Monday, May 4, 2020

Old Red Door

Good morning from Cold Antler Farm and this first dispatch from the month of May! It is amazing what a weekend of sunshine can do to a woman. Two days of small improvements to this farm — and I'll tell you this for free — they add up. Every day something new happens here that seems like such a small betterment. Like for example, yesterday I touched up the paint on my red front door. It took maybe fifteen minutes between chores and moving firewood outside? And this morning while sipping coffee in the sunshine I noticed there wasn't any wood showing through and it was solid red. Still chipped and warped a little, but if you drove past your brain wouldn't read "look at that chipped old door" it would think, "red door". I'm fine with simple adjective/noun combinations replacing more colorful adjectives about my property. The old homestead is looking sharper.

This farm hasn't felt this good in years. It hasn't been looking this good in years either. There's a new shine on it and it pours out over days of light like the last two. All those days in March moving topsoil and shoveling it onto bald patches of high-traffic clay is now spouting grass again. Old pieces of broken things like fallen trees have been cut away with friends' chainsaws and tossed aside for firewood. Gates and old woven wire fencing stuck in mud have been worked free and set aside. New, sharp fencing is set up for the new flock of ewes with some loaned electric netting and the hill that was once worn away to mud is fresh with grass and pasture seed. Going into my tenth summer and this farm is starting to feel more like the place I moved into today than it did five years ago. It's amazing what a little morale boost can do to you.

My goal right now, above all else, is to make the May mortgage payment before May 15th. If I do that I get no new late fees. I am on track. I am at a place this farm hasn't been in a long time which is safe and sound and making it month-to-month instead of making it month-to-two-months-earlier. The great news about this is if all goes as the government plans (we all take a minute to laugh to ourselves) that stimulus check for the pandemic should arrive before that date. And that will cover the May mortgage! That is amazing news, but as we all know the money sent to pay for your house (and home insurance and taxes in my case) doesn't cover hay deliveries, oil for hot water, chicken feed, groceries, electricity, internet and landline, truck repairs or insurance, farrier or butcher, etc etc. A farm is the kind of business you feed resources into like a coal maw on a steam engine. Yes every shovel moves you forward towards your destination but damn if that fire isn't constantly needing to be fed.

So there's no resting on laurels here. That magical check leaves me with a basically empty bank account after so I am hustling my wares on social media. I have the same daily income goal. I have the same hope to earn from my words and work what I always hope to. And every day I make my list and write out the day's goals and chores and hope to end the day looking at a checked-off list. if you're reading this, know I got to check off "blog post" on this Monday morning. Like paint on an old red door, it's not much but it's something.