When You Want to Start a Farm, Winter Comes in August

It rained today. In fact, it’s still raining. I can hear and smell the gentle summer rain through the open windows. We’ve had an unusually dry summer, so the rain is welcome. We went all of the month of July without rain, which hasn’t happened since 1926. Or at least that’s what I heard reported on the local radio station.

The rain today did several things. One, it showed me putting gutters on the chicken coop is not going to help to keep the chicken yard dry after all…

rain running off roof of chicken coop August 2013

The gutter will likely help some (once I get the drainpipe added to and draining away from the coop), but watching this rain running off the chicken coop roof and onto the ground was a little disappointing.

The rain also reminded me that it is time to prep for winter. This will be when I miss my deployed husband the most. If you want to start a farm, you quickly learn that summer is spent getting ready for winter. For us, since the farmhouse has taken up most of our time and energy (all of our time and energy??), we don’t have a lot of farm yet at our place. But we have a lot of winter prep just the same because our place was in such disrepair when we bought it.

We’ve got as much of our hay as we can fit into our broken down barn, with a verbal agreement with the neighbors down the road that we’ll buy 100 bales of their second cutting, an agreement we’ll make official this week with money. But that’s about all that is done.

I was putting off winter preparations until my work on the farmhouse was done, but Hubby and I have agreed that it’s time to hire out drywall to experts. There are only two rooms left that need mudding and taping, but they include ceilings and some of the sheetrock needs to be redone and it has been 10 days since I was supposed to start on this and I still haven’t. (I have been trying to only hire people to do work I can’t do. But in this case, I can do it…but don’t want to.)

Once these two rooms are done, then it’s back to me to finish the house, and we prime and paint, and then we are ready for floors throughout and after floors comes trim and then all focus can go on finishing the kitchen…. The two upstairs rooms might be small, but they are significant in our progress.

Maybe this rain is a sign that yes, hiring someone to finish the drywall upstairs is a smart move so I can move on to figuring out why the barn floods, seeing if I can get someone to help fix the barn doors (to protect the hay), finding affordable firewood…and I started canning applesauce yesterday because the Transparent tree is dropping apples all over and we eat a lot of applesauce in the winter. Speaking of, I would like to at least get some green beans and corn frozen, and can some corn relish and blackberry cordial and more…

I also need to fashion some kind of winter paddock for the horses, and figure out the bedding for the chicken coop. Plus I’d really like the pastures mowed. And then there’s seeing about getting someone to close in all the places the contractor didn’t do outside the house–but that’s another story.

For now, it’s raining, and it’s a good reminder that my past 10 days of taking it easy are done…and how much more I am going to miss my husband these next few months. I am very proud of his service! But I miss him, his hugs and his strong back always, and there are times when his absence is felt even more strongly than others. Today is one of them.

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