There is a 150+ year old barn off a two-lane road in New Jersey. Peeking out of the old barn is a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle stealing the attention of those passing by. Paul and his wife are building themselves a slice of heaven on their old farm. Here, they can grow together and live off their land which they use to grow organic vegetables and raise their free-range chickens.
“I have two boys and they are both into all the organic stuff,” Paul explains. “These chickens are fed organic food. There is no fertilizer on the ground or the garden. I give these eggs to people and they ask me all the time if they can get some more eggs or if they can buy some eggs. I say, ‘Nah, I don’t sell them.’ I just have enough to give to my friends. My son buys organic eggs and tells me, ‘You have no idea how different these eggs are than the organic eggs in the store.’ A guy was just here this morning, as a matter of fact, and I have given him eggs before, well he took another dozen today. He says, ‘I can’t believe how good they are.’”
“We put in a lot of time and money here,” he says. “This was all trees. It was a real mess. It is cleaned up nice now. Now, the house just needs to get done and then my wife and I will move here permanently. I don’t sell anything, so I will have to move everything from my other barns to this one. The next barn I build will probably be just a little bigger than this old one with no second story, and then I will put shelving around the whole thing and I can fill up the shelves in a 4000 square foot barn with my antiques. So many cool things. It will be nice just to see them and look at all my things, like a museum. I’ll have a little kitchen to cook up some of my vegetables. It will be fun. This old barn actually has a cold storage down below. When I build a new barn, I may build it on this old cold storage to be able to keep using that. But once I get it all set up, the pickers will probably be here and I will have to say, ‘No, get out of here. I don’t sell anything.’”
“We were going to tear down the original house, but my wife wanted to save a portion of it,” Paul says. “We had an engineer come and see if we could save a portion of the house. The original fieldstone sits right on top of the clay soil. The engineer said that structurally, it is still very sound. The foundation is in great shape. So, we leveled the floors out and did some work inside. The chimney was leaning so we took it down and put a new one up. It is all made with the same lumber as the barn. It is all hand cut and all put together with pins, no nails or screws. Right now, we have it down to the bare walls as we gut the inside.”
“I got that Volkswagen Beetle from my brother years ago,” he explains. “I can remember when there were parties somewhere and he would pull up in this thing. It is a 1969. I thought it looked kind of cool just sticking out of the barn. A few people have tried to buy it, but I would rather just keep it and enjoy it. It looks cool.”
“In New Jersey, we’re always running,” Paul says. “We run from breakfast until dinner. We run just to get to bed at night. Everything is stress. Get in the car and all you get is stress. People blowing their horns and passing you and screaming at you. People texting while they are driving. It’s nuts. But, this will be a nice place to hide out when it is finished.”