Yes. We've moved!
Things have been pretty busy over the last 9 months since my last post. That's an understatement! As you know, we sold our home last spring. August 31 we moved into our new farm in Bruce County, just outside Mildmay.
In addition to dealing with the sale of our home, we also dealt with emptying my father's home and closing its sale in June. Finalizing his estate has continued and we will soon have closure come tax time. Saying goodbye to both homes has been bittersweet but time moves on and circumstances change.
When we first moved from the city our plan was to have a place where we would have room for the goats (from my school program), a few chickens, and a vegetable garden to provide us with some fresh produce. We wanted a place with character, some land, and with a fairly close commute to Kitchener, as we were still working. We found that in our last home, an 1864 Victorian farmhouse just a 60 minute drive away. Before long things started growing beyond our original plans and we retired a year earlier than expected. We had sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, geese, turkeys, bees, pigs, and a farm shop to sell our products, all on our small homestead. Despite numerous renovations and even renting land farm a neighbouring farmer, we realized that we either needed to move to a bigger farm or stay put and scale back completely. So the search began.
Although we had been casually looking at available properties for quite awhile, we began seriously farm hunting about a year ago. After looking at several unsuitable properties and even considering moving hours away, we were about ready to end the search and stay put when a beautiful property became available nearby. We had driven by many times over the past few years and, even though it seemed out of reach for us , we had a look and put in an offer. It wasn't accepted. Six weeks later we tried again and we got it! Unbelievably, the property met all our requirements and we were able to afford it. It was nearby, had plenty of land, and the house had character.
I've always loved old houses. I restored my 1903 Victorian home in Kitchener and we restored an old country farmhouse. I love the character and quirks of an old house so a new place would at least have to have character. Maybe a stone house? So you can imagine friends, family, and customers cringing and shaking their heads when we told them we were moving to a home built in the late 1970s! Anyone who sees our new property now realizes why we moved. The house is perched on a hill at the end of a long curving lane surrounded by forested hills and fields. The home itself looks old with its stone and board and batten facade. Inside the timber frame construction of cedar and antique barn beams creates a lodge like atmosphere complete with a soaring stone fireplace, sunroom, open concept living areas and an inground pool. Until we moved in we thought that there must be some mistake that this was happening and when we finally did move in it felt like we won the lottery!
Of course there has been a lot of work to do. We had all new electric fencing installed. The barn needed to be extended and majorly updated. Outbuildings were added and existing ones were renovated. Mechanical upgrades were made to the house as well as minor renovations and decorating. We added new front steps, set up an area for a vegetable garden, and planted some fruit trees and berry bushes. This spring we will be adding more fencing, grading, staining all the buildings, and working on the vegetable garden. Soon we will be able to produce our own hay for our animals.
We have been familiarizing ourselves with the house and property. We have been able to walk and explore the fields and bushes, even cutting a tree for Christmas. The property is heavily forested with pnes, spruce, larch, maple, cherry, ash, willow, and birch. The hills bring to mind the Irish countryside. The fields are gently rolling surrounded by bush. We also experienced two fall storms with tornadoes in the vicinity. The animals have settled in although the goats have taken a bit more time to adjust. We are looking forward to experiencing the spring and summer at our new place and continuing to make it our own.
Our farm store was set up immediately upon moving and September was one of our busiest months ever with old and new customers supporting us. Mildmay has proven to be a very welcoming community and we feel at home.
I know that things will not be the same as at our old farm and we've already been making some changes. We will be expanding our herd of Icelandic sheep and raising only free range roasting chickens. Of course we will still have free range eggs, pastured Berkshire pigs, heritage turkeys, geese, and honey. You will also see some changes to the preserves that we will be offering. Unfortunately, we will be revisiting our prices as so many costs have risen including feed, transportation, butchering, and utilities. Know that we will continue to provide high quality food at reasonable prices. Please check out our website as we will continue to update product availability and I will be posting more about our new farm. Send us a message or come visit. We would love to see you and have you check out our new farm.