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? That was my way of thinking.
I’ve never learned to swim. And we were living on the lakefront, surrounded on three sides by water. In addition to the lake at the front, there were deep canals to the north and west.
We had no preconceived idea regarding the style of home for which we were searching. Looking at several locations, none seemed to be the answer.
Someone told us there was an old farm for sale nearby. Perhaps we should look into that possibility.
Neither of us had been raised on a farm. So, the idea of buying a farm was a bit of a stretch.
Approaching the owners, we 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.
Checking it out, we found there was also an old garage, a chicken coop, root cellar and corn crib.
We decided to take a look.
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 at the top of 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.
In 2020 we are celebrating our 61st year of living 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. I owned and operated a Hallmark Shop for 13 years.
During those years of involvement in retail businesses, we also raised sheep for ten years.
A flock of 100 was ours when we sold them in 1998. At that time, 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.
Over the years, we’ve had goats, pigs and chickens. Our pasture 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 have not.)
We have two pear trees still producing 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.
There are enough maple trees surrounding the house and barn to hang ten or twelve sap buckets in early spring. Many labor intensive hours have provided us with wonderful maple syrup for the family. The hours of labor were, of course, provided by my husband.
The years of “Living The Life” which have been given to our family at this wonderful homestead are indeed a treasure.
When we were considering the 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.”