The Orchard House

After a week or two of procrastination and arguing with myself, I called an agent and made an appointment to look at the house on a Saturday afternoon. I asked one of the few friends who knew about my sudden desire to “move to The Flint Hills and make art” if she wanted to take a day trip with me. Over dinner one night the week before, the two of us looked at the pictures posted on Zillow and tried to draw up what we thought the floor plan actually was. She said she must go with me to see if our drawing was correct.

Saturday arrived and I headed off to Topeka to pick up my road trip companion and head to Matfield Green. Between Cottonwood Falls and Matfield Green we both commented on how gorgeous the hills were, even in January, and pondered what it must have been like trying to cross them in a covered wagon. Both of us thankful to be in a car instead.

We arrived at the house and met the agent and a friend of the home owner. After the initial walk through, we were excited to confirm that our layout was correct. True to form, I was completely distracted by everything; the size of the rooms, where my few pieces of furniture would go, what colors I would paint. And, perhaps, most distracted by the fact that there was a bird feeder attached to the big kitchen window and birds everywhere. Thankfully my friend was asking all the necessary questions, how old is the HVAC system? How old is the roof? Is the propane tank leased or owned? I did ask where the access was to the crawl space and then immediately assured everyone that I had no interest in EVER going in the crawl space!

I learned that the house was once owned by the Kansas Land Institute and was named the Orchard House due to the apple and pear trees on the property. The house is currently owned by a female rancher in the area, maybe one day we will cross paths. While talking with the friend of the homeowner, I learned that I wouldn’t be the only Kansas City transplant to Matfield Green, there were at least two others. Matfield Green is also home to several other artists. I mentioned that my plan was to move there and make art, and out of nowhere, I said I wanted to be a metal sculptor… As soon as I said it, I stood there wondering what the hell I was talking about! I knew I wanted to learn how to weld, but I’d never once thought about being a sculptor. But, if that’s what the Universe wants from me, who am I to say no??

Wrapping up the visit to (with?) the house, it was suggested that we stop in Strong City for a late lunch at Ad Astra on our way back to Topeka. Making our way there involved a couple of detours; stopping at the scenic over look on K-177, where we found we weren’t the first visitors on this snowy day, driving through Cottonwood Falls and a walk across the bridge over the Cottonwood River.

Lunch at Ad Astra, sliders and homemade chips, was very good. The accompanying beer, Buffalo Sweat by Tallgrass Brewing was also very good! We chatted with the bartender and waitresses and learned a little more about the area. One surprising tidbit; Ad Astra doesn’t require a reservation, but they recommend it, especially for the customers who often travel from Kansas City, Emporia and Wichita for dinner. It’s quite a testament to your business when you can draw people from 1-2 hours away.

As we headed out of Strong City, we had to stop a couple more times for photographs. The sun was setting behind us and a full moon was rising ahead. These things should never be overlooked!

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