I visited a place on Tuesday that had a lot of the elements I would consider a dream home.

The house was fairly new and fitted with nice hardwood cabinets and wall trim. But what attracted me the most was the five-and-a-half acres that went with it, as well as the small but spacious sheep barn where the owners raise about 20 sheep for premium-grade wool.

The place is called Kirkwood Farm and if you need any wool products or decorations for your home, you can go there and likely find what you want. We’ll have a story about the farm in the next week or two.

To me, there is a great benefit in having some elbow room in terms of acres. Enough to fire a gun, plant a truck patch and even raise a few head of livestock.

I grew up on a 165-acre farm with plenty of elbow room. I doubt I’ll ever return to that size of farm, but I find these 15-20 acre plots attractive. It’s far short of enough acres to sustain one’s income — unless you’re into something very specialized — but it’s enough to make some money on the side and have fun doing it.

Over the years I’ve seen these “hobby-type” farms range from not so nice, to very nice and well kept places. Some larger farmers cast them aside as someone who is just “playing around” and compared to the larger, full-time operations, that’s sometimes true.

Right size

But when you have a full-time job in something other than farming, a little “playing around” in farming can be fun. And it can also be rewarding because you’re spending time outdoors and working with animals.

Now that I live in town, I own a whopping .24 acres. I still grow a number of vegetables and fruits in my flower beds and around my house. But what I’d give to be able to walk out to a shed and fire up my tractor and make a few rounds, plant a full-size garden with my field disc and rototiller, or cut firewood from trees in walking distance.

As it is, I keep my tractor locked up at my grandmother’s place, along with my 10-foot field disc and rototiller, and an old garden tractor and various other tools I’ve amassed over the years. It’s a half-hour drive to get there, so I go only occasionally to cut firewood or grow a patch of pumpkins or sweet corn.

Still dreaming

But in the back of my mind, I’m still hopeful for something like what I saw on Tuesday — something with a few acres attached and enough space to keep all my “stuff.”

I put myself in this quarter-acre lot by my own choosing, so I can’t complain. Actually, I’ve come to enjoy many things about living in town and I have a beautiful neighborhood.

When I was on the market, I had to look at what I could afford and what made sense. Two of the “country” homes I looked at needed new septic systems, and I wasn’t sure about the water quality.

And, the price of buying land, especially those hobby farms, is sometimes tremendous.

I guess there are other people who want the same thing I do, and they’re willing to pay to get it. At any rate, I enjoy at least getting to visit some of these small farms, even if it may be many years before I own one.

Take a look at some of my pictures from Tuesday and see if you don’t also fall in love with some of the scenes. This is a nice place, and they’ve built a successful business on just a handfull of acres.

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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