Despite blocking out an entire month for the most dramatic part of the move- ourselves and the animals- this has only barely begun. And despite our deep toolbox of skills, we can't diy road building or power-grid harnessing, leaving the steps to electricity (and the electric fences that make our farm run) so far outside of our control. Some mountain of money would probably move the backhoe a little faster or bring the electric coop guys buzzing around at our smallest beckoning but since we are lowly farmer folk, we are stuck with the standard procedure.
BUT THINGS ARE HAPPENING!
- There has been dirt work and it has produced our new driveway! With the cabin habitable (see Pa builds a claim shanty) and many of our accessories (like the lounging grain bin in the picture) and animal infrastructure coming into place, animal movement and house construction will take off at blazing speed probably, likely very soon.
- The cows and donkeys got to move! Saying they enjoy the new grass is a laughable understatement. Here is Blondie, our butterfat queen surveying the scene:
- A 1980 4wd toyota pickup in rust and blue joined our vehicle pool! She will make the long, sometimes soggy route through chores possible. My boots alone won't cut it hauling feed and farm girls over those distances day in and day out and Travis the truck scout came through for his demanding bride:
- COW SHOPPING! We've been planning our return to beef cattle for a couple of years but haven't had the space to even think about searching our our perfect herd...until now! As soon as we signed the papers, we started looking and talking to people and craigslisting and talking to people. Eventually Trav and I took the best kind of date- a no-nonsense road trip to Mississippi to give the hard eye to some fine ladies. And boy are they fine ladies. After warning us not to touch the shotgun in his truck, their attendant curmudgeon beamed (or grimaced?) with pride describing their unreal fertility, thriftiness, demeanor, and top shelf mothering. We were impressed by their beautiful condition and their rolly polly calves. They looked at us just as hard as we looked at them while the cattleman looked on and eventually judged us to be worthy of his special little herd. Since 26 cattle wouldn't fit in our car, we had to leave them in Mississippi for a little while longer. There are some calls to make and leads to follow but we expect a specially outfitted semi to bring them our way by the end of the month. Eventually I'll get around to a post about why these particular cows, the unconventional breeding plan we have for them, and the unparalleled beef we expect to share with you in a few years time (cows grow slow). In the mean time, lets celebrate being cowgirls and daydream about watching the herd graze in our beautiful valley.
- What's Next?
While we wait 1 or 1 million weeks for electricity, we are putting up the to-be-electrified fences that will define various pastures and the solid fences of the working chutes and sorting paddocks. On the home front we have been presorting the hogs and moving them to readily accessible paddocks for easy loading. As soon as those electrons are flowing in our direction, we'll begin several days of dawn-to-dusk herding, sorting, loading, and hauling pigs and chickens. There will be one million trips back and forth between the properties so we are working diligently now to make everything at both ends ready and smooth.
This week, the backhoe will finish sculpting our homesite, installing the septic, and laying some water lines. Then there will be some setup before cement pouring, likely next week, which will mark the beginning of earnest home construction.