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 believe me, have not seen such a welcoming sight as the green mountains of Pennsylvania and New York! Taxes may be high, but we get plenty of rain and our beautiful forests in return.
Our Peaceful Forest Homestead is in the middle of the state forest in upstate New York. Our only neighbors, besides the wild kind are hunting camps. Our home was originally a farm and in 1924 became a hunting camp, until we purchased it in 1999. The house is what 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 a 1848 penny! My treasure! It may have belonged to the smart man who built our home. I have wondered about him many times through out our years here.
Our small piece of land is totally surrounded by the state forest. That means there are many large trees around us. 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. 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 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 place. Both of us loved the forest, and used to drive through state forests 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. Then I did not realize from looking at the listing 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. Then a Sun-Mar 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! The Sun-Mar 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. We were trying to move in during a downpour, because we had to get the rental moving truck back. 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 we had to put our things in the house with all that extra stuff. Not an easy job! So the first thing after returning the truck was to haul things to the landfill, that we had to pay for! Not what we were expecting to do. We managed to get all moved in and were happy to be in our new off-the-grid homestead!
Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole