We’re leaving the farm.

Sunset at the farm

The farm house at sunset

Tractor

Tractor

Tractor

Tractor

I have some sad news, friends. On August 4, we will be leaving the farm and moving to the Charlottesville area.

We are so disappointed that things didn’t work out here. The main reason we are leaving is that we can’t get a reliable Internet connection at the farm. Before we moved, we called Comcast to make sure we could get a high speed connection here. They said yes, and so we packed and headed up. I make my living online and need a high speed connection to do my thing.

After fighting with them for 2 months, we finally were told no. The best we could do was satellite internet (our connection got an F- on the speed test). The connection isn’t fast enough for me to do what I need to do, and especially not to use Skype, which I use with every client.

I’ve driven an hour and a half round trip to Winchester (nearly every day) to sit in a coffeeshop or library and use WiFi. Which of course costs gas, time, and money. I can’t justify the expense of renting office space and paying for a high speed connection in town just to be able to make money. We’re losing money being here, and so we’ve decided to cut our losses and move on.

We were most sad to have to give up the chickens (did you know that landlords laugh in your face when you ask if you can keep chickens at their property?). Besides really loving the little guys, we spent hundreds of dollars on chicken stuff in the weeks before we finally made the decision that we’d have to move. But you know what? Things have worked out. The chickens went to our favorite local farm, a multigenerational family farm on 550 acres in West Virginia. We buy all our beef from them, and they are just wonderful people. The chicken coop went to an ex-Navy guy who’s trying his hand at growing his own food. And the electric poultry netting and solar energizer were picked up today by an older lesbian couple who raise “illegal chickens” as well as alpacas in the mountains outside Winchester. I love the farming diversity we’ve discovered up here.

So now, dear friends, we have the daunting task of repacking all our things and moving during the hottest month of the year. To top it off, on Saturday, I fell in a ditch and badly sprained my ankle. I can’t walk on it, and am learning how horrible crutches are. Did I mention the house here has a ladder instead of stairs? Goodness, it’s been a trying few months. We’re a little tired, more than a little hot (went through that heatwave without air conditioning), and really disappointed.

Here’s the but…

But, we’re also very excited about relocating to Charlottesville. We love that area – it has country charm while still being a happening city. There’s a vibrant local food scene, an awesome yoga community, and hiking and outdoorsy stuff galore. I know we’ll fit right in. We are going to be renting a house in Lake Monticello (the lake is awesome, and we’re only 15 minutes from Cville). The yard is too shaded for a garden (with the exception of a few pots on the deck), and no chickens are allowed, but I’m thinking that just because things aren’t going to look the way I thought they’d look at the beginning of this year, that doesn’t mean anyone’s failed or that anything is wrong.

I may try to start a community garden in the (very suburbish) neighborhood. Bring a little local food flavor right to our own front door, and maybe a little education to some folks in the meantime. I’ll definitely get to start teaching yoga again, and taking classes, which I’m extremely excited about. I’ll have access to a pool and a gym again so I can start working out around other people (which, I’ve found out, is something I really need). And we’ll be closer to both our families, and in a place a little more convenient for friends to visit. Isolation is fun, but then it isn’t after a while.

Big changes are ahead. Better things are around the corner. Stay tuned, folks.

Tractor

Comments

  1. says

    I’m so sorry Amber! That sucks! I always loved reading about your adventures on the farm. It is something my husband and I hope to do someday. However, the lack of internet is always something I think about.

    Yet another reason I hate Comcast!

  2. says

    Good luck, Amber!

    We’re tentatively eyeing property within an hour of Cville, but the Internet thing is also a HUGE thing for me. I have friends in Floyd, and the citizens there started a co-op to bring fibre to their little mountain community. My friend Gustin owns 33 acres on a mountain and has faster Internet than my suburban home – so that’s also a consideration.

  3. Holly Burgess says

    Aww sad news but the new adventure sounds great! What is your husband’s plan up there? Wishing you both the best!

  4. Emily C says

    So sorry to hear the farm didn’t work out, but looking forward to stories of your new adventures in Cville. Best wishes (and mend soon)!

  5. says

    I’m sad to hear that you’re leaving the “area” so soon, but I think the decision makes sense AND I know you will have the same tremendous impact on peoples’ lives here, there, or anywhere you decide to go. Good luck with the move, and I hope your ankle heals up quickly!

  6. Sarah says

    Good luck on your new venture, and I’m so sorry that it didnt work out! Moving is always fun (to me anyway) and on the bright side you get to move to a new place and have new experiences. Also, I literally had no idea there are places in America that can’t get the internet. Terrifying.

  7. says

    You know from a Mom perspective I know you learned a lot. The separation from being in my hometown was easier because of the amazing opportunity (if you had moved to Charlottesville first I would have been very sad and not understood) and so this move (because your closer) is a blessing. Plus I like Charlottesville and will love to visit.
    All in all you will look back on the time at the farm as precious but the journey ahead will be full of endless opportunity and potential. I am VERY proud of you both.

  8. Sherry Warren says

    Amber- Sorry things didn’t turn out like you hoped- but I admire your positive attitude and ability to find the lessons in what has happened so far. I lived in C’ville for 3 years (admittedly 100 years ago, but I was just there 2 weeks ago)- loved it a lot, for all the reasons you mentioned. You will thrive there, I know…and will find another place to live that will let you have chickens & a garden, I am confident!

  9. John Norton says

    Hey, this doesn’t have to be your last rural adventure. And by the time you’re ready for your next one, there will be many more rural areas with high speed. Y’all are young – probably too young for isolation. But trust me, it will grow on you!

  10. says

    Amber, my heart just breaks for you guys! (And I want to kick Comcast in its genitals while I’m at it…) I hope the new home works out and starting a garden there would be awesome–I’ll be thinking of you while you’re moving (fingers crossed the heat holds off while you do it).

  11. Sarah says

    i’m so sorry for the way things turned after such a short amount of time on the farm, but i do hope things will be better and brighter as you guys go through this coming transition. i hope you’ll be able to revisit such a venture in the future if it’s something you guys want to pursue, and i hope your revised plans go well in charlottesville :) i’ll be continuing to read from carolina!

  12. says

    While I am so sorry for y’all, Amber, the new location does sound like it ha a lot to offer. A friend said to me yesterday that things don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. I loved that sentiment and wanted to share it.
    Hope the packing up and move go smoothly!