Retrospect and the Uncharted Path Ahead

A new path to chart and an adventure to bring our little family together lies ahead. We decided to sell our homestead. We don’t know where we will go. Within two hours of family is a start. Maybe it will be a tract of land with all the right features. Or a dilapidated old farmhouse that needs love it hasn’t known for too long. To breathe new life into a farmhouse is a dream but this needs to be our forever and ever home and I can’t settle on just any piece of land. I embrace this change with high hopes and good sprits. It will be work, but we know what real work is.

Yesterday we walked a track of land and were disappointed with the lack of mature trees to feed Kevin’s hungry sawmill, not one flat spot for a house. The deer flies were thick on the twitch trail leading in. In the shade the mosquitoes were thicker. Drop stones adorned the landscape like I’d never sen before. Valleys and hills gave way to ridges and vernal pools. It was not quite right. Another spot on a high hill looks promising. We will walk that next. The exploring is good for our souls right now. Soft mossy under story turns so quickly to tangles too thick to push through. It’s fun to play pioneer—but next time we will bring some bug dope.

Many places in rural Maine don’t have cable lines for Kevin to tap into so he can continue to work from home. He’s in consulting (too complicated to get into) and works from home full time. If both homes sell and we buy land without a house a camper can do for the winter if need be. Sheds can be built for our livestock from standing trees. Fencing can be run from tree to tree. This is a challenge to test our ingenuity and true grit. I embrace it. We will conquer.

There have been a lot of big changes for us this year. We were forced to change our farm name, but like the new one better anyhow. Winter came early and left late. Hatching season was sabotaged when a trespasser opened all our coops. Our first wedding anniversary came and went like the short summers here in Maine.

Incredibly, I began running a bed and breakfast to keep the giant house afloat that buyers backed out on in February. I’m not good housekeeper. I met some good people but the general public generally suck. To run the B&B plus intensively market the house to sell, the garden has gone to weeds and livestock was sold.

Just last week our indoor grow was infested with aphids. An additional hour a day was added to treat them twice daily. But know I know to treat them with neem oil, run a fan and squash the by hand twice daily. They have been eradicated. Now I have new skills to apply should the problem arise again.

Some things have to go to make room for others. Open Farm Days closed due to lack of time and mounting stress. I’ve struggled personally with child custody and a lifelong struggle with bipolar, among other things. I miss time with family and friends. Moving away from them breaks my heart. They are the best friends I’ve had since childhood pinky-swears and secret handshakes. We can still visit but it won’t be the same.

Upkeep has gotten away from me. Hooves are overdue for trimming. A coop we stopped using I simply closed up. It still needs cleaning after weeks sitting untouched. I bet a stray egg was laid in a sneaky spot ready to burst upon my entry.

The lawns look like hayfields. But we do have a nifty new lawn sweeper thing I haven’t tried yet. I can break it out and actually make it into hay. I haven’t cleaned my car out in two months. These things are smaller in the grand scheme and can be done tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow… If you think about it, the next day is always tomorrow. It will never be done if not today, today, today.

Hooves are my priority beyond the usual tasks today. I have only done it a few times and it takes me forever. That is the only way to learn. The more I do it the less time it takes. It’s yet another self-sufficient learning experience that will take time to master. I’m up for it.

We took our first vacation since our honeymoon only to come home to our house trashed and barnyard no better. It took three days to get the production up after a 1/3 drop in milk production. I’ve began to dry-off our thinnest doe but she keep giving no matter how many days I half-milk her.

We stopped raising all waterfowl and rabbits in order to simplify and reduce my workload. Now there are only three does in-milk here. We are swimming it it. I have little time to make cheese and soap.