Sometimes around here it seems like most everything is just a little bit broken. Some of our bathroom tiles are almost completely free of the wall. Under most of our windows the plaster is damaged and cracked from moisture that got in long ago before the windows were finally replaced. Our little tiller needs the carburetor rebuilt. I need to tear down the shed that was serving as our chicken coop before it decides to just sit down on its own. And the list goes on and on.
Our son is very into pretending to fix things right now. He has a little tool belt with plastic tools which allows him to fix just about anything his creativity desires. Hopefully that sentiment lasts. Those are important life skills when your parents make you grow up in an old, drafty farmhouse.
A week or two ago the doorknob fell off on the door leading upstairs. I help direct a play in the fall at the high school where I teach, so of course it happened the week that I wasn’t home before 9:00 any night. So we just lived with it until I quit procrastinating and took the five minutes necessary to just get it put back together. As I was fixing it, I noticed that the “public” side of the ancient door knob was covered in ornate patterns, while the “private” side leading upstairs was as plain as could be. I had never paid any attention to it before. It is basically a reverse mullet. Party in the front; business in the back. A lot of old houses have these kinds of details. It’s partly why our downstairs ceilings are 10 feet tall and our upstairs ceilings are less than 8.
After I fixed the knob, I was thinking about how differently we live in this house. There is no pretense here. You see what you get. There is usually laundry waiting to be washed in the kitchen (because that’s a winner of a placement for washer/dryer hookups evidently), there are usually toys littering the 100-year-old hardwood floors leading into the living room, which has its own collection of clean laundry just waiting to be folded once our son goes to bed. The mud room usually has about five too many pairs of shoes in it, and just a little more dirt on the rug than is socially acceptable. This list goes on and on too.
It’s certainly not the Better Homes and Garden meets Country Living life that we maybe initially envisioned when we decided to buy this place.
Our son is getting to the age when he asks about 53 million questions every day. His newest recurring question is, “Is my white house old? Or is it neee-eeew?” (I’ve never met anyone so gifted at adding syllables to words.) My canned response always is, “Well it’s very old, but we’re trying to take care of it.”
And trying we are. Nothing around here is fancy, new, or much of anything except utilitarian. We’re overwhelmed some days, but when we allow ourselves to forget about all the work we still need to do, we can be flying pretty high. But we’re trying real hard to make sure us and ours are well taken care of.
Yesterday Audra and I had a three hour long “Farm Summit” to make some hard decisions for our 2017 season. We’re hoping to create a leaner, yet more productive and profitable farm. The last two years have been full of difficult lessons, and we’re finally ready to use them to inform our decision making. I guess we want to be like that stupid doorknob with the reverse mullet. We don’t want the business in the front and the party in the back. Our business is darn important to us, sure, but we’ve got a lot of party still left in us. The more efficient we can make this operation, the more time we have for all that other stuff that makes life truly worth living.
Our 2017 farm calendars are now available for purchase. All the pictures were taken by us during the past year. They make great gifts this holiday season; please consider supporting this little farm as you spend your hard-earned money on those you love.