For the past half-dozen years, Marika Torok has been living her own Walden’s Pond.
Like Walden author Henry David Thoreau’s return to simple living, Torok went back to nature on her Breeding Hill Road farm.
Natural springs criss-cross the farm’s 48 acres in the Vanderbilt rurals.
Established in the late 1800s, the working farm recently went on the market, offering buyers an opportunity to join Fayette County’s largest single industry, agriculture, and to be totally self-sustaining as well as lead a more simple life.
“There’s free gas from several wells on the property,“ Torok said. “So, there is not much in the way of utility costs.”
Springs supply water via gravity feed for the home and outbuildings, she said. “I had planned to go off the grid completely and become energy independent.”
She added, “You would be able to grow your own food and livestock feed and live off the land. I grew all the food for my livestock. It’s a really nice place and I saw many a rainbow and other natural phenomenon.
“You could basically do anything here with so much room, the possibilities are endless. You could have some sort of art workshop, grow crops, berry bushes or raise animals.”
Torok also enjoyed the closeness to nature. “It is very serene and quiet. I felt like I was away from the world. There is a one-lane road going past but it has very little traffic on it. It has nice views of the surrounding country. There are neighbors but they aren‘t nearby.”
A vegetarian, Torok gardened, raised bees and kept the farm as more of an animal sanctuary.
The main home, which dates to about 1900, has a living room, dining room, kitchen and den as well as four bedrooms. It has been added onto by previous owners through the decades to its current form.
Torok said the original home was a two-story, four-room dwelling with two rooms on each floor. One of its historic features are its refinished heartwood pine floors, “the kind of wide planks that you don‘t see anymore. In fact, all the wood used to build the house came from the property.”
It also has a stone foundation and root cellar. “There’s a front porch, side porch and back deck that overlooks the property,” she said.
The farm, Torok added, “is almost like a little village, there are enough outbuildings and barns, plenty of storage, to meet anyone’s needs.”
There is a four-bay pole barn, a two car garage with a coal furnace, a two-bay machine shed with a door on one bay for tractor or machinery storage; a single-wide trailer that has hookups for utilities; a large red barn she uses to store hay with livestock stalls in the ground level; another barn, “like a cow shed with a corn crib and another storage area“; and a large central chicken house with smaller coups surrounding it.
There also is a spring house that had once been inhabited, its cold water used to preserve milk, butter and other products, and “a cabin-like structure with heat and electric but no water. This could be a pottery studio or workshop. It has a loft and work benches,” she said.
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