Poco a poco.
Little by little.
Our plan for this house is revealing itself more visibly.
Originally, this house was the center of a 440 acre working ranch. They logged, sold timber locally to build houses and barns. They had an orchard, supplying the nearby Sugar Pine Mill workers with apples nearly year round, making cider with the rest, including some they’d leave by the fire to ferment just for themselves. They raised chickens and pigs and a few cows. They grew grapes and other stone fruit and had a garden to sustain themselves. They generated their own power using gravity.
But they never had children. And after a generation they sold to some friends, the people we bought from nearly 50 years later, who had a different vision and purpose for this homestead. Little by little they developed it and sold it off as housing. But they always kept the old farmhouse, it’s 2.5 acres, as a testament to those who came before. When that family got older and the kids didn’t want to live in the mountains, instead of destroying this old farmhouse they invested in it, made it awesome, and hoped a new family would come along.
So here we are. Poco a poco. Looking backwards at the Worman’s dream for this hill through the breadcrumbs of history we find.
Though on a smaller scale we hope this will be a functioning, profitable homestead, for us to enjoy. The land begs to be worked.
Under the weeds and past the overgrown trees I keep finding remnants of what this place once was. There are trellises and ancient grape vines. A couple of the 100 year old apple trees are still standing. There’s an old mission fig tree. All begging for a gardeners like Adam and Kristen to come along and take cuttings, propagating new life from old.
Today begins the journey of bringing back animals. We’re getting a trio of meat rabbits for Jackson’s 4-H project. But soon we hope to add lambs, goats, chickens… maybe some turkeys, and maybe a couple pigs. All are part of our big dream of revitalizing, bringing life back to this property.
Adding the solar and battery backup system is part of that vision, too. Just like the original homesteaders lived off of the energy produced by gravity we will live off the energy of the sun. And their old spring that ran the mill will easily run all of the agriculture we can cram into these 2.5 acres. 24/7/365 that spring brings water to our property.
The greenhouse has brought us so much energy and vision for what’s to come with The Farm at Worman Mill.
Poco a poco. Now the community is starting to see what we see. Yes, this is the beautiful old farmhouse they grew up driving by. Just last week we met a man who told us how much he loved our house, he used to drive up here and park out front to eat his lunch. But it can also be more than just an old farmhouse that used to be the headquarters for a family homestead.
This house wants to be a farmhouse again. It wants to welcome people to come and buy good stuff, to stick around and learn about our area’s agricultural history… and it wants to be part of showing mountain residents that just a little bit of land can be rich in biodiversity, co-existing with agriculture, while also being organic and having little to no carbon footprint.
In San Diego, we spent years learning how to become Good News in the Neighborhood. We’re applying those same principles here, as well. Good News in the Neigbhorhood isn’t limited to the suburbs or urban blocks. We strive to be Good News in the Neighborhood right here in rural Mariposa County, too.
Poco a poco.