Although we try to get down to the farm almost every weekend, there are times when I need M’s expertise on a few projects at home I am unable (or unwilling) to tackle like the kitchen sink constantly backing up (despite multiple past efforts to deal with it), or things that just can’t keep getting putting off – like changing the oil on the motorcycles and fixing the electrical short on the Land Cruiser so we can drive it after dark.
I think M is always secretly thrilled when we get to stay home – mainly because he can sleep in a little bit longer and he gets a reprieve from yet another commute. Well, let me rephrase that – he can stay in bed a little longer. Two roosters crowing from 4:00 am on just outside your bedroom window does not allow for much extra sleep. (Farm design note – place the coop as far from the bedroom window as possible.) That reminds me, we’d only have to hear one rooster crowing if he had the time to get around to “harvesting” the last cockerel from our most recent hatching. I’m still “too chicken” to do it myself…
But the 240 mile round trip also adds up in fuel costs and we only have two days get things done around the farm, so we try to maximize every single trip down. As previously posted, we pick up a truck bed full of dairy cow manure every chance we get from a farm on our way down. The last couple of weekends we have been picking up loads of flagstone. Adding these to our whirlwind working weekends has been hard. By the time we make the pick-ups and spend the time unloading when we get there, it doesn’t leave much time for all of the other things we really need to get done like peeling the rest of the logs, limbing the rest of the trees in the field and then dragging them under cover to get peeled before they rot.
We also need to chip up the limbs to mix in with the cow manure for the compost piles. We still have cover crop seeding and tree transplanting to do and we are trying to buy a tractor before we break our backs. The most pressing project that we haven’t been able to get started on is finishing the interior of the barn. I suppose you can only do so much when you are running back and forth.
Lots of work yes, but there’s always a silver lining if you look close enough. Like meeting the very nice family that wanted to get rid of about 1000 sq ft of flagstone set in a huge patio area in their yard. M had just asked me to keep an eye out for stone on craigslist and my first search turned up this ad asking for offers on their flagstone. I quickly responded having no idea what to offer as I had not had time to research how much stone we needed let alone how much it would cost. I threw some silly number out there and even offered to come pull the stone from their yard for a discount. They said they had a few offers under consideration and would get back to me.
A week went by – I was so busy with everything else I almost forgot about it. I assumed they must have sold it in the meantime, so went back to searching and their ad popped back up. I had done a little research in the meantime (and realized how silly my first offer was!) so made another more reasonable offer. A little more negotiating and the stone was mine. We still got a great deal in comparison to what we’d have to pay retail, but the bonus was meeting the couple and their sweet little daughter. We are always so thrilled to meet genuinely kind people and we’ve met so many since we embarked on our journey to farming. I think stepping out of the hustle and bustle associated with “big city” living allows you to slow down and appreciate people and nature more.
So now we have stacks of stone that we plan to use for paths through the gardens. By slightly sloping them, we will create a passive irrigation system on contour. The water will follow the stone footpaths between the beds and very slowly wind down the hill eventually spilling into a pond.