Wasting no time in 2012, I want to share the news that Bedlam Farm is for sale. When I began the blog in 2007, I promised to be open. A few days ago we signed up with Preble Realty in Salem, N.Y. to list Bedlam Farm for $475,000. Chris Preble says if we want to sell a property, it must be realistically priced. Eighteen months ago, when we flirted with the idea of selling the farm, the list price was $650,000. A good chunk of realism. The farm is up on the Preble website, for those who are curious. Since the news is spreading quickly in Washington County, I didn't want to keep it from the people who read the blog.
I love the farm, obviously, more than I can say. Maria and I found each other here, and I started taking photos and wrote six books here. I broke down here and put myself back together. Hard to top that. Rose and I weathered so much here, and then Maria came. I spend almost every penny I had on restoring the farmhouse and the four barns, all of which have new foundations and are in great shape. I never worked on a house before and I am so proud of the way this farm has been maintained. Here, I learned to honor this old farmhouse and live in the world. But it is time to move, to change. Maria and I were not ready to sell the farm before. We are ready now.
We are staying in the area, and of course keeping the donkeys, dogs, cats and chickens. I have no intention of giving up my blog, photos, or books about the animals and my life here. Just the opposite. We have found a smaller farm outside of Cambridge, N.Y. and we hope to buy it once Bedlam Farm is sold. It has a bunch of great outbuildings, including a horse barn for the donkeys, a great Studio Space for Maria, a tractor barn that would make a great study for me, and best of all, a donkey door so Simon and the girls can stick their heads in and visit me while I am writing. The house has a stream and a big hill where we can walk every day with the dogs (and the donkeys can come also). The house has been on the market awhile, and we want it.
Why the move? Several reasons.
- We want a simpler life. We don't need so much space – 92 acres - and so many barns and buildings for the small number of animals we have. Organic farmers or people with sheep, horses, or even llamas and Alpacas will have what they need and more. And two of the barns can be offices or even living spaces. We picture the new owners as being passionate about animals and the natural world. No better place than this for that.
- I want to be able to mow my own lawn. Picture me on one of those tractor mowers with a sun hat, Izzy and Lenore tagging along. (Not Frieda.)
- The outbuildings in the new farm will allow Maria to have her studio and also an art gallery, and keep on doing her work and her shows.
- I'd like to try some creative things – online, e-books, along with the paper books – and would like more financial flexibility. I am successful and fortunate, but publishing has changed and so has my income. That's being open too. That is not a complaint. I want to be able to have more time for my work, keep up the blog and photography, and offer both for free. I want more creative freedom. It is not a retreat, but an advance. Moving will help me keep my life.
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote that we are not only born when our mothers give birth to us, but life requires us to give birth to ourselves again and again. We love this new farm, and the gateway it will provide us for the next phase of our lives. It feels completely right to me, and to Maria as well. It seems oddly fitting that Rose died just as we made this decision. Her work was, in fact, done here.
So on with it. Crossing to safety, I think. I've learned that when things are announced on the blog, they happen. Big Mojo. I bless Bedlam Farm for all it has brought me, and I can't wait to love the next place. I believe our wonderful and lovingly maintained farm will sell soon, I believe we will be in New Bedlam Farm (that's the name) soon. I am learning that if you really want something and work hard for it, you can have it.
So I am imagining it, and I see it. So is Maria. Wish us luck on this next chapter. And believe me, the adventure will only be richer and deeper.