Trish and I bought this 200 acre abandoned farm on 3 July 2008. We had been looking at it since Oct of 07, but all we saw was that dreaded word – potential. It was horribly overgrown with junk – acres of multiflora rose 12′ tall, patches of Ailanthus trees where nothing else would grow, fields of broomsedge, hawthorne and blackberry. The woods were mostly just pasture volunteers with poor growth. The farm had been mostly abandoned for 40 years, and completely abandoned for 10.

Sunset from Top of Hill

Sunset from Top of Hill

But the “potential” was there. It had about 1.5 miles of frontage on the Little River. From the several bald knobs in the upper pasture there are incredible views off to Buffalo Mountain and beyond. The bottomland has deep silty loam soil. All the land, when soil tested, showed it desperately needed lime and phosphate, but otherwise had good tilth and nutrients.

Neglect can be better than bad management – the woods hadn’t been touched in 70 years, and in some cases longer, whereas most all forests in Floyd seem to have been high-graded or clearcut in that time, or are now just mono-culture plantations of white pine. Although no lime had probably ever been put on the land, neither had herbicides nor pesticides. The biggest draw, though, was that several large tracts comprising several hundred acres adjacent to this one had recently been put under conservation easements, protecting them from future development. As our neighbor, Earl Frith, says “you know, we have the potential for something really special here”. Again, the dreaded “potential” word, but he was absolutely right.

07-complete-acreage-looking-ne

This historic farm was slated to be divided and developed by its owners and we didn’t want to see it happen. So we acted as “conservation buyers”. We will restore the farm, build a new home here and put the land under a perpetual conservation easement so that we can create something special down here and know that our collective efforts to preserve open land will carry on after we are long gone.

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