Friday, December 31, 2010

The Joy Of Destruction

In the last month or so, Jeff and the boys have spent a good bit of time down at our property. As is typical with us, we bought the land with a great vision. It seems we have the ability to ignore the complete ruin something is in and envision it as something completely different. Well, with this piece of property, even I had a hard time seeing past the mess.

I did not have the same "love at first sight" feeling with the land that I did with our old house. The first day we saw it, we drove to the end of a dirt road and stopped in what Jeff described as "shanty town". A full grown turkey literally puffed up and wanted to fight us. Chickens and ducks ran around everywhere. I took one look at the dilapidated old nothing of a shack, as well as the surrounding area, and decided that there was nothing left for me to see.

Luckily, I have a very persuasive husband. When we first pulled up and saw what was a house long ago, we were on a very small section of the property. Jeff drove back beyond the depressing structure and managed to take me back to see the rest of it. I couldn't believe he actually got me out of the van. Just as he suspected, I opened up a bit once I was out walking the property lines. The hardwoods were gorgeous and I saw spots that I would want to clean for pastured chickens, turkeys, maybe a cow or other animals that could join an intense rotational grazing plan. I could start to see it... the paddocks, the fences, the chicken tractors, the possibilities. Now, mind you, all of these ideas are coming up a we walk through an overgrown disastrous mess. We didn't see all 25 acres, but we saw most of it.

This was taken when we bought the place.  Ivey was a baby.  I LOVE the look on their faces in this shot!

Work doesn't scare me. Regret scares me. We have two goals with this move. Goal #1 is to build a great home with our own hands, in whatever alternative manner that can get us in with no additional debt. We've looked at everything from permanent yurts, concrete structures, shipping container homes (a possible winner), building with cordwood, bagged earth, hay bails, and the choice that has Jeff currently enamored, timber framed homes with wood that we mill ourselves. Goal #2, to be able to raise more of our own food. Instead of milking my two fabulous does, Gretta and April, why can't I also milk a small Jersey cow? Why can't we raise heritage breed pork and my own turkey for Thanksgiving? I would love to know exactly what the food in our freezer was fed and how the animals lived.

Right now, we are in a goat milk slump. Both of our girls started drying up a few months ago. We bred them last month and they are due in April and May. It's very annoying to now have to go purchase 3-4 gallons of milk per week. Heck, the kids had to readjust to the taste and consistence of cow's milk. One day, I would love to have a better system down. Not just for us to provide for our own needs, but to be able to have a place where the family could come for holidays and where I can give homeschool field trips. The public health educator in me, and the homeschool teacher in me, get themselves all fired up just thinking about the possibilities!

So, all the dreaming aside, Jeff and the boys just finished tearing down the kitchen, pulling it over with a truck... much to the delight of all of my boys and the dismay of the hen that was laying eggs in there. Asa and Addison spent a day pulling off siding with the claw of a hammer. Don't all seven year-olds do this stuff? There's a long way to go... a very long way to go... but wheels are in motion. It's not the destination, but the journey, right?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Got Your Back

It's official.  Farm chores facilitate team work.  Although only one boy has to do the outside chores each week, they have made a deal with each other.... the inside-chore-doer goes out to protect the outside-chore-doer from the roosters in exchange for reciprocal protection the following week.  So, this week they headed out, Asa with a squirt gun full of water and Addison with a large cane that he calls his "staff".  Problem solving... check.  Working well with others... check.  Learning responsibility... check.  My work here is done.