Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blogging May Take a Backseat for a Bit

In the last 24+ hours of farm ownership I (with the help of my family) managed to:
1. Repair the roof on the barn and the large sliding doors
2. Remove all of the carpeting and tack from the house
3. Plant a dozen christmas trees
4. Seed a bed of carrots and a bed of beets
5. Remove tile and a few pieces of drywall from the house
6. Bleach and scrub half of the rooms in the house
7. Trim overgrown ivy and briars off the house
8. Meet with the tenants and put together a lease agreement
9. Set up appointments with a million different contractors
10. Move several truck loads of supplies out of my parent's house and into my garage

And yet the list keeps growing!  Thank goodness for darkness, otherwise I'd run myself ragged.  And more importantly, thank goodness for my family (K included!) for all of their help because I could never ever do this without them.

I'm busy (very busy), but doing my best to stay organized, relaxed, and appreciative for this opportunity.  I will still be blogging regularly, but most likely it will be on our farm blog (www.fullheartfarm.com) or through the National Young Farmers Coalition (I'm a featured bootstraps blogger for the season!).  Two Blue Boots was started to document my journey to farm ownership, and here we are!  It feels odd to stop writing here all of a sudden, but expect posts to be much less frequent in the coming months.

Thank you all for following a long!  Best of luck on YOUR next adventure!  :-)

Monday, April 30, 2012


I did it.  I'm still in shock that everything seems to have worked out so perfectly.

I couldn't feel more lucky and thankful and happy than I do right now.

Dreams really do come true.

It's Today

image via pinterest

Saturday, April 28, 2012


The pigs are all settled into their new home on the farm!

(And, yes, I forgot to take pictures...)

It was a LONG 2.5 hour drive for them, especially considering they already moved once this week.  They were fairly easy to catch (good to know I still have my pig grabbing skills!) and super cooperative while we drove across the state.  I picked up my parents on the way and we unloaded them into the former chicken run for the night.  The fence is sturdy and the ground was covered in a thick layer of straw and weeds (it hasn't been used for years), so I feel pretty good about leaving them there for the night.  They all look healthy and were eating/drinking/rooting around when I left just before dark!  I'm eager to go check on them first thing in the morning.

And, just like that, the first enterprise of Full Heart Farm is set up!  The pigs have food, water, shelter, and a simple rotational grazing plan that should get us through until fall.  I'm sure there will be bumps along the way, but it feels good to finally have a small part of the farm project underway!

I stayed and chatted for a bit with the owners (who are planning to move out tomorrow) and the tenants, who had a bunch of friends over.  Even though I'm a little nervous (scratch that, a LOT nervous) about being a landlord, it was sort of nice to see the farm with a big group of people hanging out.  I'm eager for my tiny farm community to grow.

I feel energized.  EXCITED.  I have a long list of things to do tomorrow, but my day will begin on the farm, feeding the pigs.  Morning chores, no matter how tired and sore I am, always center me.  Even when things don't go well, it's the best way to start the day.

38 hours until I own my own farm!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Freak Out

image from crushculdesac.tumblr.com
I lost it today.

I had been worried all week about how much the closing costs would be for the farm, and getting frustrated at the lack of communication between me and my lawyer.  She promised to send the statement by Friday (which was the absolute last possible day, because I needed to go to the bank and the closing is Monday morning).  A little after noon I finally got an email.

Please bring a check for $28,000.00 made payable to ________ on Monday.

And then I started to freak out.

But I figured it had to have been a typo, so I pulled open the attached statement and read through it - trying to sort through the three pages of numbers to find some sort of response.  I called the lawyer with no response, and then my real estate agent, and then my loan officer (who was off today).

A near-heart attack and a few grey hairs later, the lawyer FINALLY called back and admitted there was an error.  She had accidentally calculated in the entire loan amount ($250,000 to purchase the property, plus $30,000 for home repairs) and after factoring in the lawyers fees, taxes, and money that I already paid towards closing costs, I would have RECEIVED a check for $28,000.  Not OWED a check.

