Finding our Farm in the Mountains

| 3/27/2018 9:17:00 AM

Tags: Searching For Farms, Retirement, Canning Shed, Judith Gallagher Howell,

Judith Gallagher-HowellAll my adult life, I've felt an affinity for mountains. They seemed to draw me towards them, and I left their company feeling renewed and refreshed. The Smoky Mountains, in all their mysterious beauty, seemed to move me most. It was always a dream to find a homeplace there, but during my working years, it was just that; a dream. I would spend my work breaks cutting out real estate listings in magazines, of beautiful mountain lands or cabins or farms.

Amid all my life's shakeups, I sought refuge in these mountains. They provided me peace and hope. Then in 2012, I married the love of my life, and we especially wanted to be married in our beloved mountains.

We came back to the area six months later and were blessed and surprised to find our homeplace. We knew immediately, as we drove up the road to see it, that it was "It." We quickly bought it, and then made plans to move there as soon as possible.


What drew me to the property was the fact that it was an old family farm, largely intact. The old farmhouse still stood, there were fields and meadows, streams, an old canning shed, and an old tobacco barn. The owners before us had purchased the property from the original owners, the Grasty's. The Grasty's had built the small farmhouse, raised cows and chickens, canned food from their abundant garden, and raised tobacco.

As we walk our property, we've found the old chicken coop, the fencing of barbed wire that marked the property's borders, and an old springhead. In the stone canning shed, was Becky Grasty's vegetables, put up with pride. We marveled at how many cans were still there, their vegetables still pretty in the jars, and the work involved of putting by food.

3/27/2018 5:31:05 PM

Well written and very heartfelt. I, too, in my chosen career always wanted to just "be home". I also thought it laziness at the time, but now, I realize how lucky I am to have been able to retire at 55. So many others envy that! I have time now to do the things I love - growing some flowers, some tomatoes, and some herbs. I have time to write, crochet, and experiment with new recipes to cook. Recently, I bought a very old cookbook (which I collect) and to my delight, found many handwritten recipes in one of them. As you wonder about Mrs. Grasty, I often wonder what became of the women who wrote these recipes, who were they, where did they live, what were their lives like? There were so few luxuries, you can tell - the recipes call for baking "in a very hot oven, till done". No time, no temperature. Anyway, like you, I am happy to be retired and extremely lucky to be married to the love of my life *for 37 years* and retired for almost ten years. WE are lucky women and I thank God every day for our blessings.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!