This week, we closed on our new farm in Jay, New York. Our little corner looks out over an open meadow, with a striking view of Whiteface Mountain. Right now, it is a house with a nice big, flat yard. The 1890s farmhouse sits squarely in the middle of 2.5 acre property. A few hundred yards past the backdoor sit the jumbled remains of the original farm's barn next to one of the largest boulders I've ever seen. There seems to be an interesting metaphor in the pair. I wonder what the boulder saw in the farm's heyday.
There is also a small, but charming shed. It has seen better days, but the roof seems sound, and I can see how it has been wired for electricity in the past. There is a bit of whitewashed wainscoting left on some walls. Someone once took pride in it. I think it will work nicely as a summer studio/farm stand and winter storage room.
The house itself requires little work. It has already been fully remodeled and even has a new crawl space attached to the basement that could be great for storing dahlia tubers through the winter. This is all a relief- due to the amount of time we need to spend to get the beds up and running quickly. My focus the last couple of weeks has been on figuring things out. How will I till without a tractor or walk behind tiller? What length bed will work best across all areas of the farm so that I can keep uniform lengths of irrigation drip line? Where should I source my compost from? How will I make or procure a walk-in cooler? What will I start seeds in next year when I'm working from the farm and not from school?
Several friends suggested that I subscribe to our town's community newsletter. It is more a platform for sharing information, finding help, and offering up goods for sale to others who may make better use of them. Anyone who subscribes can post ads, spread word of a missing pet, invite the community to an event, etc, and the newsletter comes right to our inboxes nearly every day. The quiet little town doesn't seem so sleepy anymore.
I posted a simple text only ad in the Jay Community Newsletter titled, "Seeking help with plowing and tilling." Soon thereafter I heard from nearby Asgaard Farm and Dairy that they'd be sending their equipment operator over to learn more. We met today, and I was delighted to learn that I have some skills that might be of use to them. Isn't it lovely when things work out like that?
I'm not the best at asking for help. It's a weakness I'm learning overcome. We talked a lot about strengths and weaknesses at the Floret Flower Farming Intensive Workshop. Erin explained how learning to seek and accept help in her weak areas moved her business ahead.
Our first few days in Jay have taught me that receiving help isn't a one way street. There is a lovely exchange of resources here. My need can serve another's need. And, in looking to each other before we look outside, we're supporting our community and building a stronger local economy. Thank you for the warm welcome, Jay!