Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Autumn's Urge

The farm is in full winter prep mode, which always hits hard around this time of year. It's encouraging and bittersweet. Encourgaing to keep moving forward with the plans and preparations needed to get through winter, there's a sense of promise and hope in that. I like stackig firewood, putting up bales of hay in the barn, and starting to plan cider soaked pork roasts and applie pies. Fall is my favorite time of year and always has been. Hell, I already started making pumpkin spice soaps and listening to spooky podcasts of ghost stories and folklore. And while I know it is summer still, and I am currently sitting here by a 1940's Westinghouse fan as I type during a literal heatwave... all I am doing this morning is worrying about winter. Because unlike every other winter since I worked full time on the farm - this winter I am without a hay bank. In years past I could buy hay as I went, getting 20-30 bales at a time. That was a standard truckload and easy to manage as one person loading and stacking small quantities like that of square bales. But this year I need to buy in hay in bulk, pay for it, store it, and do it all soon as possible because there's a shortage from the dry summer. My prices went from $3 a bale I paid as I went to upwards of $7 a bale plus delivery. Now I don't have a lot of critters to feed, but I need about 200 bales to get through the worst of the winter and that is daunting. MY current hay guy has quoted me at $365 for a delivery of only 50 bales. Yikes.

So that is the hay situation. The other situation is firewood, which is at least coming along. I have a cord and a half already delivered and being stacked. Now that is promising! And my firewood is being supplemented with wood from some fallen trees from the summer storms. I am not worried about that, not so far. My goal was to have 100 bales of hay and 3 cords of firewood stacked and ready by October 1. I still plan on that. I just need to ask around, network, figure out possiby some partial bartering. But that is what is at the front of my mind. And once I have those things taken care of I will feel a lot better going into my favorite month. It just means a whole new level of luck, frugality, promotion, and hard work. I basically need to make money every day, spend very little, make up for every loose end, put off anything new, and figure out how to keep juggling thirty balls in the air if I want to keep the home and life I love. Well, can't say it ever gets boring!

So let's look at this positively. I have half of my firewood goal met! I have contacts and emails out for hay! I have the skills to make soap, logos, artwork, teach classes and hunt, forage, grow, and keep plenty of my own food. My work now is to literally keep the lights on, fires stoked, and animals safe and fed. And while this blog seems to only be about barely making it work every month and the stress of doing so - I hope you find encouragment is how I am still here. That in over ten years of uncertainty I am still here. That I figured out how to be a stronger woman, find my footing, learn and grow, be honest with who I am and even found a spark of love that heads me into winter with a little ember in my pocket. And I write about all these worries becuase I feel there's a magic to it. That just putting down the words that I will make a goal and here you all are, my witnesses, that it helps make it come true. So I will keep you up to date on the wood and hay. I will do my best to get that July mortgage payment in ASAP and start saving for August. I will figure out all the bills and stories and find a moment to sit back with a slice of apple cake and run not to relieve stress but feel joy. I will do all the things.

I just need to figure out how.