Welcome to the inaugural faux farm blog post. I haven’t written a personal blog since my livejournal in 2006 so this is exciting, and I will try to keep the vague song lyrics to a minimum. It has been nearly 2 months since we (me, partner, cat, two dogs) moved from Philadelphia to a rented old farmhouse right beside the main tourist corridor of Amish Country. To start things off we don’t know what we are doing. The house we rented had been vacant for months, and along with a barn and two sheds literally full of crap, the previous tenants also left behind 11 chickens, and a feral cat colony. Before I get into how we have attempted to tackle these various issues in future posts, I feel compelled to address a very common sentiment offered from parents, family, & friends. “Why are you putting the effort/ time/ money into dealing with these issues? You do not own the house. It’s the landlord’s problem. “
Fair point! But let me add some slightly defensive context.
One draw to this place is that it is owned by a school, not a person. Our landlord is just the school grounds manager, and it seems so far that about everyone on our street has worked for Lancaster Mennonite (the school) in some capacity over the years. No one has a huge stake in what we do here other than we keep it up and pay the rent. I like to think of it as our self guided teaching farm.
Also, take in mind our previous residence in the warehouse. When Brady got there in 2013 it was a creepy loft in an upcoming neighborhood full of the remnants of what I’d call hedonistic raves, put on by the party collective of previous tenants. You can go down that rabbithole HERE. The place was a blank canvas and Brady was told upon moving in he could do what he wanted with it. The 2000 sq ft loft turned into something that would have cost double or triple what he and eventually we were paying without us having to be responsible for all the problems that come with a deteriorating building left to disintegrate until a developer renovated or razed it.
Similar story here with less cynicism & gentrification! We are paying the same amount we did for the loft and we get a barn and two sheds full of crap and more rooms than we know what to do with. It was cheap because it was a mess, and it is now ours to do what we want with it for however long we want. There is more freedom afforded than with a typical rental situation, and bides us some time as we pay down student loans and save for our own place.
The purpose of this blog is not some higher goal ala Farm City or Animal, vegetable, miracle. Since 2010 I have been wanting to recreate some small part of what the good parts of being at my grandparents farm felt like (sans obnoxious family members and beef cows). I’ve always wanted a large garden. I want to be able to provide sustenance and rely less on things mass produced or picked 2000 miles away. I want to enjoy the outdoor space around me without a guy with spray paint all over his nose scream singing “Feliz navidad” with the occasional “PUSSY!!” interjected. This always seemed like a far off idea until a global pandemic undid the tethers keeping us in Philadelphia and my mindless quarantine zillow scrolling landed on something that could be just right. The goal here is to document the missteps, the unexpected, and the occasion progress. I hope you will join me!
Chicken Count: 9
Cat Count: 9 today
Recent Google searches:
Rosie Perez Soul Train
Can you Euthanize a Cat (more on this later)
How long is cat gestation
Two stupid dogs theme song
Smuckers Farmstand sugarbaby watermelon
Smuckers Farmstand Heirloom tomatoes
Home grown Zoodles with peanut sauce, carrots, holy basil and cilantro
The Ice cream selection at Weis Markets