1840 Farm

Three generations of my family moved to 1840 Farm in the August of 2005.  The farm had been uninhabited for over a year and it showed.  The grass was waist deep and the plantings would have been considered overgrown years before we found ourselves taking refuge from a New England rainstorm on its front porch.

When the realtor took us down into the stone cellar, there was water pouring through the cracks in the mortar.  I remember looking at my husband as we stood ankle deep in the water wondering what we were doing there.   Somehow, we mustered the courage to trek back up the wobbly, steep stairs to the kitchen only to find onions blooming inside the deserted kitchen cabinet.

I could go on to discuss in detail the remainder of the house including the purple carpeting in the ugliest family room on record, but I won’t bore you with the details.  In the months to follow, a prospective carpenter smiled at me and said, “It reminds me of the Country Bear Saloon!”  He meant this as a compliment.  I viewed it as an affirmation that we were in way over our heads.

We have often joked that we must have had incredible vision or stupidity to spare when we decided to move our family to an old house that would require so much work.  Either way, we have made this house and it’s grounds our home.  We have patched the basement, thrown the onion in the newly built compost pile, and learned a lot along the way.

Living in a 170 year-old house is like having a constant reminder of my place in history.   I like to imagine that the news of the day would have been discussed at an old farm table in our very dining room while the fire roared in the old chimney.   Those leaky stone walls in the cellar have been standing through the days of the Great Potato Famine,  slavery, the Civil War, and nearly 40 Presidents of the United States.

I only wish that those walls could talk.  I think that they would have quite a story to tell.  A story that I would love to hear.  I guess in some way, the story is being told and my family is the current chapter.  So here we are nearly a decade later living at 1840 Farm.  Let the story continue to unfold.


    1. Author

      We are on the Seacoast of New Hampshire, but Maine holds several of our favorite food destinations and we love to visit them as much as possible. In fact, I have only reviewed restaurants from Maine, so I can see why you might think that we live there!

  1. Love following your blog…when the chickens are involved! We’re in MidCoast Maine & we have similar devices to keep the girls entertained on days when going outside is not an option. I really enjoy the bird-cam & have commented to my husband on several occasions it would be nice to have something similar to watch the girls!

    1. Author

      I’m so glad that you enjoy the videos of the girls! I love the BirdCam and plan on sharing a lot more video as the weather gets warmer and they are more active. What do you use to keep your chickens entertained? I’d love to hear something new that I could try out here to keep our hens happy while we are enduring such a long stretch of rainy weather.

      By the way, we love your area of Maine. When we leave the farm for a day, which isn’t too often, we love to head into Maine and enjoy all that it has to offer.

  2. We are also in NH and have worked hard to fix our fixer-upper.The property is 1850 and have worked to make the newer parts of the house match the 1850 part.I enjoy your posts as the property was a chicken farm and I hope to have my own in the next yr or so. I now share your info with my friend who does have chickens.

    1. Author

      I’m so glad that you are enjoying reading about our adventures at 1840 Farm. Thanks for sharing the information with your friend. Best of luck to you in getting chickens soon. We had a lot of fun watching ours bask in the sunshine today!

  3. we are in central nh, fixing up a house that we bought from one of the town drunks and moved into last october. thanks for sharing your experiences 🙂

    1. Author

      Best of luck fixing up the house. I have learned over the course of six years living in ours that it is a process without an end in sight. Even so, we love living here and wouldn’t change a thing.

  4. I’m happy to have discovered your blog. We live in a 1730’s home in New Hampshire. You can see some of the rooms on my blog after it was restored. Everyone thought we were crazy…we just said we had vision. So we have a lot in common.

  5. My family and I moved into a 137 year old farm house two years ago. When I read the history of your home it reminded me of our little patch of heaven, leaky bacement walls and all. We have chickens, rabbits and a dog now, coming from apartment life this was a huge change for us. We were meant to be here and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

  6. Very Fine… I have been thinking of raising chickens again and found your blog from community chickens. I will check in regularly for new adventures and be back in Sunapee, NH in june. Why not run another electrical circuit to the barn, to keep the chicken’s water from freezing?

    1. Author

      I’m glad to hear that you’ll be checking in on the daily adventures here at 1840 Farm. Thanks for the suggestion regarding the electrical circuit. I am counting the days until June myself as it will find me deep into gardening season!

  7. Ardis Conner, North Yarmouth Maine
    You got my attention with frozen eggs–I have thrown about 10-12 away, so now I will
    try your way to save them. Thanks. (My house was built in 1812.) I have electricity
    to the chicken house, so light and a water heater, but I still have to carry 2 buckets of
    water out every few days–talk about your ice queen! I’m looking for another water
    supply for winter–summer it’s a garden hose.

    1. Author

      I much prefer the summer water supply via the garden hose as well. I keep telling myself that spring (and then summer) will eventually come around, but sometimes it is hard to believe myself!

