Letting Go of Honey Hill Farm

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Our daughter was born here. It’s a 300-year-old beautifully renovated farm that is a testament to the impermeability of time, weather, and wear on a well-loved home. Our babies lived the first years of their lives swinging in their car seats from the 1705 beams, crawling on the wide pine floor boards, and sledding down through the apple orchard out behind the barn. The hill was where we kept bees and in our first year there 100 pounds of clover honey was harvested from three hives perched beyond the white pine. We sold the golden elixir on our porch to neighbors we met over time. It was an idyllic place to live, but alas it’s now time to let it go.


The truth is, we haven’t lived there for the past 10 years.

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Due to a need to move to the Pacific Northwest for work, we left our beloved New England farm and family 10 years ago, just before the market crashed. When housing prices plummeted, we knew we had to hold on to the home, and rent it out, to wait until the situation stabilized. In 3 months’ time, if all goes as planned, our farm will change hands, and become an experiential preschool for families who want to bring their children in close contact with the Earth.

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Although we moved our primary “stuff” from the farm years ago, we’ve had to slowly get rid of the last bits and pieces that comprise a final vacating of a property.

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These are the kinds of items most people simply throw away, too hurried to mindfully find new stewards for their still-useful items.

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We travelled back to New England last summer to take 3 days to gift our stuff to members of our former community. I connected with the admin of the local Buy Nothing group and she let me temporarily join the group to post our remaining possessions to neighbors.

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Everything disappeared in a matter of hours. Paint, farm tools, antiques, old hardware, large work benches and potting tables were hauled off the property by people happy to come in their cars and trucks to reuse what we couldn’t fathom carting across the country to our home in the Northwest.

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We’re essentially masterminding a zero waste move.

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Here are our best simple tips for a low impact move for anyone trying to reduce their waste when moving out of one property and into another:

  1. Create recycle/reuse waste streams in boxes for easy-to-recycle/reuse items: i) Regular commingled recycling (plastic bottles, glass and paper); ii) Plastic bags (to recycle at grocery stores); iii) Metal (to recycle in a metal recycling facility); iv) Office supplies (pencils, pens, paper clips, etc to give to a teacher or an office somewhere); v) Batteries (take them to your nearest battery recycling facility.)
  2. Don’t buy new boxes. Ask for them on your Buy Nothing group or get them from your nearest liquor store.
  3. Create collections to give away: It’s easier to commingle all of your hardware, or garden supplies, paint supplies, pet supplies, music, etc together to give to neighbors as collections of like-items rather than randomly giving away each item individually.
  4. Don’t buy paper for wrapping fragile items: Use newspaper (ask for it in your Buy Nothing group) or plastic bags, bubble wrap, and styrofoam that you’re planning on recycling,  or napkins, t-shirts, clothing to wrap around your glasses and fragile items for shipping. It saves money and waste.
  5. Even old paint can be reused: Before taking your remaining household hazardous waste to your hazardous waste facility, do check with neighbors to see if they’ll use it. We had people come to pick up our interior and exterior paint for their own projects.

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What additional broad-strokes tips can you add to this list?

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We’ll dearly miss our Essex home on the marshes. © Liesl Clark

4 thoughts on “Letting Go of Honey Hill Farm

  1. This is such an inspirational story. It must have been a wrench finally to say ‘Goodbye’ to your New England place, even if it hasn’t been home for quite a while.

    Oddly, some of the things we found hardest to let go were books. We’d gathered that too many books that reach charity shops are thrown out as being too hard to sell, so finding the best way of re-homing them was hard. They were as much part of us as our children, nearly! As to the rest… you’re right, with a bit of effort, most things find a new home, even if it’s on someone’s allotment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know this is about recycling, but what a beautiful home! I really feel for you having to let it go. I agree with Margaret, books – especially old paperbacks – are hard to offload. I find it almost imppssible to dispose of books anyway, I still have books from when I was a student!


  3. I’ll add to your list of memories that you & Pete were married in front of the fireplace! Such a lovely farm, being repurposed.


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