I was able to get everything straightened out and now I owe $2,352.10 for closing costs, in addition to the $1,000 I put down with the contract (the loan money for repairs stays at the state office until the work on the house has been done and inspected).  It's a lot of money, but nowhere NEAR as much as $28,000.00.  Insert sigh of relief here.

I'm now totally exhausted.  In the end, this wasn't even a setback, but the stress and anxiety was totally overwhelming.

The truck is already loaded for a big day tomorrow - everything I need for my farm planning class, as well as crates and tarps for picking up my piglets and moving them to the farm tomorrow.  I sure hope they cooperate for the two hour drive!

Here we go!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Countdown Continues

image via tumblr.com

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Closing Day.  I can't believe how real this is.

Today I finally finished the chick brooder (one week until the chicks arrive!), the laying hen's roosts, put a tarp over the pig's hut, and learned how to use ratchet tie straps for the truck (which was somehow MUCH more difficult than I anticipated).  I made a million more phone calls, finally hooked up phone/internet/cable, worked on a press release, and organized a bunch of paperwork.  I keep getting things done, but it seems like the list continues to grow.  Ahhhhhhh...the life of a farmer.

Tomorrow I will find out how much the closing costs will be, which is totally stressing me out.  The loan office never factored in those costs when we ran through the 8 million versions of the budget (okay, that might be a slight exaggeration) and I guess I just assumed they would be covering a lot of them.  Now I'm learning that closing costs are typically 4% of the purchase price, which would be $10,000.  Plus I owe taxes and still have to write a check for the lawnmower.  I have the money in my savings account to pay, so I guess I shouldn't be concerned, but that makes my budget SUPER tight.  Let's hope for an ideal growing season.  And a winning lottery ticket.

I just have to keep reminding myself to breathe and allowing myself to be excited.  This is such a wonderful blessing - to be able to achieve my dream - and I can't let a silly thing like worrying get in the way of celebrating.  :-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Closing is Set

The final walk-through is Monday at noon, and the closing is right after.

I signed a big stack of papers today at the loan agency and should receive the final papers (and details on how much the closing will cost) on Friday.

4 days.  HOLY CRAP.

My New Piglets!

A good friend picked up my piglets today (4 are mine, 2 are hers) and brought them to her farm until I can come and pick them up.  They are 7 weeks old, primarily yorkshires, with berkshire and duroc breed in.  I spoke with the current owners today and they gave me permission to bring the piglets to their property on Saturday - before the closing on Monday.  The piglets may get to move in before I do!

Awwwwwww man...piglets are just the CUTEST!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Great Expectations

I think one of the big reasons that I have been able to make my dream of owning my own farm a reality in less than 8 months is that I have high expectations - for myself and for everyone helping me to achieve my dream.  Don't get me wrong - I HATE calling everyone everyday to make sure that things are on track and guiding the process along.  But I can say for sure that if I just waited for things to fall into place, I'd be waiting my whole life.  I believe in fighting for what I need and finding a way to make it happen.

Oftentimes, however, my expectations are a little too high.  Like today, when I planned to get a million things done and then I needed to make an unexpected trip to agway, then to the hardware store, then I got a bunch of measurements wrong and the saw broke.  All minor setbacks that added up to a lot of frustration.

So, after dinner, instead of dwelling on the fact that I didn't get all of these projects done, I made a new list and made sure to accomplish a few things that didn't involve power tools.  Thank goodness for the endless amounts of paperwork in my life right now.  And for online shopping.

Despite the setbacks, I did get a bunch of things done today.  I built 4 new bucket feeders (out of 5 gallon pails and garden pot bases) for the meat chickens.  I simply drilled a bunch of 1.5" diameter holes in the bottom of the bucket, and then bolted it to the planter base using 4" bolts (with 5 nuts between to allow space for the food to flow out).  The containers are sturdy, hold a lot of food, and cost only about $12 each (in supplies) to make.

The best part?  They stack for easy storage!  Well, that and I was able to build 3 for the price of purchasing 1 commercial feeder.  Score!

I also built one (of two) portable roost before I broke the saw.  In my haste to get back to the hardware store to order the part, I forgot to take pictures, but it's simply an A-frame with 2x3s going across.  I estimate each one will sleep about 25 birds and they cost about $10 each in lumber and screws to build.

