Our first Farm Beginnings class was amazing. I feel more confident that we can do this than ever. I also feel justified in calling ourselves future farmers. Since Bill is also starting a small business (that we hope will help with income once we live in Chicago) we have decided that we are definitely partners in this farming venture - but it is my 'project' so to speak. While in class we did an interesting exercise in which we were forced to pick our top 10 from terms relating to Values. (Examples - just picking some randomly: Accomplishment, Achivement, Arts, Affection, Honesty, Financial Gain, Public Service, Trust, Money, Truth). Then we had to cull that list to 5. Then further to 3. My remaining 3 were: Independence, Meaningful Work and Nature. I think that is very interesting that they are about as far away from my day job in Corporate America as you can get - shows how unfulfilled I am right now. Anyway - we then use that exercise to write our Goals and Values and then turn that into a Objective for Business. This is the hard part of business planning that no one does. But wow, it is a useful exercise! I have been thinking, reworking, rewriting and reflecting on it all week. I am greatly looking forward to the next class.
And the best part of the class? Oh my gosh. Meeting the others that want to do what we want to do! Bill and I are often the ones that no one seems to understand. "you want to do what?" "You make your own bread?!" "You can just buy bread at the store." "You want to live in the country?" We were surrounded by like-minded folks. And there was every age group represented: young parents, some fresh out of college, father-daughter teams, pre-retirees and plenty of mid-lifers looking for a change (like us).
We took Friday off and spent the weekend in Wisconsin. Our accomplishments were pretty minor but fun.
Our insurance company is threatening to not renew our policy for the farm/church-house if we didn't put railings on the steps. We have made steps out of huge local boulders (3 to 4' in length) - many stacked on top of another. Bill wasn't wild about the idea of taking away the beauty of his natural steps - but you gotta do what 'da insurance man' say.
He stopped at one of the many architectural salvage stores around our neighborhood in Chicago. He found some cool victorian iron scroll work but gheesh, it was over $400. No way.
So we drove up on Thurs night without much of a plan but we did have a bunch of tools. He kept saying - we'll just go over to the farm in the morning and I'll poke around the junkpile. (Every farm has a junk pile, right?)
Friday morning at the farm junk pile, he pulled out two rusty large farm fence posts that were all bent up. He also found two cedar branches. He fashioned a lovely railing out of these found objects for FREE! The man is destined to live on a farm.
I also learned to chop wood. Yes, with a splitting maul. I definitely do NOT have hang of it yet, but I did OK. It wasn't pretty and I was incredibly slow, but I got some wood (box elder, certainly not oak or elm) split. I will work to increase my confidence in my swing as the winter progresses. This will be our last year buying wood. We just haven't had the time on the weekends to fell, split, season, haul and stack wood while trying to fix up multiple places - especially when we can get a large load from the neighbor for $75 (and he has lots of wood and needs the money).
I am roasting a local acorn squash, wedge fries out of potatoes from my garden and a large green salad from the greens of the last Platteville Farmer's Market. Hello Fall!