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October 17, 2012     The Adams County Record
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October 17, 2012
 

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Page 10 Wednesday, October 17, 2012 The Adams County Record Community Spotlight Pioneering Orchard House Farm By Deb Wilson "We probably give people plenty of laughs," Kimberly George of Council eas- ily admitted. She and husband, Rick, broke the bonds of Urban amenities 21 months ago to build a rural self-sufficient and family-centered life here. Like pioneers centuries before them they have settled in a state they had never seen before. "I've had a wonder- ful patch of garden;' she said, pointing outside her kitchen window. Colorful jars of her homemade jel- lies, jams and chutney fill her shelves. She juices the fruit and mills the pulp to make fruit leather. Her Orchard House Farm Teas and organic produce sold well this first year at the McCall Farmers' Market. She combines her own close to mom or curls up with dad for a story. Rick's long commute into his Denver computer job once made this family picture almost inaccessible. Kimberly freely admits she and Rick were city people. She'd grown up. in Phoenix With success- ful, hard working parents, and com- pleted college in Los Angeles. She pursued non-stop activities -- the- atre, student gov- ernment, work. "It was just the way you did life," she explained. After college a former advi- sor intrigued her into teach- ing elementary school English in dried ingredients for teas, China. and grinds her own flour in a modern day Nutrimill. Preparations for apple harvest start soon. "It's quite a production," she admitted, as she served up tea and scrumptious scones on coral china. Books and antique fur- niture surround her elegantly self-restored Victorian living room. Her son, Rick'y, almost 7, announced he'd just read The Hobbit, and anima- tedly related his recent; swashbuckling adventures. Sidekick Timmy, her intro- spective and inquisitive five-year-old, plays char- acters in Ricky's quests when he's not shadowing his dad, Rick. Tw0-year- old Elizabeth, beautifully mischievous, happily sticks She head- ed to Tianjin for a year's contract, not knowing a word of Chinese. It wag a long and difficult year. "We have such unbelievable freedom here;' she learned from her journey. In China, she was carefully observed and reported on. "There was a strict curfew; it was a very controlled society, and incredibly crowded, she remembered. Afterwards, she returned to Durango to work for her dad while she pondered her life path. She was 25 and ready for direction. One day at Bible study, a young man tried to engage her in conversation. She had just returned from China, and the thought of a fel- low approaching her made her uncomfortable. Rick didn't give up, and eventu- ally made her laugh and warmed her heart. Married, she completed her-teacher's license. In Denver she taught elemen- tary school for several years, while Rick drove his long commute. She quit teaching when Ricky was born; but a book called Breathe awoke her to the incredible stress of her lifestyle. There was never down time; project after project consumed her life. When pregnant, she had devdop, ed extreme sensitivity to environmen- tal aromas and chemicals. Concerned about toxins, she undertook serious renovation on her family's lifestyle. "I pretty much gutted life as it was," she said, and she began making everything from scratch. She researched natural ingredients and made their own foods, cleaners and toiletries. They planted a huge garden, mentored and inspired by a dear organic farmer. In their mid-thirties they began researching a self- sufficient rural lifestyle. Earlier pioneers only had word of mouth and dime- store novels for guides, but modern day pioneers have the Internet. Rick found the realtor ad in Council: a grand 1920'S house ready for renovation, an orchard, a barn and plenty of out- door space for exploration. It had to be paradise. 2heir house sold quickly, and in/anuar~ 2010, they made the treacherously icy journey from Denver with two small boys and 4 month old baby Elizabeth. Three feet of snow and a dark evening chilled their arrival. Unbelievably their keys wouldn't turn in the of the padlocks and passed the kids in through the windows. But still the fun wasn't over. Frozen pipes in the pump house stopped the water. The house was cold; they didn't know anyone except Earl the realtor, who fortunately fixed the locks and produced a plumber. Mice had rendered the stove unusable. The exhausted family curled up in sleeping bags, on constant guard for marauding mice. Moving took mul- tiple trips over several months due to the weath- er. The movers unique packing left them with- out parts of their belongings, like couch cushions, for months. "Farm life in the movies was so roman- ticized," they realized. Restoration work on their aged two-story home sur- passed every expectation. They dredged through rooms of abandoned fur- niture and refuse. Almost everything they touched broke. They started adding animals to the farm with chickens. Bella the scream- ing goat and Buttercup the heavily producing, yet teat elusive milk cow, almost put them over the edge. padlocked doors. Rick dug "We had to choose our through the snow to extri- battles, Kimberly admitted, care a basement entrance, and they abandoned the They couldn't use the doors fresh milk approacK to go in or out because It could have been a mis- erable start up experience, but Kimberly consciously chose to filter her out- look through happy lenses. "God put all of this here for us. It's made us stron, ger and closer as a fam- ily," she smiled. Through the Internet and support of good friends Rick has taught himself plumbing, carpentry, rewiring, and landscaping. Kimberly builds her home-based business and home schools the boys. Room by room they're creating the family haven they longed for. "I've had more people stop in to visit in the last six months than the prior decade in Denveff she related. They're grate- ful to their neighbors Tony and Dee Starniri, Mike and Sue Christianson, Dana Stovner, the Lyttles, and Gordy Fawley who hauled away the discards. At weekly women's get- togethers, Kimberly's learned to knit and find her way around. When asked about busi- nesses in Council, "I'm still trying to figure out what is available here," she admit- ted. "We're all for support- ing local business, but I've got to know when you're open and who does what." She misses small amenities like up to date web pages and signs posting opening/ closing hours. But as Rick comes in for his tfternoon family break, lack of signage seems a small price to pay for togetherness. "I wouldn't trade this for anything," she sighed. "We are what I dreamed we would be." Bear Facts aln By Tina Warner -- 258-4471 Sunday night's rain must have put a hold on the fires, for several large Forest rigs have gone out. A light rain Saturday night followed with quite a lot of rain Sunday night made all of us more secure. Hopefully there has been enough moisture that the fires won't flare up again. Hunting seems to be good. Dan and Sauni McGahey's grandson, Will, got his first deer this year. He was hunting with his dad, Jim, on the ranch. Will is ten years old. Mark Davis brought his daughter, Caitlyn, hunting for the first time. Caitlyn is an eighth grader at New Plymouth and an A student, so her dad didn't think it would hurt to take her hunting for a day or two, and got permission from her teacher. They drove up Wednesday night and stayed in their little cabin. Thursday morning they drove up the road on Bear Creek. Caitlyn saw a deer, stepped out of the pickup and with one shot her hunting was over. They brought it to Warner's to hang it. Joe Warner helped Martin Carter move a building from Cuprum to Carter's place on Bear Creek one day last week. It turned out to be more of a job than they expected, but they finally got it loaded with Butch Cornell's help and hauled to Bear. Martin Carter has spent the past few days at his trailer at their place at Bear, and Sandra Ward came up Sunday to hunt with him. Sandra has been hunting with Martin for several years. Guests of Dan and Sauni McGahey over the weekend were Sauni's brother, Jack and Peggy Jardine. Gail Routson of Weiser spent the past several days hunting at Bear. She said she had hunted for ten days without seeing anything, so she returned to Weiser. Jan Young is home after spending a few days visiting family in California.