I keep sitting down to try to write a blog - it's been a week now - and I keep failing. I tried to write about using dehydrated onions in the winter. I tried to write about using recycled boxes and canisters as toys. I even tried to write about having our entire yard and driveway dug up to have the sewer line replaced, and nothing is coming out.
There is a good reason for this, of course. It's because we are one week away from signing papers to buy a farm. A farm! A real life, honest-to-goodness farm. And it looks like we may be moving in sooner than originally anticipated.
It's been a month now since we first found it, and it's been an interesting process.
Phase One: the Giddy Phase. "We're buying a farm we're buying a farm we're buying a farm!" Along with a lot of jumping up and down, squealing, and maybe even a bit of spontaneous tap dancing in the hallway. So much excitement, I couldn't sleep.
Phase Two: the Dreamy Phase. Pinterest every spare minute, picturing all the great decorating ideas being put to good use in this lovely new home. Ordering seeds for the garden-to-be that will be four times the size of the one I have now. Daydreaming about having a school room, and a craft studio, and a kitchen without peach cupboards. So much imagining that I couldn't sleep.
Phase Three: the Logical Phase. Researching meat chicken breeds and milk goats, packing everything we own into McDonald's fry boxes, creating a to-do list a mile long of things that must be done to this home before we can rent it out. Organizing and planning galore, making sure no detail was left unaddressed. Laying awake at night thinking about everything that needed to be done... and not sleeping.
We're entering Phase Four now, and honestly, I'm getting tired.
It would appear that Phase Four is the Reality Phase. We got a call from the realtor this evening, tying up loose ends, covering last details, as we prepare to sign the contract on the farm early next week. Somehow this all just now became real to me. We are packing up our small children and everything we own to go live an hour away from our closest friends and family, on a piece of land where our only neighbors will be deer, elk, and an occasional bear. Omgoodness we're buying a farm.
This qualifies as one of The Biggest Things In Our Lives. It's a seriously big deal, not something to be tap dancing or daydreaming about.
There are a million reasons to freak out right now. I was laying in bed running through the list of them in my head - and not sleeping - when I decided to sit up and write.
This is an amazingly huge, not-to-be-taken-lightly financial decision. It's not just a sweet little house in town, it's the house we will live in for the rest of our lives, the house we want to leave to our daughters some day. It means a new budget - a tighter one - and new financial responsibilities. We have to rent this house out, meaning we'll have two mortgages to pay if a renter bails on us. We have to be prepared for things like fertilizing a hay pasture, shoeing horses, and the gas to go back and forth to town.
We have to learn so much! I don't know how to irrigate. My mother's stories of irrigating are enough to scare anyone away from it, and our farm will be far more complicated than what she deals with (though hopefully the neighbors are nicer.) I have to learn to garden in a climate with six weeks less frost-free time, where I'll be expected to produce (and store) enough food to feed my family for a year. We may never eat another ripe tomato as long as we live. We'll have to learn to cut and stack wood for warmth in the winter, and when to cut hay so it doesn't mold in the summer. I'll have to learn to milk goats and butcher chickens.
We're going to be virtually alone. We don't know anyone up there. No one cares if we're okay, if we're surviving. It might be days at a time before I have any adult conversation, especially if my husband works out of town. I dream about that now - 'getting away from it all' - but will I love it once it's reality? I'll have to work three times as hard to get my children any social interaction at all, for fear they'll turn into the stereotypical unsocialized homeschoolers everyone always whispers about.
The workload of a real farm is incredibly daunting. Here on our little homestead-in-the-city, the amount of work required is manageable enough that I go to bed most nights with the to-do list checked off. The reality of living a real farm life is that the to-do list will never be complete. I'm going to have to come to terms with going to bed at night with tasks unfinished. And farming goes entirely against my control-freak nature. When one is relying so much on nature, one has no control. I'm going to have to accept it, and adjust, and that may not be easy.
Homesteading here in our little city house is easy stuff. I keep the garden, I can some food, we butcher some game, we're set. It's a whole new ball game up there, and all I keep thinking is "we have no idea what's even coming."
But that's not true. Obviously, there will be some surprises, though I like to think of them as "adventures". We've spent the last six years of our marriage building skills to take with us up to this place to help us be successful. We embrace simplicity - we can handle living on a budget. We can butcher an elk - I'm sure we can handle a few dozen chickens. We go camping for a week at a time, with no one but each other for company, and we do that on purpose. I can handle solitude. We do all we can to shelter our children from everything they see on a daily basis in the city - living in the country is only going to make that easier.
Our parents raised two intelligent, capable kids who are now going to take all those skills and experiences we've gained and put them to the best use possible, in an effort to live our dream, follow our hearts, raise great kids, and live by the ethical standards we believe in.
If I can keep telling myself that, I just might survive the overwhelmed state of panic and anxiety that's creeping in. Our "Farm Dream" is about to become our "Farm Reality."
All that said, it would appear that Stage Four affords no more sleep than any of the previous stages did.
For those who have been asking for pictures, here you go:
This pictures shows most of the 37 acres, with the meadow, the buildings, and the little hillock my children will spend their days exploring. :-)