18 October 2009
the BIG news
Gentle and refined reader, autumn has definitely arrived at Stratheden. The high temperature today was 38F and it was only slightly warmer yesterday. The region has set record low high temperatures in the past week. The furnace has run regularly to maintain 65F inside.
Some trees are now totally devoid of their leafy decor and yet others cling desperately to both the leaf and the green color. The pasture has made a good recovery from last month's mowing and, perhaps because of the cool weather, the weeds have not regenerated substantially. Soon it will be time to spread lime on the fields to lower the pH and seed the cool weather grasses and clovers. If the weather is just a little better, Mr. Fuzzy will plant peas, lettuce, etc. on the morrow.
The astute readers amongst you have queried repeatedly, what is the "big news" that was promised to be revealed in July? This has not been a deliberate tease or dodge, good and patient readers, but was delayed by shenanigans on the part of the seller and the seller's real estate agent. We signed a contract to acquire the 23 acres next door which specified July 15th as the closing date. The survey was changed, the terms were changed, the state's "Consumer Real Estate Settlement Protection Act" was violated by them as well. It almost went to court several times in order to enforce the terms which had been agreed upon by both parties. Finally, on October 2nd, the deed was done.
You are certain to inquire why we felt the need to become 'land poor' by adding 50% to the size of the farm. Well, rest assured it is not because we will ever farm it. Whereas our original acreage is nearly all ridge top, the new land is all a valley, rocky, damp or even swampy, and of absolutely zero value to any conceivable agricultural pursuit. Why on earth, then, did we buy a rocky swamp? The layout of our original plat is in the shape of a golf course dog-leg; its long and skinny with a bend right in the middle. The acres just acquired fill the inside of that "vee" shape and we looked from one leg of the V across the other acreage to the remainder of our farm on the other side. Now, I will no longer suffer frequent nightmares about a MacMansion in our immediate view.
Another benefit is the great difference in the ecosystem of the swamp as compared to the ridge area. It also provides slightly more frontage on the creek, an undisturbed and nearly pristine riparian area (for which our county is famous). One of the small valleys originating on the ridge runs on to this adjacent area and becomes a year-round tiny stream, fed simultaneously by run-off and seeps/springs. This wee stream then empties into the creek.