Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Eggs and Partners

Lambs of springs past, now being born at Moxie Ridge Farm
Spring is slowly stalking this farm. This morning I collected the 6th goose egg while the four geese that reside here walked up into the horse pasture to nibble on the very first exposed green bits of grass. Snow and ice is still splattered everywhere, but those nibbles are bites of hope for easier days ahead. Easier on the the weather, the mind, and the body. I'm collecting the eggs to save for a farm friend that wants to barter for rabbits. I am gingerly planning getting back into rabbits and have a new used hutch system reserved from one of Patty's older setups (needs a new bottom) and beautiful stock from a local lamb and pork customer who has a hankering for some geese. I pick up the giant eggs and carefully bring them inside to set in a protected cabinet. If all goes as planned and luck keeps shining on this farm, by June I will have a green landscape I need to mow, slick horses running on the hill, rabbits in hutches eating hay, piglets and lambs running about, and a sense of belonging I am always clawing towards. That is what I want, what I am actively praying for.

There are ten days left in the month to make a mortgage payment. Not this month's, a late payment. This has been the MO for a while now and will be until I catch some sort of amazing break. But right now the farm is in survival mode to keep ahead of foreclosure, the electric company turning off lights, the internet provider from shutting off my services, that kind of thing. Yesterday I sold a logo and all the money went towards a loan repayment with Kiva and the electric company. Those were the loudest screaming needs and once those are satisfied I can focus on the mortgage, lambs, and if I am lucky - keeping my health insurance. It seems unlikely that I will. I can't not pay back my loan, or not buy in the lambs and pigs I need, it's not an option. The health insurance - while wonderful - it seems selfish compared to those louder screams. That said, I am going to try. It makes riding horses, hiking, working with hawks feel safer. It makes everything feel safer. But that feeling might be a luxury I can't afford when the alternative is losing home.

I woke up today with a weird feeling. Both excited about the spring and all the plans of warmer weather, and the very real notion that time might be up here. It is getting harder and harder to keep the ship floating (or more honestly, plugging holes in the boat). To beat this metaphor to death: the landfall I am hoping for seems less realistic every day while I get better at mending. I don't know what that ends up as? What I do know is I hope to keep writing about it, whatever the outcome. And as I am heading towards my 37th birthday this summer I no longer want to do this all alone. There was a real moment of sadness during coffee today when I thought about how I have no idea what it is like to have a partner in life, for support and to share the burdens and joys of making a home or working towards a goal. Being broke is something I am used to. I gave up the idea of financial security when I came out as a full-time farmer, but I never thought I'd be going solo for so long.

That is where I am at right now. Determined and lonesome. A little scared about making it into summer, or what might happen. The usual. May luck carry me a few weeks more.