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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We suspect she is right

Stony Run in the nineties

Bringing us all up to date: Risa and Beloved began searching for "country in the suburbs" in 1992, but their budget was prohibitive. All the real estate agents and prospective sellers had set the bar too high (imagine what it would be like to make this search today!) for a lower-middle-class family on one-and-a-half incomes.

Nevertheless, they couldn't resist tooling along local county roads, wistfully pointing to one dream after another, murmuring: what about that one? what about that one? ha-ha.

But the day came, in '93 when Risa slammed on the brakes and backed up.

"What, what?"

"That one. It's in our price range!"

"How can you tell?"

"See, there are all of five blue tarps on the roof."

"Yeah, it's pretty ugly."

True. It was so ugly and had been so poorly maintained that the real estate agent tried to talk them out of seeing it, and, after they had seen it, to talk them out of buying it.

But there were four bedrooms. That many would be needed for years yet. And an acre. It was easily the one truly decrepit place for five miles in either direction, but it met the single crucial criterion: price. Along with just enough room to sort of homestead, twenty minutes from town, access to a bus route ...

So, despite the nightmare penniless remodeling that loomed, they signed. And paid up in thirteen years.

Beloved harvesting summer squash

Risa gathering beets

Many adventures -- including an almighty "century" flood -- disappointments and disasters, triumphs and joys -- and gardens, fruit trees, ducks, chickens, geese, and even sheep later, the nest is empty. Not that there aren't regular visitors. Four generations of them have added to the memories at Stony Run. Granddaughter, who likes farm chores, is shown here working on her flower bed as her aunt and great-grandfather look on. She regards the place as hers, and we suspect she is right.



Sometimes in my dreams
I still see
my Kentucky grandmother
thin, strong and hungry
holding her egg money
out to me
saying
buy land, Mary,
buy land,
buy land while it lasts
they stopped making it.
-- Tetrault and Thomas,
Country Women: A Handbook for the New Farmer

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