One Way Farmers Can Raise Money
March 14, 2022
Two building lots next to my farm are for sale. While this land is beautiful, it is not crucial to running Miles Smith Farm. If you are interested in the land, check out these links: Three-acre lot Five-acre lot
The sun slid down behind the hills, leaving streaks of red in the sky. As I sat on the front doorstep, watching a crow float over the valley calling to its buddies, from the corner of my eyes, I saw the flash, a green flash, as the sun dropped below the horizon. Not visible when looking directly at the sun (my second-grade teacher taught me not to), I only expected to see the flash in St. Croix, where the sun sets over the ocean, but there it was.
Darkness descended, and the musty scent of melting snow and wet earth came up from the valley. To my left, I saw lights flashing through the trees as a car, a half-mile away, drove up the dirt road that ends at my house. Without nearby neighbors, my panoramic view shows me just what farm founder Miles Smith saw almost 200 years ago – trees and hills. (I can ignore the headlights.) And my heart soars with the crows and an occasional great blue heron that float at eye-level over the valley below.
The 1850s farmhouse that Miles built stands like a castle at the top of the hill. It's a fine old house that needs a lot of attention. Every 20 years or so, we've repaired, remodeled, or added to the farm. We've fixed most of the sills, replaced the roof shingles three times, re-sided the house with clapboards, constructed new farm buildings, and added a farm store to the barn. Now it's time to do more.
I want to build a porch onto the farm store so customers can sit in rocking chairs and watch the sunset. The house needs painting (it always does), and it's time to install a bathroom in the barn for farm visitors and guests, which also means building a new septic system. Those projects, plus other repairs, are calling to me.
Because the farm is begging for an upgrade, I've decided to sell two hillside building lots, one on each side of the road. These lots are beautiful but are not essential to the life of the farm, and they will make stunning home sites.
The thing is, the new houses will forever change the land. I doubt the birds will mind, but the thought of more homes on the road makes me sad. This will not be the first amputation; I've already sold off some woodland. Initially more than 100 acres, the farm will soon be down to 27. But those acres contain the best grazing land for my cattle.
A Home for a Family
At least one family will want to live on a five-acre lot with a view next to my farm. The other three-acre lot with a pond should make someone else happy. I can only hope that my new neighbors will love the land as much as I do.
The three-acre lot has been sold but the five-acre piece is still available.