There’s something addictive about country life. I started to see that when I moved to Glasgow, Ky., and took over the agriculture beat for the Glasgow Daily Times in 2011. All the farmers I knew spoke with such passion about the lifestyles they led. I loved visiting their farms, but I didn’t have my own experience with living the country life until Dave and I signed up for Workaway and came to England.
After three months at the beautiful Brook Farm, Dave and I were introduced to Jude and Rupert Hunt and their sweet girls Libby and April, and we agreed to a sort of non-official Workaway job at Redford Farm in Shropshire. We spent two weeks with the Hunts in February, and returned to start a longterm job at Redford on April 1 (after a month of madness in Spain, Morocco and Denmark, which I must write about later).
We live in a barn. A several-hundred-year-old building that used to house livestock. Does it get more country than that? Jude and Rupert bought a 450-year-old lopsided farmhouse with a barn and a dozen acres nearly five years ago, and set about renovating the home and converting the dilapidated barn into a beautiful rural haven for holiday makers. Dave and I moved into the smaller side of the barn, which has been converted to have two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large common space with kitchen and living area. The barn is fully livable, but most of the rooms still need to be painted, some tiling needs to be done, carpeting, etc. Dave and I were brought on to do much of that, including painting all the bedrooms and bathrooms in both sides of the barns, some other decorating work and landscaping the area around the barn. The other half of the barn has four bedrooms. Jude and Rupert hope to start letting the barn in early August.
So far, Dave and I have cleared overgrown areas, rotavated, laid grass seed, hauled rocks and logs, planted a veg garden, painted both in the barn and in the Hunts’ home, weeded flower beds, built a shed, organized Jude’s photo library, helped set up Redford Farm Barns’ social media, and whatever else has come up. We even helped chaperone a children’s birthday swim party this weekend. Oh, and we helped pluck and butcher a cockerel.
We take walks on most clear afternoons and I visit the lambs in the surrounding fields. We check on the duck’s nest down by our pond. We collect eggs from the chicken’s house. It is quite the country life we lead–and it suits us greatly. Maybe after this we’ll want a year or two of wild city life with bright lights and late nights, but for now, I find that hearing the echo of baby lambs baa-ing bounce across the fields is my favorite sound in the world.