Frequently asked questions for guests at Good Contrivance Farm

1)  How do I get to Good Contrivance Farm?

GPS: 2015 Emory Road, Reisterstown, MD 21136z

NOTE: GPS will attempt to take you on a short-cut, down a narrow back road. Don’t do it. Follow the main roads: 795 to 140 to 91 (Emory Rd.)
See map for more.

The farm is approximately 45 minutes from Baltimore’s Penn Station and 35 minutes from the Baltimore/Washington airport.
It’s easily accessible by Uber, Lyft, etc.
Note, however, that the Baltimore beltway (695), like Washington’s beltway (495), is a nightmare during rush hour.

2) Checking In

a) Before noon on the day of your arrival, text Ron, the Director, to let him know your Estimated Time of Arrival: four-four-three-529-2939

NOTE: if you do not text Ron your ETA by noon, we cannot guarantee that your residence will be ready!

b) Check-in time is 3:00 PM. You can arrive any time after that. Sometimes you can arrive earlier. Inquire.

c) When you arrive, text Ron again to let him know you’ve arrived.

d) When you get to the farm you will likely find the gate closed. The gate is NEVER locked but it is often closed. All you have to do is unwrap the chain, open the gates, and drive in. Please be sure to close the gates behind you and re-wrap the chain. We do this to keep the dogs from wandering onto the highway.

Once you enter the farm, you will see the farmhouse to your left and the kitchen garden to your right. The drive opens up to a large parking area, with the outbuildings arrayed to your right.

If you are staying at the Barn Apt., then proceed straight to the big barn: look for the orange door. You may park on the ramp in front of the barn but not on the stone patio nearest the door. Enter through the orange door and you’ll see the apartment to your immediate right, marked “private.” It will be open and ready for you. A notebook on the table will tell you details about apartment operations.

If you are staying in the Hen House Cottage, then park to your left, just beyond the cars that are already parked there. You’ll see the cottage just beyond the farmhouse. It will be open and ready for you. A notebook on the table will tell you details about Cottage operations.

3) Checking Out

a) Text Ron, the Director, to let him know when you are leaving: four-four-three-529-2939

b) Check-out time is 11:00 AM, unless you have arranged a different time. Sometimes we can accommodate a later check-out.

c) To keep down housekeeping costs, please strip the bed (pillow cases, top sheet, and fitted sheet).

d) Pile dirty linens (and sheets) on the bathroom floor.

e) Please wipe down the countertops, stovetop, etc.

f) Please empty the dishwasher (Barn apt.) Open the curtains (Cottage).

g) Please put things back where you found them: throw pillows, chairs, books, etc.

h) If you have leftover food, you can leave it here as long as it’s in the original package. If it’s stored in a bowl or plastic container from our kitchen, please discard the food and wash the container.

i) Tie up your garbage and drop the bag into the main garbage can (just outside the door in the barn); in the shed beside the parking area (for the Cottage).

J) Do NOT turn off the Air Conditioner!

4) Keys?

Each residence has a key to the door’s deadbolt lock. You’ll find the key on the table of each unit.
We don’t lock doors on the farm but understand if you feel more comfortable doing so. We would never enter a residence without prior notification or only in the case of an emergency (like a water leak etc.).

5) Remind me again what each residence contains?

Each residence comes completely equipped for comfortable living: dedicated wi-fi, AC, full-size fridge, stove and oven, fully-equipped kitchen (cutlery, glasses, pots, pans, bowls, etc.), shower (and tub in the Barn Apt.), full-sized bathroom (two in the Barn Apt.), smart TV, dining table, work desk, extra seating (couches in the Barn Apt.), blankets, towels, sheets, toilet paper, paper towels, basic spices, cleaning products, including a vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, iron and ironing board.

You’ll have to supply your own food.

6) Water?

The Hen House Cottage has double-filtered well water. The Barn Apt. has unfiltered well water but a distiller to make drinking water. The distiller processes a gallon of water every hour.

7) Coffee?

Both residences have a coffee brewer (for ground beans) and a grinder.

8) Do I Need a Car?

If you’re willing to have groceries delivered, you do not need a car. There are plenty of delivery options nearby, which many of our carless guests have used. See below for info. on shopping.

9) Can I bring my pet?

Absolutely no pets are allowed for any reason. Our residences must remain allergy-free because some of our guests are “deathly allergic” to dogs and/or cats.

10) Can I have guests stay the night?

You may have visitors stop by but we allow no overnight guests, since this alters your stay’s contractural agreement.

11) Can I walk the grounds?

We have six beautiful acres to enjoy, with many quiet places to sit and relax. The entire property is fenced. You are not allowed to walk beyond the fenced area. The surrounding acreage belongs to another farm.

12) Buildings?

We have over ten outbuildings. For reasons of safety, you are not allowed to enter them without permission.

13) Noise?

It’s very quiet here on the farm but on occasion there may be farm work going on–you’ll hear a tractor or a chainsaw, for example. We strive to make sure most days are quiet.

14) Animals?

We have coyotes, foxes, possum, weasels, groundhogs, skunks, owls, hawks, eagles, mice, voles, black snakes, corn snakes, and all kinds of beautiful birds, most notably blue birds, barn swallows, pileated woodpeckers, and gold finches. Depending on the season, you may hear vixen screaming at night for a mate (sounds like a rabbit being tortured) or coyotes yip-yapping in the woods. Oh, and there are deer, so many frigging deer who raid our property and eat down all of the best plants. We have barn cats to keep down the rodents. Soon we’ll have chickens, ducks, sheep and goats.

15) Bugs?

