When Wendy Ann Coduti told her husband, Kurt, that she was going to look online for a 10-acre farm, he told her to go for it. She says he never imagined that she would find exactly what she was looking for, and more: An 18-acre property in the Bellefonte, Pa., environs with a creek, two barns, fenced pastures, and a one-story concrete house that “looks like an airplane hangar.”
Wendy and Kurt both grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and they wanted to return to their rural roots. Coduti, an associate professor of education, started by leasing a horse in 2013 shortly after starting work at University Park. “Once our kids were done with college,” she says, “we both wanted more outdoor space.”
The Codutis bought their property in 2019 from an Amish farmer. They purchased a tractor, are remodeling the larger barn, and plan on getting goats. They also acquired another horse and bought 18 chickens, 16 of which are still thriving and laying eggs that Coduti regularly distributes among her neighbors and colleagues. “We researched everything—the right size nesting box, which type of chicken works well for this climate, which ones will be more friendly,” she says.
They also consulted heavily with Penn State Extension, whose help proved invaluable. “I didn’t know what was growing in the fields, and they came out to analyze what types of grasses are growing, what’s good for the horses,” she says. “They helped with soil tests and provided resources for weed control. We’ve also participated in their horse nutrition research study.”
Owning a farm is hard work: There’s always something to dig or shovel, grass to cut, and wood to chop. But the Codutis wouldn’t have it any other way: They have big plans for the property (8 acres of land are still unused) in the years to come, including cultivating hay, growing hops (Kurt likes to brew beer), and perhaps planting garlic and other crops in small acreages. —SI