I have this dear friend, Noreen, who lives on a cottage farm just an hour west of us and whose presence and home I leave feeling absolutely filled up and enriched by every time I leave.
She's a New Jersey transfer who always felt she would do well on a farm. So when being relocated for her corporate job, adopted a charming white farm house and created a dreamland for herself and her husband Mark (and several animals who reside there as well). The cottage and barn sit nestled into rolling hills with a creek flowing in front so that a bridge is required upon entering the home and a hunderd acres (or two) of wood behind.
What they did with the home is a masterpiece, straight out of a magazine. She carefully curated the touches to resemble that of a cottage farmhouse, with clean, temporary charm. You'll find floral wallpaper in the bedrooms, coordinated with antique furniture, each to suit itself; ethereal and stunning. The kitchen is lined with white, glass door cabinets that give view to beautiful glassware; butcher block in center. All of her tools and appliances, carefully chosen for use and beauty are utilized - she is a talented cook and baker!
On their working farm, you'll find two Clydesdale horses (this is how our connection stems - back to Wayne's days in horse training in Ohio), a Jersey cow named Blossom, dexter cow named Bella, a henhouse of aracauna chickens and guinea hens, two Nigerian dwarf goats, bee hives, peacocks, rabbits, ducks and two Tibetan Mastiff's that run to greet you with their oversized, teddy-bear kindness each time you pull in. From these she gleans fresh milk (she makes soap with her goat's milk), honey & eggs!
Her homestead has a complete cottage garden and greenhouse filled to the brim with fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. A beautiful summer kitchen was established aside the gardens where Noreen does the preserving work in various, artisan creations. She takes so much joy in taking fruit or vegetables directly from the farm and turning it into something magical to the palate. Her favorites are tasty spins on standard fare such as apple walnut conserve, apple cider jelly, chipotle ketchup, salsa, jams of all kinds, hot pepper jelly, tomato sauces, peach butter and much more! Take a walk through the garden and you'll feel like Beatrix Potter on holiday at the summer house.
Our friendship began as a result of Noreen and Wayne's relationship from the horse industry. They got reconnected when she realized Wayne had moved to West Virginia and he and I started dating. Her and Mark have become fast friends of both of ours and I am so thankful! This summer we established working farm days where I help her with the abundance of chores a farm produces during this time of year.
This time we made grape jam. It was a rainy day, but we happily worked and talked in the summer kitchen and I felt filled up when I left, just as always. (She also sent me home with grape juice to use for whatever I wish to make, fresh eggs, a jar of jam, wonderful roma and heirloom tomatoes and a vase of flowers!)
Thank-you Noreen for sharing your beauty with me!
It was a lovely day on the farm,
Noreen's Farm Page
Flowers: Love Shyla, weekly bouquet