This is a continuation of our ongoing series on the process of moving and growing our farm . To catch up to speed on everything so far, start with Our Kind of Rollercoaster, Why we're doing 2015 the Hard Way, and Pa Builds a Claim Shanty.
There is a terrifying beast looming over me. No, not the crazy line of storms spread from Austin to Indiana, advancing as I write. I'm talking new, unimagined chaos emanating from many shifting arms. A thing with length and breadth unknown that closes in on us with silent, crushing speed. THE FARM MOVE.
Despite the comforting and beautifully organized plan we naively constructed back in February, nothing about the real process has developed in a timely manner. At first, the many incomprehensible layers of paperwork and banking procedures dragged on so painfully. Work on the cabin could begin in earnest and has since finished quietly while we waited, and still wait for driveway, septic, and footing dirt work to occur. As locals will guess, rain has been the factor. They can move mountains, but backhoes and bulldozers can't stand the rain, and so the carefully mapped out stages of infrastructure, livestock, and people moving have been day-by-day pushed into a very difficult no-mans land of poor timing and mounting challenges. This landscape includes some significant hills: a fresh farrowing cycle begins in 10 days with up to 45 piglets expected, a long planned and now terribly timed weeklong trip away from the farm, and everything is wet, so wet. Just in typing these words I can feel the shifting, stretching to do list whipping at my ankles. Gah!
After a gin and tonic, what to do? First, remap the plan. Instead of the farrowing village of our dreams, we'll be running another batch through our currently functional but tired setup. So now, instead of laying out new fences and trailering sow houses, we'll employ our pitchfork skills to re-bed and mulch. Heat lamps need resetting as do the perimeter fences and piglet feeding area. The biggest concern with the farrowing is actually after the fact when we will have to move fragile young families instead of resilient old sows. This will be very slow and require many more trips than originally envisioned. I have trouble wrapping my head around the logistics of this process so it will get filed in the "clarity over time" category.
And the trip away. When a beloved and far flung cousin announced his New York wedding many moons ago we had yet to even hear about the new land and we thought, "Hey! Life is pretty stable these days and we've never taken a family vacation, why not?" So tickets were bought, and then so was a farm. Now the trip is cemented squarely in the gut of the move and making plans to leave the farm with a caretaker in this disheveled state is mind numbing. Of course, it's also thrilling to imagine my barely shod farm girls on the alien planet that is NYC, but does that justify the massive work organizing and simplifying our operation to be left in someone else's hands? There has never been a good time before, so why should it be any different now?
And the wet. A few years ago, I promised the powers that be that if we could have an inch of rain I would never again complain about too much, a pledge I have dutifully kept. So in the face of flash flooding and fields too slick for wheeled implements, our mantra is "Rain rain, here to stay, thanks for all the grass you make". While I say this to myself again and again, we consider farrowing one of the sows in our driveway since the surrounding hillside is too slick to place the sow house properly. The bedding and mulch will be laboriously brought in by trusty ol' wheelbarrow and muscle power. The chickens roam more and more widely while their trailer waits for a tractor to move it. The recently weaned pigs get extra treats and fresh bedding almost daily to make up for the mud of their training pen. The list goes on, but at least everything is SO GREEN.
There is some consolation in knowing the looming beast can't catch a solid hold of us until we return from our trip in early June. By the time we catch our planes in just under three weeks, farrowing will be behind us, surely we'll have electricity and rudimentary fencing at the new farm, and the quick sand under our feet will have settled just a little. When we come home it will be with fresh eyes and clear minds. I hope.