It’s been a crazy month since the last blog. We have been steadily working on the tiny house/room as we also button things up for the coming winter. Now the blueberry fields are mowed (NOT forever) and we have started the annual weeding. The citrus is covered with shade cloth and the lights are out. The nativity scene is set up and the Christmas tree decorated. AND, the exterior of the tiny room is completed (except for the windows and door which will be installed after we move it into place.)
Amanda, John, and I have done the painting. The roof and trim turned out to be a MUCH bigger project than we thought it would be but it is also finished. And, overall, we have been very lucky (blessed!) Though windy weather kept us off the roof for a week, when it died down we had a perfectly cool and slightly overcast day to install that shiny metal. And, we have had many things work out so nicely that could easily have been a problem. For example, John finished the base for the outside shower (cypress walls to be added later.) He used some old bleacher metal we had and it fit perfectly in the space.
Now that we are done with the exterior, our attention turns to the inside. As soon as the (inside) half-bath walls are up, we are moving the tiny room to its permanent home next to the screenroom. And then, when we finish, we will have our tinyhousewarming party. YEAH!!
Yesterday was an absolutely glorious day! The temperature and humidity were perfect for working and there was a nice breeze. Even better, a wonderful group of people came out to help us raise the walls on our tiny room–the “bunkhouse” we are building here on the farm.
We started the day putting the final touches on preparations. I baked the cinnamon rolls and biscuits, John double checked supplies and uncovered everything. Amanda carried things out to the screen room. At 9, Eric arrived and by 9:30 Brian, Mike, Randy, and Eric were ready to see a wall go up. The plan was to wait for a full complement of folks–in case something went “south”–but there was no holding all that energy back. By 9:45, one wall was already up.
It was great to see and we were very lucky but I must admit that I struggled to let go of the juggernaut. I wanted group pictures, and order, and control. I wanted to doublecheck and verify and plan each move. What I got was weeks worth of labor and effort in one fell swoop! It was terrifying and absolutely wonderful. Thank you Wayne for the cosmic 2×4 upside the head! As usual, you were right.
I appreciate everyone who participated: Eric, Randy, Mike, and Brian for taking the lead. Walter and Tom for being willing to step back and spearhead preparation of the vapor barrier. Nancy and Dale for jumping in and seeing potential issues and solutions. Wayne and Lei Lani for the literal and figurative foundation (and the great snacks!) Thank you David for taking time from little Philip to support our efforts. All our best wishes for his speedy recovery. Amanda, thanks for the pictures though I admit to struggling to get on board with the au courant but dangerously odd angles. Deb and Khrys for being the first folks to volunteer and Carol, Julie, and Maddie for being there in the wings ready and waiting to jump in as you were needed. Sometimes that is the hardest job of all.
By 2 pm, it was over.
Several times as John and Amanda and I were cleaning up, I looked out at what a half day had wrought. It is so wonderful to have this little building that is imbued with love and community. You guys are the best!! And this is where I would have put the group picture–if I had one!! 😉
October. It is our first cool day–50’s last night and a high in the 70’s today. It is truly a glorious day to be outside!
So, the news. First, we have a new calf. Her name is Autumn and she was born a week and a half ago to Buffalo Girl. It has been good for the herd..they missed having a “young-un.” Buffalo Girl is extremely leery of us. She has definitely implicated us in the loss of her “baby” which we sold in August. We know that her heifer, along with Midge’s bull calf, went to a family who wanted a pet that eats grass but they could have just as easily gone to the slaughterhouse so we can’t take credit for the happy ending.
Our big project now is a “tiny room.” We decided to build it rather than the tiny house for several reasons..not the least of which is that it is quicker and cheaper. Our tiny room is 7.5 feet by 17.5 feet and is a bedroom and 1/2 bath. We will use it for guest quarters and breathing space. We are using salvaged materials whenever possible. The trailer is a home-made one bought from Wayne Davis. It is not beautiful but IS sound. (In subsequent pictures, note how well the decking cleaned up.) The wood for the walls was milled here on the farm. The windows were given to us by the gentleman who bought my mom’s park model RV. The door was salvaged from our river place. We have to wood cut and labeled for the two long walls and have built the window sections. We are finishing up the decking. It is our hope to have a work session on December 31 when we will lift the walls into place.
We had hoped to interest Amanda in our project..partly because she will be benefiting from it but mostly because there are many useful skills that can be learned when building something. She has told us she prefers hands-on learning so we had hoped to give her an opportunity to use math, physics, biology, and problem-solving skills. However, so far she prefers not to be involved. We must be satisfied with the participation of her kitten, Pooh Bear.
I will try to post pictures as the project continues but I make no promises! I do not have a good track record when it comes to diaries and blogs. 🙂
I have been thinking a lot about philosophies of farming–the spiritual aspect of the choices we make when we farm.
In corporate farming, the philosophy seems to be to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible. On a small farm where abandoning the land is not an option, that philosophy makes no sense. However, that does not mean all small farms have the same philosophy but it does mean small farms “get” each other and have a common bond.
Our philosophy on our farm is an evolving thing but now, after over 20 years in the biz, I think our philosophy has a bit more form and shape. First, we acknowledge that most of the work we do will not benefit us. John says quite often, “We are making a darn nice farm for some young couple.” And there is nothing wrong with that. As a boomer myself, I am well aware how my generation has taken and taken without giving much back. This is a way to give back.
Second, for us farming is about having faith. It is about believing that there is a reason and a plan. It is about trusting that each “plague” has a cure. It is about waiting that extra day, despite the temptation to throw chemicals and money at the problem, and being visited by dragonflies (they are called “mosquito hawks” for a reason!) and by bugs that love a weed and a rain that turns parched plants into nutrition-rich healthy foods.
Third (and finally) it is about the joy and satisfaction that comes from a hard day’s work and an honest sweat. It is about staying connected to the cycle of nature. It is about finding yourself and figuring out what really matters.
So, I thank God for the life I am blessed to live and the farm for helping me believe in abundance instead of scarcity. May the life you are living bring you equal joy.
The spring rains, while tough on the tomatoes, were a real blessing for the fruits. We had our first harvestable crop of Mayhaws (a massive 3 pints) and it looks like a bumper crop of blueberries will be ripe for the u-pick folks in June and July. We actually picked a blackberry today–about a week ahead of usual–and should have more very soon. And all this with no irrigation, no weird genetically modified plants, and no herbicides (just old-fashioned human hard work!)