And so we showed up for our first weekend at the farm. We arrived on a Friday afternoon around 4:00. A terrible Cat 4 hurricane had blown through the area the day before. Our little creek had flooded our driveway and caused huge cave-ins. It was impassable. We parked, got out and surveyed the damage. We definitely needed to do some work this weekend on the huge holes that lay in the center of our pathway to the house.
We were not expecting this. I could tell by the look on Mark’s face that he was a bit devastated by the state of affairs. Stepping out in faith to buy this farm, being questioned by people about his “sanity”, being married to an under-reactor wife all played into the angst he must have been feeling. He began planning how to fix this problem so it would never happen again (bring in a backhoe, drop in a 6 foot culvert, build a bridge with railroad ties, etc.).
While the first big farm job lay on our minds, we unpacked the small trailer of furniture and boxes we had brought with us. Our Campbell County neighbors Doug and Trey came by to check out the place. Doug has been farming and building Land Rovers in Campbell County for about 10 years. His solution to the driveway problem was, “Don’t hire someone! Just fix it!”
The four of us went to dinner at a local place. The food was delicious and plentiful. The real treat was a four piece blues/r&b band, Four Shades of Blue. Who knew in tiny Brookneal, we could hear BB King music and an awesome R & B rendition of “If I had a Hammer”. By my second glass of wine Mark and I were on the tiny dance floor getting down with the locals. (Yes, I am a two glass of wine dancer!)
Friday night’s sleep was rough for us both. We slept with the windows open. We were freezing all night long. We kept hearing noises: creaking house, refrigerator condenser clicking on, raccoons…
Saturday, Mark tackled the huge yard with the mower. It took him 3-1/2 hours to mow the grass. I unpacked boxes and made supper, my first experience with the new kitchen.
Saturday night sleep was much better. We closed the windows, lit a fire in the wood stove, and turned on a fan for white noise. Those things along with the pure exhaustion of mowing, unpacking and walking uphill to the house a dozen times helped us have a deep and restful night’s sleep.
Sunday we fixed the driveway. Mark used the tractor and I used the shovels. Hard work! But so rewarding to work as a team to complete our first farm project. Mark used the DR mower, I picked cattails and wildflowers, and we took our third trip on the Gator down to Hat Creek at the edge of our property and stood in awe at the beautiful land we now owned.
At 2:00 we loaded up our suitcases and headed back to Portsmouth. We both felt a sadness as we drove off. We had found our new home and didn’t want to leave. June 1, our permanent move date, seemed so far away. But, we were full of joy that we had found this beautiful farm that was now ours.