Vincent and I pulled up to Story Road in a Subaru, borrowed from my dad. A “For Sale” sign shot us a look at the entrance to the property, tempting us–don’t you want to buy me? Don’t you want to take on a huge off-grid, homestead project even though you have no idea what you are doing? Doesn’t that sound like a jolly good way to spend the next years of your life?
Trees loomed overhead and rain poured down through the soft canopy. We walked over a concrete slab, water gently running below it and arrived at an old shed, gently locked by twine. Seemingly, we were in the middle of nowhere. Although, really, we were in a town called Sparta in Livingston County. I had known of Livingston because I go to a meditation center in Springwater, New York. I have lots of good memories of walking in silence and drinking many cups of tea while reading books on Buddhism.
Opening the shed door, it smelled comforting, like cedar and mildew. A lone lawn chair sat, stoutly, in the middle. I could picture the 80 year old person who sat in it. A worn out hat, maybe a gun for hunting, a nice, cold Budweiser, maybe a book on birds or the local newspaper. I don’t know who exactly, but someone who went here to be quiet. The shed invited contemplation. It seemed like a good place to shelter, to dwell, to listen to the rain. This place had possibility. I could feel my millennial flaws kick in: I want to Instagram everything! Oh God. This is exactly why I needed a place like this: to not Instagram everything.
And it quickly became apparently that we couldn’t stop our joy. We wanted to explore all 1.8 acres. To the pond, around the pond, near the back by the roosters and chickens of the nearby farmer. I wanted to know all the trees. I was forest bathing. I could feel the rain on my face. I could hear the frogs calling out love songs to one another. I loved it. Vincent loved it. But, how could we possibly make this work? Financially? Time wise? Working on the land wise? Travel wise?
We stayed for a couple days in the area: at a tiny off grid house in Watkins Glen, drank wine, cooked burgers (ran out of solar power), kayaked, walked, saw a waterfall, met with some very helpful county officials, met with the enthusiastic real estate agent and then on the car ride home: made an offer.
Today, while we were both standing barefoot in our own garden back in Buffalo, not yet bloomed sunflowers looming eight feet over us, we got the call. Our offer had been accepted. We, two sort of young, sort of old, hippie/artsy/French/American/dreamy/logical entrepreneurs were going to own land in the Finger Lakes. It has a six foot deep pond, no running water, no electricity, no septic system, two clogged wells (one ten feet and one seventy feet) and lots and lots of possibility.
And so here we are. Day zero. Project “Story Road” begins. Please follow us @RustySeeds on Facebook or Instagram or subscribe to this blog to stay tuned.
Maybe one day we will build something that you want to visit, where you can forest bathe, meditate, build a fire and smell the smoke of all our dreams burning on the fuel of hope and hard work. Until then.