First off, the latest on the neighbor’s farm. It was up for sale earlier this winter, and closed in early December for $158k, which was a lot less than they were asking (I think they started at $215). It has 11 acres, a destroyed mobile home (literally just a heap of rubbish), an old mobile home people were living in, and a big old completely un-charming, falling-apart barn. Also beautiful pastures (or will be if they are cared for), and tall trees.
I don’t envy the folks who took this project on. The barn was full of garbage when we walked through it when it first went up for sale, and is in sad shape inside. But the folks who bought it have been working on it, hauling away trailer loads of debris. You can see where there are piles of stuff outside the barn now. I don’t know if they are cleaning it up to try and save what’s still good, or just slowly taking it apart. The other day I saw a backhoe show up and thought that was the end of the barn but the backhoe went away and the barn is still there. I am hoping they are going to keep it as a horse property, but if it gets split up and developed that’s ok too. The minimum lot size out here is 5 acres (ours is 3, but they’ve changed the rules since then), so the worst we would have is two new neighbors on that side.
My garden looks like a mess, but I can see things actually getting more organized. I’m going to hoe the weeds under and clean the coop this weekend and put the chicken poo on the beds, so it has time to ‘cool off’ before planting time. Then I’ll lay straw on top of that, and I have all the old straw out of the shelter area where the sheep and pig was last year, which should be good compost too as it breaks down. I also have lots of shredded bark to re-do the paths. I see a lot of shoveling in my future!
The shelter has been reconfigured yet again to separate it from the garden, because a friend called me up and asked if I could take three alpacas. She organizes llama rescue, and got a call that three ‘packys had been abandoned when their house was foreclosed on. Since she’s full up, but I have two acres and no animals, I couldn’t say no. So one of the other 4H families came over and helped me remodel the shelter (moving around boards that were already there) and we have a shelter and paddock ready for livestock again. This morning I spread clean straw, and hung a hay feeder. Someone else brought hay, and another 4H family has a trailer and will go help pick them up. 4H people are the best – they hear about animals in need and they just say ‘how can I help’!
(It’s built on hill, which is why it has that ‘everything is askew’ look – it’s actually all quite plumb)
This should be a nice cozy retreat from the weather. They should be in their new home this afternoon.