to see it on Saturday. We are moving there in the spring. I am so ecstatic.
The house is awesome – he built it himself 30 years ago – lots of it is from reclaimed wood, or else wood from the property that he cut on the sawmill there. It’s heated by firewood, there are tons of south facing glass windows, an open floor plan on the ground floor, a HUGE basement for projects of all kinds, a big root cellar, and tons more. Yes, the only way upstairs is via a pulldown ladder – building a new staircase at some point will probably be a fun project.
Here’s a tour of the house, minus the basement.
I didn’t get a ton of pictures, but the land is just beautiful. It’s 31 acres, much of it wooded, but with plenty of plantable and graze-able land. There’s a creek on the property right near the house (you can hear it from the porch). There are two decks that overlook the gorgeous mountains. His kitchen garden and herb garden are ready to be planted (cover crops now). There are dozens of raspberry bushes and several fruit trees.
There’s a huge barn full of tons of stuff, a sawmill on the property, farm equipment, tractors, a dump truck, a front loader. It’s a turnkey farm, basically. He made a living as an organic farmer there in the 80s – selling vegetables to restaurants and the farmers markets in DC. The property is totally amazing. We are so grateful for this opportunity – talk about a Godsend.
The plan is…
To fix a few things in our Norfolk house and rent it out, and move up there in March or early April, when the weather will be better and we can build fences and start working the ground. We’d like to get goats in the spring, but would not start milking them til the following spring. We’ll also have chickens and bees, likely. I think some of the woods would be perfect for hogs but that’s probably a few years down the road, yet.
Since we’ll be able to live so cheaply (and if my plan works out to pay off our debt before we go), Jimmy will be working on the farm full time, at least at first. I’ll still be doing my thing with clients online, and can hopefully cover expenses for both of us. Eventually, I’d love to have the farm be totally self-sufficient and pay for itself through a CSA, cheese and soap business, etc. We plan to live there for a year and see if that lifestyle is really what we want, try to save money, and hopefully buy the place.
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We are so excited – check out the pictures and let me know what you think!