Bonafide Farm

About Bonafide Farm

Bonafide Farm is ten acres of creatures and critters and never-ending projects tucked in between two mountain ranges in beautiful Free Union, Virginia. It’s a laboratory for an evolving list of experiments, not the least of which is seeing if I can make something beautiful out of dirt and wood and my own hard work. Since 2009 I have demolished a house, built another one, built a chicken coop, had a guinea adventure, abandoned guineas for chickens, created a garden and orchard from a bare field, landscaped a construction site, and planted more than 50 trees. Most of which while working full-time off the farm. Oh, and I am 35 years old and running this farm on my own.


I originally started this blog as a way to chronicle my house construction project. I also wanted to have a place to share my writing and photography, two areas in which I have received professional degrees and paychecks. But, as blogs tend to do, this has grown into much more than the story of building a house. It’s a memoir of building a way of life and a memory of the joy and sorrow lived here. Creating and maintaining this blog are the best decisions I made out of the myriad attendant to creating Bonafide Farm.

None of this adventure would be possible without a green tractor, the knowledge and encouragement of my parents, who are always willing to dive into the most onerous projects with me (see here, and here for a few of countless examples), and my English Shepherd, Tucker. Thanks for stopping by—I hope you enjoy your visit to Bonafide Farm.

Postscript: In September 2014 I left my farm to study horticulture with plantsmanship in Scotland at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. It has been a life dream of mine to study plants in the United Kingdom, no doubt fueled by my experiences on Bonafide Farm, and I will continue to write about my adventures in this new direction.

§ 32 Responses to “About Bonafide Farm”

  • D.Hughes says:

    I am so enjoying your blog. A beautiful project! I also can’t help but remark on your “original farm dog” – what a beauty. I have two black and white English Shepherds (Bea is only 3 mo. and Star is one year +) from They have the same parents and were raised on the farm. Wonderful dogs and they look just like yours too! They still have a couple of the eleven pups left if there is anyone thinking of a new adoption. Highly recommend. Bea and Star are a joy. I would love to read stories about your experience with the pup.

    Deb Hughes

  • D. Hughes says:


    I am writing to wish you well. I do look forward to your beautiful writing on natural things and stories of Tucker. The photographs are exceptional too. Your sense of place is heartwarming. I hope all is well.


  • Jon Palmeri says:

    Wow! What an incredible project with no facet on this overlooked! You have excellent taste and attention to detail. One of my favorite items in your house is your random width Red/White Oak flooring. Such character and such a beautiful finish! I am clear on your species of wood, widths, etc., but could you provide me with more detail on your finishing process using this Pallman’s Magic Oil? This is spectacular and does an excellent job of preserving that charm/feel that I’m looking to in my house. I would greatly appreciate any additional information on how I can go about achieving this and would love to share pictures of my before/after.


    Jon Palmeri

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, John,

    Thanks for your nice comments!

    I can’t speak much to the process my contractor used to apply the Magic Oil, as he did it. I can, say, though, that I am not super thrilled with how it’s held up. I was told it was a “commercial-grade” finish yet I find that it stains and marks easily. Pet stains, obviously, but also water and things like dish and laundry detergent will make spots that don’t come out. I have to be very careful to keep standing water off it, as it will soak into and warp the wood. Thus, I “mop” on my hands and knees with an almost-dry rag using just water with some white vinegar and a few drops of lemon oil. Very labor intensive!

    But–I am also embracing the staining, which blends pretty well into the character grade oak I chose. If you have any more questions, let me know. Good luck with your project!

  • Your blog is one of the few that I read every morning with my coffee. Besides the fact that your writing is flawless and heartfelt, your photos are amazing. I’m especially fond of Tucker and wish I could have one just like him! Keep on writing and thank you for sharing your life in Virginia…


  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, Dianne! It’s wonderful to hear from you again and thanks for reading. Your comments always make me smile! Thank you!!

  • David says:

    Wanted to say hello and thanks for your excellent blog. I’m here on DIYDiva’s recommendation and couldn’t be more pleased with your work.

    I’ve now read every post and I look forward to reading more.

    One suggestion. Next time you need to drive T-posts, think about buying a post driver, about $30 here, at your local farm supply. No more ladders, no more sledges, no more bruised hands. You will get some sore arms, though…;-)

    Thanks from a new Texas reader,


  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, David! Thanks for your nice comment, and the t-post driver advice. Welcome!

  • Karen Cutler says:

    I came upon your blog by accident tonight as I was searching the Internet for pictures of Lavender Orpingtons (Violetta arrives tomorrow!) Your adventures sound like things I’ve always dreamed of doing, except I have a husband to help. I look forward to reading all of your blog. A word of caution…I, too, have worked hard on remodeling and gardening projects over the years. I am now 60. Bottom line…all that “exercise” leads to arthritis…all that sun leads to old looking skin! Have fun but go easy, buy a good hat, wear sunscreen and install a jacuzzi to sooth those achy joints!!!

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, Karen, and welcome! You are going to love Violetta. My Lavender Orpingtons are the sweetest birds of any in my flock.

    You are totally right about the wear and tear of this lifestyle. I feel like I have aged ten years in five, and hurt a lot. I have considered a jacuzzi–that would be wonderful!

