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My  DIY  House and Garden at the Farm in the Pines


Everyone has dreams. I dreamed of a farm...with raspberries.... where I could do just about what I wanted everyday. Where I could play at being an artist, grow delicious and healthy vegetables, build stuff and let my imaginings come to life.  In 2016, I decided to do it- at 67 years old, why wait?  

Once the decision was made, I scoured real estate listings on-line. The property must be more than one acre, be within 3 hours of my home, and have a house with good water and a solid roof. And it had to feel right. When I first saw this property, surrounded by huge pine trees, with a one acre clearing and a house that was dilapidated beyond description, I have to say I was a bit hesitant. It's beautiful but maybe more of a challenge than I thought I could take on. In the days after the initial preview, I slowly changed my mind and fell in love with the land and the possibilities. The Farm in the Pines is a great joy for me- to maintain and improve, to develop and share, a place to really feel at home.
2016 was mostly about the house, establishing a raspberry patch and lavender garden. The renovation was exhausting and exhilerating and mostly complete within a year. 2017 saw a garden room addition to the house- a potager of sorts- for fresh vegetables, perennials and outdoor seating for guests. In 2018 a perma/no till  planting of market flowers, squashes and herbs was added. It's hard to stop as long as there is ground to fill!
My name is Sandy and I have worked as an interior decorator, couture seamstress, contractor, house flipper, herbalist, baker and Realtor. This is the story of how and where all the pieces of my life come together, naturally.  
2019 Newsletters from the Farm
3 April 2019   ~ Finally , spring has arrived and I'm like a whirling dervish with so many plans and projects on my plate. I hope you have some pretty daffodils to view. It seems like this year is colder than last and things are a bit late in getting started here.

I hadn't been to the farm since last October and it's been on my mind that the berry canes needed to be pruned while the plants were dormant. Last year it took Rick and I two short days to do the whole field. The house is still winterized so we can't stay there and we weren't looking forward to  two trips. My friend Paula told me there was still snow but after a week of temps in the low 50's and rain for a couple of days, I thought surely the snow must be gone, so I started planning a trip to the farm.
It was a very happy occasion that Rick's daughter Paige decided to move back to our area after being in California for 8 years and arrive the week we were going to the farm. She'd never been there and was eager to go. Blair, Rick's youngest daughter, was up for the travel and a friend of hers, Elaina thought it would be fun to come along. So our hope to get the field done in a day seemed possible.

Never underestimate the vitality of youth!  Though the day was sunny and mild, there were still some patches of snow so I gave out sheets of plastic to lay on. Each girl and Rick took a row to cut while I went behind them with the wagon to clear the field of cut canes.

We managed to do the whole field in under 2 hours- amazing! The girls then helped clear some fallen branches from the new area I'd like to use for the road stand. While they were carting the branches, they saw bear prints in the snow (why aren't those bears in hibernation???) 
It was a fun day. For Rick and I, having our girls with us at the farm was a dream come true.

Blair drives a pick-up truck so while we were at the farm we loaded the hot frame and brought it home. It took a couple days to reassemble on our home patio and wrap with plastic and it's all ready for spring plants. I had started some seeds- tomatoes, statice, cauliflower, cabbages, delphinium, sage, rosemary, thyme- under the lights indoors and already some of them (herbs, onions, cabages and cauliflower) are living in the hot frame. My next round of seeding will be April 15th, mostly for dryable flowers which will be grown at the farm. Last year I processed 700 plants through this very modest hot frame and I'm eager to see how many I can do this year.

I joined a Facebook page called  Sow Generous . Everyone on the page has made a committment to grow enough to generously share with others. I love seeing how other gardeners start their plants, what their gardens look like and for the opportunity to widen my community of people who also like to play in the dirt.

(picture from iStock)

Toward the end of winter, I started to get a little bored waiting for spring. I was "crafted" out and my usual activities seemed routine and didn't quite fill my day. I decided to watch permaculture videos on Youtube so I could learn more about it. No joke, there are a lot of videos. But I learned so much and I'm even more over the moon with this concept of garden design AND lifestyle. If you'd like to watch a short, succinct, defining video which explains the permaculture process, click

Just a reminder, this is the 50th year since the Woodstock festival which was not held in Woodstock, but in Bethel NY, just 10 miles from the farm. There are many plans for celebratory  events throughout the area. There is also the Woodstock museum which chronicles the famous concert. Click here to see what is being offered.  If you come 'round for any of the activities, please let me know so we can get together.

I wanted to share a beautiful poem by my friend Blythe at Barbolian Fields. She heralds spring with  perfect awe and delight! Click here.


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