Yesterday was a big day. I took Neil to our future home for the first time. I was fairly certain that he would be happy with what he saw, but I was concerned that the realization that we would be moving outside of Brooklyn would be met with cold feet. Fortunately, that didn't happen. He's just as stoked as I am.
The drive to New Jersey was unlike the picturesque voyages I made frequently to the Catskills last summer. There were no mountains, creeks or unkempt fields of wild grasses. Our path to Locust was mostly made up of 10 lane highways and dollar store strip malls. Only right as we turned onto the road that Seven Arrows is situated on did we feel we were in a place where the word "farm" could be uttered without irony. I can still appreciate the area. Just because it's no Catskill Mountain region, it doesn't mean it can't use a couple farms. I can't wait to venture around Middletown to see what's out there. Oh yeah, did I mention there is surfing within a mile of the place? SURFING. (yesssss!)
Seven Arrows abuts Hartshorne Park, which spills out onto the roads and encircles the dozen or so homes around it's boundaries. Wild animals venture out to graze in backyards and hunt for their meals in the open. This will be one of the challenges of farming here, but I've got plans. What farming enterprise doesn't have it's fair share of challenges? We'll just have to do our best. I also see the park as a blessing. I've been told of fiddleheads and maitake in them thar hills!
While there I spent some time surveying the grounds. I use the term "survey" loosely. I measured the garden plot in paces. 40 paces by 70 paces. I estimate that makes the plot 80×140 or nearly 12,000 square feet. Not a bad size to start with. We could probably get a 20-30 person CSA out of it, what with the eggs, honey and foraged edibles from Hartshorne Park. We'll have to plant intensively and get creative to maximize yields, but I feel up to the challenge. Failure is not an option!
The best thing about this place is undoubtedly the location. We drove there late in the morning, looked around, had lunch and were back in Brooklyn by 3 p.m. Our friends in the city will be able to visit us easily (and hopefully help us build some outbuildings!) I'll still be able to teach classes and keep some hives in the city and Neil won't have to leave his job. We can have city folk come for weekend intensives and farm getaways. We're so fortunate to have this opportunity to farm without having to completely remove ourselves from the place we've worked so hard to thrive in. I don't know that I am ready to completely leave the city behind. This is a good in-between.
August feels so close now!