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Saturday, March 8, 2008

In the beginning... Part I

The history of Catskill Farms is a 911 story, a story of country living, starting with nothing, business building, living in the sticks.

Here's my first house in Sullivan County. I bought it while still living in NYC for $24,000, and I paid for it with a credit card. I'm not sure what I was thinking because I didn't own a car, and really had no way to get up here.

When I bought this old time shack in Cochecton NY, it was unfinished, with no sheetrock, no electricity, no water, no plumbing. I decided to move up full-time after 911 made city living pretty uncertain. My first winter was spent fixing up the house, storing my food in the outdoors to keep it cool, shitting in the woods, and going to the corner hotel (fosterdale inn) to take a shower for $5 each Saturday.

The Rock House, as we named it, was a shack built at the turn of century, built on 4 acres, and most remarkably, built atop of 2 very large builders. The big rocks actually served as the house foundation, created a cavelike entrance into the basement, and composed the walls of the basement - so the basement was a cave, made of real rocks. The upstairs was about 400 sq ft.

Most people who move to the country have a few 'rookie in the country' stories to tell, and I have more than my share. My very first rookie move was being too cool for school by buying with my limited $$$ a very cool 1977 Chief Cherokee - big motor, big tires, auto windows. Problem was it got 4 miles a gallon, and broke down more than once a week - possibly the two worse combos for a country vehicle.

My next vehicle purchase was almost as inane, as I bought a 1995 ford extended cab pickup in order to start the construction business. Problem is I'm probably the only one rookie enough to buy a 2 wheeldrive truck, that left me stranded and stuck as often as it took me where I needed to go. On the other side, I still own ol yeller - she's got about 190,000 miles on it.

It wasn't until my 3rd try did I get a vehicle that worked - a 1998 Toyota Rav - we still own it, 180,000 miles, 10 years - not the manliest car, but one hell of a work horse.

Here's a pic from winter 2002, with the one room shack, during dinner. The table and a futon pad was the only furniture in the house. We heated the house with the wood stove. In the background, I found that big picture window in a salvage yard in Lancaster PA, removed from an old church. Note the 2x4 beside the dining table holding the house up.