Exile! Okay not really

Sometimes when I think back on where we have gone in the past two years it doesn’t seem real. Not what we have been through, that sounds way too negative. It hasn’t been negative. Sure there were many times I got over-dramatic, that is who I am. I think I just need to do that every so often, ya know? To make sure that the sky isn’t falling. Anyway, so six months of residency. I am starting to think that going through six months of residency is really important. It definitely makes you think. So then we had our membership forum. Can I say that that is frightening for me? You have to realize that the way I am, well, I don’t do well in a place where other people are looking at me and trying to decide if they want me to be a part of their thing. I was so terrified. Of course Jack was all, how could they not want me? I love him and this is yet another place where we balance each other. No matter how outgoing I try to be, try to force myself to be, deep down I am still scared. Our membership forum was so great though. It really was. I am not sure if it was everyone getting that I was walking on eggshells, or what. But it was over in minutes and we were members. How great, right? It really helped me.

And then started our exile. Okay, it was so not exile. That is my attempt at humor. The problem with falling in love with a community like red Earth is that there is nothing. To be honest that is probably why I fell in love. That also means though that there isn’t anything to stay in over the winter. It wasn’t great for us financially. We would have been better off staying with Jack’s parents over the winter. We very nearly did. It seemed like a great thing, but then when it came to job and such we weren’t too sure. So we settled in Memphis for the six months of not tentable weather. We packed up the tent. I almost cried. Really, that tent had seen us through 60 mph winds, hail, torrential rain and insane heat. And that is just talking the weather. We have moved a lot since we have been married, and we were only there for six months, but it was a hard thing.

We moved into a small, 750 square foot house with Joan another recent member to Red Earth. Think about this for a little bit. Three adults, three kids, two dogs and two cats. Not to mention that I have some severe privacy issues. Oddly, I didn’t think about this. Joan and all of us had gotten along really great for the past six months. This was a way to save money and have support throughout the winter. It was really hard for me though. I found myself having to really think things through and talk to someone who I hadn’t opened up to all the way before. It was hard, but I grew up, put big girl panties on a few times and talked about my feelings. AHHH!!!! I didn’t die either. Hopefully I can stay this grown up.

We also all searched for jobs. Okay, that was the plan. But then I decided that Jack homeschooling doesn’t work that well. Joan found an awesome job at Main Street, a really cool restaurant. Jack went looking around for a few things and finally was called back to the local hospital. He had put in an application for a maintenance position, part time. Well, when they called him back they didn’t want him for that. They decided that with his experience he was much better suited for an assistant manager position for the maintenance department. Since that was a lot more money, he decided to take it. We don’t know how long that he will work there but so far it has been a great thing. Not the job, I think he could take or leave the job. He has met really great people who have hooked us up many times. We have been able to get pallets, cardboard boxes, great for covering space to garden in, people who had old things that they no longer wanted

BUT WE DID!!!! Not to mention just getting to know some of the locals and gaining more respect from them. very few people look upon the communities as great things. Jack has actually been able to tell these people that what they think goes on over here is not really what goes on. Well, you can imagine to yourself the rumors that can get started. So all in all getting that job was and is really helpful.

I spent most of the winter homeschooling. Working pretty hard with the girls. Plus all the fun things that people don’t realize happens, cooking, dishes, cooking, dishes. More dishes. More cooking. It would be great if they could go more than 4 hours without eating, but they can’t.

We also decided that we would get some things started. We ordered 31 baby chicks, some died, some are Joan’s as of four months later this is what we have. Three barred rock pullets, five black langshans, only one rooster will survive, 6 dominques, only one rooster will survive, four rhode island reds, 1 easter eggers roo and 1 easter egger pullet. No one is laying just yet though. But that is also something that I spent my days on.

We also went to auctions, tried to get down to Red Earth at least once a week. We had a crazy insane warm winter. It was so weird. There were many times that we thought we could have spent whole weeks here. But we didn’t. We did planning and put together our land use plan. I will try to get that on here eventually. Jack is amazing with his ability to put things down like that. Oh and our land use plan was approved, which was another hard thing for me which just goes to show that I just need to chill. Really chill.

