When we bought the farm, we were looking to live a different kind of life. The goals were lofty: create a better world by producing food for our community; strive towards sustainability; work hard; feed each other; produce as much of what we needed as possible.
Here in Troy, we ran a horse-powered certified organic vegetable farm for 8 years, and shifted more into tractors for the final 2 years. It was a very diverse operation, including at various times beef cows, chickens for both meat and eggs, as well as every vegetable you could think of. The land lends itself to this kind of diversify. The rolling hills, bordered by seasonal streams make excellent pastures; the soil of statewide importance, mostly labeled as such because of the slope, grows good hay; and the prime agricultural land that surrounds the homestead are a friable, silty-loam that produces ample amounts of beautiful and delicious organic vegetables.
The original house, built in 1830, was not in great shape when we bought the farm in 2007. We had it torn down and removed, fearing lead contamination, and built the house that stands there now. The retaining wall in the back is made from granite salvaged from the original foundation. Many of the posts and beams for the timber frame were cut from the woodlot on the land, pulled out by draft horses, hewn with hand tools, and raised by our community in 2010. The two center posts were hand carved by us: a red oak leaf and a celtic knot. We tried to build a healthy home for our family and the earth. We didn’t use any pressure treated lumber, instead choosing rot resistant hemlock. The insulation is blown in cellulose. The roof is metal. We made the interior doors as well as some of the furniture. Some of our choices were more expensive and more time consuming, but the goal of long-term sustainability and our desire to add unique touches helped to shape the space. Of course, those choices also delayed the completion of the house. It’s been a slow but rewarding process to watch it come together over time. I expect you’ll enjoy figuring out the final steps.
We added a glass greenhouse on the south side of the house soon after it was built. The glass is double paned, with rubber gaskets between each window that prevents leakage. There’s a ridge vent and two side windows for ventilation. The season in there starts and ends with onions; starting seeds in March and ending with curing and trimming in September. And on sunny days in the winter, we open the sliding glass door and let the heat stream in.
The original 1830 barn (30 x 30) was also renovated, with replaced sills and posts, shingles, and metal roof. When we moved in, there was a pile of sawdust on the ground, and when we cleaned it up we found a newspaper on the bottom from 1974. We tried to keep its character while still making it a useful building. It held our vegetable business: 4 x 6 walk-in cooler, root washer, harvest totes, hand tools, farmers market materials. We’ve stacked the wood floor with tons (literally) of squash, potatoes, and onions.
The 1900s gambrel barn (30 x 60) hasn’t gotten as much love, but it still has a straight roof and good bones. The concrete floor was poured in the 1950s when it was more of a dairy barn. Every farm (and probably everything else) is a process, and you can only take care of so many things at one time. Our hope is that we were able to take care of those other buildings to free up your time and energy for the big barn. We took the first step of having the lead painted exterior removed.
Even in its less than ideal condition, that big barn housed many horses and cows for us. We put in semi-permanent fencing and a hydrant for daily use (especially in the winter), and we have enough 2" woven-wire electric fence tape for rotational grazing. In the barn are two electric fence chargers, one tied to the grid, and one with a solar panel for when the animals were far enough away that we wanted to ensure a healthy charge closer to the fence. We filled the barn with hay most summers, with over 1000 square bales cut from our hay fields. Between the pasture and the hay fields, we were able to feed 4-5 horses and up to 6 cows all year round.
Our situation has changed; now we are moving on and would love to find someone to tend this land in the same spirit that we tended it. We had a steep learning curve as many farmers do, and made a real life for ourselves here. Those treasured lessons and unforgettable memories showed us that this property has so much to offer; far more than we could take advantage of once our personal path started to alter. We look forward to the next steward of this farm taking the property into its next phase, benefiting from the fruits of our labor and gleaning even more of its great potential. With hard work and a creative mindset come fruitful rewards. We hope our good luck wish brings you extra blessings on top of your earned outcomes.
Being located close to the MOFGA fairgrounds and that the town of Troy just passed a local ordinance making it easier to sell food to your local community, the location of this farm is a great one!
This Hand-Hewn, Post & Beam, Tall-Posted Cape was erected by its community in the old-fashioned Barn-Raising manner in 2010. It awaits finishing touches (the last of the paint and trim) but has an open floor plan centered around its two-flue chimney, beautiful wood floors, and hand-carved accents in the beams. It is on a full, concrete foundation with walk-out access. There is a propane-fired on demand water heater, two wood stoves, and a heat pump. It also has fiber-optic internet already installed! The first floor has the kitchen, dining room, living room, full bathroom with washing machine, and attached glass greenhouse. The second floor has three bedrooms, landing, master closet, and a future full bath (which currently has the flush installed). It is shingle-sided and has a standing seam metal roof.
Priced at $355,000
There is equipment for sale separately. 1950 Farmall Cub with cultivation tools, lesche bed shaper, barrel root washer, potato harvester with conveyor, bed roller, broadcast spreader, old grain drill, manure spreader, horse-drawn equipment (hay wagon, disc harrow with hydraulic wheels, spring tooth harrow, leather harnesses), and more.