In other exciting news, my seeds arrived today!  It's hard to believe that a 1/4 acre garden fits in such a tiny box!  (But then again, I always think the same thing when the tiny boxes full of chicks arrive!).

I also had the good fortune of visiting a neighboring farm that is getting out of the veggie business and was getting rid of a bunch of supplies.  I loaded up the truck with a ton of tomato cages, earthway seeders, soil block makers, heating pads, flats, and planting paper.  I also checked in on my 50 pullets, who are looking great!  Now if only I could decide on a movable coop design and build them a place to live...

The countdown is ON and I'm totally stressed.  I know it won't be any easier to actually own a farm, but at this point I can't wait until the closing is over (and paid for!  the closing costs seem to be my biggest concern right now) and I can start pulling together all of these pieces.  My parent's basement is a disaster - chock full of nearly everything I need to run a farm, plus all of my stuff for the house.  In fact, everything seems like it's a mess.  Just a few more days...

Stressed, excited, overwhelmed, excited.  Rinse and repeat.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chicks and Electricity

image from southernpiphi.tumblr.com

I had one of those days where I planned to get a bunch of (tangible) projects done, right after I made a few phone calls.  Six hours later, I had tied up a bunch of loose ends in office work and hadn't started one of my projects.  That's just the way it goes, I suppose.

Keeping the closing for the farm on track (ONE WEEK!!!) requires constant supervision and constant communication between my loan officer, attorney, real estate agent, and everyone else involved.  I sorted through a massive stack of paperwork today, called everyone at least twice, and did everything I could to make sure we're still on track.  In fact, the current owners signed over power of attorney to their lawyer, packed up their bags, and left a week early to travel the country.  Knowing the house is sitting empty leaves me ITCHING to get started, but I keep reminding myself that I have plenty to do this week in order to get ready.

I ordered 2 batches of meat chicks today from 2 different hatcheries, to be shipped next week and two weeks after.  I was waiting until I was REALLY sure about the closing date before I placed the order, which meant that the hatcheries I normally order from were either sold out or only had pullets (female chicks, which grow a little smaller) left in stock.  I ordered Cornish X - the gross, gigantic frankenstein chickens they sell at the supermarket from Sun Ray Chicks Hatchery in IA and Moyers in PA (where my pullets also were raised).  I don't like the way that they look and that they are prone to leg problems and heart attacks, but it's the chicken people have come to know and love.  They'll be raised outside on pasture on a limited feed schedule, which will help with their mobility and the flavor of the meat.  And they grow quick (6-8 weeks, instead of 10-12 like some of the heritage varieties), which will help with my short time frame.  My CSA caters to families who are newer to the local food movement and I wanted to start out the season with something more familiar.  I plan to experiment with other varieties of meat chicken later in the season and see what the response is like.

I also scheduled to have electricity turned on in the house and tried to set up phone/internet/cable, but still have a few installation questions.  K helped me to finalize the lease agreement and house rules for the tenants.  I placed a wholesale order for herb transplants.  I cancelled my current truck insurance and switched over to the new policy.  I set up an appointment with the electrician so that the chicks would have a heat lamp to keep them warm when they arrive next week. And a million other little things.  My head is full, but so is my heart.  I love how well everything is coming together.

Hopefully TOMORROW I will manage to get a few more farm projects done (feeders and portable roosts are #1 on the list).  Wednesday I have another stack of paperwork to fill out and sign to prepare for the closing.  And the list goes on and on.

One day at a time...

Sunday, April 22, 2012


image from society6.com

I think I heard the earth let out a big sigh this morning when I woke up.  FINALLY some much needed rain.

After a quick (what seems like daily) trip to the hardware store, I spent the rest of the day cozied up on the couch in slippers and a sweater eating risotto, designing movable chicken coops, placing my final seed order (for everything that will be directly seeded into the ground), and hanging out.  If that sounds like the perfect day, it's because it pretty much was.

