An update, by Kat, on the progress of the farm. To find older posts, click on the menu to the right and then the category “Das Haus”.
This summer has been an interesting journey of ups and downs in relation to the farm. We started to pick apart at the house, hoping to find an abundance of reclaimable items and instead found that most of the items we touched crumbled from rot. We learned sheep were allowed to graze all over the property, including IN the house…which explains those questionable organic piles scattered throughout. The siding and large beams are full of termite and water damage, and even the barn is looking pretty rotten. Considering we wanted to build the new place out of the salvage from the old, this naturally added some frustration to our journey.
As we got rid of the SEVENTY old tires in and around the house plus the piles of garbage in the field next door, the grumbles started. (PS anyone want a tire swing? I’ve heard they’re all the rage!)
We burned one of many old hay bales left to rot on the property, the grumbles continued.
The grumbles almost became expletives when I realized the old wavy window that was the one redeeming item of the house had a bullet hole through it. The sheer carelessness and waste that this house represented had us fuming.
But then we hear the giggles of our children playing. And we look to the north and see the amazing view and ALL THOSE TREES that have been left alone for decades! And we remember we have a lovely little creek running through the property, and that the kids constantly talk about the new things they see and experience, and that we are working hard to provide an amazing atmosphere for our family and fellow artists…and things become more manageable. We take a breath and remind ourselves to take things slow, let them happen organically, embrace the toil because the end result will be amazing. Remember the endless watermelon, the baby swallows we watched in their nests, the thunderstorms rolling across the big sky, late nights snuggling in the RV, catching frogs and caterpillars, building fairy shelters, sharing the experience with friends.
Dani and I had a work day this week. I have found that I truly long for the farm. When I’m stressed I just crave those fresh breezes and open space. There is something about feeling grounded, and seeing your dear friend use an old mattress frame to balance over the basement opening because she is DETERMINED to get that damn window frame!
We attacked the house, we had to find SOMETHING to salvage. The walls are full of ladybugs and plastic bags, there are at least four layers of wallpaper damp and destroyed, the siding is crumbling in our hands, but we found some items to use. Some good barn wood, a few doors, windows, little bits and bobs…we are squeezing every drop of goodness out of this place before it is destroyed. That being said, I now know why some of these old homes get bulldozed, that is much easier than trying to pick at it bit by rotten bit.
Plans for this year involve complete demo of the house (fire may be involved) and hopefully building of a bunkhouse. If we get a solid shelter built, we can sell the RV and use that money to fund the start of the main farmhouse building. We now own a fabulous old 8N Ford tractor as well as a little Simplicity yard tractor for getting work done, and it is amazing how much better the place looks just getting things mowed. The spring will involve tree planting, driveway building, and prepping for the house. Trail building and prairie restoration also are a priority. We want to get these wetlands back to their natural state. We firmly believe that the very least we can do is get our little patch of earth back to what it is supposed to be. Here is an overview of the farm…
If at any time you want to be a part of this big dream, just let us know! On the Gatherhaus facebook page we post when we’re heading up to the farm and what we’re up to. We are currently looking for two 13′ old barn beams for the bunkhouse, we need to properly dispose of the tires, we also need to figure out large dirt moving options for creating the driveway and digging the monolithic slab for the bunkhouse and farmhouse foundations. Since this is our first time doing a full build, advice is always welcome! We also have some great large metal items for any scrappers if they are interested!
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Have you seen earth shuttle buildings? It might be a good option for all those tires!
Has the tillable land been farmed? You could cash rent it out for a few years to help fund things until you get going? Or better yet, go in on shares, take some of the risk, reap some of the reward?
I just had an idea for the tires! Do a kickstarter campaign where one of the rewards is a “DIY Tireswing”. You include plans to the swing, a list of items to pickup from Home Depot, and the tire is shipped to donors. You know – it’d cost way more to ship the tire than the disposal fee but it’s a nice piece of Gatherhaus memorabilia.