Friday, May 25, 2012

Letting Go

Last week, the fellow from the property management company came out and surveyed the house and farm, providing us with his estimate of what our desmene is worth on a monthly basis. It is very strange, believe me, to invite a total stanger  - particularly one with a silly, spiked hairdo and a too-small, shiny suit - into one's home and follow him about, meekly acquiescing to his instructions.

"You have to buy a dishwasher," he says, totally unaware that I am thinking "you look like a rodent that fell into a vat of hair gel."

"Do something about those weeds," he says, while I wonder how such a strutting little rooster  has insinuated himself into a position of authority. Little does Chicken Little know that I've spent a week's income on hiring a man (well, ok, Phil) to do landscaping and that just last night we ignited a bonfire made of weeds some ten feet across and five feet high. It is shockingly galling to squire an ignorant interloper about the property and listen to his annoying "suggestions," all the while thinking of the hundreds of man-hours we have put into improving the property.

Reading over my words, I realize I am angry. Why am I so angry? I guess I am worried about leaving, leaving my precious house and land in the hands of strangers who have no idea how much work and thought has gone into this place. And wouldn't really care anyway.

When we were looking into buying this place, the inspector - a local good ol' boy who was some sort of cousin of the previous owners - said "I can't lie to y'all, this house needs some serious work."

We have put serious work into it, not to mention serious money - a new roof, total upgrading of the electrical system, major rot repair, and a whole new septic system. We have invested many hours plowing out the trash left in the dirt, fixing fences, repairing relations with the neighbors, and fixing up the landscaping. That was all  simple upkeep - beyond that, we have spent an equal number of hours working to plan and create the homestead of our dreams.

We bought materials for fences and stretched them. We bought storage buildings for barns and had them installed. We bought animals and I spent years care taking and improving the herd. We planted an orchard and fenced it. I learned about pasture management, goat midwifery, pruning, gardening, and preserving. I learned how to judge the quality of hay and how to trim hooves. I read books on chicken diseases and waged a battle against bad weeds. Homero built his shop, with his own hands, spending over a year doing it, and has worked steadily and hard to build up his clientele. He built a biodiesel processor and learned to make fuel. He has painted, laid carpet, end generally fixed everything he laid eyes on.

More: this is where my dreams of providing a country life for children came true. I have seen them playing with baby goats in a field full of flowers. This is where I finally realized my lifelong goal of making my own goat cheese! I saw a newborn horse stand up for the first time right here! Do you get it people? This is my home, and I don't want to leave it.

I don't want to leave my home. I don't want strangers to live here. They aren't going to spend time chopping down all the poison hemlock before it flowers. The weed battle will be back to square one when we come home. My goats will all be sold off - Iris, beautiful herd queen and matriarch, the smartest goat , the the one who can open the latches. Flopsy, the first baby born on the farm. Polly, the spotty doeling I had to wait years for, the goat I hope to make the new matriarch of a herd of shiny, spotted Nubians.

I am trying to remember why we are doing this. I am trying to think of what to tell myself now. Something about adventure, something about heritage....?


  1. I understand your feelings Aimee, believe me, I went through the same some time ago when we worked in the Northern Territory for 4 years to save the dosh to build our home here in the Adelaide hills. But on the other hand...after we had been there for 4 years we ALMOST decided to sell our little farm and stay in the central desert. We loved the life there too.
    Look forward to the journey you are about to take and you will enjoy your place even more when you return.
    I must admit I had a tear in my eye as I read your blog, it bought it all back to me.

  2. Olive - thank you for your kind words and excellent advice. I am sure you are right. I am just panicking because it is all so soon. I have to accept that while we are gone, things will not be run as I would run them. I've always had a bit of trouble letting go of control, about anything, and this is just another example.