Life at Sweet View Farm
The first light has made the sky a soft gray, broken up with a mix of lavender and pink; you’ve woken naturally since you’ve not pulled the curtains shut and the abundant windows keep your senses in tune with the natural rhythm of the day. The songbirds, also recently awoken by the dawn, are singing their welcome to the day and beginning their search for breakfast. From your view of Humpback Rocks and the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can see that the day will be a beautiful one: if you can see Humpback, you’ll have clear weather for several hours at least, but if Humpback is shrouded in clouds, you can expect rain.
Heading outside, your senses are flooded with the sweet smell of the land. In the summer, numerous flowers are blooming…the butterfly bush is covered in immensely fragrant clusters of blooms, along with the abelias, sweet shrub, elderberries -- and others; in the Fall, the late-blooming button mums and roses provide a heady mix of sweet and slightly spicy; Winter brings the sweet, comforting scent of leaves slowly becoming part of the soil once again; and in the Spring, the riot of fragrant bulbs -- and especially the swath of hyacinths, Poeticus daffodils, Korean lilacs, and spice viburnums -- let you know the cold days are coming to an end.
After taking a moment to enjoy the variety of sights, smells, and sounds with which you’re met upon stepping outside, you head down to the barn to feed the horses. The barn is east of the house, and walking down you can just see the sun rising over the trees. It’s a little chilly, but when those first rays hit the south-facing barn, it warms quickly. The horses fed and in their stalls, you take the dogs on a morning walk around the farm. There are a few wisps of mist that are hovering near the stream; the sun has yet to burn them off. In one of the fields across the stream, you see evidence of some flattened grass: must have been where a small herd of deer spent the night. Entering the woods on one of the trails, the dogs pick up on the scent of some nocturnal creature and run around, tails wagging frantically as they try to deduce where this raccoon or opossum went. Your footsteps are muffled on the pine needles, and the pines give off a refreshing scent, regardless of the time of year. With the dogs still occupied elsewhere, you startle a flock of wild turkeys; they dash off quickly, but it was so fun to see them! At one point there weren’t too many turkeys around this area, but through the conservation efforts of you and your neighbors, there are now quite a few; you often find their scratchings in the dirt and leaves where they foraged.
Circling back to the house feeling refreshed from your walk, you are ready to start the day. You grab a quick breakfast, adding some blueberries from the huge bushes in the garden, which provide enough to freeze a gallon or two and have them available year ‘round.
Ok, time to get on to the business of the day. You’re able to work from home the majority of the time (though Charlottesville is an easy drive) and you’ve found that the Tiny House that’s a stone’s throw from the Main House is a perfect space to work from: light filled, airy, and private, with beautiful views of Heard’s Mountain to the east.
At lunchtime, you walk back to the Main House for a bite to eat. During the late summer, you will probably pick a large handful of figs (Marseilles) off the tree just outside the house, or near your tool shed (Turkish); you never knew just how amazing figs are until you’d eaten them warmed by the sun and fresh off the tree. You also quickly pick some lettuce, tomatoes, beets, carrots, peppers, and Roma green beans from the garden. This is beyond fresh and organic! Farm to table in less than 10 minutes. By this point, the sun has reached the south-western side of the house and the kitchen is flooded in natural light; it will remain so until the sun sets over the mountains. While you’re sitting out on the porch covered with a muscadine vine, eating your lunch, you see a Red-tailed Hawk soaring over the woods. It lets out a shrill cry and moments later you hear a second Red-tailed Hawk reply. There are generally one or two nesting pairs on the property.
Your workday wrapped up, you decide to head out on a bike ride. There is an abundance of quiet back roads in the vicinity, all with minimal traffic. Your loop takes you through Crozet, where you pause for a quick coffee before heading back home. On a weekend, you might organize a group of friends to go on a tour of some of the many wineries, breweries, and cideries that are all within 20 minutes from the farm. Or, feeling lazy, you might keep it very close to home and walk the mile down the road to Cardinal Point Winery; they often have live music on weekends.
The evening is settling over the farm; the sun has set behind the mountains and the sky is a brilliant mix of colors. While preparing dinner (again from the garden: depending on which season - since there’s something available year ‘round - maybe some asparagus, carrots, turnips, radishes, kale, beets, squash, apples, pesto made from your own basil, Oriental persimmons eaten as they are or made into a pie, zucchini bread from your abundant zucchini, rhubarb…), you first hear, then see, a flock of geese flying in over the pasture to spend the night on the neighbor’s pond.
The tile floor in the kitchen and dining area feels warm as you pad about in bare feet, preparing dinner; the radiant floors are heated by the solar hot water system. If it’s a chilly night, you might decide to also light a fire in the Tulikivi, a beautiful masonry wood stove that radiates heat from its substantial soapstone mass long after the fire has subsided. The fire crackling merrily, you curl up with a glass of wine and a good book. The combination of wine and fire makes you drowsy, so you head off to bed. The last sounds you hear are the geese, ever so faintly, squabbling over some disturbance. Maybe a fox? You smile as you nod off; the gentle sounds of the geese take you back to the first night in this house, when you first heard them while drifting off to sleep. For some reason, they’ve held a special spot in your heart ever since.
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. is a Charlottesville Va real estate broker that strictly abides by the U.S. and Virginia Fair Housing laws.