barn

Wait, did I just get rabies?

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We were in our barn last weekend tidying things up and all of a sudden a dark aerial thing starting swooping down around my head. I ducked and let out a little shriek or maybe it was a swear word or two? So me, being me.... I naturally came to the immediate conclusion that we had rabid bats living in the barn. This is NOT going to be fun, I thought. 

Greg, on the other hand, was all smiles. Yes, he was amused by my theatric response to what I thought was a rabid animal, but turned out to be a pair of overly protective barn swallows. But on the inside, he told me, he was smiling because these little barn swallows signified so much more.

From the moment we said YES to becoming the caretakers for this barn, we've done our absolute best to do right by it. Some farmers 200 years ago took down these trees by hand and constructed this barn piece by piece with nothing more than some hammers and chisels. And somehow, through it all, the barn managed to stay mostly intact. 

When it was given to us, we could never have known what bringing it to our farm would entail. But when I think back on all the stress, and sweat, and hard work, and heavy lifting, and pleas for help to friends and family, and all the time and resources we invested in it, I'm amazed that we didn't give up. But one of the things that kept us going was this vision we shared with the previous owner, which was to let the barn be a barn again.   

Seeing our barn in its full glory this summer with those barn swallows protecting the little nest they made above our tool bench showed us that the barn is fulfilling its purpose, not just for us but to our avian friends too. I think Greg is right... there's something beautiful about this. Don't you, too?

Your Farmers, 
Jenney and Greg

What they don't tell you when you decide to farm

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When I chose to become a farmer, I don't think anyone told me that the job is really not just about raising animals or growing vegetables. The reality of owning a small business, particularly a farm, is that you have to learn how to do EVERYTHING yourself. 

Let me tell you. Before I became a farmer, I was NEVER comfortable working on engines. In fact, I feared them so much that for a while, I planned to avoid tractors entirely and rely on draft horses instead (remember this newsletter?). Nowadays, after reading a lot of manuals and watching tons of you-tube videos, I've learned that I'm more than capable of doing routine tractor maintenance on the farm!

And while I do have a mild obsession for Excel spreadsheets thanks to my graduate school experiences as a chemist, I also never expected that I would become an accountant. But here I am, with a small business that needs accounting so I've learned how to manage the cash flow and build reallllyy intensive budgets. 

The farm has helped me learn a ton about carpentry too! You might remember this newsletter about us relocating and rebuilding our historic barn last year. With this project, we had a lot of helping hands, including our carpenter friend Eli, who has since moved to Maine. Without him to help, I was nervous about taking on the barn addition this year because I knew I was going to have to do it pretty much solo. I sometimes joked that I was a "barn-building baby bird" who was leaving the nest for the first time, without his mama bird to help him. 

But over the past 2 months, I've set posts, placed beams, fastened down rafters and nailed on siding.  Looking at our barn addition, which is about a week away from completion, I am still amazed at how much I've learned - progressing from my first rickety little pig house during year #1 to building this major barn addition year #3! 

This has all has made me think about what is possible in in this world when we give ourselves the space to learn, to try things out and mess up once in a while.  What have you always wanted to do but been too scared to try? Or just thought it was beyond your abilities? Maybe it's time to give it a shot!

Your farmers, 
Greg and Jenney