A few months ago, back in the early spring before the apple blossoms showed up and weeds were a nostalgic memory (they are currently a present plague) - I bought a truck. It's no secret that money is hard to come by around here, so I didn't buy or lease anything new. I bought a 1998 GMC off of a neighbor down the road. I knew him, the original owner, and felt comfortable handing over the $1300 cash for the vehicle. The frame was in good shape, rust was minimal, it had great tires and 4WD and looked perfect for the most common jobs around here: hauling bales of hay, firewood, and livestock on local errands. The catch was this: I didn't know how much work it would need to pass inspection. I did know it started and the previous owner drove it right to my farm. That was in the spring.
Since then it has basically not started for me and spent most of the spring and summer sitting still. We need the truck for hay, winter, and firewood so I am in the process of finally getting it registered, repaired, and on the road again. We have been doing all farm work and driving out of Shannon's 2014 Ford Focus... Not idea. We can only carry 4 hay bales at a time and loading it with 20 chickens isn't exactly ideal either...)
So the truck is finally starting to get fixed. Not because I have the resources to do it, but because I need to figure out the resources to do it. Which is basically everyone's story in this economy. You put off the big stuff until you can't, and then you figure it out. The story of small farms since time out of mind.
I am lucky to have a mechanic that works with people's budgets and farms. Around here you need folks who have your back and understand if a $700 brake line, cleaning, and repair can't be paid at once and split into different payments. Which is the first step to getting the White Rhino back on the road (that is the original owner's name for it and it's sticking).
So that's the truck news. I have one, kinda. It needs a lot of work and short of a miracle loan or some unknown inheritance from a long-lost aunt I am basically adding it to the list of firewood, hay, and other winter chores coming up in the next three months before snow fly. Homesteading on a budget is an extreme sport. You have to constantly hustle and figure things out to make it happen. It's what I have done and will keep doing until I find dependable work (in the process of applying, no luck yet) or land a book deal that makes the earth shake.
In other news: the garden is lovely. We've been eating well out of it most nights. Besides some noodles, rice, or beans we've been almost entirely eating off the farm itself. That is a good feeling!
The animals are all doing well and enjoying these dog days before summer slides into fall. The chickens and rabbits are enjoying the barnyard, the horses their expanded paddock into the woods, the sheep have been loving this rainy and very hardy grass-growing summer in the pasture, and the pigs remain fat and happy! No complaints on that front.
So that's the newest goal for the farm: a working, registered, farm truck. And while I know more bills is the last thing I need going into winter, especially with the July mortgage yet to be paid, I feel confident that I can earn what I need in time. I have 11 years of making it work behind me already. I can do this. The farm can do it!