Buying a Farm: Researching and Finding the Perfect Plot

Buying a farm is not always an easy ordeal. Senja Valero describes how her and her husband found the ideal plot of land for their family.

| March/April 1976

There's a wealth of information available about any part of the country you may choose for your back-to-the- land adventure. Here's how one couple used those facts and figures to guide their move from Miami to an "isolated hollow" in Pennsylvania. — MOTHER 

Are you becoming disenchanted with city living? Do you find yourself humming "Home, Home on the Range" as you fight the five o'clock traffic on the freeway? Would you like to move to some little spot in the country where you can have a garden, a flock of chickens and maybe even raise your own unhormoned beef? Are you interested in buying a farm that is perfect for your family?

Well, I'm here to tell you such a place can be found, but it's a little tricky.

Four years ago our family moved from the suburbs of Miami, Florida to a ramshackle 92-acre farm in Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains. My husband, Allen — then age 42 — was a successful insurance executive with all the hassles thereof. I was 38, and we had two children — a son, Chris, age 10, and Holly, a seven-year-old daughter.

We didn't impulsively flee to "escape" the city — we'd been planning the move for three or four years. When the right time came we very calmly bought the Pennsylvania farm we wanted, sold our glass and terrazzo swimming pool-equipped home in Florida, and shifted everything north (including our carsick dog).

At first we went through a period of adjustment — meaning that we fought poverty, leaky plumbing, a broken coal stoker, swarms of cluster flies, blocked sewer pipes, and each other. But we won! We're here to stay. We love it and even during the moments when our forbearance has worn thin neither of us has regretted making the move.

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