Full life, empty tank

I should be sleeping. I should be sleeping. I should be sleeping. Sleep when your baby is sleeping, they say. That sounds so lovely! I applaud the 1% of moms who are able to accomplish this. In my case, I’m staring at a giant pile of paperwork, a quickly approaching busy farm season, and a disaster of a house that doesn’t seem to want to tidy itself up. So here I sit, coffee in hand while my baby naps, trying to catch you all up on what’s new around here.

It’s been MONTHS since I last updated this blog, and there is so much news! Most of you likely have been tracking me on facebook, but for those of you who haven’t, hold on to your hats! Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s been going on around here:

We bought a farm! Yeah! I can’t believe I haven’t written about this yet. It was in the works for over a year before it happened, and I intentionally avoided writing about it so as not to either jinx it or freak out our customers with the news that we were moving. And then we sealed the deal, and moved, and everything happened so fast that I just kept forgetting to write about it!

Our new farm is amazing. We purchased 30 acres in the Orting Valley, complete with TWO houses and several barns. We have tenants! And, biggest news of all, a shower! Indoors! Right down the hall! And since I have an infant, my dreams of spending all day, every day in the shower have yet to come to fruition. Yet it is exceedingly lovely to have the option to shower at a moment’s notice; a small luxury I shall never take for granted after the last five years of living without!

One of the wonderful things about our new farm is that it’s going to be a farm forever. The previous owners, Ken and Julie, purchased the farm several years ago in conjunction with PCC Farmland Trust. Ken and Julie purchased the property, and the Farmland Trust purchased the development rights. This means the property can never be developed, and it also conveniently lowered the value of the land, which made it more attainable for us. Well, slightly more attainable. We worked very hard for a year on a government loan for beginning farmers and ranchers, and were also fortunate enough to receive a loan from Andrew’s grandparents for the remaining balance. And thankfully Ken and Julie were patient and willing to wait for us to get our ducks in a row. They had several other buyers interested, but they were adamant about finding the right match and seeing this land be put to its best use, and we are flattered and grateful that they gave us this chance.

I’m sure you can imagine that moving a farm is no easy feat. In fact, we’re still not quite done, and we’ve been in our new home since October! Now imagine that on top of all of this work, our baby girl was diagnosed with something called Sagittal Craniosynostosis. Remember when I wrote about how difficult her birth was? Well, it turns out there was a logical explanation for that. The suture on the top of her skull, which is normally open to allow for compression during birth, and then expansion as the brain grows, was prematurely fused in utero. No one really knows why this happens. It’s fairly rare, although it can happen to any variety of the sutures in the skull. Fortunately when it happens to the sagittal suture alone, it is the least challenging to fix and has the least chance of complications. However, major skull surgery was required to open her skull for proper brain growth.

On January 20, Hattie Lou went into the OR at Seattle Children’s with an oblong, narrow skull, and came out with a shiny new round one! It was a super challenging time for us, but our surgeons are top in the nation, and she has had absolutely no complications. In fact, you can barely even see her scar, and she doesn’t seem to be aware of what she went through (although who knows what babies actually know and remember?).

The most challenging thing for me at the moment in regards to motherhood is Hattie’s difficulty sleeping. She naps great for two-hour chunks throughout the day, which is crucial in allowing me to get some work done. Unfortunately she treats the nighttime just like the daytime, and is usually up every two to three hours, wanting a boob snack and comfort. I know that this too shall pass, and infanthood is so very short. I just hope this rough patch is over before the summer, when sleep is going to be essential to my survival (well, even more so than it is now).

Which brings me to what else is happening around here! We are in the midst of a fundraising campaign to purchase our own mobile processing unit (MPU) so that we can do the slaughter and processing of our birds here on the farm. Now that we moved, we need our own infrastructure to get the job done efficiently. I’ll spare you the nitty gritty, as many of you already know the details. If not, you can learn more about our plans by checking out our campaign here.

I am thrilled that we received a $20,000 grant towards this MPU purchase. I recently learned that the grant program was very competitive, so it’s rewarding to know that my hard work in writing the grant proposal paid off. Now we just have the hard work of raising, processing, and selling 2,000 broiler chickens this year! No big deal, right? Of course now that we moved an hour south, we also have to figure out how to get our chickens and other meat into our existing customers’ hands. So there is some logistical work ahead for us.

Oh! We’ve had over 25 healthy lambs born on the farm in the past month, after a rocky start where we lost two ewes and seven lambs. We’ve also got eight market hogs, two sows (and more bacon breeders on the way…stay tuned for that update!). We’re also getting a handful of cows this summer. And 100 heritage turkeys again. Oh, and probably a sheep herding border collie. You know, the usual stuff.

As if I wasn’t busy enough, I also decided to join the Board of Directors for the Orting Valley Farmers Market. I’m not planning on doing markets this year, other than the small one in our new hometown. I don’t expect to move a lot of product at this market, as we live in a rural community where many people raise their own animals, and there isn’t a lot of disposable income around. But I think it’s important to be invested in my own community, and I want Hattie to grow up in a town that has a thriving, healthy local economy and a vibrant farmers market. So on top of all that’s going on, I have been busy helping get the market set to go for the upcoming season.

As you can imagine, I’m pretty dang pooped. So if you see me walking around looking like a zombie with my baby in tow, do me a favor and DON’T ASK when the next one is coming. I will happily accept offers of coffee, babysitting, and help on the farm though! Here’s to an eventful, exciting, showerful 2018 season on our new farm!

A photo of the barns, taken by the previous owner, Julie. I seem to have that “new mom syndrome” where I only take photos of my baby (and the occasional critter).
Pregnant and *this close* to sealing the deal on our new home!
Our new town has phenomenal views of Mt. Rainier.
Before and after surgery. What a change!
Meeting Lee Roy the therapy dog at Seattle Children’s.
Hattie with her amazing surgeons!
Farm life
Babies everywhere!
She’s pretty dang cute.

3 thoughts on “Full life, empty tank

  1. I’d love to come out & see the farm sometime, and give you a days worth of free labor. Just holler! Congrats on the farm, and congrats to Zephyr on his upcoming new friend, the border collie.

  2. Congratulations on the farm! We’d love to visit sometime. Hattie is adorable!

  3. You’re incredible! I’ll reach out soon to set up a time, to work or babysit, and will bring Louie along to help herd (he’s incredible with that). Hang in there—it does get easier.

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