Monday, November 28, 2011

Good-Bye City Life!

I just spoke to the conservation authority and... the farm is ours!!!  He sent me the nicest email about it, and I don't know whether it was my overwhelming pregnancy hormones, the fact that we've been looking for a farm for over two years, or all of the above, but I cried.  It's such a surreal feeling.  So many of the things I've read about, researched, priced, and dreamed about can stop being a 'someday' and start being 'soon'.  Amazing.   And to top it off  I can now use 'The Farm' in a conversation at will.  We've talked to the kids about the impending move and they're all okay with it.  They were always ready and willing participants in anything to do with visiting a farm, keeping chickens, or the like, and were thrilled at the prospect of moving to our own farm, don't get me wrong.  But BLP was absolutely terrified the last few times we drove out to 'the farm' (see? Isn't it awesome!) because there is a lot of wooded area around us that looks rather gloomy, being the time of year that it is, and is extremely concerned about getting eaten by coyotes. So much so that she has refused to leave the refuge of the car everytime we've been there.  (you know, 'at the farm', hehehe) I thought it might be difficult for her knowing that we would be living there, but she was totally fine with it.  We looked coyotes and wolves up on YouTube and watched them, listened to what noises we might hear at night, read about what things they eat in the wild, so armed with that I think she feels a lot better.  Otherwise we're going to be sporting a spare room in the house (the FARMhouse) while she resides in the car. 

I feel like I have so many exciting things to do now!! I want to get a cord of wood sent up each pay from now until then so that we have something when we get there (I do, however, feel like we're starting a few steps behind, being that we didn't prepare for winter over the summer...), phone the oil company to discuss filling the tanks ($1800 - ouch!), getting some straw and hay sent up for the chickens/rabbit and whatever else we end up with.  Good stuff! The highlight of my weekend was when we drove up to the farm to get some measurements and another resident was out walking their dog on the back road and gave us the two finger wave.  Yes sir, we were two finger waved.  Mr. Pretties two fingered back with a head nod, and I was incredulous, I was all 'Did you SEE that?! Did you see what he DID?! We got the two finger wave!!!'  I was seriously stoked.  Is that wrong? Or weird? Or both? Probably, but it so made my day.  And to that I say:

Good-bye City Life! Green Acres We Are There!!!  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Agony...

... Of this wait is KILLING me!!  We've now clearanced the library debatacle and are awaiting on reference checks.  Normally this would be a non-issue as we have some fairly fabulous references (which, by the way, happy to be real), however when your previous-previous landlords change their number and even their son doesn't have the new one, your previous landlords changed their number (seriously, our landlords don't run off to the witness protection program after we leave, I promise) and sent it to you via email, which you then deleted and are having a hard time getting ahold of them via email only, and you don't want your current landlords knowing you're planning to vacate right away.  Something that should have taken a mere 48hours is now going in to day 8. EIGHT.  The BIG eight.  Not two, eight.  *Sigh* I find myself being unable to make any kind of decision due to this 'hold' we're now in.  Mr. Pretties is all 'Do you think we should get LP ____ for Christmas?' and I'm all 'well how can I possibly know what Santa should bring if  I don't know where I'll be living in February?!'  Add to this my nasty pregnancy hormones and you've got a recipe for I don't know what, but whatever it is, it isn't good.  I'm all 'Pfft... I so hope we don't get that crappy old farmhouse, man that place sucked' on the outside, and on the inside I'm all 'pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease...  I'll never swear again, I'll start being more frugal,  I'll never buy another Bath and Body Works 3 wick candle...' on the inside.  What can I say, it's a constant battle.  In my head.  Which leads me to be very thankful that my email is no longer linked to my blog where the rental company could read what a mental case I am ;)  It's all about the small things! 

In other news, egg 1 of 12 I believe has quit, but 2 of 12 is filling up his egg completely and getting ready to bust out on Monday or Tuesday (SQUEAL!!!  Hatch day is coming friends!!!) and out of our second clutch that I am hoping beyond hope Browna continues to sit on after Brownie's egg hatches this week as this clutch is 10 days behind this baby.  Out of seven eggs six of them are developing beautifully, they look like little swimming fish with black eyes, you can actually see them swimming around in their eggs, I seriously doubt there is much cooler than that!  So we've got some fun stuff to look forward inside the next two weeks.  The only down side to this farm is there's a house between our farm and the next that is quite close, I'm concerned this will cause reason to be sans rooster, which means sans chicks, which means I will cry.  We'll see, but I have this feeling...

I'll keep you posted on that crappy farmhouse I totally don't want anything to do with, as well as hopeful hatchling!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Still Waiting...

