Around 1971 my grandparents bought some farm land outside of Lancaster, hoping to turn it into a getaway from the city and possibly move down there. They dug a beautiful pond and planted 500+ trees, turning rolling meadows and farm land into the start of some beautiful woods. Nowata Farm (as named by my Grandma) is 80+ acres of secluded woodlands. It’s my ideal place: limited cell service, no electricity, and the only noise pollution is the local 4 wheelers and lawn mowers.
The land holds so many family memories.
My Aunt Gretchen can trace her love for nature and wilderness to growing up as a kid on the farm. It was the first time she was given the freedom to run wild- going up to the local dairy farm for milk, discovering mushrooms and just plain getting dirty.
Around the 1980s plans changed the land was left to grow wild and return to nature. When I was a kid we went to visit it once and my only memory was all the burs. My sister Helen and I picked more the 300 burs from my mom’s favorite sweater as her Christmas present that year. Although it was overgrown and wild I remember loving every second of it.
The farm passed to a distant memory for me until a few years ago when I was dreaming about tiny houses with a good friend. Then I remembered: the family has land. And it’s beautiful. And I could build a tiny cabin. I’ve always loved building things from a young age and it has been a dream of mine to build my own space. With my experience in deck building, roofing, and other odd jobs, coupled with the simple fact I can read, I decided to build a tiny cabin on my own.
But it isn’t as simply as going down to the Farm and plopping a structure down. The land had been effectively abandoned for 20+ years. Nature and local hunters had taken it over. There are quite a few permanent tree stands, discarded bullet casings, chewing tobacco tins, and trash scattered around the property. Old buildings had collapsed and paths didn’t exist anymore.
My journey began with a massive clean up that took me well on 2 years, as I was going down whenever I could (which sometimes wasn’t very often).