Yearning for the ideal country life

…..A coffee shop journal……

I decided to write in the lounge today and I am a bit distracted by the Christmas tree wondering when I need to take it down or could I just change the ornaments to valentines and then four leaf clovers…..

then I gaze a bit further into the room and settle my eyes on my book shelves filled with my library I brought from the farm- this is probably my third maybe even fourth library in my lifetime –usually when I move it’s the books that are ridiculous to move~so off to the used bookstore I would go filling their shelves ~and thereby making room in my life for MORE books~ I have a book for just about everyone- business, esoteric thinking, art, self-help, the foxfire collection, gardening, design, even a book of 1,000 places you must see before you die ….again… I am distracted…..

a few sips of my latte and I find myself starring at one of ricks photographs-its an old barn with a vintage tractor inside, it looks like it’s a beautiful blue sky kinda day~the kind Rick loves to go out shooting in- its definitely fall~ the trees are sending abstract shadows down on the barn and leaf covered ground. I love this picture it makes me think about how much I have always loved the idea of having an old farmhouse with a barn just like this and I imagine nearby there are gardens and chickens and dogs and cats running around. Inside the farm they are probably canning vegetables, and drying fruit. Someone is gathering eggs and feeding the livestock~~whoa~~~ ok ~~wake up –all that by looking at a picture???!!!! I think its called daydreaming. And then I remember that I already have that perfect farm ……its not a daydream at all it is my life and what I have been doing for the last 8 years.

I was recently given a book to read which had me in stitches for 2 days ~ I could not put it down – It’s called The Bucolic Plague and its about The Fabulous Beekman Boys…I had never heard of them but apparently they have a huge following and even had their own TV show. The book is a bestselling memoir telling the story of how they stumbled upon Sharon Springs a very small town north of NYC and became accidental overnight goat farmers. Josh was in advertising- Brent was a DR and worked with Martha Stewart- needless to say when they bought their farm and oddly enough it was the same year we bought ours 2007- they had great paying jobs and some pretty powerful connections. As I read each chapter from them trying to can heirloom tomatoes to cutting down their first Christmas tree I laughed with tears streaming down my face …mostly because it caused me to look back at my life and reflect on all the humor we see after the fact…if you know what I mean.

When Rick and I first started The Martyn House Glamping he thought it would be enough to just have a community bath-house I of course thought otherwise that glamorous camping would not be going to a bath house with others. I imagined inside showers and claw foot tubs nestled in the trees for complete privacy for that outside bubble bath and champagne experience. He could only talk about water lines and power lines and how far I wanted the tents to be. Of course they could not be in a cluster anyone knows that right? They had to be far enough apart you would feel as if you were the only one there having that intimate experience with nature and your significant other. Alas ….I won and as we stood at my studio having now set out the markers where each tent would be I felt enthusiastic and excited because all I could see was the finished product- then we began to clear the road to the tents …and then the area where each platform would be built….. Even as I write this I am laughing as I recall the day we finally rented the ditch digger- I had looked at Rick shortly after getting the ridge prepared for what was about to take place up there and said “whoa that’s going to be a lot of ditch digging!” Did you know that there was a machine that you can rent –you stand behind it and hold on tight and it moves along and digs the most perfect ditch you ever saw- city girl or not I was learning about every tool and piece of equipment that would make our life blissfully better or as better as it could be with all we had to do-of course there was the occasional root, rock, and petrified dirt to wrestle with. We were determined to get this done in a weekend because the rental was two day and we were not going to pay for another day! As Sunday night came to a close we had the most perfect 3 ft deep / 14” wide ditches dug – all together there was probably 1247 ft of ditches along the ridge. We would then begin what Rick referred to as ‘laying the lines’ Monday morning.

As Rick returned the rental ditch digger I was proud of what we had done and as I went back up to the farm I noticed the sky was a bit dark by the time Rick got home it was pouring cats and dogs and chickens and our beautiful ditch was filling up fast. This lasted a few days as it often does in Georgia the dirt/clay that had come out of the hole was now mounds of compressed dirt/clay weighing twice what it did when it came out of the hole and what would have been a quick rake back into the hole would require a shovel and a bit of muscle! But before any of that happened we had to put in the water lines and electric- this required PVC piping that apparently only comes in 10’ lengths

Step 1 electric pipes had to be laid and glued at each connection…this went something  like this~ walk 10 ft…get down on knees ~glue in hand ~put glue on both sides of pipe and pull pipes together and up ya go ~walk 10 ft get down and oh let us not forget it had rained for several days so much of this activity involved lots of mud….let me repeat lots of mud…then up ya go walk 10 ft  get down on knees ~glue in hand , did i mention very sticky glue oozing in the mud, sticking mud and other debris onto my skirt and we begin again and again and again…..Now this was my job and after  120 or so PVC pipes I was finally done and soooo over it!-on that last get up and go I had weak knees, sore hands and looked much like the swamp monster to say they least.

Step 2 the electric wires had to be literally pulled through the glued PVC pipes- after several ideas we settled on string attached to a plastic bag which was then sucked through the pipe by a shop vac and wires attached to that .. this did the trick—best not to ask exactly what that all meant –

Step 3 lay 1247 ft of water lines, this is a huge roll that does not want to lay nicely in the ditch~ it must be unrolled and  shoved down and sometimes weighted to stay put. There are fittings involved and clamps and valves then at the end of the lines we had to install outdoor water faucets and sooner or later inside plumbing..

By the end of the week we had water lines and electric lines run. Of course I am leaving out all the incidental craziness that happens during these projects at which point Rick would reaffirm to me hey its Glamping …glamorous camping… remember indoor everything for each tent..i must admit there were times that bathhouse was looking mighty good!

Somewhere between the last chapter of the Bucolic Plague and today the Beekman boys became the Fabulous Beekman Boys complete with on-line store and as I mentioned somewhere in there they even had a TV show for a while which I feel sure was nothing close to the truth as they knew it! After a year and by the last chapter of their book the Boys were not speaking, they kept the temperature of their mansion at 45 degrees when they visited because they cold not afford to heat it. In that first year they expanded gardens, learned to be farmers, canned, learned about all kinds of tools, raised goats, made soap and with the 2008 crash they both lost their jobs-

… today I feel sure if Rick and I sat the Beekman boys our notes and stories would be quite similar… they raised goats we did Glamping…like many dreamers our stories have one common thread and that is determination to continue to figure out how the dream can work- we mold and shape it …we shift with what does not work… to build what does….

I love the title of their book…….

Bucolic is a noun that means a country person. As an adjective, Bucolic refers to an ideal country life that many yearn for.

Plague is a disease that affects humans and other mammals.

There is no doubt that I had the incurable disease of yearning for that ideal country life..and then I had the country life….I still love the idea of it….as I look at the old barn in the picture I imagine sitting on that tractor only instead of driving out of the barn to plow the field I like the idea of posing for a picture ..taking a country walk..and then driving away in my car.


about the author…JoAnn

I am an accomplished artist, designer and gardener with an admitted compulsion for natural intuitive healing and a spiritual connection with the earth. I am a lifelong serial entrepreneur, a creator of extraordinary ideas, and soon to be published author …..let the dreaming begin….



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