That summary of my day makes me sound perfectly relaxed, but I'm far from it.  I keep catching myself holding my breath, and having to remind myself constantly to BREATHE.  The stress of farm ownership is starting to weigh heavily on me as the countdown gets shorter and shorter (8 days!).  But at the same time, I couldn't me more excited.

This is the big time, folks.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Tiniest Egg

COULD IT BE?!?!?!  My little Pokey's first egg?

For those of you who don't know, Pokey is my extra special Golden Buff that arrived as part of a batch of 50 chicks accidentally shipped to my house.  From day 1 she was the smallest of the bunch, always curled up sleeping somewhere.  When she was a few weeks old she seemed to have broken her hip (or badly hurt it) and couldn't walk.  She still can barely hobble around, but she fends for herself and at over 1 year old she's one happy chicken.  Especially when she's perched in my lap.

I just love that little girl.  So when I collected a WEEK's worth of eggs this morning (3 dozen!) and found this tiny gem, I gave her all the credit.  She's been putting on weight lately and getting a little stronger (getting ready for her move to the farm, I think) and even been spending time in the nesting box.  Most likely it's just a fluke egg laid by one of the other hens, but I can dream.

So tiny!

It fit much better in the carton of Mini Cadbury eggs left over from easter.  :-)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Homemade Chick Brooder for 50

Forget FARMER, I've been a construction maniac the past two days!

I know it sounds lame, but I can't help but feel totally awesome when I use power tools.  The brooder I built this morning is (I think) the first real woodworking project I did ALL BY MYSELF.  It's crooked and uneven and ultimately just a giant wooden box, but I couldn't be more proud.  It's the simple things.

The brooder measures 5'x2.5'x1.5' and is mostly a plywood box (it makes efficient use of a standard 4'x8' sheet), with a few pieces of scrap wood for reinforcement.  The top is a thin would frame that I will line with chicken wire (which I have a roll of stored on the other side of the state) or a smaller gage wire (because I've been having bad dreams about weasels and raccoons and want these babies to be safe at night).

I wanted to build a brooder for a few reasons:

1. I will be raising the chicks in a converted horse barn that's a little drafty, so I wanted to have a smaller, draft-free space to raise them for the first week of their life.

2. I don't care for conventional brooders AT ALL.  First off, the giant sheet pan full of poop grosses me out.  Second, it's important to me the chicks learn to scratch and peck from a young age.  Third, I'm a big believer in deep bedding systems: it stays cleaner in the long run and it's a lot less work.

3. It may be a couple of weeks before the electricity in the barn is repaired, and I need to order chicks as soon as possible.  With the brooder, I can raise them under a heat lamp in the garage to start out.

4. I've raised chicks in cardboard boxes, swimming pools, and all sorts of makeshift brooders before.  This summer I'm planning on raising 500 meat birds (10 batches of 50) and wanted a sturdy, reliable place to raise them.

The supplies for the brooder cost about $42.00 and was really easy to assemble by myself (with the assistance of several hand clamps!).  I was able to construct it, prime it, and paint two coats of exterior paint all in the same day without it feeling like a chore.

I feel like I'm on a roll!  I think tomorrow I might tackle designing a table for supporting the solar charger (the electric fencing came in the mail today for the pigs and the laying hens!  all but ONE piece, of course...).  I'm also working on the design for movable chicken tractors, which the meat chickens will live in when they are out on pasture from 4 weeks old to 8 weeks (or slaughter).  The tractors will be too large to build and transport to the farm, but I would like to gather the supplies and pre-paint all of the wood.

I love getting ready!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Portable Pig Housing!

For some reason, buying 4 piglets yesterday made buying a farm seem REAL.  I don't have the pigs yet, or the chickens that I ordered, but I spent all night designing a portable pig shelter for my new piggies and when I woke up this morning, I got into the truck and went to home depot.  Oh yes - it's real.

