Hi. I’m Jen!

I grew up in the DC area (Maryland,) and I lived there until the 2010s, when we rented out my townhouse and moved to West Virginia to take care of my mother. We lived in the Eastern Panhandle, so I was still able to get back to the DC area to work, see friends, etc. We were in WV for about five years before we moved up here to Massachusetts, and I have no regrets! I love where we live!

When we were in Maryland, we had one of those tiny, postage stamp sized “yards,” and when I had bought the house, homesteading was still a dream. It was something I wanted to do some day. We started growing food in that tiny little yard, and we even strung up a clothesline along the privacy fence (it was down low, so that the HOA couldn’t see it and give us grief over it.) We even obtained a small kettle grill and experimented with cooking our food over a wood fire for a while and with catching rain water. Some things stuck, and some didn’t, but by the time we moved to WV, we were forming a vision for our future. We had goals (we had no idea that it would all come to fruition on a 60 acre farm!)

By the time we were able to start building our homestead in WV, we knew what we needed to do, and we worked hard to bring it about. I have a disability, but at that time, I was still pretty strong. We built a large garden and a large dog run mostly by ourselves. Friends would pitch in from time to time. I grew corn for the first time, and I loved it! We were able to put a good dent in our grocery bill back in WV by eating what we grew. We also put in a fireplace insert (wood stove) and started learning about how to harvest and season firewood. In the time before we put the house on the market, we had switched to heating that house with wood, though we had to use the central air at a low temperature, because our cats lived in the basement. (The cats came with us from Maryland and had never been around dogs. Don’t worry–it was a beautifully finished basement!)

When we started looking at houses up here, we weren’t looking for a farm. Just something with five or more acres would do. A farm was a nice thought, a dream we thought was out of reach. Then I saw this place on the real estate website. I had to look two or three times before I understood that I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing: A huge farm at a sick low price!

We weren’t sure about it, but we were interested, so we came and took a look at it. All the while, I was thinking, “What are we going to do with 60 acres?” Why, live on it, of course! The first time we came to visit, we were walking around outside, and Damien had to step away. It was a nice day, so I lay on the ground and just took it all in. I felt so embraced by the land. There’s just no other way to put it. We weren’t sure, so we took some time to look at some other places. We bid on one, but didn’t get it, so we came back and looked at this property again. This time, we hiked the trail up into the woods, and we talked it over. At one point, I said something like, “…when we do this or that,” and he said to me, “Did we just decide to buy a farm?!” I thought about it for a minute, and then I said, “Yeah. I think we did!” The rest is history.

This house was a bit rough. It passed all inspections, except for one. It needed serious cleaning up. It had not been lived in for about three years. The cleaning is all it took, though. It did need electrical work and some plumbing work, but structurally, it was fine. We’re slowly beautifying it, but I noticed that as soon as we moved in, it just brightened up all on its own. It was waiting for someone to love it again!

This house was built in 1940, and we are only the second family to have lived in it. We found traces of the previous owners, and I’m incorporating these small items into our decor. There are three wells (two of them are very small and are actually more like small cisterns.) There are a dozen apple trees, the pond, an outhouse (long defunct. It will eventually be my cannabis grow house,) a peach tree (it has yet to fruit for us,) and they left behind a kitchen compost bin behind the barn, which we still use! The barn appears to have housed two horses or cows, and the back part of it is a long, narrow space. Most likely a chicken coop. It’s now our garden shed. The space where the stalls were is where we keep our log splitter and some of our larger equipment. We do not have livestock, and we have no plans to get any. I’ll get into that in another post.

The detached garage has a really nice apartment over it. That space acts as our guest house and as Damien’s music studio. My own studio is here in the main house on the second floor. There’s a small out building with a car port next to the garage, but that whole thing needs to be torn down. We want to rebuild it, but that’s a project for another day.

That’s enough about the farm. I meant for this post to be about me. Because of my physical limitations, I mainly take care of the inside of the house and manage administrative tasks. I also take care of the animals we do have: currently a dog, Poppi, and a cat, Marbles. I’m also an artist, a photographer, and a writer. I always have several projects going or being planned. I make a little extra money here and there off of what I do, but it’s really just seed money, as they say.

When I’m doing well (more often than not, fortunately,) I help Damien out with the farm work, too. I help gather firewood, I occasionally help with the mill, and I help him build and fix things. The major project with which I’m currently helping him is cutting up and hauling away a gigantic maple tree that a family member had to have cut down. They don’t heat with wood, so they told us that we could just have the wood in exchange for cutting it up! We’ve got enough for this Winter, and probably have a good start on next Winter’s wood, at this point! We’ll be at that a little longer, but we’ve only been going to that site about once a week.

In my working days, I was an administrative assistant. For a while after I left the workforce, I did some freelance writing and virtual assisting, and for the last couple of years we lived in WV, I worked for a wonderful cat rescue. It didn’t pay much, but it was hands down the best job I have ever had. I don’t rescue anymore, but I reserve the right to help any animal in distress! Last year or the year before, a wonderful, black cat showed up on our property. We couldn’t bring him inside while we looked for his home, but we kept him fed and watered, and he lived under the house. Eventually, we found his people, and he went home. That never gets old!

I guess I’ve rambled enough. You can read more about life on the farm from my perspective at https://fivefeathersfarm.blogspot.com . All future posts will be made here, so check back often!

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