Taming the Beast

In my last post, I told you that we found our property on landwatch.com, which we did. After we found this piece of property, we needed a realtor.   Finding a realtor who is familiar with farms and / or rural property is important. If you are in the Louisville, Kentucky area, as are we, I highly recommend using our realtor, Julie Scott Beam with Kentucky Select Properties (jbeam@kyselectproperties.com). Full disclosure here, Julie is my sister, however, she is a fantastic realtor, with years of experience, and an expert when it comes to farm / rural properties.

After taking possession, we began working on the projects to make this long neglected property marginally habitable. We needed to begin to tame the beast!  First on the list was removing the old, rusted, overgrown barbed wire fencing. To complicate matters, this fencing was covered in plants and vines, including lots of poison ivy. Long sleeves, long pants, gloves and applying a poison ivy barrier like Ivy X is a must when dealing with this pervasive plant! Trust me, my blistered and itching wrists, which were the only thing not covered the first time, sidelined me for more than a week from making progress on this project.

Other immediate tasks included uncovering and cleaning out the old, overgrown barn and clearing the one large field at the summit of the farm. My husband, Stuart, used his chainsaw to cut away the trees and plants that had sprouted and grown too close to the barn and, since we didn’t have any farm equipment yet, we hired someone to clear the field. Then Stuart and I began removing years of junk from the inside of the barn.

Though the aforementioned were the initial tasks, I think the favorite first project for both Stuart and me was cultivating a quiet and comfortable retreat on our small pond. This small pond is in the middle of a grove of cedar trees and is literally a small circle of water. We immediately and affectionately named it “the hole.” To me, the hole was, and is, magical. It is secluded and rough and teaming with frogs, butterflies and dragonflies in the summer. In the winter, it is an ice and snow covered wonderland!

One of the first things I found there was a deer antler. For me, that antler symbolizes the wildlife that surrounds us. Sometime early in our work at the farm, when we were still calling the small pond “the hole,” Stuart suggested that we call it “15.” I grew up on a golf course on the 15th hole and we had the old marker from that tee, so our daughter, Megan, repainted the sign, Stuart put it up, and ever since, that pond is called “15.”

      We built a small pavilion at the edge of the pond. It is a great place to take a nap and / or read a book on a summer day.

The old barn, which had absolutely no charm whatsoever, was our biggest initial project. It had been put up in haste, I would guess, and had absolutely no frills. It was a rectangle wood frame with galvanized metal siding and roof, which was in a state of disrepair. My husband found a group of Amish craftsmen who would patch the holes, fix the roof and fabricate new doors for us to secure the building. It still wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done. Our next task was to make it more attractive. Stuart painted the exterior walls black and the doors and roof red. We also ordered a cupola from wayfair.com (who knew they had cupolas?!). Stuart painted it to match and installed it.