03 June 2007

Introduction to Future House Farm

Future House Farm, the place, does not in fact exist—yet. Currently our operations are located on a 3½ acre piece of rental property in Downingtown, PA. We live in a sizable 3rd floor apartment in a massive house built in 1906. There are four other occupants: the landlord, the maintenance man, and a couple who live on the second floor. Each of these people contribute in their own way to the experience and mission of the property, kind of like a co-op without a charter or elected officials. I’m sure Meg and I will talk more about the house and it’s residents as this forum builds, but for the sake of letting things unfold on their own accord we’ll keep their definition uninvolved.

Before we moved into our apartment, Meg and I sent applications to schools in hopes of earning PhDs; knowing how academic institutions suffer mood swings, we also developed a plan B. We worked often together as tutors at the university writing center and one evening we constructed the following proposal:

Plan B - If we both received rejection letters from all of the schools we applied to, we would become roommates. It made sense; we were great friends who spent a fair amount of time together hiking, working, drinking, and so on. So, sharing the lives of misplaced academics seemed to be a logical step, but if we were going to be roommates, we needed a house and it needed a name.

The name was easy, El Rancho Rejecto. We know it sounds ridiculous, but it stuck, even with its embarrassing adulteration of the Spanish language. The guidelines for house hunting were also simple: 1.) We had to get the hell out of West Chester. 2.) Meg wanted a place to ride her bike without having to drive. 3.) I wanted the freedom to piss off the back porch with the piece of mind only found in a rural setting.

Criteria we had not included in our search were gardening and livestock. A few months into our search we found an apartment advertisement that said “—great for gardening and chickens welcome in moderation.” A year after signing the lease we have three chickens and a 1200 sq. foot vegetable and herb garden.

Gardening had begun as a dedicated interest, but has now become what we want to do for a living. Our mission as production farmers is to supply high quality produce that is faithfully organic. Currently there are some limitations due to our lack of ownership of the land, but we do hope to expand our interests to dairy, baked, and preserved products. What we are accomplishing is not only available for those with mountains of time to play in the dirt. We both have 9-5 jobs, so the practices explained on this blog are accessible to anyone interested in self-sufficiency and environmental awareness. In order to share where we obtain the information we apply to our mission, we will make every effort to create and update a resources page.

A few months after moving into El Rancho Rejecto, Meg and I discovered something that apparently was obvious to our friends for quite some time; our relationship was built on more than friendship. —Please pardon me here. This is our first public forum and although it is designed to be about two people who love to garden and wish to share it with others, there is no hiding that I am very much in love with Meg. She’s laughing at me now and said that saying “love” will not deter from the factual intention of our blog; and I believe her. —On the first day of Spring, 21 March 2007, Meg and I made a trip to the justice of the peace and got married.

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