Life on the farm

It feels like 2938 days since I last blogged, but surely that can’t be true. The days seem to just come and go here, and we are absolutely constantly working. Like I’m not sure when the last time I took a shower was. I mean, what’s the point?

I’m currently sitting at my beautiful new farm table- the only furniture in the house- and I’m taking a quick break from painting. I’m covered- hair, arms, legs, clothes- in paint and its been like that for about three days. I considered showering yesterday afternoon, but then thought, ‘Why? I’m only going to be painting after I shower.” So I didn’t shower. And this morning, the same logic was applied and the same decision arrived at.

The weather has been absolutely fantastic. I heard a rumor, and for all I know it’s true, that Summertown got it’s name because Nashville folks used to come down here on the weekends to escape the Southern heat. Now, before you Southerners chime in, I realize summer has not hit. I’m expecting a full on daily sweaty life, but for now… it’s been lovely. There is a constant breeze. It’s constant. Day and night. And since I arrived, I’ve been in a tank top. Day and night.

It’s so pleasant in the evenings. My favorite time of day on the farm is sunset. Yes, it’s no coincidence that it happens to be the same time that my kids are going to bed, which allows me the opportunity to both relax and become incredibly productive, but it’s also just absolutely stunning that time of night. The heat of the day is completely gone, but the breeze is still there. The sun turns the sky a subtle pink- this time of year we can’t actually see the sun setting, just the after affects- and the deer start to come out. If you’re really paying attention, just as the light is only barely less than the dark in the sky, you can see the fire flies starting to appear. Imagine 84 acres of fire flies.

Yes, it’s that magical.

So how are things shaping up at Shalom Farm? Well, all of our furniture- every last bit of it- including our beds and open drawers of clothes, are out on the front and back porch while we work inside the house. For four days, our belongings have been exposed to the myriad of bugs that has welcomed us here in the South.

But seriously, everything that lands on me- and there are quite a few things that land on me- is different. Everything is small so far, nothing too crazy, but I swear there must be 4857 types of insects here. It’s impressive. And the kids think it’s awesome. Because of our excessive bug bombing, there are dead bugs everywhere. A dead bug is totally okay by me. But the kids have taken to collecting them and making them ‘homes’ out of sticks and grass and the like. It’s actually been their primary focus since arriving. They still haven’t asked to watch tv one time! And we don’t even have furniture to sit on, so you can imagine how non-stop they’ve been going around here.

We also got a kid pool- that adults totally fit in, we’ve checked- for them to splash around in, and man was that the best $30 we’ve ever spent. It works for Thomas’ allergy attacks in the yard as a head dunking location, it works to wash off grassy feet, it works as dog drinking water. It’s really quite a handy addition to the property. And right now, because we basically live on our private oasis out here, each afternoon I find them naked in the pool. Why stop for swim suits? If the mood strikes you, go for a swim! That’s kind of the whole point! So right now my kids are playing upstairs with their partially unpacked toys completely naked.

But the whole furniture on the porch thing is really getting to me. That’s why we’ve been so dang busy and consumed with chores around here. From the looks of it, I’m going to get to experience my first summer thunderstorm tomorrow and my father in law- who is out here visiting and helping us- thinkings it will be the kind with sideways rain! So needless to say, my brand new bed needs to find itself some shelter. Thomas didn’t go to bed last night because he was so committed to getting this giant project done! Like he didn’t go to bed at all. And he’s still painting right this second.

So let’s circle back around to the bugs and spiders thing… I have to say, and please everyone knock on wood for me, that I haven’t seen many spiders in the last few days. We may have overcome! We may have chased them away! Thomas push mowed the lawn- bless that man’s heart- twice to keep it short and now that we have an amazing, and super fun, riding mower, my father in law is out there taking the parameter even farther. In addition to the bug bombing that has happened in the house, attic, crawl space, and all the out builders- more than once for each- Thomas has also sprayed the lawn for bugs more than once. I think we’re winning the massive war we are waging! He also sprayed barrier spray around the entire house and porches. With all that, and new floors and new paint, I’m feeling pretty confident about things around here.

