Our beautiful autumn is turning slowly grayer and more soggy and you can tell winter is coming. Autumn is when the farm just GLOWS. It is in its element. So many times I pointed to the trees when the perfect light hit them and yelled “look at the beauty!” The prairie grasses have turned brown and create an ombre of neutrals across the fields to end at the bright white trunks and stunning yellow leaves of the birch forest. The season of “post bugs, pre snow” is my favorite. Where you need a hat, maybe a vest, a couple layers on but aren’t miserably cold yet. Nights of campfires and mornings of hot coffee and oatmeal.
All we could think of this last visit was of how amazing it will be once trails are carved into the woods, untouched for decades, what it will feel like to be back in the deep forest and hear nothing but stillness. But for now, we have to work. Keep working, keep plugging away.
We had been waiting a long time to get both Dani and my families together at the farm. Our kids have done a lot of things together and we knew they would just love being up here as a group! With the youngest in kindergarten now, they are also old enough for us to trust them with a bit more responsibility and freedom. It allowed us to work and them to play to their hearts content. We also roped the kids into working a bit, too…the older ones cut firewood, and the youngest helped tear down a fence, haul wood, tend to the fire, and other small odd jobs.
They also played, for HOURS.
The adults played, too. Staying up late talking and drinking cider, harvesting birch for a project, tearing off as much dry barn wood as we could find, and operation “free the prairie” where we took down one of the main fences separating the fields. And John, well, this guy enjoys his new tractor…
Pulling down the back porch gave us access to wood that hadn’t been as water damaged, and we were able to store it away for the winter. We were doing all these odd little jobs waiting for the call to come that we could get the foundation poured for the bunkhouse. It has been the biggest struggle to get anyone to just return our calls, let alone work with us. We are self funding this whole venture, and really wanted to get a bunkhouse up before the winter so we could have a warm place to stay if we wanted to come up and work and so we could show people our vision for the farm.
We know once we get one structure up, the others will follow more easily, but it seems like every decision we make requires many steps that we can’t do yet. We must pour the foundation, but we can’t do that ourselves, and a concrete truck needs a driveway, which we can’t easily build by ourselves, and it just goes on and on. So it can get a bit weary.
And it got COLD while we were up there, and the heater didn’t work in the RV, so we spent shivering nights where John and I were awake most of the time, worried the kids were freezing, making sure they had blankets covering them all the way, watching the ice grow thicker on the inside of the windows, knowing the next day we’d just have to grin and bear it. We found out that the guy that wanted to buy the property (but we got to it first) was planning on turning the prairie into a mudding pit…where you would drive your 4 wheeler or truck around in the fields now turned to all mud…my heart just broke thinking of our beautiful prairie destroyed. Though we felt pride that our purchase stopped the scouring of the shire, something in me just kind of snapped. No one wanted this place, no one sees the beauty in it, we are fighting a constant up hill battle, the bunkhouse wasn’t going to get done, out of all the plans we had for the year, so little was checked off the list.
Anyone who knows me, knows that when I say I’m going to do something and then end up not being able to do it, I get very upset. The failure to build the bunkhouse this fall is a big deal for me, because then it becomes an extra job to do in the spring, where money will already be tight, where the list of “this needs to happen before you can do this” keeps getting longer and longer. I’m just waiting for SOMETHING, ANYTHING to fall into place so we can get traction and see some progress. All we can focus on now is getting our credit score as high as possible, and save like crazy so when the spring comes we can hopefully get a construction loan for the main house, get building, and start to really show some progress.
So after a couple days of pouting, I’m trying to push through and make a new path. That is what happens, right? When you’re making a new trail you might start down one way, find it blocked, back track, and find another way. Push through. I think I’m done with my grouchiness (most of it at least) and will concentrate on looking back over this year to all that did get done, and remember that from the beginning we knew this was a huge undertaking. I just need my optimism back. Working on that…
Here! A picture of the cute barn cat and her kitten to make you smile! Back to happy! We named the kitten S’Mores.
Positive List: We got the salvaged wood packed away in a newly mucked out part of the barn for winter. That is good. Working on an etsy store to sell a few pieces from the farm to fund the new building. Good. Check. Trying to figure out how to legally burn down the house. Ok. Proud that we saved this lovely land from being destroyed. SWEET! New project that we really CAN DIY is the brain child of our new friend, Rick, who we’ve met through word of mouth about the farm. He suggested we turn the most stable of the buildings (the small shed bellow) into a summer kitchen and we think that is a brilliant idea. It could be for the campground as well as a place to can and brew in the hot summer months. We can’t wait to get started.
We will remember the camp fires, the fun, the learning experiences…and be ready to hit the ground running in the spring. We are so thankful for the friends who shared in our dream this summer. This may be our family farm, but one of our main purposes to build community in this place. To learn together, to share knowledge and experience together. Our dream is do this with you. Share this with you. To allow Gatherhaus to have a physical place where all our values and dreams and creative spirits can thrive. If you have enjoyed or been fascinated or are interested in being apart of the farm, we would LOVE to have you be apart of it! Please contact us, comment below, follow us on Facebook and subscribe to the blog!
We are in this together friends, and we need you! As restore this place and build a place for creatives to come, a place for families to retreat, and a place for us to learn together, we would be honored to have you on this journey with us.