I had a lot of requirements for this shelter:
1.)  It had to provide a shady and/or dry spot for 4 growing pigs
2.)  It had to be movable***.  The pigs will be raised on electric fencing in the pasture (and during the hot months in the woods), so it had to move easily and be small enough to fit in some of our more thickly wooded areas (taking down lots of trees probably won't happen this season).
***Movable means that my 5', 115 pound body needed to be able to carry it ALONE.
3.) It had to fit in my truck, so that I can build it at my parents house and easily move it to the farm the day of the closing.
4.) It had to fit within my budget.  Originally I had hoped to find a port-o-hut used somewhere (they run $400-600 new).  Then I had lots of other ideas in between.  I budgeted $200 for pig housing, but hoped to stay way under that.  I'm finding that I've FORGOTTEN a lot of things in my budget, which is causing it to creep up into the "unaffordable" category.  But that's a problem for another day.

I should also mention that I'm really good at having ideas in my head and then not being able to adequately describe them, or turn them into real life.  And then I get frustrated.  So I decided just go for it (no designs or pictures, to the chagrin of my engineer father) and not worry about making it look like it did in my head.  Just get it done.

(Not all of the supplies in that picture are for the pig hut.  I also bought all of the materials needed to build a chick brooder, but both of the drill batteries died.  I guess that'll be tomorrow's project!)

So here's what I bought at Home Depot to construct the portable hut:
1. 5 (2x3x8) foot premium wood strips @$1.93...........................................$9.65
2. 3" deckmate screws (1 lb, but didn't use even half)..................................$9.37
3. 4" corner braces (2-2packs @ $2.87 each)...............................................$5.74
4. 2 (42" x 84") remesh sheets @ $7.25 each...............................................$14.50

Subtotal = about $41.00 with tax.  I still need to pick up a tarp to stretch over the top (which I plan to attach with zip ties), so all in all it cost about $50.00 and took about an hour to build with help from my mom (well, plus the time it took me to go back to the hardware store and get different sized screws...sigh).

To build the structure, first I cut one of the strips of wood in 1/2, to make 2 - 4' pieces.  Next, I laid the frame out in the driveway so that the remesh lay flat on the ground (side by side) and a piece of 8' wood strip was underneath each side.  I used a nail gun to tack them down, then placed a second piece of 8' wood strip on top and screwed them together.

So, lying flat on the ground was a remesh sandwich, with 2 8' wood strips on either end.

Now's probably a good time to call a friend for help.

The two of us arched the structure to form a hoop-house design and then held it in place while we screwed the two 4' sections on either end.  I reinforced the frame by attaching corner braces to the insides.

All I need to do is stretch a tarp over the top and the pigs will call it home sweet home!

A few notes about the project:

~I put the final structure on top of my mom's 4'x8' raised bed just to get it out of the way.  Covered in greenhouse plastic, it would make a great little hoop house for season extension in the garden.

~When I went to the store I fully intended to buy a 100' roll of welded wire mesh (used for pouring concrete).  It's a deal at only $109 for a 6' tall roll.  I planned to use what I needed for the hut and use the rest to make bean trellises and tomato cages.  I even picked out the right gloves and wire cutter.  And then I realized there was no way in hell I could lift the roll.  Ever.  BUT if you have a helper or enormous muscles, I would definitely recommend it.

~I have to idea how well this will hold up.  I did design it so that I can reinforce it with rebar during windy weather, but I wanted the flexibility to move it daily so that the pigs are not compacting the soil.  I think it will work well while they are piglets, but I'll be interested to see how well it holds up when one of the BIG pigs gets an itch.  Or sits on it.  For $50 it's worth a shot, and I'll keep you updated.

~I also plan to paint the wood so that it lasts a little longer, but I'm waiting until I've finished the brooder.  I like to group my painting projects together so I don't have to wash the brushes as often (or get paint on every outfit I own).

Can't wait to post pictures of the portable pig hut in action!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I bought 4 piglets today!

It wasn't exactly planned.  I had been searching for pigs - spreading the word that I was looking for 2-4 feeder pigs to raise for pork this summer.  But I was getting discouraged.  It seems like so many of the local breeders are off schedule this season and piglets are a little more scarce than usual.

This afternoon a friend emailed me saying that she found 6 piglets for sale and was getting 2.  She wanted to know if I wanted the other 4, but needed to know by the end of the day.  In a swell of bravery, I said I'd take them.  No regrets!

