Sunday, June 3, 2012

At Long Last - A Farm of Our Own

Aspendance Alpacas, Kendall, WI

I'm still pinching myself.

Papa Bear opened the drapes this morning and the sun hit me right in the eyes, so I rolled my pillow over my face, as I have done most mornings for most of my adult life.

But this time, after fending off all of the signals to get out of bed (my snooze alarm, the cats pouncing on my stomach, PB pulling off my covers) I grudgingly rolled out of bed onto my own floor.

For seven years we've been renting what feels like everywhere from pillar to post - three years here, two years there, one year over there, three months off the mainland, three months in a friend's bunkhouse.

And now, finally, we have a home of our own.

And not just a home, a farm.  40 acres of our own little paradise.

Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello

It's not possible to start something new without leaving something else behind.  Over the past few months, we've done a lot of leaving. 

We left our Little Farm in Minnesota, and I left the Big Farm in Wisconsin where I spent the majority of my time last summer learning how to run a multi-species grazing operation.

We left our families and friends and 3 storage units stuffed full of our possessions from our house and garage and barn, living out of 2 carry-on suitcases for three months.

We spent two months working at a coffee farm in Hawaii, then said Goodbye to our new friends and to the Hawaiian islands.

And now we're leaving the comfortable rituals and daily company of our friends at the Big Farm who have been putting us up (or rather, putting up with us) in their bunkhouse the last three months.

It seems unreal, after 7 years of wandering all over Minneapolis, Hawaii and now Wisconsin, to finally be putting down some solid roots.

Papa Bear getting a tarp ready to clamp to the panels for shade

It seems unreal to get up in the morning and going to check on our lambs, in our own meadow.

This morning I went to let our girls out of their coop and then wandered up the hill to the ridge to watch the morning mist lying low in the valleys below and beyond.

View from the ridge at Aspendance Alpacas

A morning dove cried from a telephone wire, a sound I always associate with my Grandma & Grandpa on the Farm.  A good omen if there ever was one.

I watched a deer making it's way up the hay meadow, unaware of my presence.  When I went in to grab the camera and sneak around behind the large chicken-coop-soon-to-be-sheep-shed to get a better shot, it finally spotted me and waved its white tail flag and scampered deftly up the steep hill into the safety of the treeline.

A deer makes its way up the hillside at Aspendance Alpacas

Or should I say, into the safety of our treeline.

Wild turkeys gobbled somewhere nearby.

It was all so incredible it felt like a movie scene.

I would say it felt like a dream, but I never have dreams this good.

Our farm house is tiny and old and very crooked and the decor smacks of 1930's/1970's, with gold/brown living room carpet and scalloped kitchen cupboards. 

But it's all good, because it's our old, crooked floor. We may have to tear the whole thing down some day and start over.

But until then, I will relish every creaky, crooked thing, grateful to finally be living in a home of our own.

Tonight when we went down to move the lambs again (currently they're getting moved three times/day) the moon was just rising over our eastern treeline, a just-beyond-full-sized glowing orange orb.  It looked close enough to reach out and touch.

The lambs have caught onto the new routine and eagerly await our arrival which to them means a new patch of lush green grass. They bear down shoulder to shoulder like a line of living, wooly lawn mowers, munching their way around the perimeter of their paneled enclosures. 

On our way back from the spring meadow where the lambs are stationed, fireflies started popping out like moving Christmas tree lights. Another thing I only ever saw at my grandparents farm.  Another good omen.

The morning dove cried again, book-ending my day with soulful song.

Kitties on the back porch at Aspendance Alpacas

The stars came out and the cats sat on the back patio with us, relishing freedom after a long winter inside.

My pocketbook may be nearly empty these days, but my heart is full to overflowing.

Blessings -


jenlarson said...

I'm almost in tears reading this - I'm so happy for you! We'd love to come out and visit once you're settled in...or pitch in on a project you need any more hands for, just let us know!

Victoria Strauser said...

Thank you Jen!! We'd love to have you come and visit! We have the Airstream camper for extra sleeping space even!

Jess said...

Perfect, perfect, perfect! :D All absolutely perfect! I am ecstatic for you, and can't wait to hear more!

(we also have 40 acres)

Victoria Strauser said...

Thank you Jess! I did not know you also have 40 acres - I will have some questions for you about maintaining the fencelines!

Christy said...

What beautiful writing to describe what (from the pictures) looks like a gorgeous place. Happy farming!

Victoria Strauser said...

Thank you so much Chris! It really is beautiful, I'm still pinching myself!

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