... This just in, there has been a flag on our credit report.  A nasty, heinous, repulsive flag.  Apparently, there is a $27.31 overdue balance at the local library from 2001.  This is the first I am hearing of this, but no doubt it's true.  I'll march myself right down there and pay them this afternoon.  In the meantime, this 'flag' may have cost us the farm...  evidently inorder to obtain a farm such as this you must prove that you are a low risk tenant, and when you're running around doing scandulous things like running up library fines, well you simply aren't low risk anymore.  Yikes!  Luckily we've got a second farm on the back burner, our 'just in case' scenario.  Hopefully my library fine will be resolved by then :) What a week.  It would have been so much more normal to have been born sans 'Barnheart - Jenna Woginrich' and could be perfectly content in a condo somewhere with a container of tulips on the balcony.  Life is tough ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Modern Miracle?

   After over two years (Really?! Two YEARS?!) of looking at farms, and "farms", and 'you call THIS a farm?!'s, I *think*, with extreme caution, and zero breath holding on my end what-so-ever, that we've found a farm.  I'll let that information digest, I know I'm still digesting this on my end and this has been a possibility since Friday.  That's like four days, I've actually kept my mouth shut about it for FOUR days.  Anyways...

   So I think we found a farm.  A 'real' farm.  A farm that isn't absolutely adorable but with uber scary owners, a farm that isn't super duper scary itself with super nice owners, a farm that doesn't have a barn full of rotting garbage/an entire episode of Hoarders/human remains, a farm that isn't already up for sale, a farm that the owners plan to retire in - next year, or a farm that is on the side of a main highway in the city.  It is so none of those things, and we have seen so many of those farms we were developing an extreme phobia of farmhouse viewings. At this point in my life I cannot give thanks enough to Google Maps.  I have taken many virtual 'drives' around potential rural neighbourhoods only to realize some of the above, as well as that the farm is situated beside a very busy cistern cleaning company, that it backed into a major highway, that the roof was falling in, that the barn had no roof, or that the farmhouse itself had no roof.  Since we hadn't limited ourselves to something necessarily local, this saved us a ton of time, gas and 'they call that a farm' melt downs in the car from my end, that we normally would have wasted driving out to look in person.  So round of applause for Google Maps. 

  This farm is awesome in so many ways, it's owned by a local conservation authority who was gifted the property many years ago.  It doesn't sound like much, but this implies several important things to us, 1) it is never going up for sale, we will never have to move for this reason 2) it does not have 'owners' per se, so we will never have to move because someone wants their house back (this has happened.  It sucks)  3) due to it's ownerage (is that a word? probably not) it will likely be maintained quiet while, as it hardly shows any abuse, above any beyond typical wear and tear for 150 years, from being rented out for the last 25 years.  Infact, they're currently having the ceilings taken down and replastered, as well as the walls, stripping and repainting all the woodwork (which is all original - hooray!) as well as having the house reinsulated.  That is some exciting stuff!  We have a whole acre for our use (stop laughing, I know you're sniggering over there, but I'm hoping I can do a fair bit with one acre.  I could be wrong, and might be joining you for a snigger fest in about six months time) as well as the barn that as long as they don't want (which they haven't in the last 25 years) we're open to use.  If everything sails smoothly (please oh please oh please let this all sail smoothly, no choppy waters, no choppy waters!!) we'll be moving in in February.  Our neighbour is a real farmer, one who's won farm awards and is on the Federal Association of Agriculture.  I feel like I'm moving in next to a movie star or something.  He'll probably hate us with our silly city folk ways of 'farming' but we'll see.  Maybe he'd like some farm fresh eggs (he farms pigs, no chickens).  So, if everything is yay, this will be allllllll ours:

   In other news, our silkies have gone broody already.  Browna is sitting on 2 eggs (we had 12, 10 were either clear or ended up quitters, we now have 2 happy eggs waiting to hatch on the 28th.  Except that I accidentally dropped one.  I fixed it will nail polish and it's still swimming around in there, but we'll see.  I feel insanely, insanely bad about dropping that egg, just so we can all be aware of that.  Brownie (The Pretties named the chickens, clearly) is sitting on 8 that according to my earlier candling session this morning are all veining and developing wonderfully.  Luckily Browna is more than happy to sit on a few of Brownie's eggs during this egg insanity, so it all works out.

   We should know what's what by next week, but in the meantime I'm all about using the garden planner on Mother Earth News, scouring Kijiji for antique farm sinks, clawfoot tubs, cupboards, dexter cows, and vintage tractors.  You know, because we would totally need a tractor on our whole huge acre.  We might, however, need a tractor with a wagon to get the Pretties to the bus stop which is 'just down the lane' which translates into a 10,000 mile walk along a gravel road in 5' of snow with five kids.  We might need to investigate homeschooling a little closer...  

