It’s 10:30 on a Wednesday morning and I’m writing from my laptop in the laundromat parking lot. Like my clothes on the rinse cycle, everything around me is wet. The rain has been ruthless here. Over the last few days torrential (torrential!) downpours slammed into the mountain and created new run off and rivulets all over the farm. Soil got washed away, new pathways created, saplings and trees down...At one point the path through the woods was more of a canal, water rushing through and exposing new rocks to inspect for fossils and gems! It's cancer season, the most water sign of all the water signs, and I am no exception. This place feels changed and refreshed.
However! The weather got the animals all riled up. Yesterday morning the horses had escaped into the sheep field, and their solar charger died, and I of course I couldn't deal with it until I'd run a hundred errands, repaired fences, re-installed batteries, and slopped through the mud until I looked like one of the pigs myself, BUT! As of this morning everything is starting to dry off a bit and walking around the farm feels like a rainforest. Folks, I am writing you from a state of relieved exhale. The May mortgage is paid! Which means, the only month I still owe is the month we’re all living in right now, and while I'm still starting over from scratch to earn it, it’s a huge weight off my shoulders.
This month was a doozy. It started with paying for piglets and then had emergency dental work, but still I managed to make a house payment (despite the hike) and holy crow, do I feel proud of puling that off!! I live for a living, working here on this land and using the skills I have as an artist and writer to pad the pork, soap, and lamb income. And while most people celebrate accomplishments like wedding showers and weekend getaways, I'm here working to keep my everyday life the grateful scrappy resort of my dreams. All my furniture is used, but I can saddle a pony on a Tuesday in my backyard, so split the diff.
I am so ready for my luck to turn. If the next four weeks could just include regular hay and feed costs and not another grand in unexpected bill, that would be such a reprieve. My goal now is to pay off June as fast as possible, catch up so I'm paying ahead, and hopefully sell that truck. After that.. it’s time to figure out the first winter hay and firewood deliveries. One step, and one day, at a time. I still have time.
The best news is that the farm has really hit its stride. I can’t tell you how good it feels to walk outside on my horse-trimmed lawn when the afternoon sun peaks out, and take in the scene. Around me are glossy horses, and snuffling piglets, and young lambs running across a hillside. There are still all the baby chicks, being raised by mama Moonpie and her crew, a happy little parade that struts around the farm getting into mischief and discovering new bugs to eat. The dogs are both healthy and sound, and so are the cats. I made an electricity payment, and the well is overflowing, and while there are still pressing repairs and improvement projects I want to get in to keep the house sound, it is still only June and I have time to rip up floors and reinforce the basement.... I need to take a second to celebrate how far I’ve come.
I think I need to keep writing here, as often as I can. I feel like this daily(ish) practice is where my best work comes from. I'll keep posting the links to contribute if people feel moved, but no more daily dollars or games. I'll write because it makes me feel less alone and hopeful. It’s therapeutic and gives me a sense of community, and honestly - it’s the way this farm has always operated. Part of how I get to live here is sharing my life online, and the story of a woman and this land as they both change and shape each other. And I feel this is where something good will happen.
13 years on this farm and I still believe everything can get easier and better. And while every month still feels like treading water to make the bills and keep teeth in my mouth, when I look around I see so much amazing progress in one small life. A better farm, happier animals, a stronger woman. I see a place tended with care, with flowers blooming and hope dripping off the eaves. I see a body slowly healing, and a heart starting to open up again, and every day I have this battle to fight for - giving me meaning and hope. And yes, things are always harder around here than they would have been had I chosen a more conventional life, but I feel like I’m living mine well. The cost of middle-class dignity, credit cards, and passports is too high, too much for a moody writer with an anti-authority complex...
What I am saying, is I am happy. And getting happier. And after this winter I wasn’t sure that was possible. But here I am, smiling as I type on an overcast day still behind on my hiked mortgage and feeling like the richest woman in town.
I’m still here. How about that?