  8. You forgot 2 seasons, between spring and summer in New England there’s mud and bug

    1. Author

      Oh, I didn’t forget. In fact, it seemed like mud season today. After two days of thaw, the snow around the barn and coop had been replaced by mud. I even remarked aloud that mud season had come early. I know that it won’t last for long before snow returns. I will tolerate mud season when it finally arrives because it gets me closer to my favorite season-tomato season. I guess that gives us 7 seasons in New England!

  9. I so enjoyed your article about the naked egg… We too live on a small farm that is always growing here in Arkansas. We use chickens and guineas for eggs, but their main purpose is bug control. Down here you need it!! I have always wondered about eggs and how to clean them, there are so many different ways. Do they need to be refrigerated or can they sit on your counter? What is the shelf life of an egg? How can you tell a good egg from a bad egg?

    I believe I read somewhere that there is something from Australia that you can wipe on your eggs and they will keep unrefrigerated for 1 year. Eggs are fascinating…

    1. Author

      I am glad that you enjoyed the article. We learned a lot about eggs during the process. I’d love to read about that product from Australia. I’ll have to see if I can find an article about it online…

  10. I am enjoying reading about your farm. We are just starting out, we are in the process of building a chicken coop and goat stalls. My husband is a school teacher and so we have to wait until spring break to pour the concrete. He will be able to retire in 6 years and we would like to have a bigger garden and more aniamls to be self suffient. I will keep coming back to read your posts.

    1. Author

      Sondra – It sounds like you will both be very busy this spring! I wish you the best of luck in completing the coop and stalls. I hope that you will keep coming back to read what is going on at 1840 Farm. There will be a lot of information this year about the new chicks that will be arriving during the first week of May including lots of photos of the adorable baby chicks.

  11. I’m impressed with the food scale. Maybe it’s time I got one for baking. Is there a rule to follow to know how much 1 cup of something should be for baking? or a conversion chart?
    Also, we have been reseaching the last year on having chickens. We got our donkey last June for predator control, we pick up our 4×6 coop this weekend–painting it, then monday we pick up 2 black orpingtons, 1 buff orpington, 1EE, and maybe a welsummer,all picked because they lay well and are good moms–so when my DH builds a larger coop I’m all set. If all goes well, maybe my husband will build/convert a duck house for a quad of laying ducks, campbells or welsh’s.

    1. Author


      Most ingredients list a corresponding weight in grams on their ingredient label. For instance, on the nutritional information for all-purpose flour, it will list a serving size as 1/4 cup or 30 grams. Therefore, a cup of flour weighs 120 grams. You will be amazed at the difference weighing the dry ingredients makes in baked recipes.

      I’m so glad to hear that you are getting your chickens. We have an Australorp (Black Orpington) and she is incredibly friendly and our best laying hen. I hope that you will join the 1840 Farm community on Facebook so that you can share your experiences with your new hens and perhaps your ducks!

  12. Fantastic Stuff, do you currently have a twitter profile?

  13. Hello! I found you through our Facebook page, or perhaps you found us first. Either way, I am grateful for the encounter and will introduce your blog to our readers this weekend. I am certain they will promptly add you to our reading list. i like your use of a compass marking the months and seasons on your page header. It marks the beginning of a journey and in doing so the significance of beginnings, of first intentions and of the word “home.” I am not done browsing around. There is so much to see. Glad to be here. Have a great weekend.

  14. I really enjoy reading your blog and your chicken escapades! I am so lokking forward to retiring (hubby says we are too young!!;-( ) when I can finally have chickens of my own. We are only on our property on weekends and can’t expect any chickens to be alone all week, It’s one thing to travel back and forth with the cat, imagine how we would look trucking a dozen chickens every weekend!

  15. I live on a farm that has been home for six generations. The place had 162 acres. My dad raised apples and pears from the time I can start remembering. Our home was built in 1866. After college I left for 22 years to see the world and find myself. My husband and I moved back to the farm, located 8 miles north of Grand Rapids , MI in 1990. As you know, homes this old offer a constant challenge. I laughed when you mentioned the water leaking into the basement, because I , too, have a similar problem, not just quite as serious as yours. We have done extensive remodeling and I simply love the upgrades that were made. I so enjoy my home and its very personal history. We have a most lovely barn built in 1883. Right now it is going through some painting and repair. There isn’t a nail in this pegged beauty. I truly feel lucky to be the keeper of our family treasure.

    1. What a lovely story! Thank you so much for sharing the story of your farm with me. I loved reading about it as much as I enjoyed sharing our story.

  16. do you have before and after photos of your home? sounds like a fun and exciting project!

  17. I am just falling in love with your basket collection! I am curious to know how and when you got started making them. Did you take classes? Or was this something passed down through your family? I would love to hear the story, as I am just finishing my Master’s Degree and I finally have time to consider starting a hobby 🙂

    1. I am so happy to hear that you enjoy seeing our baskets! I am self taught although my great grandmother did use a very similar technique to transform worn clothing into rugs and household items. So, I have familial inspiration and just kept trying until I had the feel of it. I’m always learning with each mistake that I make, so the craft of making these baskets never grows old!

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