These are a couple pictures of the new land we get to lease that is directly adjacent to our property. I can't remember if I've talked about it yet, so I'll just tell the whole story. When we bought our property the original farm was around 100 acres and we got a 29.7 acre parcel, the piece that had the pond and lots of different smaller fields for farming, each with their own character and flavor, and one perk site. We fell in love immediately the first time we walked it. It was like when I met Stuart. It felt familiar, infinitely interesting, like something I could try to care for and love forever and that would reward me equally. And some bonus baby points was that it had a creek that had water even in the 2007 drought and a spring tucked into a forest edge. The parcel right next to ours was another 30 acre plot, a beautiful piece of land with one really big field, like 10-12 acres, and the rest was in hardwood. Beautiful older hardwood. Also just one perk site. No pond. We really wanted this other parcel but just couldn't afford it and we thought we had ample space on our site.
Right after we bought our tract, we talked it over and realized we should have tried harder to acquire the large field to help us with our rotation. Take out a bigger loan. It was good soil and near enough to our pond to irrigate. We have since heard from quite a few locals that the field was a treasure trove full of arrowheads; when they were young they would wait til the field had just been tilled and rained on and take a tin can and fill it up with the discarded weaponry. It butts up right next to the spring on our property, so it makes sense. The call was made to see if the land was still available, but the owner had sold the rest of the property, all 70 acres, to a big conventional farmer. The hardwood was clearcut a few days later. We were really sad with a bit of sobbing from yours truly, but the new owner turned out to be quite a fellow and became our landlord of sorts, letting us live in a beautiful abandoned old farmhouse (for free!!!) that must have once been the finest estate in the county. That man has since passed away; he was one of the hardest working men we have ever known, always passing our property on his tractor, working 12 hour days even in his late 60s. He loved the land despite not appreciating the trees. We would always ask him if he would let us buy the field but he would respond, "I'm in the business of buying, not selling." Understandable. Right before he died, he was starting to come around to us, warm up to us. He said he would be willing to look over a proposal to buy the property. We had a plan to write it up and it was in the works but he had a heart attack after a long day in the field. Bushy Fork will never be the same without him but he stills lives on, his presence permeating the fields where he spent so much time.
His son has now come around too and has said that we can lease the land from him and maybe down the road if things work out buy it (!!!). Awww Shucky Ducky!!! Stuart and I have been praying to the gods of farming for this to happen. There was a lot of jumping up and down after that telephone call as we've been wanting this for years now. So we are super excited, but also overwhelmed, especially this year with Ruth. Not the best timing, but I guess there never would be just the right time. It is a BIG field to care for, and the goal is to do things proper around here, so we need to be really smart about it. However we don't really have the time right now to sit down and make a plan, a crop rotation, walk it off into different plots, etc. Plus it is going to need a huge deer fence which is going to be pricy. Like probably 4-8 grand. So before we put that up we'll need to check in with the owner and see how serious he is about letting us eventually buy it. It's calling for a few cover crops to build back up the organic matter so we need to till it and seed it with a grain drill and then we can go from there. But just finding the time to till and bushhog such a large track....AAAHHHH!!!! Instead, Ruth and I just walk around it with that incredible feeling of awe at the amount of power the soil holds and gratitude at the fact that we get to use it at all.