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Money Pit

I have been enamored with sunsets for most of my life. I’d like to think it’s because of the innate symbolism of the end of something, with the hope of what’s to come on the flip side. More realistically, I guess I just think they’re darn pretty. The first time we looked at the farm, we stayed so long that we got to see a magnificent sunset as we did our final walk around the property. I had a mind boner all the way home.


It’s been ironic and a little frustrating that, just as the weather is warming up and we can begin to enjoy the twilight hours on the farm, we have been spending every evening for the past week potting up seedlings in our windowless basement. We planted many seeds of our own in channel trays to maximize space under the grow lights. These can only stay in the trays for a short time, so we’ve been trying to pot them all up to 72 plug trays, with mixed success. This week also saw the delivery of over 600 flower plugs that were planted in 218 plug trays. Had we had our hoophouse (as we had intended back in December while we were planning all this nonsense) we would have been able to plant them directly into the ground. But since we’re woefully far behind with everything, they needed to also be potted up.

And then to top things off, with the recent frost and freeze scares over the past week, we have been hauling in around 1,000 seedlings every night and filling up the floor of our mudroom. And then carting them all back out to our tiny little greenhouse during the day. We’re not shying away from the work, believe me, but all this effort seems like an inefficient use of our time, and not at all how we wanted to start this little business. But, we’re learning lots along the way. We’ve already killed a number of plants, and we have figured out how we want to do things differently next year. So, like the sun rising and setting each day, we’re realizing that no matter how weirdly we’re starting out, there’s always the next day to find something else to screw up. Which makes figuring out how to do things right even more satisfying.

Audra has been feverishly working on getting us set up as a honest-to-God, real-life, money-making business, and we’ve only been slightly dismayed at the archaic, random, and sometimes downright silly rules that we must start to follow.

We also started putting up the hoophouse this weekend with the help of my dad. The wind was howling out here on the prairie today, so much so that my ears are still ringing a couple hours after coming back inside. Our sidewall plastic should be in tomorrow, which means that by next weekend we very well might have an enclosed hoophouse ready to fill up with (hopefully) profitable plants.


As we were working today, I walked past Audra and caught her glancing up at the peak of the first hoop that we installed.

“Do you remember that movie Money Pit?” I asked her sheepishly.

“Yes, Chris. I’m looking at it.” she replied, with just a touch of melancholy.


We continue to just bleed money for this little dream of ours. We’re so excited for what we have in store for this windy little hilltop, but we continue to be scared that we’re already getting in over our heads and further out to sea than our pocketbooks can keep us afloat.

This time last year I was just beginning to write my thesis after spending six years as a part-time graduate student at ISU in the writing program. I spent most of the summer holed up in my parents’ cabin in the woods typing away, free from the distractions of Wi-Fi. Tonight I’m sitting, typing away again, as the sun sets behind me. But tonight my back is sore, my legs are sore, there is dirt under my fingernails, and my face bears a nice wind-whipped patina. So much is the same, but so much is changing in our lives right now. We’re a little scared about all our decisions, and we’re aware that some people think we’re crazy, but we continue to hunger for what tomorrow will bring.

At this particular moment, though, I think we both might need a weekend from our weekend.


1 Comment

  1. Lori Kennedy says

    Just found your website via Instagram stalking. Very excited for the two of you and your passion for farming. I, too, have an appreciation for gardening and pumpkin growing the older I get!

    Keep up the hard work.

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