  • Karen Cutler says:

    OK…so I’ve been reading bits and pieces of your blog for the last few nights, then decided to start at the beginning and work through chronologically. Just completed May, 2010 and couldn’t wait to comment. The house is amazing! Love the design, love the details, love the nooks and crannies. You have truly captured the look of a Craftsman home that has been there for a while. The floors are magnificent! I love doing lots of color variation and texture in my wood floors, too, and always ask for knots and worm holes. People think I’m crazy but it adds so much charm. Sanding down edges does make a huge difference. Hubby actually did the same on the outside Hardie Plank siding to make it look older! That’s dedication. Colors are perfect and the overall setting is magical. You and I think alike…open, open, open…lots of light…find storage wherever you can. Good you reworked the kitchen sink, cabinet, faucet…that would have made you crazy. Can’t wait for more! ;-)

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, Karen, and welcome. Thanks for your sweet comments about the house. I really appreciate your encouragement!

  • Karen Cutler says:

    So sorry for the loss of your sweet hens.

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Thanks for all your sweet words, guys. I didn’t think it would make me this sad to lose these birds, but it did. I appreciate your support.

  • Dear Bonafide Farmer,

    we would love to publish your wonderful glass gem corn pics in our German primary school magazine so the kids in class 3 and 4 can see them. Would you agree?
    Certainly we would put Bonafide Farmer for credits and would send you a copy of our pedagogical magazine.

    I look forward to your answer!

    Kind regards from Munich/Germany


  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, Oliver,

    Yes, you may reprint the Glass Gem corn pictures once in your school magazine. Please credit them with “”

    Thanks for asking and let me know if you have further questions!

  • kurt says:

    Hi Bonafide Farmer,

    I’d love to write a short article about Glass Gem Corn on my blog (it’s a little private blog in German language). May I use your beautiful images for illustration? Of course with links back to your bonafidefarm-website!

    Greetings from Austria

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, Kurt,

    It’s fine to use my images as long as you credit them and link back to my site.

    Thanks for asking–I look forward to reading your blog. Would you mind sending the link?

  • kurt says:

    Hi Bonafide Farmer,

    the short article is online now!
    Hope it’s okay for you:
    Thanks again for granting permission – your photos are really great.

    Kind regards

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, Kurt!

    Your Web site is very attractive. Thanks for your kind words and for linking back to!

  • Karen Cutler says:

    We are having the worst time ever with coyotes! Although they started attacking in darkness, they are now out during daylight hours running off with peoples’ chickens, ducks, cats…whatever. Local communities have begun trapping. There are companies that will contract to do that. My guess is that they’re shooting them…not relocating. It’s very scary, especially when you’re listening to their screams at night!

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Wow–attacking during daylight is pretty bad. I am totally on board with the shooting idea!

  • David says:

    I’ve been busy lately and missed the last 4 months, but managed to catch up today. I’m glad you survived the winter! We’ve had a rough one on Dallas, but, phew, you guys got slammed!

    Thanks for continuing to share.

  • David says:

    Re your 500th post. If life is art, you are a master. The photos you share, and your many accomplishments are proof.

    Just my humble opinion.

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Thank you, David. So sweet of you to comment! Thanks for reading!

  • David says:

    I agree that using herbicides to kill back your meadow so you can plan a “natural” meadow is overkill, if you’ll forgive the pun.

    One method that works well is to NOT mow a section at a time, and then do a controlled burn in the Spring, over seeding with plants you want before the regrowth can shade them out.

    You can also till narrow strips in random patterns on contour and seed those areas, tilling and seeding new strips over several years.

    Experiment. Try different things. You have a lifetime to get it right. Hope I live long enough to see it!

  • daniel says:

    HI! I have really enjoyed reading your blog and especially about the barred olive eggers! I currently have a small flock that i keep in my hopyard, and will be receiving some marans and olive eggers in september to raise and potentially cross in the spring. I live across the mountain from you, in nellysford near wintergreen. I was wondering if you might be interested in sharing more info on your attempts to breed olive eggers? also maybe exchanging some chicks next spring? it would be great to have someone local to talk to about this project!

    -danny wolf

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, Danny!

    Thanks for reading. I am familiar with your brewery.

    I am happy to talk more about the olive eggers, and I may also have some of my birds available soon, including my Wheaten Ameraucana rooster, who adds the blue egg genes into the olive egger mix, and some first generation olive egger hens.

    If you can post your contact info I will get in touch.

  • David says:

    I keep checking back to see if you’re ready to tell us about your new adventure, but no such luck.

    Be well, be safe, be happy.

    You will be missed.

  • David says:

    Welcome back, and Happy New Year.

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Thanks, David. Happy New Year to you, too!

  • Amy Carter says:

    How do we go about signing up for notifications of new posts for this blog – Or is this doing it? I clicked “Feed” and just got html code on the screen. Not very familiar with this stuff but loved your site and farm. We are in Moneta, VA – actually closer to Bedford itself rather than Moneta which is associated with Smith Mountain Lake (between Roanoke and Lynchburg). My two Fjord Horses came from near your general area. One from Rixeyville at Ironwood Farm and the other from Plain Dealing Farm in Scottsville, we aren’t terribly far from you all.

  • § Leave a Reply