Tour of the Farm: Part II
To follow up with our tour of the house, let’s now take a spin around the property. While the original plot was around 60 acres (Original in the sense of a decade ago when the state bought it. Not original original, of course.), our little piece of paradise is a narrow strip of seven acres running along Rt. 29. If you’re driving by, it’s the long, fenced pasture with the outbuildings and house at the North end. I know many of you miss the cows. I absolutely promise you we’ll be populating that field. We just need to do a little fence repair and have working power and water first.
We have five outbuildings: two barns, two corncribs, and a little cottage/workshop-thing. For the most part they’re in fairly good condition. I’ve walked through my fair share of barns standing only due to baling twine and a prayer. Ours are looking pretty good for their age, which in the case of the big barn, isn’t actually that old.
The largest of the outbuildings is located furthest from the road. It’s approximately 80’x30’; five bays with a hay loft, another 3-bay equipment-port, and a huge animal run-in area at the back. I’d guess it was built in the 1930’s or 40’s. We’re bound to find something with a date on it, likely near the sign that says “Do NOT turn on the lights!”. My old pickup truck and horse trailer have already taken up residence inside. Since I don’t think either has ever seen a garage in their respective existences, I’m sure they are thanking their lucky vehicular stars I’m finally treating them well at their advanced ages.
Across the drive from the big barn is the newer corncrib, probably erected around the same time. It’s one of the round wire-mesh with a roof types. This has already been repurposed as Chicken Fort Knox. I’ll introduce you to the flock another day. Heading back toward the road is the other corncrib. This one actually is old and called out in our historic easement as requiring preservation. It’s pretty solid, other than the roof peeling off like tin foil. Add one more item to the “fix quickly” list. Someone parked a 1940’s Allis Chalmers round baler inside. The tires have rotted off, so that’s not going anywhere soon. There’s a similar vintage McCormack combine back in the big barn.
Next door is the dairy barn, which can be seen easily from the road. The two-story section is also historic, but the cinderblock addition and silo came later. I’m thinking we’ll pretty it up with wood siding at some future date when we’ve recovered from paying to make the house habitable. Jason and I might have a vision of putting a rooftop deck on the silo and hosting star-gazing parties up there. Mary Jane might think we’re nuts. Not sure yet what we’re going to do with the cottage-thing. It leaks like a sieve and chunks of the rear wall are missing. I guess we could stick things in it that we don’t like.
We’re lucky that the well is relatively new, not contaminated, and the pump only needs a little maintenance. A few years ago, we put an offer in on another farm, with the condition that the owner replace the well, seeing as the existing one was contaminated and completely inaccessible due to an addition being built over it. The realtor informed us it was our opinion that wasn’t to code. No, it really wasn’t. They didn’t like that answer, but I digress. Anyway, no need for a new well here. It’s located way the hell on the back of the property, however, and I’m not sure how that might affect things, since our easement also states we’re not allowed to dig more than a foot in the ground without a state archaeologist present.
Yeah, the entire property is an archaeology site. A Native American archaeology site. It’s a surreal experience when your purchase contract has an “if you dig up a body…” clause in it. Seriously. Poltergeist, anyone? Thankfully that’s not happened to any residents yet, that we’re aware of (speak up now if you know something we don’t!) but we’ve heard that arrowheads and other small finds have not been uncommon. At this point, we might find Jimmy Hoffa. Can I also add for posterity that I was completely convinced we had a pond in the woods? I mean, I was fangirl-squealing over my visions of picnics by the water with our own geese and ducks waddling by. The mental images were very detailed. We do not have a pond. We have a drainage basin that masqueraded as a pond and broke my fangirl heart when it dried up, my pond-fantasies along with it. Oh well, I’ll just have to content myself with the babbling creek at runs behind the house.