  Hopefully this time next we'll be making arrangements to fill our oil tank and have several cords of wood dropped of for stacking 'on the farm'.  I've never had a lease that including vegetable gardens, poultry (and other fowl), and small cattle.  Even if we don't get it, I think I'll frame the draft lease as further motivation to make it happen.  It's easy to get plowed under with what can feel like the impossible, but you need something to pull yourself off and keep on it, especially when your destined path is farming, anything less and you'll never be satisfied.

Hope everyone's ready for the winter, it's starting to get chilly out there!! Time to pull up the woodstove with a warm blanket, a good book, and a cup of tea.  Maybe some knitting, except for the part where I can't cast on and my Grammie isn't around to do it for me anymore, and for some reason my brain can't comprehend what it is I'm seeing when I watch 'how to' YouTube videos.  I think it's pregnancy brain, it also can't comprehend why I'm in Wal Mart, how I got there, what I'm supposed to be buying, and how to find the car in the parking lot again.  I imagine the little chick embryo in the eggs outside have more brain cells than I do at this point and it makes me afraid...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Turning Back The Dial

   Alright, so it's probably been fall for a little while now... but we're finally getting the full of crispy gold and crimson leaves, frosty mornings, and my heat is on more often than not.  I have mixed emotions about fall, on one hand I think it's my absolute favorite season, I love the smell of woodstove in the air (and am frequently extremely jealous that it isn't coming from my house), fabulous colours, apple cider, and fall festivals.  On the other hand, it seems like fall is just setting in when winter takes over with it's disgusting snow, wet grey road sludge, sub zero temperatures and getting into the car to go out at a dead run, sometimes forgetting kids/dogs, you know, typical parent stuff.

   We picked up four more silkies for our 'flock' last week.  I came to the conclusion that we have four silkies, one is a roo, two who both lay almost daily, and one that I'm not sure what's up with.  My instincts tell me that he's a silent roo.  I had thought he was going to be my roo all along, until the one 'hen' I thought for sure was going to be a hen woke up crowing. With two roos, someone's going to have to leave, I think the farm we got these chickens from will take the roo back and replace him with a hen, which is awesome, something we'll think about in the spring as long as we stays silent over the winter.  But with only two pullets laying I'm still having to buy eggs from an outside source which seems ridiculous, so clearly the less ridiculous solution was to purchase my chickens... Don't shake you head at me, or ask why I didn't just buy a breed known for it's prolific laying ability, I'm pregnant and entitled to doing things that make zero sense to others, including but not limited to, Mr Pretties.  So we picked up 'Part Two' of our flock and ended up with a group of solid white ones.  I like this because I would really like this arrangement for several reasons (none of them at all ridiculous), I would really like to hatch out some chicks this spring and our first flock is all related, so this brings new non-related members in, and second I would love to experiment with breeding the 'Paint' or 'Splash' type silkies and whites are an integral part of that process I believe. 

  I don't think we're any closer to finding a farm.  Not to rent, and certainly not to buy.  Every farm we've looked at that was available for rent either didn't include out buildings, didn't want any kind of farming taking place on the property, or is 2hrs + away from our families and Mr. Pretties job.  Purchasing looks even bleaker as we definitely can't afford the kind of acerage we would love to have.  I also left out the part where what I'm looking for is insanely particular.  As in, it probably doesn't exist and we'll never find it.  I am really looking for an old 5 bedroom farmhouse that isn't A) falling down on itself or B) been 'renovated' (Read: ruined) of it's character and charm.  This farm needs to have 5+ acres, an old silver barnboard bank barn, and I guess that's it really... I'd even be happy to find an old farmhouse that had all it's outdoor charm, and things like baseboards/doors/floors that haven't been touched inside and then we could just go to salvage auctions and purchase cupboards/counters/etc... from there and 'un-renovate' rooms like the kitchen and bathroom that way.  I'm just always disappointed when I see an old farmhouse, get super excited, and then look at the pictures inside and you feel like you're looking at a brand new model home, no character, and lots of stainless steel, granite, and ceramic tile.  While I can appreciate how nice it feels to have a home like that, it's just not me.  I guess I just want to 'turn back the dial' on life and head back to the farm, back to handmaking soap (I'm taking a course - eeee!!!!), spinning fibre (I bought a drop spindle, we all have to start somewhere!), knitting, and eating out of our backyard. We'll get there, and in the meantime we'll enjoy some mean free range eggs!!!