For the last three years or so, my hubby and I have spent most of our Saturday mornings in the Vancouver suburb of Langley. We go to the livestock auction to buy and sell chickens and quail, hit Otter Co-op for breakfast and chicken feed and then enjoy our coffee while we drive around ogling farms.
Pretty much every morning you’ll find Jeff coffee in hand, perusing the MLS for our dream farm.
We both have a pretty clear vision of what our dream farm looks like. We’ve even found it a couple of times . . . only one problem – the price tag was in the many millions of dollars. Seeing as how we don’t even play the lottery, the chances of us winning are pretty slim . . .
So. What to do.
We’re keeping the faith. We keep looking. We trust our forever farm will find it’s way home to us.
Saturday last, while on our regular morning drive, we went a little ways out of our normal search area to look at a two acre parcel for sale. (Within our budget, egads!!!)
Turns out, like most properties in our budget, it was a complete piece of crap.
But across the street . . .
Another For Sale sign . . .
Five acres. An old farmhouse. A glimpse of a tin-roofed barn in the back . . .
Could it be?
We held our breath and wondered aloud what we did before mobile internet and smart phones while we searched for the MLS listing.
1892 original farmhouse, built by the family who first lived here. The nearby salmon stream and a local elementary school both bear their name.
The price? High, but . . . in the realm of possibility – no lottery win required.
I dreamed of the house all week. Of my chickens in the fields, the garden full to bursting, my son playing in the crick.
But I’m realistic. My husband is a builder. I know what an old home can mean. I know what it can cost to make it safe and livable.
When we opened the door during our viewing this weekend we were prepared for the worst. Expected the worst.
Instead, I could barely contain my gasp of pleasure and surprise.
It was lovely. Small, cozy, quirky, original . . . lovely.
Things didn’t get any better as we walked the property. It hadn’t been worked in many years, the fenced-in veggie plot sprawling with weeds, the pature thick with dandelions.
But . . .
Each pasture was fenced, mostly flat, soaked in sun.
The old barn was starting to moss on the north side and the greenhouse was full of brambles.
But . . .
Everything was solid, sturdy, cared for.
We suddenly found ourselves facing the stomach-turning anxiety that comes with being presented with an opportunity to turn your dreams into reality.
We are both terrified and elated.
Are we ready to move to the country? Jeff says for him it will be like going home, but a farm girl I am not.
I grew up in the city and don’t know what it means to deal with wells and coyotes, septic systems and power outages.
I am used to tending my vegetables to the music of car horns and sirens, the bus roaring by every five minutes, the distant hum of the sky train, the sing-song harmonies of my neighbours arguing in Cantonese.
And then there is the logistics.
How do you prepare an urban farm for sale??? Do I blanket my precious soil and in a monotone sea of sod? What about the potatoes in the ground? My dozens of tomato starts? The chicken coop? The chickens????
The thought of walking away from the soil we have lovingly tended for over four years hurts my heart.
But then . . .
We know we want to live in the country. Seeing my son toddle around the fields of the farmhouse filled me up to bursting with joy. I can envision tree-forts and hide-outs, a big dog at his side, dirt-bikes and bonfires, ball hockey on the gravel lane . . .
Leave now or leave later, it’s only gonna to get harder . . .
- wanted : one forever farm (slowfoodsmama.com)