As most of you know, we moved to the farm in October. It’s pretty much everything we’ve wanted (you know, within reason lol). 2.5 acres, roughly 45 fruit trees/plants, barn, pool, guest rooms….. It’s like a dream come true. We knew it would be a lot of work. Some of the trees/plants hadn’t been trimmed in a couple years, we would need to set up stalls, etc. My parents tried telling me running a farm is a full time job.
I laughed. Andrew laughed.
You guys…. They weren’t kidding. We spend almost every minute of every weekend working on projects outside, weather permitting, and it’s never enough. Every evening, I get home from work around 5, and it’s dinner, clean, laundry, feed animals, and bed time. No time for weeding, trimming, etc. Also, it’s Washington, so it’s dark outside by friggin 4pm. Oh, and that weather permitting disclaimer? Yeah, let’s plan on yard work all next weekend….. And then torrential downpour most of the daylight time, because again, WASHINGTON. Pacific Northwest. So, adapt to indoor projects. Overcome, build a stall for the goats in the barn. Rain stopped? Outside we go, trimming trees, installing fence posts. Bonfire to burn the tree trimmings. Kallie wants a horse for Christmas? Sure! But somehow the stall building got put off until Christmas Eve. Big thanks again to my mom & dad for pitching in on that & many other projects while they were here. Knowledge & labor are big gifts! Manage to have a couple decent weekends, then the snow hit…. Snow, EVERYWHERE. 14 inches deep, the most snow they’ve seen here in 20 years or something. I’ve seen some snow, but living in it is different. I couldn’t even get out of the driveway for 2 days. On the third day, I was determined. More like delirious with cabin fever, but whatever. Pulled the car out, drove it up & down the driveway (note to self, need snow plow attachment for the John Deere for next year) to compact the snow down, then pulled out onto the road. The county plowed the road, but during the day some of the snow would melt then refreeze on the road, creating very slippery conditions. However, we needed food, so out I set, driving like 10mph until I reached the freeway.
Made it to Winco without incident, get out of the car, and immediately start to fall. Luckily, I still had the door open to catch myself on. Checked my pride, and penguin walked across the lot. Loaded up with enough food for a while, penguin walked pushing a cart back to the car, and managed to unload said cart without falling on my face. Ran a couple other errands, watched people drive entirely too fast on ice and find themselves unable to stop. Luckily, I stayed far away from anyone else and managed to avoid an accident. Got some stuff done at home. Went with Andrew to his doctors appointment, and parts of Vancouver were also a train wreck. Cars in ditches, in the median. It was so strange to see. Ventured out Saturday, came home to a valve next to the well spewing water. Friend that knows the well system comes over, shut off well, replaced valve, turned everything back on. Nothing kicks on. Andrew fiddles with the pressure switch, things start working. Go to bed. Wake up… no water. FML. Fiddles with pressure switch again, no dice. Drive to farm store, since Home Depot/Lowes doesn’t carry the one we need (but the farm store does, go figure). Install switch. No dice. Give up, home warranty place is called, and we go out to run errands. You guys, there is no emergency well service in the Vancouver metro area. How is that even possible?! Oh well. Get some troubleshooting tips, implement them. Still nothing. Likely frozen pipes… yay. Filled up five gallon buckets at the neighbors house, used them to flush toilets, water the animals, etc. Took a friend up on her offer of using her shower so our clan wasn’t stinky. The roads were worse last night than the day after the snowfall with the constant melt & freeze action leading to more ice on the road.
Today, we wait for a well person to show up and tell us either it’s electrical and he can fix it, or it’s a frozen pipe somewhere and we are screwed until the temp outside goes above freezing… on Wednesday. -_- I’m already on our last bucket of water. We still have drinking water, luckily. I’m on day 4 of no work, and all I’ve really accomplished is painting, and not even a ton of it since the dogs chewed up my roll of painters tape and I forgot to get some while I was out. The house should be spotless, but the last thing I want to do right now is create even more laundry to catch up on when the water comes back by using up all my cleaning rags. So, here I sit… in bed…. Watching Lonesome Dove and typing away. Will I share this? I don’t know yet. Has this winter scared us away from rural life? Hell no. Still wouldn’t trade it for the world. However, it has definitely showed us our weaknesses in preparedness. Next winter….. hell, next week, will be a different story. According to Farmers Almanac, we are supposed to have a blizzard mid-February. Every bucket will have water, and the minute we go below freezing, a heat lamp will be in the well house & equipment room. The chimneys will be swept in case the heat pump goes out, wood will be hauled and nearby, laundry done, paper products on hand, and groceries will be stocked. Will I forget something? Yes. Will I find another hole in our preparedness? Yes. However, every time is a learning opportunity, and all will be ok. This spring/summer will be the perfect opportunity to can all the fruit we could use, sell the rest in my imaginary roadside stand, hopefully grow and reserve some veggies, eggs will be saved, Chuck the cow will be butchered next fall & we will have meat all winter, and if I’m feeling extra adventurous, maybe do meat chickens. I’m exhausted already, and wishing there was a way we could turn some of this into an income so I would work less hours and spend more time here producing. It’s going to be rough… but I’m looking forward to it. Life on the farm…. Just call me Laura 😉 I’m off to scoop snow into buckets to melt so I can wash dishes. Yeah, you read that right.