Monday, June 8, 2009

Part II- Jumping in with Both Feet

Part II – Jumping in with Both Feet.

Chapter 5: We Find the Farm…

Captain America: As we looked all over South Jersey for properties, Dave and Shannon kept taking us by this property for sale near their house. It was a beautiful 16 acre property with a small farm house, a pole barn and pasture land that had been used for cattle and horses. In fact this property was surrounded by farms and pastures. There were horses and cows, corn fields and soy fields. There was even a rodeo around the corner. Where in the world WERE we?

A lovely fellow by the name of Don Kohler was the real estate agent for the seller. The negotiation lasted for most of 2003 as we continued to look for properties. I kept in touch with Don who promised that I would never hear from him that the property had been sold – he would always give me one last bite at the apple. I knew Don as a tall skinny fella. He was actually a large barrel- chested fella who was dying of a very painful form of cancer. Thanks to Don, we were finally able to reach a deal to buy the property. Don was going from bad to worse but still managed to help my mom buy a house in Woodstown to be close to the farm. Mom, a hospice worker at the time, helped him die. I was a pall bearer at his funeral. He said that helping us buy the farm to start a winery is one of the achievements of his life he was most proud of. I poured him his last glass of wine under a tree in front of what would be the first field we would plant.

So like I said, with the money my dad left and with a little help from mom, Jules and I bought the farm in October of 2003. We quickly realized that we could not maintain the farm while living in Queen Village so, over the winter, we left the city for good and moved to the farm. I was still working in Philly, by this time for the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. So rather than a 15 minute Vespa ride to work I was now doing an hour and fifteen minutes through country lanes and major highways, over rivers and through several states. Dave was at J.P. Morgan in Wilmington doing his own miserable commute. He and Shannon still were living only six minutes away from the farm. By this time, Jules had, mercifully, taken over the winemaking and Shannon had begun to oversee the administration of the farm, the first task of which, was to plant.

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