Bringing an old farm back to life
When I started this blog well over a year ago I talked a lot about starting a small farm from scratch as our mission. Well now that we have this farm I can’t in all honesty say that we’re starting totally from scratch anymore. A more accurate assessment is that we’re bringing an old farm back to life. Hence the tagline on our latest business cards.
Growth and decay, creation and destruction: I feel like I’ve been in this situation before. The condition of the barn and the garage on the farm remind me of our first place. Although much older, it was a brick house in Poughkeepsie, NY that was built around 1865. It was set-up as a two-family home when we bought it and we slowly turned it back into a one family dwelling. It had great bones but had fallen into disrepair over the years. With the prior landlords in charge, the old brick house did not age gracefully. Wise or not, we ended up doing a lot of the renovations ourselves.
The one thing that sticks in my memory of that time was the sincere appreciation of our neighbors. It was like they were cheering for us. The long time Polish and Italian residents of the street had seen the place fall from grace and were so overjoyed to see a young couple doing what they could to make it beautiful again.
It feels good to come into a community and be able do something positive, even if all you do is paint a porch or fix a broken window. This kind of enthusiasm is not only motivational, it’s contagious.
Finding meaning in memories
Maybe we’re just enhancing the view on someone’s way to work and restoring something that has long been broken in one’s collective memory, but either way we’re effecting change with those who have like-minded visions. It’s much more difficult to create and implement change where precedent does not exist, where you may be forced to challenge those visions and preconceived notions. What stands as historical is easier to save and support. But how do we create new histories moving forward that are also worthy of our support?
I know that I will take into consideration the collective memories of our farm. I’ve heard that prior to the owner we purchased from, there was a truck driver who got into dairy. He bought the farm and was doing well for himself until milk prices sharply fell.
That old brick house in Poughkeepsie, we got into shape up to a certain point and in line with our expectations and we eventually sold it about 7 years later to two happy ladies from Seattle who continued to do even more renovations to it.
With our farm, we will get it into shape up to a certain point and in line with our expectations. We will take the utmost pride in what we do but at some point we may become to old to farm it or other situations may occur requiring us to sell the farmstead. Hopefully we’ll find some new stewards for the land who will want to become noble farmers and run it in their own way for the benefit of the community.
This is just another affirmation that again “it’s about the journey, not the destination.” It also reminds me that the most important work and magic in projects like this happens somewhere in the middle. It seems crucial to remind myself of this from time to time, especially in bringing an old farm back to life. It’s not so much about us and our needs but about those who will come after us and the hopeful legacy we can leave behind for them to build upon in their own journey.
I’ll have some interesting information to talk about on our logo and farm business in a future post. You can get a sneak peek of our new website: Triple Green Jade Farm.
Until then, see you next time… in the journey!