The summer of 2011 was quite an experience for us… Having won our Pepsi Refresh grant, we had (what we thought) was a great plan for setting up our farm & rescue in a few short months… then Irene hit, changing it all. Don’t get me wrong, we have accomplished so much since then, but its not even close to where I expected and planned to be by now.
Some of the highlights…
The Barn: In the summer of 2011 we had rented machines, prepped the site and were waiting for the delivery of our new barn. After Irene took out one of our lower culverts, the site was gone, the driveway was gone… and we were back to square one. Our property is located on semi-steep hill so we have little to no flat areas to build on without doing a ton of work. Loosing that site left our barn with no place to go and a year later it still sits waiting for a site to be built on. A project that should have only taken us one weekend to accomplish has no end in sight until we can spend more money to prep another building site. We have since managed to get about 24 tons of stone delivered to help level the site out again. Did I mention it all got dumped in the wrong spot too when it was delivered? Yeah, just a minor detail to the driver, but to us that meant shoveling 24 tons of stone by hand for days at a time. After that we also had to take down a very large tree that was in the way and what a shocker, our chainsaw broke half way through. We waited a few weeks, hoping we could sort it out. Thankfully, Christmas came and with it came a new chainsaw! We did some more site prep, cleared out more trees and the barn FINALLY went up!?
Hay: Our grant money was supposed to purchase us months worth of hay, which it did, but with way more work than we expected. Again, Irene destroyed all hay fields in the area and we were left with no local source to purchase from. Also, with the delay of the barn construction, we were left with no place to store the hay for any length of time. Our horse trailer became our hay storage and I’ve spent the past bunch of months picking up hay, an hour away, a few bales at a time. Thankfully its beautiful hay (Thanks, Boice’s Farm!) but the extra work and time that goes into this routine is, well, just silly!?
Fence: I swear I think I move, change, add, build fence every weekend!? Thankfully, the two horses here at the moment are very mellow when it comes to the fence. They pretty much allow me to work right around them and many days could care less if I even turn the electric on. Right now we have a combination of multiple fence types (wood, stone, electric), as we attempt to build a new rustic wood perimeter fence.. one…section…at…a…time. Then of course, the chainsaw died!? Luckily we have some great neighbors (who love our new rustic fence!) that have been clearing their own property and dropped off a pile of trees perfect for fence building. SO back to work we go.. one.. section..at a time.. It’s days like this though that make me wish for a larger tractor with a post hole digger (we do it all by hand now). That or to just break down and call a fencing company.
I should also mention that on top of all this, I do work full-time, an hour away from home to be exact, and have to school-age children with schedules & plans of their own. There just never seems to be enough time in the day!? So bit by bit we continue…
So here I am, sharing our story, hoping there is someone out there who can help us (finally) complete our vision. Thank you to everyone who has helped over the past two years.. it has surely not gone unnoticed. We have some amazing supporters, whether they have helped with time, money or by donating supplies, we are truly grateful.