We made it

We talked about this move until we were blue in the face, but we have finally, finally made it into our new home. It was a crash landing more than a move and fraught with more problems than you’d care to read about here. It’s a long story involving unscrupulous contractors and foolish homeowners placing trust where it wasn’t deserved. Our brand new, very unfinished home has more “charm” than the 250-year-old farmhouse we left—crooked walls, leaky plumbing. But it it our home and we do love it. One day, we’ll finish it.

As winter began to lay its cold blanket around us, we were just starting to put up our first permanent fence. It’s still not done, and we’re trying our best to finish it up this weekend. For this year only, we’ll hope for little snow so that our electric netting may still hold a charge through the springtime. It has been a hard autumn and winter, and it’s been extremely hard to reframe this bullshit into anything that doesn’t feel horrible. But we’re doing it, difficult as it may be.

A few weeks ago I had the very good fortune of meeting the parents of a new friend of mine. The only way I could describe them is pure magic. They’re the kind of people who feel like your oldest bestest friends minutes after you meet, and who send you home buoyed, feeling like you’re going to be ok. You’re already ok, and in fact, nothing much was wrong to begin with. They moved into a wreck of a house when their children were young and took years to fix it up…they said when they had the time to fix things, they hadn’t any money, and when they had money to fix things, they hadn’t any time. But they loved that house, and so did their children and their children’s friends who always wanted to come over and help them build it up. It was the making of the house, not the house, that made it their home and the time they took to do the making taught them to appreciate each wall, each floor, each new addition. Their children learned more than they could enumerate—construction, sure, but also order, patience, perseverance. The value of doing it properly, of waiting, of having.

Our dream coming here was not to have a glossy new one of everything, but to have a new home and a new barn for our wooly and hairy friends. The house we bought here was falling over and the barn was falling down, held aloft by miles of steel cables wound through its three stories, keeping the beams together as the floor and walls rotted away. It was a ramshackle old place, and it still is, only that dilapidated old barn is replaced by a new steel one with little inside. And maybe that’s just who this farm is— rambling, ramshackle place where much always wants doing and time is in short supply while hope is overflowing.

We’re entering the new year humbled but happy, hardscrabble but hopeful, and determined as ever to salvage, to build, to make better. We hope you’ll come see us in our new place—the sheep and chickens have been hard at work reclaiming pastures, growing gorgeous wool and laying golden eggs, helping us as we settle in and hope to leave our mark on this lovely patch of Maine.

Spring in Maine

Every spring here feels like the long lost season, as in it never seems to arrive. Well after tulips, daffodils, and even fruit trees begin to blossom, Maine languishes in cold, gray mud. The sight of lined boots and parkas are enough to turn your stomach and even the animals look outside in the morning and think, 'Eh.'

But now, days away from May, it seems like—it feels like—spring may actually be here. It's fascinating to watch the tiniest blush of green move across a field. You really can watch the world around you green from one day to the next and some days hour by hour a field will be greener than it was when you woke. It's taken so long that we spend a whole day wandering around marveling over the tiniest new leaves on the lilac bushes, the extra millimeters of grass. When the daffodils do bloom, it's cause for a celebration.

This week we've begun leaving the lambs and ewes out on the dry nights, in part because the rain has been heavy enough that they've had to stay in for stretches of 24 to 48 hours. It's stressful for them, especially the ewes, whose babes are climbing the walls. The lambs are starting to gain independence; they're spending more time away from their mothers and less time with us. When we're out, they'll crowd around for some chin scratches, but they split after a few minutes to go climb rocks. So, it's a good time to give them some space to grow.