Monday, November 5, 2007

A Expensive Leap of Faith

Photos: (1) Pinwheel Farm driveway and "Industry" (white--the current farm house). (2) The "Two Little Houses" which will eventually end up with proper names. (3) The "Brown Barn" in Embers Woods, with glimpses of Pinwheel's "Green Barn" and other outbuildings through the trees.

After talking over the fence since the mid-90's, and negotiating by mail, phone, and in person since early 2005, Bob and I finally signed the contract for me to purchase his property to the west of the farm.

This more than doubles the amount of debt I'm carrying.

It only adds an acre to Pinwheel Farm.

It will drastically increase the unpredictability of my cash flow and work load, since it includes two very run-down rental houses with histories of BAD PLUMBING.

So how does this deal make sense, anyhow?

But no matter what the out-of-pocket cost to purchase this property, it is cheap compared to the consequences of someone else purchasing it. A nice little subdivision next door, while perhaps more attractive in a magazine-picture kind of way, would inevitably create problems at the farm. First, the loss of the grove of trees--hence to be known as Embers Wood, after the man who planted the trees--would significantly change the microclimate of the farm, increasing summer evening temperatures at the farmhouse drastically since the trees proves several hours of late-afternoon shade. Then "city-folk" neighbors would inevitably find something to complain about from my operations...the rooster's crow, the barnyard aromas, the clutter of a working farm. Security lights would interfere with photosensitive beings' natural rhythms. Spray drift from chemically manicured lawns would affect my tomato crops. The pressure for me to be incorporated into the city--something I want to avoid at all costs--would increase.

Aside from avoiding the nightmare of a housing development next door, the acquisition of this property opens up some really exciting possibilities for Pinwheel Farm's future.

First, a circle drive will be put through, extending the farm's existing driveway through Embers Wood and back out to North Street on the west side of the rental houses. No one will ever have to back down my long, curvey driveway onto North Street again! Deliver truck drivers will rejoice.

The property features a nice big metal building, the "Brown Barn," at the back, just a few yards from my main lambing area and existing "Green Barn". The expanded area for hay and feed storage, animal housing, machinery, etc.--with easy access for delivery trucks--will be an immediate asset. In the long run, part of it will be converted to a horse barn, an critical step towards my long-time dream of farming with horses.

Embers Woods will be a lovely place for visitors to park in the shade, have a picnic, let the kids play on the playground that will be built there. Better parking will make on-farm retail sales more convenient for everyone.

The two rental houses open up many possibilities for a small intentional community to arise "around" Pinwheel Farm in the future.

Buying it is a huge leap of faith--the next few years will be intense, as I work off-farm to pull this off, and concurrently build the farm business AND renovate the rentals. But the rewards should be great, for the future of the farm and its entire community of life, especially our human residents, visitors and customers who support the farm in so many ways.
Your suggestions, ideas, prayers, energy, business, and support of any kind are welcome as we embark on this new journey in the life of Pinwheel Farm.

1 comment:

Catlady said...

There is a time and a purpose for everything...

Now, in hindsight... Taking on 12 alpaca at this moment in time would have been just too much...

BC hugs, Prayers, and all the support I can give you from the distance....