Posted by: littlehouseonthebigisland | January 24, 2014

Broken Down Mountain

When you own a farm, what they don’t tell you, is that besides knowing how to ‘farm,’ you also have to know how to fix things.  This is probably true if you own a home, too, but with a farm even more so because besides the house and the yard, there is all of the acreage and farm buildings and equipment to maintain.

We own four mowers.  In the past couple of months, one got over-filled with oil, on another the bottom ‘runner’ wore away, on the third mower the blade got so dull it was more like beating than cutting grass, and the John Deer tractor could only be operated when James was home, because one of the helpers broke it the last time they tried to drive it alone.  Also we have three vehicles.  The two cars have not been working since before Christmas.  That is not to say that we have not been repairing them.  Or renting a car.  Or ordering parts.  Or taking the truck into the shop for a new exhaust system while we had the rental.

The water in Juli’s apartment loses pressure every two weeks and requires a new filter for the pump.  The propane runs out and the water is cold.  James fixed that for the third or fourth time, hopefully also the last time for a while, earlier this week.  Terminix was here yesterday for a new termite outbreak in one of the farm buildings.  There was a torrential rain.  One of the gutters finally rusted through and the tarp was not tied on correctly so water was gushing onto the deck until I put a bucket under it and checked every hour, so it would not overflow.

The pump under Little House broke.  It now takes twenty minutes to fill the washing machine which only works on the normal setting, we don’t know why.  There are swarms of mosquitoes, even indoors.  It would help if there were fewer holes in the screens, but the dogs paw at the sliding doors, and birds fly into the windows.

We are waiting on a water heater we ordered, to be shipped from the mainland, so there will finally be hot water in one of the buildings we acquired three years ago when we bought out our land partner.  It has been a long time coming. First we had to destroy the illegal cesspool and fill it in.  Then we had to install a septic system and wait for the state to approve it.  Next was all the replumbing.  We will be pouring a cement pad for the water heater.

James figures I can’t get rid of him because he’s the only one who knows how to fix everything, and right now even he is stumped by our two cars.  We can only hope that the parts that came by UPS today will get mine running again.

I once read a book by Helen Hoover; the title was something like ‘The Years in the Forest.’  It started with a list of what the author and her husband planned to accomplish the first year that they moved onto their land in northern Minnesota.  As it turned out, it actually took about ten years to do everything on list and cross it off.  James will have been on our farm for forty years next month.  I visited here for five years before we got married.  In April I will have lived here for five more years.  We bought out his land partner three years ago.  It’s a lot of numbers, but basically, all they add up to is a lot that has been fixed, and a lot more that needs to be done.

The good news is, it is breezy and clear outside and everything is scrubbed bright green from yesterday’s rain. Little House is comfortable, dry and cozy.  The baby chicks are doing fine.  And most days, life on Magic Mountain Farm is very, very good, whether everything is working or not.

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