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Dear New Farm,
We came to our farm looking for fresh air. In 1994, I was
poisoned by Dursban with xylene during a termite extermination
in our home by a professional exterminator. After looking
for almost 10 years for a place to live on the East Coast
and not finding one, we decided to give up and just try to
get me well. The environmental doctor I was going to said
I should go to the mountains for the summer; I was already
spending winters at the oceanside. It sounds enviable, but
I was in constant pain, on oxygen and living in a foil room
when I was home.
Anyway, we landed in Central New York in 2000, bought a barn
and some land. Then we met the organic farmer who had been
haying the fields for the land broker. He tutored us and we
began raising chickens to get rid of cluster fly larva. Then
we got dogs to help with the bulls we were grazing for the
farmer. Then we got a goat and now I milk daily. I no longer
am on oxygen, I don't need the air filter much and I am able
to move about with little pain (though I am still not consistent
or reliable because any kind of petroleum exposure, including
fragrances, can trigger weeks of immobility; then my husband
has to take on my chores as well as his).
The growing season on our little hill (1,700-foot elevation)
is short, but we grow whatever is willing in any given year...apples,
berries, potatoes, corn, sunflowers...none of it perfectly
reliable. This year a friend built me a cold frame and I have
peas, parsley and lettuce growing and it has snowed the past
two days! I am living large. We have two more years of renting
the land to the farmer for heifers and hay in return for his
tutoring. Then we are on our own. My husband is handy and
has good woodworking skills. He has been doing a few odds
jobs for cash. We have a few customers for our beef and pastured
poultry and eggs. It is enough for now, but we want to be
able to call ourselves a real farm and not a hobby farm.
We are blessed to be here and grateful for your site, which
gives good information to the pros and longtime farmers, as
well as to us newbies.
That's our story and I am sticking to it...for now.