The pigs are duroc/yorkshire crosses (similar to the ones in the photo above I raised a few years ago).  They're 7 weeks old and my friend offered to babysit until after the closing.  The electric fence I ordered is scheduled to arrive either tomorrow or Thursday and I'll throw together some sort of inexpensive, movable shelter so they can get to work reviving the old horse pasture and tilling in the vegetable garden.

I now have 60 chickens and 4 pigs being watched by 3 different babysitters, plus a dozen flats of vegetables out on the patio with more on the way.  All of the pieces of this farm are coming together quickly - just not as quickly as the actual farm.  I'm totally screwed if this doesn't work out.

But I'm not going to worry about that for now.  I have living things to care for and the loan officer assures me everything is on track to close April 30.  I had planned to get pigs for the season, but faced with the challenge of finding good quality piglets, I had almost resigned to the fact that I may not get any until mid-summer.  Obviously that wasn't the plan for me.

Now I'll have 2 pigs for the fall CSA shares, and 2 pigs to process later in the season for our wedding next spring. I'll make this farm work no matter what.

Apparently all it will take for the farm to come together are moments of bravery followed by lots and lots of planning.

And this adventure is only just beginning.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Two Weeks!

image from vintageposterblog.com
I still can't believe there are only two weeks until I buy a farm.  For real.

I visited the property this morning with the insurance company (he had to measure the buildings and take pictures for the file).  It was hot and sunny and I just stood there imagining myself working there all summer.

That's in contrast to my life at home, where I'm simultaneously trying to enjoy my last two weeks of freedom and make preparations for the farm.  It's so easy to get overwhelmed, but I'm trying really hard just to stay relaxed and organized.  All while keeping my fingers crossed everything works out on time.

One thing's for sure - I'm falling in love with the property.  Maybe it's the flowering tree in the front yard and the green appearing everywhere that makes it look prettier.  Or maybe it's just knowing that soon it will be my home.  But that little spot of earth is full of potential and I can't wait to get in and get my hands dirty.

Summer Heat...in mid-April

With temperatures in the low 90s forecasted for today (hello? what will the forecast this August be?), I came across these pics of my pigs mud bathing last summer.  Awwwwwwwww man, I bet that feels good.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Opening Day!

My ALL TIME FAVORITE ice cream shop opened for the season this week and I stopped by today for my first cone of the season.  They had 2 new flavors: double dark chocolate and vanilla with caramel and chocolate covered pretzels. Both were incredibly delicious, especially after a morning spent out in the sun with my chickens.

Total bliss.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Updates, Updates, Updates

image from browndresswithwhitedots.tumblr.com

1. I love my new truck!  It passed the check-up at the mechanic's with flying colors and I've been driving it all around town.  Our only semi-sour moment was at the gas station this afternoon, when $100 didn't even fill it up.  Yikes.

2.  The appraisal went well yesterday!  There are still some paper-pushing road barriers with the state department (who has hired the appraiser), but she is one of the nicest women I've ever met.  Even though she hasn't gotten a guarantee for the paycheck, she's writing up the report this weekend and doing her best to make the numbers work so that I can borrow an additional $30,000 for repairs.

3.  I met the current home owners today!  My brother and I went over the check out the zero-turn mower they had for sale.  One ride around the yard on that powerhouse and I was sold.  Until we get up and running, there is a LOT of grass to mow and I got a pretty good deal on it.  I also got to learn more about the history of the property AND get the peace of mind that all of the buildings are being cleaned out (the enormous dumpster was overflowing!).  Hooray!

4.  The lawyer and the loan officer finally got in touch and made good progress towards preparing for the closing.  I don't know all of the details, but they feel good, so I feel good.

5.  I've chosen an insurance company and have a second appraisal scheduled for Monday morning.  Then they'll also have a week to gather the paperwork and send it over to the loan officer.

6.  I ordered a solar electric fencing system for the farm!  I was stalling because it's a major expense and because I was having trouble assembling a system that fit my various pig/poultry needs for all over the yard, but I'm hoping I made the right choice.  I ordered from Premier 1 (the best company, according to everyone I asked) and I got a shipping notice just a few hours later!

