Saturday, October 30, 2004

I heart the new neighbors

Okay, so we went out to the farm today (we being me, Jay and Bex - Chris had to work, though he was there on Wednesday pulling the old drywall and insulation out of the living room - it's kind of a grizzled hollow shell now, which is bizarre!)and the neighbors dropped by for a visit. The Beyrers are this kickass family who lives down the road a piece and run several dairies out in our neck of the woods and own most of our neck of the woods (they're big on keeping it wild and protected). We dropped by their place a few weeks ago to bring a loaf of banana bread. They're incredibly kind and capable - role model farmers really - and even offered to haul our manure pile out for us next spring if we needed them to. They also have a stuffed (or perhaps riggor-mortified?) oppossum in the back of their truck for show and tell - and shock value.

Bill Beyrer's hands betray his decades and decades of farm labor and long days with the cows. He and his wife Sherri have three boys, the oldes of which wants to feed my horses for me if I bring them out to the farm before we move! He told me today! Yes! I imagine that will happen sometime in chilly December, so I'm busy getting de-icers for the water tubs and I'll be readying the barn next month, gravelling and matting the stalls and doing some cleaning. Next week, Jay is going to finish putting up the white electrical tape around the top of the fenceline for better visibility. I also have to find a hay source. At any rate, the new neighbors are my heroes and they're just so dang nice. They have all kinds of reasons to be a little snotty toward the crazy inbred communal-living city slickers moving in down the road but they're kind and friendly, offering help and general good vibes. Do you think they'd be creeped out if I hung out and helped them with their chores, or just followed them around grinning as they went about their day? You do? Oh.

By the way, we finished up with most of the painting upstairs, trimming the Siamese cat colored room and B & C's room, with Jay rolling the creamy colored room closet and the three of us trimming it in terra cotta (somehow it works). The gutters aren't on yet, so guess who's getting a call in the morning?

Time for bed. More later.


Sunday, October 24, 2004

Forget what they say - spackle is a girl's best friend

Hi all! I just spent the weekend at the farm and wanted to record my dirty doings. First of all, it was SCARY to be out there, because A) the cornfield is all pale and horror movie-ish now, B) there was a GIANT STORM while I was there, which was very cool during the day when the big gray thunderheads would move, all threatening, across the valley, and totally freaky at night when I could see absolutely nothing due to the fact that it is inconceivably dark out there once the sun goes down, and things were rattling and knocking around and I jumped when i saw my reflection in a window, and C) I left the CDs at home and had to listen to CLASSIC RAWK all weekend (Winger, Supertramp, Scorpions ARRRRRGHHHH!) because that and Lawrence Welk oldies are the only stations that come in well and Wisconsinites loooooooove their CLASSIC RAWK.

All that aside, I spent about 7 hours the first night finishing Jay's and my bedroom upstairs, making it look a bit like the one we did here in the Minneapolis house - it's kind of a deep red clay color called "spiced rum." Mmmm. Spiced rum. Mom says it looks like a womb in there (it's a very very small room. We'll be lucky if our bed fits. I'm not kidding). I, of course, did my signature copper wash, and i must say that although it is slightly "cavey" in there, I like it. What took about 6.5 of the hours was the *&#%@ trimming. I had to do two and a half coats because of the stupid blueberry-purple color that was on there before (which showed through the primer). At least we were able to get the wallpaper horse boarder off. I should say Mom did. Mom, by the way, is a painting WARRIOR. And she's happy the whole time. She did about twice the work that Bex and I did last weekend, and she was better off afterward, and brought gingerbread for all. I must learn her secret.

The next morning, after a fitful sleep (I had to open a window because of the paint fumes, but then my head got wet on account of the horizontal rain) I spackled, patched and primed the downstairs guestroom (crazy old wallpaper room) and the dining room so they'd be ready for paint for our giant family work weekend out there Nov 5 - 6 (my mom's sisters and their progeny will be on hand for outdoor and indoor projects of all kinds - WAHOO). I also rolled and edged one of the upstairs rooms with "raffia cream" - a lovely buttery color. The other two rooms are gray-blue "flint smoke" (B & C's) and a gorgeous siamese cat colored creamy/rosy brown. It's looking great up there. We've also decided on terra cotta walls and slate blue/terra cotta tiles in the kitchen with a bit of an italian theme (buh-bye stenciled pinecone hell!), and red for the dining room. The living room's still up for grabs and the bathroom - well we can't even think about that yet. It's too hard to envision anything beyond the NASTY grout holding things together in there now. We did score a very cool, very FREE clawfoot bathtub that will be perfect in there (Craigslist - go Bex!). The gutters are going to be up by the end of this month, and Chris is working on getting a woodstove. The hot tub, by the way, has been budgeted in, so that should be ready to go by mid-summer (potential visitors, take note!)

I have to echo a bit of what Chris said in the last post - it is a bit frustrating to have to work around some rather bad planning on the builder's part some 85 years ago. I know it always ends up being more than what you think. And even painting is a big task when ALL rooms have to be painted and trimmed. I still think that we're on target for getting most of the house work done by spring, so that we can start to concentrate on the ENORMOUS task of managing 37 acres. The curve will be very high, no doubt. I still can't wait to get my horses out there.

That's it for now. Time to tend to my aching bod. Perhaps a steamy bath.


Thursday, October 14, 2004

more pictures

The farm definately has a wild feel to it. That thought hit me again and again last weekend. I've come away from the weekend absolutely convinced that we found the right place.
The house needs some work. I think I'm a little dissapointed that we wont be building from scratch. I was getting excited about the idea of designing a house and all the thoguht and planning that goes into such a project. I dont want for us to get overwhelmed with potential improvements and become satisfied with putting bandaids and patches all over the place. If something is worth doing, its worth doing right, but I'm not sure we even know how to do things right. From design, to buying materials, to labor, there are going to be a number of ways to do things.
I have uploaded a few more pictures, but I decided to move them to a different site. You can check them out here:
enjoy, i'm off to Madison to hear Yonder Mountain String Band. Good times, I'm sure.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Making a List

I started a new journal the first week of September 2003. The first page is full of notes I took while sitting at Powell's Book Store in NW Portland during our tip to see C&J last summer...notes on communal living, farming cooperatives, organic gardening, sustainable living, eco-building, and on. September 2003 was when our idea truly hatched, then jumped out of the egg and began to run like mad.

Life seemed to truly take off then, and I hardly had time to put thought to page in my new journal. Only four pages after my excited scrawls about our new idea last year, I uncapped my pen and began again: September 25, 2004 - I lay awake on the air mattress in one of the tiny upstairs bedrooms of our new yellow farmhouse, looking out the window onto our first misty morning of farm ownership. Only one year and four pages seems unreal.

Jay and Charis described it most eloquently - the views, the smells, the dirt in the fingernails, the excitment, the anticipation...we're all feeling it and are bracing ourselves for a lot of good, hard, satisfying work in the coming months before we call the Colfax farm our full time home.

I started a to-do list of projects, which didn't even fit on one page. But we've begun to cross things off already...progress!...we tore down wood paneling, pulled up turquoise carpeting, brushed fresh paint over the peach colored hack job upstairs, yanked out layers of contact paper in the kitchen cupboards, discovered the "lovely old" behind the ugly '70s "updates"...let the walls, floors and ceilings breathe again after hiding under years of wallpaper, carpet and tile.

We've got some good video and photos of the process so far...will post them on this site as soon as we can get them up. Check back again soon!