Lost Valley Gardens

A Fork in Our Path

This past fall we reached a fork in our path. There were many things that led us to the ‘fork’. The loss of two of our farm dogs in the spring and summer. The realization that we would probably need to change our farm business model in order to increase our profit margin. The fact that we are not getting any younger. The increasingly pressing need to invest in some much needed house renovations and many other issues and events that caused us to take stock of our current situation and to give serious consideration to where we want to head in the future.

After much thought and consideration, as well as tears and heartache, we decided that we needed to make plans to ‘retire’ to a more manageable lifestyle. We still want to be involved in gardening, landscaping and farming to some degree, and we have been thinking about relocating to Vermont for several years so after much soul-searching we set our sights on moving to Vermont. I know, it seems like a big change for a couple of native Texans, but we welcome the challenges of long winters and loads of snow. I spent seven years in Cedarburg, Wisconsin as a young adult so I have a pretty good memory of what the winters were like. I also remember how nice the summers and falls were, and how easy it was to grow plants and vegetables with the long days, long growing season (relative to our two short growing seasons in central Texas), frequent rain, moderate temperatures and lovely, fertile soil. Vermont is a lot like Wisconsin with respect to the seasons and climate, but it has ‘mountains’, whereas Wisconsin is mostly rolling hills, making skiing an attractive activity.

So we have been very busy for the past few months planning and preparing for our move to Vermont and now we are well into the “get-er-done” phase. Closets and cabinets are being cleaned out with many items going to Goodwill every week. Renovation projects have been identified, vendors contacted, bids obtained, vendors selected and work scheduled. If all goes according to plan we should be able to put the house on the market by the end of March (fingers crossed!).

The first major renovation project, the new roof, has been completed and looks very good. The old roof, a simple, old silver/grey metal roof was as unattractive as it was dysfunctional. The new roof color is a definite improvement and will look even better once the balcony railings have been replaced and the wood exterior is all repainted.

New Standing Seam Metal Roof

The second major project, all new windows and sliding doors, started today and should be complete by the end of the week. So far, this project is going pretty smoothly and the new windows are not only going to look much better than the old ones they are going to be soooooo much more energy efficient. I am also anticipating much less dust in the house once the new windows are installed.

Old Black Metal Framed Windows

Inside View of First New Window

Meanwhile, Ron and I are working on curb appeal projects such as landscaping, tree trimming and hanging the new farm sign. I have been pruning and weeding in the courtyard for the past couple of weeks and it is starting to look much better. We’ll be adding some new perennials and annuals to the courtyard beds as well as replacing the courtyard fountain which should look great once spring kicks in and all the plants fill out and start blooming.

Partially Weeded Courtyard Bed

New Farm Sign

There is still much to be done, and the selling of the farm will be a challenge unto itself I’m sure, but we are on our way and it feels good that we have chosen a path and set a course for the next chapter in our life. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Discussion

  1. Carol, I will miss you and Ron and reading about your gardening adventures here in central Texas. But the Vermont adventure sounds pretty fun too. I wish you all the best with the move and hope you’ll keep blogging about the gardens you make up there.

    Posted by Pam/Digging | February 4, 2014, 11:16 pm
  2. Pam, we appreciate that you have followed our blog all of these years. We just recently decided to blog about the trials and tribulations of our relocation so hopefully our blog will be more active in the future than it has been this year. This year has been a difficult one for us, but we are trying to stay positive by focusing on the present and future and not dwelling in the past. That said, we are very excited about gardening in Vermont. There are so many plants that grow there that do not grow here. There are also some very beautiful gardens in Vermont and New Hampshire (Check out Notes From Juniper Hill on FB or the web) that we are looking forward to seeing (maybe a New England Spring Fling in the future…..). And again, thank you for being such a dedicated follower and good friend to us.

    Posted by Carol | February 5, 2014, 10:10 am
  3. Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re
    working with? I’m going to start my own blog in the near
    future but I’m having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    Posted by trophies | February 6, 2014, 5:35 pm
  4. I’m using WordPress with The Morning After theme.

    Posted by Carol | February 7, 2014, 7:37 pm
  5. Best of luck to you on your move..I’ve enjoyed reading your blog down here in Houston. We too have been evaluating a move from Houston and love the Hill Country but with our love of veggie gardening I think it would be a challenge. The heat, drought and the challenges of Texas heat has us looking elsewhere also!

    Posted by Jeannette | February 17, 2014, 11:04 pm
  6. Thanks for reading our blog and for the well wishes Jeannette. I grew up in Houston, but didn’t do much gardening there. I learned to grow vegetables when I moved to Wisconsin. You are right that veggie growing in Central Texas is much more challenging than Wisconsin! I am eager to move back to a location and climate that are better for gardening in general and veggie growing in particular. I will continue to blog about our relocation and future gardening and farming adventures in Vermont! I hope you find your perfect spot!

    Posted by Carol | February 18, 2014, 8:13 am

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