Official Closing Date

Official Closing Date

At long last I have an Official Closing Date on my #foreverfarm! We have overcome every hurdle─Runamuk and I, and this property I’ve affectionately dubbed “the Hive House”─in order to come together to form this union between farmer and farm. There’s no going back now; it’s only a matter of time before I finally have a permanent location for my farm and family.

Everything that I am, and everything that I have ever done in my life, has been leading me to this moment. It has taken everything I have to get here─years and years of hard work, determination, and sacrifice. Now I am exhausted from my long journey, and I’ve reached the end of my proverbial rope.

This week, my agent at the FSA, Nathan informed me that the title search had come back clear and as such has been approved. They’ve ordered the title insurance─the last piece of the FSA loan puzzle. Nathan was about to schedule Closing for next week, when we discovered an unexpected speed bump.

beeswax soap at amrket
Some of Runamuk’s beeswax soap on display at the Madison Farmers’ Market.

Up til now we’d been operating under the impression that Closing would happen just as soon as all of the hurdles had been overcome and the paperwork could be ready. However, to allow enough time for the FSA’s interminable loan process we’d sited on the Sale Contract that Closing would occur on or before June 29th. Since this was my second time through the process, Nathan has been pushing my paperwork through as quickly as he could, but we learned this week that the Sellers will not be ready to Close before the June 29 deadline.

In order to Close early both parties have to agree, and that is not going to happen in this case.

I was shocked. I had not entertained the notion that it could possibly take til the end of June to resolve this part of my life and move onto the next. What’s more, it’s become increasingly difficult to live and farm under my present circumstances. These temporary lodgings have served their purpose─this tiny trailerstead in the backwoods of central Maine has been the stepping stone I needed to make Runamuk’s farm-purchase happen─but I was aghast at having to live and farm 5 more weeks under these conditions.

Runamuk needs the proper infrastructure to be able to function successfully. I need a proper home for myself and my family, and space to do my own thing. In these temporary conditions I’m lacking space to assemble and store hive equipment, I have no place to dry the herbs used to make Runamuk’s various beeswax salves, there isn’t space to extract the remaining honey that I have still waiting in combs from last fall’s harvest, and I am lacking pasture to move my new pullets onto so they’re eating way more of that expensive organic grain than they otherwise would be.

What’s more, while I was able to plant my potatoes, onions, and garlic at this temporary location, I was intending to plant the remainder of my garden at the Hive House. With a Closing Date of June 29th I’ll have to abandon many of the full-season crops I typically plant: the tomatoes and winter squashes etc, which directly impacts my ability to produce food to store to see my family though the winter.

All of this will affect my farm-income and I’m concerned about being able to meet the financial projections I forecasted for the FSA when I assembled my paperwork for this loan. Unfortunately there’s really nothing to be done for it. Legally the Sellers are within their rights. If you look at it from their perspective, you can imagine what it might be like to have to say goodbye to the home they’ve known their entire adult lives. I’m sure that’s not easy either.

limited availability
Signage at farmers’ market explaining the sparseness of Runamuk’s booth; currently I’m out of honey, and since the new flock has not yet started laying, I don’t have eggs either.

Since there’s nothing to be done for it, I’ve accepted this year for what it is─a year of transition for Runamuk. I’ve decided to take it easy on myself; buying a farm through the FSA is a daunting prospect even under the best of circumstances. Moving a farm is challenging for any farmer, and trying to continue farming while relocating your operation is an ambitious proposition for even the best of us. I’m doing good just to be at market, to still be making soap at all, and to be working with bees even as a landless farmer.

I’m incredibly stressed and anxious about the whole thing, and these last few weeks I’ve just been trying to hold on til Closing. When I learned I would have to wait 5 more weeks I wasn’t sure I could make it. But when I posted to my facebook community expressing my concerns, a wise friend (thank you Janet!) quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt:

tie a knotIt brings to mind this mental image of myself clinging to the knot at the end of my rope, hanging on for dear life while the Journey finds me whipping in the wind and rains like a ragdoll. And I just keep telling myself “Don’t let go!”

Come June 29th the Hive House will be mine and Runamuk will finally have a #foreverfarm. It’s a huge relief to know that everything is a GO─nothing can stop this sale now. If I can just tough it out a little longer I will soon be moving Runamuk and my family HOME. Check back soon for details regarding our upcoming Farm-Warming Party!!!

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  1. My thought, too. But as you wrote “Nothing can stop you now!”.

    I’d love to and am able to help, I’m biking around looking for a farm too- I’m in Monson and I like it here.
    I’m leaving for Hazleton, Pa on Wednesday to pick up my jeep from the mechanic on the first. After that if you need some heavy lifting or dirty work done, I’m available Iand I literally work for food.

    I have an in “Horticulture and Sports Turf Management”.

    My focus is Herbs, Spices, Aromatics, and Medicinals.

    I have significant field work with Mint and bio prospecting of Rocky Mountain Junipers in Wyoming for anti cancer compounds (my mentor discovered an anti cancer med pre cursor).


    1. Samantha Burns

      Thank you Lyn! What a kind offer of help! I don’t know that I will need extra help like that this year, but in the next couple of years I hope to host apprentices at the new farm. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop by for a farm-tour! 😀 Stay tuned! Things are going to get exciting!!!

  2. Gail

    Hang in there.. Why dont you ask the couple if they would let you plant ahead of the closing.. Maybe they would understand. Ask, they can only say no.. I bet they let you..

    1. Samantha Burns

      Actually, I’ve attempted to compromise with these Sellers, but it seems they are just not comfortable with the idea of having me there before Closing. I think it’s best to just wait and do what I can after the move. Thanks for weighing in!

  3. Jackie

    If the FSA is ready now, could you close now, and rent the home to the sellers until the end of June? (Not unheard of in terms of a quick sale, even though this wasn’t quick at all!) At least then, you could go ahead and start your garden, and then relocate your bees without concern that it would be for naught. Might not be the most convenient thing to do, but would at least allow you to plant now. g

    1. Samantha Burns

      Unfortunately that is just not possible with these Sellers. I’ve decided to let go the bulk of the garden for this year, and focus instead on a fall-garden after the move. I also do not intended to move hives, but simply start new ones at the new location. It’s a tough situation, but I’ll get through! Thanks for the input!<3

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