Bucking Around on the Farm… (Just Kidding!)

My body aches. Just like I predicted it would, and just like I expected, I am happy about it. Sure, I don’t wake up every morning excited about the prospect of sinking 100 nails into plywood, but hey. It means that soon I get to live on a beautiful farm with my husband and pets, and roll out of bed to greet the resident goats, chickens,  cows, and pigs (coming soon!).

So far the house construction is chugging along. It takes me about 12 swings on a hammer (with both hands…that sucker is heavy!) to sink a nail, while Andrew does it in three or four whacks. So for the most part I do what I can and then move onto other farm chores when my arms fall off. Which is fine by me…I really enjoy watching seeds sprout and being involved in new growth. When the house is completed I will write a blog dedicated to the process, with the help of Andrew. I know there is a large community of “tiny house” enthusiasts out there…so stay tuned for insights and photos about our construction experiences!

Speaking of the tiny house…while we have been living “simply” in a borrowed apartment (it’s actually a single-wide mobile home), I still look around me and see all this stuff that I know won’t fit in our ~300 square foot home. There’s not a lot of fat to cut either…it will be interesting to see how we manage. We’re hoping to figure out a good storage system for under the house, since it is up on a trailer we have about four feet to stash stuff away, assuming we can make sure it is watertight and rat proof!

It rains a lot here in Washington (duh!), and the ground soaks it in very quickly. Mud is constant, and I wear my fashionable pink plaid mud boots (AKA my “sh*t kickers) frequently.  Initially I was worried that the weather would slowly leech away my will to live and farm in Washington, but I was wrong! Thankfully we have enough sunny, warm days mixed in to keep me happy. When the skies clear the views of the neighboring Cascade Mountain Range is spectacular! We set up drip lines for our hoop house that drain from a tank of collected rainwater, and we are also starting to plant outside, so I now see rain more as a beneficial life force rather than an inconvenience. I do hope it doesn’t snow again though…we got four inches the first day of spring! It was beautiful, and thankfully the sun came out and melted it all by the end of the day, but I had a little bit of a SoCal hissy fit and decided to work in the warm greenhouse all day.

Most of our days are spent planting seeds, seedlings, starts, running irrigation lines, and building the house. But for me the real excitement comes with our new animal additions. We now have a family of eight goats! The buck is a Kiko, a cool breed with a beard, gnarly horns, and the ability to forage well without much interference. There are three does (Boer breed), and four kids which are mixed (called GeneMasters for some reason!). Three of the kids are male, and the other day we banded their testicles so that they will constrict and fall off, making them “wethers” instead of bucks. These three will be sold for meat eventually. I think I can call myself a farmer now…I carried kids over to a pickup truck while Andrew and Eric (our boss) did the deed. The poor kids carried on, and their mothers did too, but as soon as they went back in the pen it was as if nothing had happened. What a dramatic bunch!

Zephyr absolutely adores the resident livestock. Every morning he gets pumped up for our ritual visit with the goats. When little Lucy the calf is around he touches his nose to hers and sometimes even gives her a lick. The combination of running around all day, and some training with his new shock collar, has made him a really well behaved pooch. The only times we have to worry about him is when we leave him alone in our apartment. We hide the trash in the bathroom, put away any and all food, and recently learned the hard way that we also must make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink. But otherwise he has really “matured” insomuch as a dog can mature. Mostly I think this is just a much better lifestyle for him, and his behavior is a reflection of that.

Every day there is one incident or occurrence that reminds me about how lucky I am. A beautiful red sunrise over purple and white mountain peaks.  Getting to eat lunch every day at home with my husband. Listening to frogs happily chirp away as I plant strawberry starts in a field. Listening to my husband whistle as he hammers away, oblivious to my contented eavesdropping. There is something so wonderful about being outside, working in the dirt, and using my body as much as I can. Sure it hurts, and I get cold and grumpy sometimes. But when the clouds part and I see Mt. Baker off in the distance, I can’t help but pinch myself and wonder how this life came to be.