In early June, we were able to start moving the chicken coop with the 4×4 instead of the tractor (water logged pastures + wagon tire ruts = impossible in May), the whole farm team took in a mob grazing workshop which inspired us and helped us to hone our grazing plan, the grasses grew and grew, as did the pigs.
With all the rains we’ve had (a state of emergency was declared in our area), our co-farmers/second house renters started to notice that not just water was coming into the basement, but soil was as well. Super sub-optimal.
Turns out the cinder block foundation was starting to curve inward. As we’ve done time and again since moving here, we hired a local contractor with an excavator to dig all around the building to lessen the pressure on the compromised walls. Turns out, yes, you can back fill too much.
After many phone calls, evaluation visits, and much form filling and waiting, we learned that the insurance would not cover any of the costs. I won’t lie, it was devastating.
P. & I opted to make massive farm investments this year, mostly to start doubling the cow herd, to be able to hire the lovely (and competent!) employees we’ve been working with since May. For our quality of life, having this farm provide an income for our family plus full time staff is key. It means more manageable workloads, time for both parents to see these beautiful kids grow, and better work-life balance for all.
All this to say, the next two-three years were already going to be quite tight. This massive new expense, and these structural problems that can’t be ignored if we don’t want to lose the house entirely, feel a lot like another truckload of straw trying to break the camel’s back.
Despite the growing anxiety, the hope and beauty of this place live on and carry me. Our beloved Ayrshire dairy cow, Jo Petra, had her calf, Frankie. The kids’ tenderness around fresh life is forever heartwarming. As is their utter lack of surprise or disgust as they discover and inquire about the after birth, the placenta. (It would seem that the time is ripe to plant their placentas under trees).
As we had planned to last autumn, yesterday, our excavator pal came back to dig our new entrance way. Instead of having our entrance come up right next to the house, it’ll now come up on the other side of our kitchen garden. This means that all of the large trucks, farm machinery, etc. will be further away from our daily outdoor living/playing space.
For right now though it just means more mud, more forever-construction-feel. Some of us enjoy that more than others.
I take solace in the thought that we’re single-handedly creating a whole lot of jobs, contributing a great deal to the local economy, and to rural life at a time when governments seem intent on driving all rural dwellers and agricultural people to urban centres.
Here’s hoping for some sun to keep the basements dry, the germination rates from plummeting, and our herds’ health where they needs to be.