We found our forever farm!!
After 3+ loooooong months we finally sold the house last week. I can finally stop worrying about that. Now a whole new kind of anxiety is setting in.
We move on September 29, which gives me a whopping 2 weeks to pack! Ack!
I am being uncharacteristically anal about the whole thing – colour coding boxes and labelling like a mad woman. Box by box our little place in East Van is slowly transforming from a home into just a house again.
It’s bittersweet, but I’m glad. It will make it easier to say goodbye.
The farm definitely falls into the diamond in the rough category.
The farmhouse was built in 1892, which likely makes it one of the oldest homes in this part of Canada. Thankfully the character of the home hasn’t been abused; it retains many of the original features and feels like a turn of the century farmhouse.
Unlike other places in Canada, like Southern Ontario where my hubby is from, century-old farmhouses are a rarity here. We feel so blessed to have had this one find us, and so close to the city at that.
There is a 40′ x 50′ barn with a double hay mow, multiple pens and a greenhouse on the south side.
EVERYWHERE there are blackberries run amok. It will take a herd of goats and a small army of sows to root them out, I’m sure.
However, under the brambles there are sour cherries, hundred year old apple trees, hazelnuts, grapes, roses, magnolia . . .
There is a tiny crick running through it, leading to a perfect spot for a future pond, shaded by willows and more hazelnuts. There is a gravel road for bikes and pickup hockey games, a sunny south-facing patio. There are fenced pastures with soil that springs back with every step, full of dandelions. There is a deep well full of sweet sweet water. A small meadow in a tiny birch forest, perfect for picnics. The huge vegetable garden is drenched in sun. Buried beneath the weeds I spotted rhubarb and rich soil.
It is going to be a lot of work. A LOT of work.
We have a season of serious pruning ahead of us, followed by four or five years of the same. Nearly every woody plant in sight needs a major renovation. The hazelnuts have grown into huge thickets, the apple trees with knuckles like gnarled old men.
As for the farmhouse . . .
All I can say is thank goodness my husband is a builder. Jeff specializes in heritage restorations in the city, and our window company will be able to have perfect wood replicas of the windows made to modern energy standards. We are lucky that we can look at this tired, well-loved and worn home and see it for what it can be again.
It is teeny-tiny – only 1300 square feet. (I think that’s probably generous.) The front half of the house is original, one and a half stories and has two “big” rooms down and three bedrooms up. The back half of the house is an addition, from perhaps the 30’s, and contains an open room with the furnace, kitchen and bathroom. There is a covered porch on the north side and a weird little drop down on the south where another porch used to be. It is strange and quirky and bears the fingerprints of 120 years of families.
I love it.
I feel so blessed knowing we are going to be able to breathe new life into this beautiful old home, and do so properly. We are going to start on the master bedroom and chip away from there. Little by little, we’ll get there.
I have so much to learn about being a farm girl. Farm insurance, farm tax status, all the regulations surrounding livestock and selling food, the practical issues that come with living on a well and septic system, the long drives, the colder winters . . . All these things are both daunting and exhilarating.
I can’t wait to get to know beautiful, historic Fort Langley, get some chickens busy in the fields and watch my son settle into the best kind of childhood I can imagine for him; one full of fresh air, wide open spaces, good food, hard work and plenty of trees to climb.
Time to get packing!