Finding our little piece of land in the forest was not easy, but was well worth it. Most people who have never been to New York state associate the rest of the state with New York City. Many times they think we haven’t even seen a cow or a tree. New York state is a big dairy state and has lots of farmland all over the whole state. New York City actually makes up a very small part of the state as a whole. New York state also has acres and acres of state forest and state parks. Trees and mountains make up much of our Empire state. I always thought we should have been called the Forest State. I have traveled all over the whole country and I have not seen such a welcoming sight, as the green mountains of Pennsylvania and New York. Taxes may be high here, but we get plenty of rain and our beautiful forests in return. Our little piece of land doesn’t have high taxes, but that is probably because we are in an area of hunting camps.
Our little piece of land, I named Peaceful Forest Homestead. It is in the middle of the state forest. I used to say our only neighbors, are the wild kind and hunting camps, but we have a neighbor up the road, walking distance now. Our home was originally a farm and in 1924 became a hunting camp. Then later it became a snowmobile camp too, until we purchased it in 1999. The house is called a Greek Revival style house and was built in 1850. In fact, when my husband was working on digging out a room connected to our cellar, he found an 1848 penny. It may have belonged to the man who built our home. I have always wondered about the man who built this house on this little piece of land.
Our little piece of land is bordered by forest and state forest on two sides. That means many large trees. The forest is very thick and every now and then it is logged to thin it out. At first we didn’t like it when they did that, but now we see the value of it, and we have done that on our land ourselves. The woods came right up to our house and had to be cleared for gardens. All the roads leading to our house are dirt, but are well taken care of. Our road looks to me, like a trail through the woods. Sometimes the grass grows in the middle of it, and I like that. The forest keeps it cool out here so when everyone else is sweating the summer weather, our home is usually about 10 degrees cooler.
We had searched for over four years for our little piece of land. Both of us loved the forest and used to drive through state forest in both New York and Pennsylvania. We would see homes in the middle of the state forest and say, “How did they get a house in the middle of the state forest?” Now people ask me that question. My answer is “Keep searching! They are out there.”
At first, I did not realize that the house was off the grid. Or that it did not have plumbing. No running water! No bathroom! It had an outhouse quite a distance from the house though. Before we moved here we purchased a claw foot bath tub and a SunMar composting toilet. The bath tub my husband found at an antique store when he was out driving a truck for his company making deliveries. He stopped and put a deposit on it. Exactly what we wanted. I love it to this day! The SunMar I found in our local Pennysaver for sale, used for $200. I called about it and they said someone else had called and whoever got there first with the money could have it. We drove right there and came home with our new composting toilet.
The day we moved in we found out that the previous owners had left all their furniture in the house. We had a moving van full of our stuff which would not fit with their stuff. To top it off, we had to move in during the middle of a downpour. My son, Jeffrey helped us, and stayed with us for a few weeks which was a big help. We had to unload the van and take it back the next day, so he had to put our things in the house with all that excess of stuff. Not an easy job. So the first thing after returning the truck, was to haul things to the dump. It wasn’t easy getting our little piece of land organized and everything in place, but we did it.
But throughout it all, our little piece of land has turned out to be a good homestead and we have made it our happy home.
Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole