A Stroll through Elm Pine Farm
Walking down what was once known as Goshen Highway, admiring the farm house that stands before you. The large patch of poppies letting you know spring has really arrived, poppies planted by Katie Halbach so many decades ago. Walking up the drive, you see the sign hanging above the shop, “Elm Pine Farm since 1922”.
Katie Bauman and Adolph Halbach met in New York where they were married and where Katie gave birth to two of their sons, Charles and Adolph. They settled in Hampton after buying the farm from the Tryon brothers. Their third son, Edward, born in the house that still remains in the family nearly one hundred years later. Edward building his home for his family just down the road, less than a tenth of a mile, overseeing and doing the upkeep as needed with the help of his son Dave.
As you continue up the drive, beyond the barn through the gateway the pasture opens to what you feel is a paradise. Open land, a pond on the left that once watered live stock, a pond on the right where many happy days of your youth were spent with the neighbors, young mothers sharing summer afternoons catching up and watching children swim. Walking the dam, and rounding the back side of the pond, finding the break in the wall that leads to the roadway that you have always favored. The shade of the spring leaves and the heaviness of the fiddle head ferns that grow in abundance along that trail. You continue walking as you have a hundred times in the last forty years, you find your way to the top of Clark Hill, and see the remnants of a tree stand from the previous fall’s hunt. Making your way down to what is known as the last lot, the turned soil and the fresh rye planted. Taking in the simple beauty, the peace, the quiet, sitting down to rest and take a break by the pond, watching the turtles pop up and down in the water, the fish jumping the frogs, singing in their deep raspy voices.
Thinking back to the days when the pond was so active. The Fourth of July when friends and neighbors brought their pot lucks to share and so many grills burning at once. Jim and Louise Oliver, Bert and Pat Valliancourt, Yvette and Gerry Lavoie, Judy and John Osborn, and, of course, the Halbachs. A celebration of America’s freedom, good food, good drink, heading down to the house to pick up Katie, Gram, so she might enjoy a meal with family and friends. Even in pouring rain a good time, and most of all good friends.
Hearing stories about the picnics of so many years past, the company picnics for Akim Engineering where Katie and Charles worked, having the employees here to celebrate another year and to socialize, getting to know others and their families. Remembering the day our daughter married Dan Merasco right on this very spot. The brides wedding party arriving on a hay trailer towed by the 1940 Farmall tractor, Louise Oliver, Helen’s godmother, officiating, a very special day.
Adolph, Pops as he was known, passed at a relatively young age, working on the farm in the 1950’s. Katie continued to live here, until she was 97 and was a pioneer of her own kind. You could find her working in the garden, spitting wood, or making the entire family a Sunday night dessert to go with some really good coffee, perked on the woodstove in the kitchen that blasted you from the heat.
After Gram, Katie, passed the house stood empty for a time….
Birthplace of the Hampton Remodeling Company
by Lenny Patera
I first met David Halbach in grammar school in the 1960’s. We became friends and played at his grandmother’s farm, Elm Pine Farm.
David and I went to different high schools, however we attended the same college and commuted together in the early 1970’s. In the mid -70’s I was hired by his father Ed Halbach and we became friends. Life changes and so do jobs. But my friendship with David and Ed remained. Years later, David’s grandmother, Katie Halbach, passed away leaving the farm empty. I was living in an apartment in Willimantic and was looking to move back to the country. Knowing the Halbach family wanted to keep the farm, I approached Ed with a proposal to rent the house. We came to an agreement. I believe it was in 1990 when I moved in and lived there for 15 years.
At that time in my life I was doing home improvement renovations in a partnership. As with many partnerships, it didn’t last. The year was 1998 and I decided to go out on my own. The Halbach Farm became the birthplace of the Hampton Remodeling Company. With the help of the Halbach family, the company thrived and it became necessary to expand. In 2005 the Hampton Remodeling Company was reestablished in Chaplin.
To this day I consider the Halbach family and my time at the farm instrumental in the success of the Hampton Remodeling Company, and I will always have an emotional tie to the Halbach farm for all the good times and good people that made life so comfortable there.
…Since Lenny, there have been few tenants, and today Ed’s granddaughter, Helen, her husband Dan and their two sons, Taylor and Tom, reside on the family farm. Helen and her family learned through the years what it is to prune a Christmas tree, work in a hot hay field, or cut over 20 cords of wood for three families for one season, planting vegetables to help support the family in the same location where your great-grandmother once dug and turned the soil by hand.
In the summer months you can see Ed and his dog Romeo at the farm in his golf cart, riding around checking out the gardens, making sure the lawns are properly mowed. Checking out the tractors, thinking back of all the days of working side by side with his son, doing repairs, maintenance of old equipment that has seen better days.
I have worked side by side with Dave and Dad when needed for over forty years; I have seen and learned the love and respect for the land, and for Elm Pine Farm.