In reality, this age on the farm should have ended long ago. But like most young families (especially those who farm), we've spent the last decade building dreams and raising babies – hardly an environment that breeds organization.
Yes, my friends, I'm talking about “stuff” or “piles of you-know-what” (as I often refer to them).
The age of having those on the farm has ended.
No longer shall we stand behind the barn stall of half-empty paint cans, broken refrigerators, brown bags of irrigation pieces, empty feed bags, odd pieces of chain, box fans, half-built kegerators, table saws we've been “meaning to fix” for the last five years, and sleds.
Wait… I'm sorry… did I just feel some judgment from you? Bet you didn't know I had such spaces on the farm. Turns out, the Elliotts are just as prone to the human condition as the rest of the world, and there are half-a-dozen spaces that need to be seriously dealt with. The “piles of you-know-what” are finally wearing me thin.
We've got a dumpster. We've got a junk hauler coming. We're ready to tear it all to pieces – but with good reason!
Last week, a long stock trailer pulled into the driveway, backing carefully up to the top coral. Molly, David, and I gently (and then not so gently) coaxed our small herd of Katahdin sheep into the trailer before they drove away with the herd in tow. The breeding sheep, and their lambs, will spend the rest of the summer and fall at Molly and David's large farm – just a 30-minute drive from our farm. They've got grass galore and the sheep will be most pleased by the buffet, I'm certain.
You know what means?
It means there are currently no animals in our barn. It means the bays can be all-but burnt to the ground in hopes of starting over. Starting fresh.
There are major plans in the works to build a new hay-storage extension off of the barn, that will include a milking parlor as well. A permanent coral will be built off the front of the barn to create not only winter housing for the animals, but also an aesthetically pleasing area. Right now, it's trash. TRASH, I tell you.
I shudder whenever someone visits the “barn”.
Yes, please, I'm going to need you to forget everything you've seen. Forget the chicken poop. Forget the broken fence panels. Forget the scrub brush overtaking everything. Forget the garbage littering the ground. Please pretend like we've taken better care of all our farm equipment. Mmm-okay?
In our defense (should I be even trying to defend such actions?), we've moved homes six times in the last decade. We've started two farms from scratch and have spent the last five years trying to figure out what animals we want to raise and how best to do that. It's been – well, messy.
But this age on the farm has ended.
I want our barn area to be beautiful. Hedges of trees. Wooden corrals. Properly set up areas for power tools, equipment, and hay storage. Can you even imagine? I can't. Currently, I can't see past the “piles of you-know-what”.
But I'm committed to jumping off the “More, more, MORE!” bandwagon and jumping into an existence that is pleased to rest in it's simplicity. These projects are not a lifestyle, but more-so, a means to an end. Though maintenance will always be in the cards, I'd like to think there will be a day when our project list isn't as long and we're able to work and enjoy what we've built versus always needing to do more. Yes, I'm most certainly ready for that stage of life.
So here's my plan:
- Eliminate the non-essentials.
- Get resourceful.
- Do it “right” the first time.
- Practice joy and satisfaction.
- Optimize what we have.
Does this officially make me an adult? I feel like it must. Regardless, this age on the farm has ended. We will no longer be the Elliotts with piles of trash and construction zones all around the farm. We will be the Elliotts who have been given a little chunk of earth and we will care for it enthusiastically well.
(PS: It's not. all bad. Take a look at some of the prettier pieces…)