the Fallow

We're working on our unsown land.

The O'Connor farm in Phelps, New York is nestled between two of the Finger Lakes. It was purchased by Constance's maternal grandparents after being abandoned by the previous owners. The farm was a working organic herb and specialty vegetable producer with a greenhouse and two barns. It has lasted name changes and many careers over the years. My grandmother sold antiques in the Curiosity Shoppe. My grandfather was a very skilled woodworking and carpenter after retiring as a product designer at American Can Company. He collected antique wagons which he displayed in the fields nicknaming the farm, Wagon Acres. He still works on his passion for motorcycles and racing with his current repair and customization shop at age 79. One barn has been fitted with machinist tools where he continues to fabricate custom parts for local businesses and farms.

Over the years, the farming aspect of the farm dwindled from 4 acres of herbs to a very large family "Victory" garden. The farm stopped being used as such when Constance's grandmother passed away in 2002. It hit the family very hard and two days after her death, Constance would be in labor with her newborn son, William. Constance moved to Indianapolis to study at Butler University, but was side-tracked into pursuing a wonderful man in Arizona. A year of friendship turned into a move back North to Indiana.

The children have been our driving force to transition from complacent metropolis consumers to a do-it-yourself self-sufficient lifestyle. Frugality has become a mainstay as Holden is the only working member of the household.

Meanwhile, Constance's mother has moved from her home in Chicago after her only sister finished her Education degree in History Education. LeeAnn has pushed to restore the O'Connor farmhouse and maintain the grounds of the farm. It was her Mother's initial inspiration that the family pursue a working knowledge and education in restoring the entire farm to working order.

Our plan is to continue restoring the land into a working herb farm as to compliment our friends' land, the large Amish Mennonite farm across the road. The land was previously owned by long-time family farmers, the Van Derlikes, before the passing of their patriarch. Luckily, the farm was not split up and remains hundreds of acres of vegetation and a breeding farm for cattle, pigs, and poultry using organic methods and bee pollination practices.

The O'Connor farm is now known as the Stonehedge Farm. We have partically restored the greenhouse to seed the farm and maintain herbs, restored the exteriors of both barns, built two chicken coops for a few laying chickens and broilers, and restored a quarter acre of the garden beds. Our plans for the future involve renovate a barn for a small bakery, and ultimately:

  • Build a third guest edifice to Create an Agro-tourism destination where anyone can visit and learn to grow a self-sufficient homestead farm for their family.