Thursday, June 20, 2013


I'll start with the construction update... I think I will publish at least the construction part of this blog in hard format so that someday, when the girls are grown and we are feeling nostalgic, we can flip through the pages and remember "way back when" the house wasn't even built yet, and what an adventure it was/is.  I feel so blessed to be living our dream! Although the process of starting with a bare piece of ground and converting it to a farm and a home is a lot of work, a lot of stress, and a lot of money, it is also very exciting and fulfilling.  I feel like we are embarking on a healthy and literally "down to earth" lifestyle, and I can't help but hope that knowing where their food comes from, and learning physical labor and job satisfaction will provide the girls with a solid foundation for whatever the future holds.  (I believe that this aspect in my own upbringing has a lot to do with who I am today... Thanks Mom and Dad!)
So, where are we in the process so far?  Well, we are still waiting for the concrete company to work us into their schedule to pour the house foundations, and with another wet weekend ahead of us, I am sure the delay will be helpful in allowing the pad to dry out once again, but it will be SO NICE once the foundation is poured, because then we can actually start counting days and get a real feel for when the house will be done.  The shop, however is progressing quite nicely.  The girls approved of the "shopping" that has happened so far (see pictures) which includes setting the poles in concrete.  Again, once the ground dries out after this latest downpour, the cement slab will be poured in the floor, then the walls and roof go on (a relatively fast process).  Once the shop is weather-tight, the electrician will come in and viola! we will have real, permanent electricity in the shop and the barn!
AdventureDad and I spent the last weekend picking up the remainder of the hay we cut the previous weekend (thankfully it was a dry week and we were able to leave it in the field!)  We picked up 5 tons of hay, so in addition to the 1 ton we already hauled to Gig Harbor, it is our largest cutting so far.  We actually left a lot of the field uncut this year, as hay is second priority to the house and other tasks (like putting in fencing/animal pens, building a chicken coop, and flooring the barn), but we got enough to keep the horses fed until next hay season, especially since they have a virgin pasture to go out on once they move to the farm. It should take them a month or two to mow that down!  It was a bit of a punishing weekend, because of course to put 5 tons of hay in the barn it means we have to both load it onto, then unload off of, the hay wagon, so we moved 20,000 pounds between the two of us (not to mention another 2,000 pounds in "re-bale" bales that resulted from some baler problems!).  Whew!  Then poor AdventureDad came down with a nasty GI bug that laid him out flat for the ride home and the next day too.  We will be having our Father's Day dinner this coming Sunday :-)
To wrap it all up, we added yet another furry member to the family (because I really needed another warm body to take care of!)  AdventureGirl has been begging us for a pet of her own, and finally saved enough stars on her chart to earn one.  So, hello Peter!  Our new 6-week-old little buck bunny.  Luckily he is pretty adorable, so it isn't too much of a burden.  Sigh!

Meet Peter

Exploring the Shop

Daddy's Shop Will be THIS BIG!

All Kids Really Need is a Pile of Dirt

Yay for Hay!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Making Hay While the Sun Shines!

Whew!  The AdventureFamily was at it again, packing a whole week's worth of activities into a few days.  AdventureDad was able to get a few days off, so we headed out to NineTrees to take advantage of the wonderful weather and truly make hay.  Sounds pretty straight-forward?  Oh no!  Of course the weekend couldn't be that simple!  (We have yet to have a disaster-free hay season.  That may be an oxymoron we are not aware of yet!).  I do have to mention, however, that we arrived at 11 PM Thursday night to find that we now have POWER and WATER!!!!  No more hauling batteries and jerry cans full of fresh water for this family!  WooooHoooo!!!!
Our first scheduled activity was to drive to Richland to pick up AdventureDad's new (and last, for a LONG time!) tractor.  This would be the fourth tractor we have purchased in as many years, granted that one of the aforementioned tractors was ANCIENT and one was merely old.  However, living where and how we do (will be), we need a reliable way to clear snow in the winter (the county won't commit to maintaining our road yet), not to mention till the garden and fields, make hay, drill post holes, move, and lift all things farm-related.  The old tractors were just not reliable enough, so we finally finagled our finances enough to get a new one.  On our way back to the farm with the new tractor in tow, not to mention the new disc mower and snow blower to go with it, we had a blow-out.  One way or another, we have neglected to get a spare for our utility trailer, so we were at the mercy of the Les Schwab service team.  It was a busy day for them, so after waiting an hour or so in the sweltering heat, we finally got a temporary fix and headed back to the tire store for a set of new tires.  We had the tractor in tow, so we took the opportunity to add ballast (liquid weight that goes in the tires for added traction and momentum), and yes, saved one of the old tires as a spare.  Once again on our way, we finally arrived at the farm at almost 8 PM, approximately 7 hours later than we had planned.  So much for mowing hay that day!  AdventureDad decided to set up the mower so that he could get an early start the next morning, but it was a new tractor and a new mower, and Murphy being omnipresent where farm equipment is concerned, something was bound to, and did, go wrong.  While lifting a part of the tractor, it managed to hit part of the hydraulic system, and stripped out some vital threads.  After a gush of hydraulic fluid, we were left with a crippled hydraulic remote (that runs the arm that lifts the mower up and down).  Luckily, the mower was already in the proper position, so the hay cutting could commence.
Second on the list... we put a floor in a section of the barn to give us somewhere dry and level to stack the hay we were about to cut.  This project was actually much quicker and easier than we expected, and a good test run for the rest of the barn.  Yay us!
Our third scheduled activity was the cutting of the hay.  This too had a hiccup, as we were mowing a new part of the field.  AdventureDad found a ditch the hard way, and the impact broke one of the brackets that holds a piece that steadies the mower.  Luckily for us, we have an incredibly helpful neighbor who is also a proficient welder, and he fabricated a new one for us and welded it into place while we were in town looking for hydraulic parts.  Amazing!  Hiccups notwithstanding, the new mower did an amazing job, and AdventureDad is pretty tickled with the whole setup.  The raking and baling went surprisingly well, and with the help of the hot weather and breeze, the hay dried beautifully.  We cut 5 tons of hay, and hauled about 1 ton home to feed to the horses. Not our biggest cutting (we kept it small on purpose this year), but the best quality we have put up yet.  While AdventureDad was baling, I also broke out our small tractor and got our campsite mowed.  Considering that the grass is 4 feet high and the girls can get lost in it, this little detail made life a lot easier for us!
Last but not least, we met with the foreman from the construction company and got the go-ahead for our
foundation!!!  Hopefully the foundation will be poured before the end of June.  There is still hope for an October move-in.  Fingers crossed!  In addition, the crew that is putting up the shop got the holes drilled for the support posts.  That means we will likely have a completed shop before the end of the month... fingers crossed again!  It is so exciting and wonderful to see things progressing, FINALLY!
So, tired, sunburned, filthy, but satisfied, we limped home for a short week of "normal" life here in Gig Harbor before another weekend of "fun on the farm"  this coming weekend.   Catch our breath?  Nah!

Taking the New Hay for a Test Drive

AdventureDad's New Wheels

Temporary Water

The Beginnings of the Shop

Power!!!  Meter is at 0, but not for long...