Whelp, I’m happy to report that there are currently no trees on our barn! I haven’t written since the two-plus weeks that those darn trees came crashing down, but thanks to the expertise and heavy-duty machinery of some tree removal folks, we’ve had a tree-free roof for most of that time.
The morning we woke up to find two trees on our roof, it sort of felt like the world was falling apart. And then, a day or two later, “disaster” had already turned into “manageable setback”. Even before the tree removal service arrived to transform those massive pines into wood chips, we realized that everything was going to be just fine. No structural damage to the barn; a very recent re-appraisal of the barn by the insurance company, meaning that the costs of tree removal and roof replacement are covered (yay!); minimal interior damage to the barn that we can repair ourselves. The biggest downside is that the whole thing sets back our building work and, hence, move in date. At this point, I feel almost silly about the weeping and gnashing of teeth that the trees originally caused, but it’s hard not to feel like disaster has struck when you look out to see a several-story-tall pine tree crushing the center of your life’s focus.
Lucky as we’ve been, and manageable as the whole thing has turned out to be, the setback of barn building and eventual move-in has taken some mental and emotional adjustment. At first, I felt almost relieved to have the pressure of move-in dates removed. “A tree fell on our roof. Who knows (and who cares) when we’ll move in!” But as we’ve kept on keepin’ on, and been reminded day in and day out of how SLOW each project manages to move, it’s been hard for that line not to turn into a much more dejected: “Who knows when or if we’ll ever move in?”
As we let go of move-in estimates and keep plugging away at the work in front of us, that work has inevitably expanded to include non-barn-related projects. We are, after all, planning on running a market-garden this season, and it’s March! Seeds need to be planted, beds made, transplants set out. Wood needs to be cut to keep the greenhouse fire going. Plus, it’s nice if we occasionally give some time to our child. The to-do list can feel stressful (just to clarify–I do NOT think of my child as a check mark on my to-do list…most of the time). But I’ve also been surprised at how nice it’s felt to be forced out of the barn and into some other tasks.
Balance, Krista. Balance is good. We could let ourselves be completely consumed by the barn. But that would help us move in, maybe…a few days? a week earlier? And in the meantime everything else in our lives would’ve fallen by the wayside.
I’m really thankful for Tim’s commitment this growing season to far-out planning and consistent schedules. Yesterday was “seeding Monday.” Which means that, no matter how many barn projects are pressing upon us, we get up on Monday morning and head out to the greenhouse for the week’s seeding tasks.
Our season’s plantings are on the calendar from now until fall, which helped us spend a recent sunny and warm afternoon out in the gardens rather than patching drywall. Regular rhythms and intentional planning both keep our business afloat and remind us to get out and enjoy the beauty of early spring.
Even after we’re moved into the barn, the work ahead of us on this homestead is endless. Which sort of sounds overwhelming. But I honestly don’t think it needs to be. What will be key to making that work sustainable and rewarding is to allow ourselves to enjoy the rich and varied tasks before us, rather than becoming completely overwhelmed and consumed by a single thing.
What will also be key is giving ourselves a break all together from the work. Besides a commitment to regular seeding and planting schedules, Tim and I are also committed to having a social life. It’s kind of ridiculous that we have to commit to being social, but we’ve got a pretty poor track record of getting out of the house and giving ourselves a break from the farm. In this new chapter of our lives, we want to have a healthier work/play balance, and we also want to cultivate meaningful community. Which means we push ourselves to schedule dinner dates and to get together with friends…even when the drywall isn’t patched.
The other week, in one of our depressingly-frequent March snows, we decided to use it as an opportunity to build a snow woman with Anabel. We could’ve gotten another hour or two of work done in the barn. But I’ll take being an hour later moving in for the chance to make a five-foot-tall farmer snow woman with my two year old.
Cheers to steady progress in the barn. And cheers to life outside of the barn.