Sometimes This Old Farm Feels Like A Long Lost Friend….
It’s always good to be back home again.
Married four years in 1959,
living on the lakeshore
with a toddler of three and an infant of six months,
we began to look for another, safer, and perhaps more friendly place to live.
Safer was my thinking.
I’ve never learned to swim and
our lakefront home was surrounded on three sides by water.
In addition to the lake at the front, there were deep canals to the north and west. The safety of my young children was foremost on my mind.
We had no preconceived idea about the style of home we wanted to find.
We looked at several places and none of them seemed to be just right.
Someone told us there was an old farm for sale nearby.
Maybe we should check into that possibility.
Neither of us had been raised on a farm.
This was a bit of a stretch.
We approached the owners and learned the farm included twenty acres.
a cobblestone house and an old barn. A local business had planted pine trees to later harvest for Christmas trees at both ends of the long and narrow property.
When we checked it out, we found there was also an old garage, a chicken coop, a root cellar and a corn crib.
We decided to take a look around.
We found the old farmhouse had been built by the sons of the original owners in 1936.
We’ve always assumed that’s when it was constructed
since the date is embedded in the 13 cement steps leading to the basement.
Eventually we learned the barn had been built in 1917.
It was in need of painting along with other repairs
about which we hadn’t yet learned.
After our visit with the owners, we talked on our way home.
“Well, what do you think?” my husband asked.
“I liked it”, I said. “And you know what, I felt like I’d been there before”.
He responded, “So did I”.
It seemed this was where we were meant to be.
This is our 62nd year of enjoying life at Hidden Meadows Farm.
My husband and I were in retail businesses.
He owned and operated an Ace Hardware and Sporting Goods for 25 years,
while I owned and operated a Hallmark Shop for 14 years.
During those years of involvement in retail business, we also found time to raise sheep, for ten years.
Starting with two orphan lambs, a flock of 100 was ours
when we sold them in 1998. Needless to say, we purchased several more, over time, and experimented with cross breeding which enabled us to increase lamb and wool production.
Over the years, we’ve had goats and pigs and chickens. Since we had fenced pasture it seemed appropriate to board horses, which we did, for over twenty-five years.
The pasture also afforded us the opportunity to have horses
for our sons and grandchildren.
We’ve also entertained ducks and geese and peacocks.
(Or did they entertain us?)
Many wonderful dogs have graced our acreage,
including a St. Bernard , German Shepherd, and a Collie
Several hunting dogs added greatly to the enjoyment of our sons..
Last but not least, we enjoy the one we have now, a Toy Poodle.
Yes, there were a few cats too. I seem to remember a rabbit living in the house for a time. But, that’s another story.
When we first arrived, there was an apple orchard
which has now been reduced to four trees.
(They have grown old even though we did not.)
Two pear trees
still produce very, very small fruit.
This year, one tree produced two pears.
(It may be time to plant new trees.)
In the beginning of life on Hidden Meadows Farm, we had a small orchard of cherry trees. Eventually the orchard area became our vegetable garden. Beyond the vegetable endeavor, we had a fantastic, huge wildflower garden. You just can’t get better than that.
There are enough maple trees surrounding the house and barn to hang ten or twelve sap buckets in early spring. Many labor intensive hours were given to the family by my husband.
We always had an abundance of tasty maple syrup.
The years of “Living The Life” which have been given to our family
on this wonderful homestead are indeed a treasure for us.
In 1998, since we both had retired from retail, we purchased a fifth-wheel and made plans to look around this great country in which we live.
When we were considering the original purchase many years ago,
we asked my Dad, who was a carpenter by trade in his early years,
what he thought about the place.
He said, “There’s probably nothing that’s level or even.
It seems solid enough, though.
If I were you I wouldn’t put much money in it,
because you don’t know how long you’ll be living here.”
If he could only have known!
Photography by Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”