Sadly, because we’re in the midst of the “sixth extinction,” you won’t see nearly as many insects and bugs as you would have twenty or forty years ago. Go out on a summer’s night and look up at one of the farm lights. Once upon a time, such lights would be haloed by a storm of insects. Not so any more. That said, you’ll still see plenty of praying mantises, honey bees, bumble bees, mud daubers, wasps and hornets (the paper lanterns you’ll see hanging here and there are meant to discourage wasps and hornets from building nests), moths, butterflies, lady bugs, etc.

You will find four kinds of helpful insects and two kinds of nuisance insects.

a) Lady bugs hibernate in the window seams until the warm weather. They’ll come out on warm days, even in winter. Just leave them alone and they’ll retreat when it gets cold again. During the warm season, we gather them up and throw them outside, where they eat garden pests like aphids. Lady bugs are at the top of the list as the gardener’s best friend.

b) Household centipedes are known for killing the most unwelcome pests in your house — roaches, moths, flies, silverfish and termites. Centipedes use the two legs right near their head, which carries venom, and their other legs to scoop up the bug. This is called a “lassoing” technique where centipede jumps on its prey and wraps it up with their many legs.

Not only are house centipedes killing the bugs you really don’t want in your house, they also don’t create any nests or webs. They are considered active hunters and are constantly looking for their next prey. Centipedes aren’t eating your wood or carrying a fatal disease. House centipedes just want to go after the bugs. Please let them be!

c) Earwigs show up in the spring. Like the centipede, they eat silverfish and other tiny intruders we’d rather not have inside. But mostly they’re scavengers, eating insect remains, especially those left by spiders. Despite their menacing appearance, earwigs are totally harmless to humans.

d) The “teacup” spider looks like a Daddy Longlegs and builds a messy little nest in the corners of rooms or under chairs and tables. They are gentle creatures (to us) and totally harmless to humans. They are very helpful co-habitators, catching mosquitoes, flies, moths, etc. These are the spiders who create “cobwebs”!


e) You’re probably familiar with the Stink Bug. It’s harmless to humans but can be quite a nuisance as it appears anywhere and everywhere inside, sometimes buzzing about a room and crashing into your head or nose or hand. Best way to get rid of it is to vacuum them up. Each residence has a small, hand-held vacuum cleaner that does an excellent job sucking up stink bugs or wasps and hornets.

f) Yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets. Sometimes they get inside. Usually, you’ll see them struggling against a windowpane. Vacuum them up! If it’s a honey bee or bumble bee, you might try to shoo it out. (I catch them in a cup topped with a piece of paper.)

g) Tiny brown ants. They come in the spring and leave in late autumn. They want your crumbs. Don’t leave them any! FIY: when we lived in the city, we had as many little ants there as we have here.

None of these creatures is an “invader.” None of them create pestilence, carry disease, or “infest” a home. There are exceptions, of course. Nobody wants a yellow jacket nest in the wall of their house. We monitor our residences for such problems as termite and ant infestations, so rest assured that we are on watch.

If bugs give you the willies, please know that every house is an ecosystem. We rid our houses of such “pests” at great risk, poisoning ourselves as we poison them. Nowhere on our farm do we use pesticides or herbicides.

If you wander around outside you might be lucky enough to see a beautiful bug like this:


16) What should I know about Reisterstown, Maryland?

Reisterstown is a small town in Maryland’s “horse country,” 24 miles north of Baltimore. It features an historic main street on the north side and typical suburban sprawl on the southside.

The surrounding environment on the northside is farmland, including some large and beautiful horse farms on Greenspring Valley and Butler Roads. There is some breath-taking scenery to be enjoyed via bicycle or car.

Farther north, Westminster is a similar town but with a bit more charm:
Both towns have festivals and events worth checking out: Reisterstown

17) How close is the farm to stores and other resources?

We are just two miles from the nearest shopping center, which includes a major grocery store, post office, hair salon, sandwich shop, liquor store, and more. Both Westminster (7 miles north) and Reisterstown (4 miles south) have the full compliment of amenities–all the major food chains and stores, including Target, Chipotle, Starbucks, etc. The nearest gas station is two miles away (in either direction as you leave the farm).

18) Auto Repair
We recommend Auto Correct, just up the road: 443-290-5724
They do all of our auto and truck repair. They are thorough and honest. No reservation needed:

19) Emergency Medical
NOTE: if you have a condition that may put you at risked (like an allergy to bees), please let us know in advance so that we can be aware and ready to help, if you might need it.

The closest “urgent care” facility is approx. two miles away
Magass Family Medecine and Urgent Care
2970 Dede Rd #4, Finksburg, MD 21048: (443) 487-4053

Express Care (three miles away)
1011 Baltimore Blvd, Westminster, MD 21157:   (410) 848-3990

Carroll County Hospital is the closest major facility. Doctors and care are good at this facility:

20) Emergency Dental
We recommend Carroll County Dental Associates (five miles away)
603 Nursery Rd, Westminster, MD 21157  (410) 848-5577

21) Places to Walk
a) River Downs golf course is almost directly across the road from our farm. It has a great asphalt path that skirts the course and wends its way through some lovely scenery, including a river where you can see great blue herons etc.

b) If you want real trails and more challenging terrain, Google “Soldier’s Delight,”

1,900 acres of serpentine barren, about twenty minutes away. The area has over 39 rare, threatened, or endangered plant species as well as rare insects, rocks and minerals. There are seven miles of marked hiking trails.

Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area
5100 Deer Park Road
Owings Mills MD 21117

c) There’s also Liberty Reservoir, about fifteen minutes away: 3,100 acres of woodland and water. You’ll find pull-outs and fire roads there, not exactly marked or orderly but places to run and walk, if you’re adventuresome.

d) Sandymount Park, two miles away, is a compact neighborhood park with sports fields, a playground, a walking trail, and picnic facilities: 2250 Old Westminster Pike, Finksburg, MD 21048