7. K's dog BZ (a wire haired dachshund) has been getting ready for her move to the farm.  After 3 years of average dog-ness, she killed TWO mice this week!  I couldn't be more proud.

8.  My pullets arrived today!  I'm looking forward to visiting them next week, and bringing them home in just two more.  I can't believe I call myself a farmer and yet I now have TWO chicken babysitters.  Farming has never been easier.

9.  The cabbage, onions, and other vegetables I seeded got a little pummeled yesterday in a freak hail storm, but they're bouncing back.  Well, that's being generously optimistic.  They're lanky from the poor lighting in the living room (still haven't picked up the grow lights!), so I've been dragging them in and out for the past couple of days.  Hopefully the warm weather in the forecast will put an end to that!

10.  My official sales and tax use permit came in the mail today!  The final piece of paperwork to indicate that I really am "in business."

I'm making lots and lots of tiny steps towards farm ownership!  It's incredibly exciting how quickly the closing date is approaching.  I'm eager to get really well organized, keep on top of the closing process, and (most importantly) to try and relax and enjoy my last two weeks of freedom.  I still can't believe how well everything is coming together!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Farm Truck!

My "new" truck was delivered this afternoon!  I'm so excited.  It's a 2005 Toyota Tundra with 106,000 miles.  I got it for $7,300, no-frills, and I hope it will serve the farm well for the first few years.

There's something about owning a truck that makes me feel like a "real" farmer.  So far I've only taken my dog for a ride around the block, but I'm looking forward to hauling something. Yeah.

The farm appraisal is scheduled for for tomorrow morning.  I still can't believe that it's all working out.  In 2.5 weeks I'll (hopefully) have a farm of my own!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sweet Hope

image from farmerspal.com

After an entire night and day of looking for Honey Sunshine, she just appeared out of nowhere!  K had searched high and low, all over the yard.  I spent the day feeling so sad for the parents of missing children.  Honey's just a chicken (which I know does NOT compare), but it still feels horrible to not know where she is or if she is still alive.

And then, as K was cooking dinner, he heard her knocking at the side of the house!  BEST. CHICKEN. BABYSITTER. EVER.

This brings the missing chicken tally to 2/3.  Saphera went missing and I found her two weeks later, sitting on a full nest of eggs.  Her daughter Eragon disappeared when she was 2 months old and I never found her (or any remains).  Honey disappeared just for the night and came back on her own.  I'm SO lucky.  Hopefully she was just camping.  I can't wait to see her this weekend and give that fluffy bird a hug.

Apparently Honey Sunshine is good luck, as well!  Around 8PM the appraiser I had found and hoped to hire called with the best news.  The FSA and state offices approved her application and accepted her proposal.  In RECORD time.  I think I'm still in shock.  The only catch is that she needs to do the walk-through (which she also offered to do complimentary!  this woman is a saint!) on THURSDAY.  Of this week.  It's super short notice, but I'm hoping that given the circumstances the current owners will be understanding.  I spoke with them directly yesterday (scheduled a time to go see the lawnmower they have for sale and a few other items) and they seemed really nice.

So there is still hope that I can close on time!  Yes, there's still a chance that the paperwork won't be processed in time or that the appraisal will come out low (though the appraiser said she didn't think it would be a problem, even with the additional $30,000 I requested for repairs).  But all I need is hope.

I'll keep fighting for this farm until there's nothing left to me.

P.S.  My truck is getting delivered tomorrow!  I'm so freakin' excited!

Designing a Home

I know I should be focused on starting a farm, but I'm just as excited about having a home.  I'm planning on doing a few major projects this summer (electrical work, new flooring, new kitchen, new furnace, and new roof), which is admittedly ambitious.  But hey, that's just how things around here work.

This is my first real home, which means a lot of big decisions!  I could spend all day looking at paint samples, but it's getting to the point where I just need to choose.  I've been flipping through magazines and collecting lots of inspiration on pinterest and I feel like I'm finally starting to imagine my home to look like.  I've even finished repainting some furniture and creating art that matches my vision.  Can't wait to see it all put together!

Here are a few of my inspiration photos: 

all photos via pinterest