We have some unexpected snow days with work cancelled (for me), so I thought I’d sit down and write a bit about what’s been happening in our lives these past few weeks. Thanks for all the kind thoughts you’ve sent our way since the last post about the fourth break-in at the farm! We’ve been getting updates from the victim advocate who was assigned to our case: the main guy who admitted he’d broken in before took a plea bargain and got a one-year prison sentence, and his accomplice skipped town and now has a warrant out for her arrest. We have mixed feelings about the whole thing – wondering if that’s long enough to make a difference, and knowing that there are often lots of factors that contribute to people doing bad things. I guess what we hope most is that he/they get the support they need to do things differently going forward.
Progress is happening slowly but surely at the farm. About a month ago, we finalized our plans for what seemed like the 500th time with the designer we’ve been working with. We’ve had so many changes, with adjusting the size (downsizing) to fit our budget, and then all the little final changes of making sure this window is the right size and that door opens the right way. I think part of what’s taken us so long with this is that we’re working within a lot of constraints – as opposed to just picking a house plan you like and plopping it down in a big field somewhere. We’ve always needed to stay within the original footprint of the house (and were originally going to remodel the house, until that became more expensive than starting over), which is on this little triangle of land near the edge of the property. If we were to move out into another area of the six-acre farm, we would have to turn that land from farm and forest zoning into residential, and pay the tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes to do so! So with each step, we’ve been trying to find ways to make it work within 1) budget, and 2) space constraints.
Our plans are now with the engineer for stamped approval (this is another thing – each person says they’ll take “x” many weeks to get something done – plan on doubling that); and we are working on getting the required landslide and mine hazard assessments for permitting process before we can install the septic and well. The nearby town of Carbonado was a mining town, and you can look on county maps to see a spider web of underground mines that are really close to our property! The well company came out to make sure they could get their 60,000 lb equipment in to drill, and said that our driveway wasn’t flat enough out by the barn – so we had two days worth of dumping gravel to flatten out that area. It’s been discouraging to have so many delays and setbacks, but we keep trying to take things one day at a time and be thankful we are able to do a project like this.
My Auntie Joanne came down from Bainbridge a few weeks ago when my parents were visiting and she and my mom spent a whole day out with me looking at finishings and fixtures for the farm. It was so fun to have a day out together! We found some great cabinets that I like (the actual ones will be a little different than the ones in the picture, but very close) and a beautiful walnut countertop for the island. On a different day when Aaron and I were out looking, he found this beautiful Silestone countertop that looks like dark, veiny soapstone. I’ve always liked the look of soapstone for counters, but this will be more durable.
It’s been a rough month for our chickens. We are down to 11 now – we lost four just in the last month or two. Months ago (maybe 3), we tried integrating the younger chickens with the older ones. We did one night of that in the big pen, and came in to find one of the younger ones pecked to death that morning. So we separated them again, but the older ones refused to go back into their pen after that. Every night, they were attempting to roost on top of a pile of old cabinetry under the car port area and we had to go collect them and then put them back in their pen. Weeks went by and we thought it was so strange that they hadn’t gotten over the trauma of that one night with the younger chickens! Well, the other morning we went in and found Lady Bird, the biggest and oldest of them, dead in her pen. It looked like a possum or raccoon had gotten in and killed her during the night. Now we wonder if that’s what happened to the little one earlier too, and that’s why they didn’t want to return back to that area.
On warmer days, we’ve been letting them roam around the farm and have been putting them back into their pen at night. Two days in a row, one of the younger chickens didn’t come back to their pen at night. We walked all around the property, calling and looking under bushes, but were never able to find them. The guys who were laying down gravel in the driveway said they saw a big coyote out in the field, and we are sure that’s probably what snagged the younger two who never came home. We are leaving them in their pens now and just checking their food and water every day until we can get an outside pen built that will protect them while they forage.
I’m rounding the corner from 30 to 31 weeks pregnant now! It’s been so fun to feel baby move – she’s been so active lately. Last week we moved into a bigger apartment in the same complex – we were in a one-bedroom and now we’re in a three-bedroom that allows us to have a guest room for when family comes to visit, as well as an office/baby room. Aaron and I have moved so many times, both separately and together, and will be so glad when we finally land at our permanent home.
Speaking of Aaron, his birthday was last week, and I continue to be so thankful for his 34 years of life! A – you are the best husband. I genuinely love being around you – these snow days at home together are the best! I love all the ways you show me daily how much you love me – telling me (often!), showing interest in me and what’s important to me, talking to our baby, making us good meals, getting out of the car to lock up the gate when it’s cold, etc. I’m so glad we chose to do life together. Let’s keep celebrating your special day! xoxo