We also went to three conferences this year. Small Farm Today, which I didn’t enjoy that much this year. There were only a few seminars that I was really happy to see. I am really excited to mulch with wool:) We also went to the Great Plains Vegetable Gorwers Conference. I was actually really happy with this one. Jack however wasn’t. I learned a lot and met really cool people. It was a lot of fun. We also went to Missouri Organics. I was mostly happy with this one, Jack again wasn’t. I had a really hard time with a few things with this one. One, there was way too much religion. yes, I know I live in the midwest and I know that there are many christian farmers. However there were many things where most of the talk was about god. I have issues with this, seriously. Admittedly, my religion plays a HUGE part in my idea of farming. However, I try to be really respectful of others and their beliefs. I think this comes from being a minority though. The majority never seems to get that not everyone shares their views. The other problem I had was it seems that the organizers tried too hard to limit talkers on what they could talk about. Really. Last year when we went it was like one great reunion. Talks went over time, sometimes depending on the crowd they totally changed what was talked about. But it was great because it was really targeted to what people wanted to learn about. This time people have moderators to make sure no one went over time and stuck to their topic. It sucked. There was on talk where you could tell the guy knew so much but kept saying, sorry, that isn’t my topic back to that… It SUCKED. Oh well, though right? We aren’t sure what if any conferences we will be going to next year.

Then we decided that even though we had talked about not moving back until APril 1, the weather was so wonderful we were going to do so earlier. Joan was all for this also. Jack and I put together a small tool shed, worked out where we were going to put the tent and slowly started moving things back. We set the tent up on 16th of March. It was our second attempt the first one being too windy. Amazingly, we got it up with just Jack, Chad and myself. I was amazed at least. We started on the floor. A big difference from last year. Last year we put the floor in AFTER we had moved in. This year we did it as right as we could given the slope of the land. We moved things down over the next week. The weather was beautiful. I know this is only our second spring here but it is much earlier than last year. Last year we are pretty sure we didn’t start seeing green buds on trees until late April. We were seeing buds mid-March. Really amazing. The grass started greening up and we saw some really warm days. We spent our first night in the tent on March 22. Currently as I write this we have been in the tent for just over a week. It has been great.

Oh poop! I forgot. We also got baby goats! I found someone who was selling Lamanchas!!! I was so excited. We got three lamancha does, one lamancha buck, and two alpine does. We did lose our one lamancha doe, she was sick, in fact given to us for nearly nothing. We tried to nurse her back to health a few times but lost her this week. We didn’t even have her for three weeks yet. It was really hard on Gwendy, it was her favorite doe. We are figuring they were all born on or around March 1, so they are about a month old now. It is hard to believe, we will have had them for three weeks tomorrow. They bring a lot of joy into our lives.

We also got 48 day old chicks today, March 30. Eight of them are Joan’s, but the rest are ours. So much fun!! They are peeping away right now. Today has felt like a very busy day. We are still working on getting out of the house in Memphis. It is hard with goats and chickens and kids. But we are getting there. We also have no internet just yet. It may still be another week or so. That sucks, but also in some ways it is nice. I do miss not being able to look at the weather. I need to be able to look at the weather. We have a lot of things that need to get done and in some ways it seems overwhelming, in others super exciting. We did host our first potluck last night. I was so happy. I have missed hosting things and am really glad that everyone seems to be cool with me hosting. Oh and we did have Gwendy’s birthday party last week. It was a dance party, so there was music, cupcakes, popcorn, chips and dancing with baby goats!!! I have never seen the goats more exhausted as when they were after everyone left. It was great. Gwendy had a blast. I can’t believe she is five now. It seems so old and yet it makes me just want to pick her up and hold her like a baby. That is life though, isn’t it? I feel like I am mostly caught up now.

I hope to write in this at least once a week. There is enough going on. I can truly say right now farm antics. Life is great. I can hear the goats baaaing, the rooster crowing, the chicks cheeping and the girls are off exploring. At night I can see the milky way, hear the coyotes and owls, pick ticks off myself and loved ones. Does life get better? 🙂

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