Tuesday, August 31, 2004

We're Going to Fit Right In

What a great day today! Among other things we went to a party with the independent homeschool group in our new area. In three hours we:

1) made new friends
2) got a recommendation for a local doctor who might be open to more alternative methods
3) met other people who love goats and chickens
4) found out where we could turn Aggressive Hamburger (our oldest bullock, aptly named by the boy) into, well, hamburger
5) were invited to join a food coop saving us the time and expense of driving into Austin for bulk and alternative foods

Then we ran around town doing all those little things you have to do when you move... setting up the electric, water, etc. We do NOT live in the city. There is a different look to people. Country. It's the only word I can think of. I love it!

Later we stopped by the house to feed the cattle. What a beautiful place we have. I still can't believe it is ours to love and nurture. I'm only a little afraid of the cattle now. :-) I still have a healthy respect for them, but I feel more confident. The dogs are beginning to respond to my voice, happily. They are very protective of the house and land. Yay! They are used to herding the cattle off that part of the land, so it made feeding the cattle a bit confusing. We're going to have to get some more fencing up, and train the dogs to STOP herding a little better.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Let the busy-ness begin...

Wow, the past 4 days have been like a whirlwind.

The closing on Friday went well. It took 2 hours and 15 minutes because there were a looooooot of words to read. The kids did very well. The Princess did end up having rather a nice time at the end poking pen holes in the wood table while writing, and spilling water on herself and the floor. But the lady closing the deal has 9 grandkids, didn't bat an eyelid, and when she heard that we home school said "That explains why they are so well behaved." By then the sellers were loooong gone. Before they left we flew paper airplanes around the room that Farmer Boy had made. The closer wasn't there for that little gleeful moment. It is so cool having such a happy real estate deal.

Mom and Dad prepared a celebratory meal, prominently featuring steak and champagne. We all behaved rather silly.

Saturday was wonderful. We looked at and ultimately bought a washer, a dryer and a fridge. We went to our first goat auction (I just about died from the sheer joy of being there; I think I was born to raise goats). And we spent some time at the house and on the land, just being happy and loving it. It started to rain but we just kept walking around, looking. Even The Princess didn't complain, and she is not usually one to accept such indignities.

Stephen pointed out that we sure look at things differently now when we drive through the countryside. Now we are looking at what types of fencing people use, what their barns are like, where their stock tanks are, who has hay for sale, etc. I look for goats.

Sunday we spent quite a bit of time with our new home schooling friends, visiting the church they started and having lunch with them. Then home to pack, pack and pack some more. Night time was more cleaning and packing and now website work.

One thing I am counting on God to be working on with me is discipline. SELF-DISCIPLINE. I have a really hard time being diligent and setting a pace for myself with my business. There are a lot of things I don't especially like to do (clerical things... like accounting, filing), so I put them off until they become big ugly monsters blowing a juicy raspberry at me. I am trying to make some major website changes, by tomorrow, and I am getting a lot of spit in my face over that one. Once again, it ain't gonna happen.

On the farm, I am going to have to be willing to break the jobs into tasks, and tackle them one at a time, regularly. This is not natural for me. I am the type of person who wants to do a marathon stretch on a project, then collapses in sheer exhaustion and can't bear to even think about it for weeks. That strategy is just not going to fly. The chickens will want to eat. Every day.

Today was school and more packing, more cleaning, and a spate of errands. Interspersed with reading about sustainable agriculture, finalizing our baby chick order and reading _Day-Range Poultry_. :-D

We're going to be farmers. Honest.

Friday, August 27, 2004

It's Done!

Well, we did it. Signed a LOT of papers, followed the American way, got a loan for a house. Our bank now owns the house, and we now owe the bank. :-) Okay, reality... stupid way to arrange it so people have shelter. We hate the system, are now back in the system, and are determined to get out of it again as fast as possible.

Enough of that reality, here's the other reality: we get to live on our farm!!!! We are so excited!

We are also exhausted, so must go to bed and will post more details on the joys of becoming indentured servants to Wells Fargo tomorrow. :-)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

One More Day!!!!

So, 24 hours from now we will own the whole shebang. House, barn, shop, various decrepid other outbuildings, swimming pool (whacky, eh?), 2 ponds and 40 acres. Well, okay, okay, the bank will own it, but we WILL truly own this thing some day. For now we get to pay the taxes ourselves, with no assistance whatsoever! ;-)

We shall see how the signing goes... last year Stephen was out of town on business for BOTH the closing on the sale of our house, and the closing on the purchase of the 30 acres we already own. The children were, well, children. The Princess (our toddler daughter) screamed the whole time through the sale, except when she was nursing. At the purchase she and Farmer Boy (her big brother) argued most of the time. Didn't know an 18 month old could argue? Precocious child. I relied on the kindness and honesty of our realtor, Jim Morgan, who talked me through all the paperwork, and even brought toys for the kids the second time.

This time Stephen will be there, and the folks from whom we are buying the house know us, know the kids, and actually like children! :-) What a bonus!

On a totally different note... did you know that it is almost impossible to be a small organic farmer and actually make any money? UGH! I can not believe how regulated everything is, and how many things require a license. From what I can tell, just to sell cut non-organic flowers at a Farmers Market I need a special license. I have a lot of learning ahead, and I can see that a chunk of it is going to be legal and political.

Enough about the dark side... did I mention we are buying a farm? :-D YIPPEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Writing it Down

Stephen and I have been talking about journaling our odyssey from New England small town kids to Texas farmers for over a year now. I always find it hard to start writing because I don't know where to start... I want to start at the beginning, but where exactly IS that?

So today I am starting right where we are... two days away from closing the deal on buying a house, barns and 10 acres adjacent to the 30 acres that we bought in July 2003. We are beside ourselves with excitement! So much has happened in the past 15 months that has fallen through that it has been hard to allow ourselves the emotional freedom of really believing this is happening. We keep calling the bank and title company to double check and triple check that there isn't something else they need from us.

We have nevertheless been madly researching chickens and goats (again!) because we want so much to GET GOING once we move!! Yesterday Farmer Boy (my nickname for our son) and I spent an hour or so creating a "chicken chart" in which we recorded some of our research. We are wanting to start with a breed that is pretty gentle, and is good for both meat and eggs. We are leaning toward Buff Orpingtons right now. The chicks are also crazily cute... little puffs of yellow.

This farm is a dream come true for us. We have so many hopes and plans for it. Mostly we want to live a real life. We expect to work hard. We expect to make mistakes. And we expect we will be surprised by many things.

I know we will be blessed!!