There were times when the obstacles seemed insurmountable, times when I all but despaired of ever reaching my goal–when the dream of returning to the forested hillside where I found my salvation appeared forever out of reach; but I am finally able to say that yesterday, Friday, December 13th of this year 2013–we met with the lawyer handling our real estate deal to sign the documents on our mortgage.
We left the property in 2009–if you recall, because the trailer we were living in there was literally rotting around us–it had been through a flood and there was damage to the roof, mold grew and festered like a plague, and with a child suffering from asthma it seemed dire that we improve our housing situation. At that point we did not own the land, and had yet to prove that we could manage any property, but still–looking back on it now, I can’t help but wonder if there might have been a better option.
Anyway we left–came to town to live in a small home on a one-acre lot in town–5 miles from our precious farmland. It was a rough transition for me; I suppose I had grown a bit “Woods-Queer” as some would call it. Accustomed to daily walks in the forest, or along the dirt road; being back in town surrounded by neighbors I felt awkward and out of place. I think it wasn’t until I set my sights upon bees that I regained my footing.
The bees were my lifeline–my connection to the natural world, which seems so much more difficult to feel in town. It’s funny–I know that nature is always there, it is all around us everywhere we go, but the hard concrete and metal, the buildings and the automobiles, stifle the natural rhythms of nature. And I am someone who must feel those rhythms flowing through me, else I am lost–adrift in a noisy turbulent sea–and how can I maintain myself like that? It is beyond me. But the bees saved me. Like my trees and hillside had saved me. I devoted myself to them–I could not seem to help myself. I still cannot help myself when it comes to bees.
A Way Home
I began to see the way home–if I could learn to make money using my skills and passion for gardening, beekeeping, and sustainable living–I could finally have the homestead I’d always dreamed of, complete with chickens, goats and pigs. It didn’t even occur to me until after I started down that road, that what I wanted most was to be a farmer!
For a while we toyed with the idea of buying a homestead, which would have been easier than building one from the ground up–as we will have to do at the old Burns farm. But I never found the right property, or the right home–maybe the universe knew what my heart did not yet realize–that we already have the property we were destined to farm. We just needed to prove that we were ready and prepared to do what it takes to manage the land–that we could be good stewards of the land. So I devised a plan to get us there, and I’ve worked tirelessly towards my goal ever since.
Once I’d overcome all other adversity, an unexpected obstacle presented itself–one which delayed the Thanksgiving homecoming we’d been looking forward to. Blueberry Broadcasting leases 2 acres of land from my in-laws for a radio tower at the top of the hill; while this tower does not sit on the acreage we were gifted, the original lease agreement does not specify which 2 acres the corporation has access to, it arguably gives them access to any buildings on the property–and because our parcel was-until recently–part of the property specified in that lease agreement, it meant that Blueberry would have been within their legal rights to access and utilize our new home too.
Of course the mortgage lender would not move forward until my in-laws’ lease agreement with Blueberry was amended, which was fine with us–since we wanted to be the ones to live and do business there, not provide a place of business for someone else, but the corporation has a 6-8 week legal processing time. It seemed unreasonable to ask us to wait 2 more months when our entire lives were on the line! Not only was this a home we were trying to move into, but also a place of business, our farm and our livelihood–and all this had to happen during the holiday season! In between moves, with most of our belongings packed up, our holidays have been on hold–but it seems the legal world is inconsiderate of such factors.
Then, just when we thought we were finally in the clear–we were set to close on Monday–the CEO of Blueberry Broadcasting decided they wanted to change the dates of the lease agreement they held with my in-laws; a legal matter which had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with us or our mortgage and which delayed our move by another week! To top it all off–this corporation charged us $700 for their legal services–the sheer audacity of this company! I was infuriated to say the least! Obviously they have little regard for the people they lease property from, for people in general for that matter–and definitely no consideration or appreciation for their local farmers!
They have made no friends here, I can tell you that! I won’t forget this transgression against us, against Runamuk; it will be taken into consideration during future interactions with the company. And that is all I will say about it here.
Struggling through adversity
In-between moves we’ve had trouble getting Fairpoint to turn on a phone-line for us, we’ve been forced to buy tracfone minutes left and right just to stay in touch with customers and family. Add to that problems with the old heater in this house in-town eating fuel faster than usual (and it usually goes through fuel quickly in this drafty old house!), and Keith and I have felt at times as though the obstacles would yet prove to be overwhelming. There were days when I wanted to despair, moments when I shed tears of frustration and misery, I cannot write when I am so twisted up inside, so the blog has suffered, but neither could I give up when we were so close to achieving our goal!
Home for the Solstice
Despite everything it seems fitting that we received the Deed for our acreage on the Winter Solstice last year, 2012–and that a full year later we are finally able to return home–that we will be moving into our new home just in time to celebrate the Winter Solstice on that hillside which we hold so dear. That we will be able to start a new year there–facing a spectrum of possibilities–makes every hardship endurable. My heart rejoices and though we know that hard work lies ahead of us–Keith and I are eager to get started, to dig in–literally–to reclaim the pastures that once sprawled across this hillside, to see livestock and wildlife abound at Runamuk, and to see the farm that once was flourish again under our care.