Some periods in our lives go by with little fanfare, the days slipping by almost as one, and the inability to recall anything remarkable about the months or even years. I’ve had years like that, where it seems you have nothing to show for your time on the planet in that period. The past three years have NOT been that way for me. Though there have been a few slow seasons, where I took an mental breather, it has been almost non-stop since April of 2007, when I made the decision to sell my house and move. That was a year that I won’t forget anytime soon. I sold my home and moved after 21 years there. The whole process was mildly traumatic, no matter how much I wanted it. Then, barely a month after I moved, my mother passed away unexpectedly. It took a while to recover from both of these two life transitions, and in many ways I still haven’t, and never will. As the wisdom goes, you just find a new normal in life.
And 2010 is another year that I won’t forget, and it’s only half over! It took two years of searching, but I finally found my little farm and it’s been a whirlwind of activity ever since. It started off with a bang – I signed the papers and took possession the last Friday in January, and I moved in the next day. Between unpacking and getting settled, I’ve been trying to get the place up to snuff, and it’s been a little crazy.
In the first five months I installed all new windows throughout the house (total of 8), had a brand new roof put on – a complete tear off and repair, with repaired siding and replaced all four skylights with new ones plus added a fifth one (giant one in my bedroom). I’ve replaced all the kitchen appliances with new ones (refrigerator, oven, cooktop, dishwasher) to replace the ones that either weren’t there, were there but not working, or were barely working. I’ve had the plumbing inspected, an electrician out to install a new outlet for the dishwasher – actually a dish drawer by Fisher & Paykel, and very cool. I had the well inspected, the furnace inspected and repaired, and the septic tank pumped and inspected. I had the property fenced in April – about two thirds of it, anyway – and a chicken coop built. I’ve added 10 new chickens to the flock and lost two older ones to age/attrition (so now I have 16 birds in the coop and another two on the front porch).
It seems every month has had something new done – built or installed, and every weekend has something on the docket to do. I’ve taken many days off work to meet with service technicians and installers. I rented a walk behind field mower and mowed the pasture in early May – it looked fabulous and was hugely satisfying to do, but I was crippled the next day. So the next time I hired a guy with a brush hog to mow it – he was out the same day the dishwasher was being installed while I met with the County to discuss property improvement grants to protect the watershed – THAT was a crazy day! Tomorrow I’m meeting with the County conservation representative, to help me figure out the best way to utilize the land for what I want (not entirely sure what all I want yet, but that’s part of the reason to have the county agent out) and not make a mess of it (the land and property) by learning things the hard way.
There are still things I want to do in the next few weeks. The interior needs painting in a bad way; not only is the color jarring (hideous coraly red in the bathroom and bedroom) but the paint job is piss poor. I need to have the pasture fenced off so that my new sheep can come to live with me next month (they’re “working” for my friend Susan now, mowing her steeper pastures until I get the cross fence installed). I got them via the pasture mowing guy when I mentioned I was going to get sheep to keep the pasture mowed naturally. He had another client who was going to butcher them if she couldn’t find a home for them and he connected the two of us. They are Black Welsh Mountain Sheep – three wethers (neutered males) – and a good fiber breed and the start of my fiber ranch.
I still need to finish the chicken run. I got some of the posts installed – dug the holes by hand and put them in (what a sense of accomplishment it was to see them up!), only to realize I need to get them in deeper. They’re wiggling a bit, despite 13 inches or so that they’re in. For now it’s makeshift and working, but this has to be done by summer’s end.
Last weekend I spent an afternoon installing my water filter. I installed the faucet first, then got all the filter equipment and tubing hooked up and OMG, I have clean water! I had a minor snafu in the installation, and thanks to the coaching of my very patient friend Jack (half a dozen phone calls later!) and a quick trip to the hardware store for plumbing parts, it all works. What a complete rush it is to accomplish this! There is still a minor leak where I removed and capped the sprayer hose attachment on the main faucet. I keep tightening it, and the water is down to about one drop every few hours, but I still will probably need to turn off the water valve, remove the cap and re-tape the threads with that teflon sealing tape stuff, then screw the cap back on. And I know I can do this now because I ROCK!
And I’ve been doing all this while working full time and spending the weekends running normal errands like grocery shopping, Lowe’s for tools and parts and garden items, ferrying the dogs to various appointments (Cutter’s swim therapy, Dinah’s acupuncture, necessary vet visits and Dinah’s “therapist” for her new fear issues), running over to visit the sheep to make friends using grain and doing chores and upkeep, laundry and cleaning. It’s no wonder I still have plenty of boxes to unpack!
Right now I have a new bi-fold door still in its packaging leaning against the wall of my office. I’m feeling a little more confident about installing it after my success with installing the water filter and faucet, but am still dragging my feet. I need to install it in the bathroom (it’s going to be my bathroom door) and I may wait until I’m done painting that room.