Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Progress during the days of grace...

A friend of blogger/author Jenna Woginrich calls this time of year the days of grace. I agree. All the business of summer has slowed down. All those projects waiting for attention are finally getting some. And the days are cooler, maybe a little breezy, and so much easier to work in. The promise of a cozy tucked in winter hints through the wind and sun.

It also seems to be a time for community. We have recently moved the sweat lodge of J's community to our property. It was in town, but neighbors complained of the smoke from the fire, and I'm sure those "weird drum sounds" and singing may have played a part. So we have had folks from the lodge community up here working on it and getting it ready. The lodge kids have had fun on the farm as well. Watching chickens and playing with the building materials pile. A 2X6 and an old tire make a mean see saw.

While I myself have built a lodge in the past and participated in several Native American ceremonies with the Cherokee back east, I have yet to do a sweat lodge. My time is coming.

This weekend we also had quite a crew, which we are in immense gratitude for, come assist with re-roofing the barn. Gone is the metal roof (which I love) and on with new decking and shingles (which I also love). New trim is also in the mix. One side is finished and next weekend we finish the other side. Now the barn/workshop will be dry, and hopefully dust and bird proof. J and I talked about what the barn looked like when we moved here. Oy vey! It was leaning like the tower of Pisa and there were birds and years of dust built up. The wind came through the sides and you could see pin holes of sun through the roof. Now, it is a great shop with a second floor and windows. What progress!

Some friends told us when they first saw the place they thought we were going to just raze it and start over. The house and the barn. There was so much to be done and the place was a total mess. It takes serious vision to see what we saw in the bones of both buildings. Now they readily express their surprise and delight with our cozy home and made over barn. It feels good to see the fruits of your labor and know it is all worth while.

I have my mind on next years garden. Raised beds vs. another plot. I think for ease, the raised beds may win over. With the weed invasion here, and our time constraints with battling said weeds, it makes the most sense. While we will have beds planted in the old garden area of fruit bushes and maybe corn, the raised beds will allow us more control over our crops and be easier to maintain after the initial building work is done.

I have been off work for the most part going on three weeks. A forced vacation courtesy of Congress. I haven't minded too much, even though the time frame is precarious and doesn't really allow for long term planning. I do wonder however, how I will get the gumption to go back. Sleeping in until 7am is nice. I also have some projects I have enjoyed working on. And time for writing, well that is just a total bonus. It makes the motivation to look for work closer to home that much stronger. We'll see how that goes. For now though, the focus is on making progress. And that we have in spades.

The original

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A day late..or months...

Pics from the County Fair of a few of my favorite things.

Quick change...

After that last post. You know, the one on August 3 (is it really October?), I went to that Fair. I also received a call from J, miles away from home on his motorcycle, that a storm was coming to our neck of the woods. And the dogs were outside. Uh oh.

I raced home up the highway, hoping I would beat the storm. Not so lucky. The sky on the highway was green and grey and swirly. You could see layers of the atmosphere swirling in opposite directions. I saw a sky like this once several years ago. It is tornado sky.

I reached the exit before ours and started heading west. The good thing about living in the foothills of the Rockies, is tornadoes usually don't hit so close to the foothills. They usually start east of the main highway and head further east from there. Once I got off the highway the sky was clearer heading toward the farm. Maybe, just maybe, I would be lucky and it missed us. As I headed up the county road, the one before you turn onto our red dirt road, I started to see piles of white stuff on the sides. Then I turned onto our road. It looked like a twisted winter scene. As I got closer to our house the ground was covered in hail, and the trees were bare. A spontaneous river was flowing across the road in front of our neighbors house. The culverts were now ponds.

My heart was pounding as I made our driveway, wondering if the dogs and birds were ok. Then, three
That is a five gallon bucket
buried in there
little faces looked out from their pen. Relief hit me in a wave. Then, I drove over to check the flock. All inside and accounted for, minus a few tail feathers.

Two foot high piles of hail were against the north side of the house and barn. I went inside with the dogs. Grateful for the safety of my critters. I called J to tell him not to come home until the storm passes. He and his buddies were in a carport in a small town out on the eastern plains. They waited out the storm there. I also told him right now our road had a river running through it, so he might have some trouble when he did get back. Then I went inside and caved to my nervous habit. I made cookies. I also called the neighbors to check in on them. The horses were good, a little bruised up, and only one loss. A rooster who didn't make cover fast enough.

Once my nervous inspired sweet tooth was satisfied, I went out to survey the damage. Mind you, we just finished the coop that day, and our house is all relatively new as of last summer. The house screens were shredded and smashed, the siding on the barn, house and trim were dented, the coop windows were smashed, and all of the plastic anything in the yard was in bits. J's truck looked like a gorilla danced on it, and that and our old farm truck had busted windshields. The tractor had busted lights and dents all over. Then the roof survey showed about 14 holes. Some you could stick your finger in. While we are blessed with such little major damage, we had some work ahead of us. I am also grateful for insurance.

Then, Colorado was hit with floods. Again, we were blessed being out of the flood zone, our region has been devastated. The farmers who missed the ravaging hail storms then were hit by massive rains and floods. And we thought the fires last year were bad (which they were). It will be a busy fall and winter rebuilding. For us as well as others. This weekend we start replacing the barn roof. Next, the house roof. The silver lining, I get my front porch. Since we have to pull the roof off the house, we are going to put the covered porch on.

Luckily this isn't the only dog house.
The dogs can get into a pen in the barn.

It amazes me how much can change in a day, or an hour. I left home on a hot and sunny morning and come home to a winter wonderland. Now it is October, and the winds have started. Some days they make you walk sideways. It's funny. Even with the adversity, today, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I think some of that stubborn pioneer spirit has infused itself into me. Not that I didn't have the stubborn Yankee residing there already.

As we move into fall, and I check to see if the potatoes survived the weather for a small harvest, we start planning for next season. How can we protect the garden, how do we repair the fields. When do we start the fencing, and what are we going to need to keep penned. In the face of adversity, we fall to hope. I think my neighbors, those who suffered tragic loss and are displaced, feel the same. As I see a lot of rebuilding going on. I'm looking forward to what the future brings.