The house is really coming along and beginning to look like the shabby chic farm house I’ve imagined. It feels like we still have a thousand projects ahead of us, and I don’t imagine that we’ll have much down time for the next few weeks and likely months, I know that we’re enjoying every minute and incredibly grateful for the wonderful time we’ve been sharing together. Nothing brings the family together like a smaller house with one piece of furniture- a big kitchen table.

How am I doing? I’m doing great. Really. I’m adjusting well. I feel really confident that this is still the plan for us. I think it’s an amazing blessing- still absolutely a humbling experience that I’m loving and grateful for as well- but it’s also an amazing adventure. The kids are absolutely on cloud nine. Thomas and I feel like we’ve got something that we can make ours again. God is revealing in tiny pieces, how He wants us to use the farm and how it can help us. It’s just very exciting.

I haven’t been very emotional. Other than just one or two moments, I haven’t felt too overwhelmed. The more paint that goes on the wall, and the less dirt and bugs that I see, the more this feels like my kind of farm life. I need a happy medium, you know!

And friends, yea they’re all around! At least one of our neighbors stop by every day. Every single day. Can you imagine? I honestly never even saw my neighbors in the subdivision I lived in before, and our bathrooms basically stared into each other. The kindness has been such a beautiful surprise. The friendly offers to help, the darling accents… Southern hospitality is a real thing.

I have a few friends… the guy who delivered our riding lawn mower, whom we met through Facebook marketplace, was awesome. He taught us how to use it, and hardly made fun of us as we learned. And he delivered it from Alabama for no extra cost, just because he had the trailer and could do it. He advised me not to refer to Alabama as ‘down in Alabama’ because it’s less than an hour away. People would look at me funny he assured me. After he left, he texted Thomas and told him that he liked us and invited us play poker any Friday night. He also has a daughter Cadence’s age, so we’ll absolutely be playing poker in Alabama soon, I’m sure.

Our neighbors down the road, who come by every day, are an older couple who have a ton of stories and fresh strawberries to share!

I messaged a gal on facebookf about a patio set she had for sale. It had been sold, but we got to talking anyway- which is unusual to begin with- but it led to church recommendations, store recommendations and an offer to come help us unpack and welcome us to Tennessee. We’ve never met, but we have plans to have lunch next week!

Thomas has made friends with the guy who owns the equipment rental shop. We rented the floor sander from him, sat on some lawn mowers, and got some information about where to go for what errands, and now Thomas calls him at the store anytime we have a question about farming or anything else that has come up. He’s been really helpful, and we’re looking forward to getting our families together.

The waitress at the diner in town was amazing. First of all, there is a five year old serving there, and she’s adorable and now Cadence can’t wait to get a job, so there is that. But this waitress, who had the most amazing energy about her, kept kissing my kids and putting her hand on my shoulder when she talked to us- which was frequently through our lunch. She recommended a church to us as well, and told us to come back for Friday night ribs. We will absolutely be doing that!

So it’s been a wonderful experience. I think it would be the absolutely opposite experience if someone who had lived in the South moved to California, I’m sad to say. As a matter of fact, most of the people we’ve met have been quite vocal about how much they hate California. I mean, I love it, don’t get me wrong- that’s where I’m from- but it’s absolutely a different world out there. I mean, can you even imagine a waitress kissing your baby and you thinking that was sweet? Exactly.

Maybe when things slow down a bit around here, I’ll feel nostalgic. I’m sure I’ll feel homesick. But for now, it’s just too busy and too surreal to feel much of anything but present. I just feel very much in the moment- which is not typically how I do life. It’s nice.

What’s next? I’m not sure. Chicks and turkeys are already on their way to us. So that’s going to be another adventure (chicks eat bugs and turkeys eat snakes!). Our pasture grass is calling for some cows so we’ll either be acquiring some of our own, or leasing the land to have someone else graze their cows on it. What a thought, your open field can actually make you money! I’m all about residual income people! We’ve got a new cat named Miriam- she came with the farm. She shows up in the morning and evening to give the kids a thrill. We may get a puppy. There may be pigs. It’s all up in the air. But we’ve got the space and the dream…

So stay tuned…

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