And so it begins…


I don’t even know where to start. Followers of this blog will not have missed the fact that it’s been over a month since my last post. What can I say? I’ve been away for over a month. But the farm has been cartwheeling forwards as always, in the capable hands of Lacey, Logan, Mark, Nancy and Brendon. So returning after a month’s southern sojourn is a bit overwhelming. As I said, I don’t even know where to start.

img_20180903_192419The trees – oh, the trees are model students in the art of overwhelming: apples and pears weighing down every branch. The hapless pear by the nursery even snapped a couple of branches trying to outdo itself. I’ve been giving myself stomach aches snagging fruit off the ground every time I walk by and snarfing it full down before I make it to the house. The greenhouse is overflowing with bright peppers and gargantuan squash. The gardens rising and spilling over in colors that I’m sure there have never been names for. The goats – of course the goats are their usual goofball selves. Babies no longer, but not yet surly teens and, as the millennial jargon goes – utterly adorkable. The pastures are full September brown, except for hollows here and there where green still lingers. There is no doubt that Summer has said “So there!” and dumped her bounty on the land for us to admire, barely pausing before turning her back to let dour Autumn approach.


But there is another change on the land: six days ago, the County issued us our first (of two, we hope) building permit, and this morning, Toby and Jamen broke ground on what will be Natembea’s farmer housing. We’ve been working toward this moment for over two years, so it feels like cause for a little celebration. Also more than a little terror. There are so many decisions we’ve had to make in the abstract, and now, as shovel hits dirt, many of them become irrevocable. And now that we’re actually moving forward, other decisions are coming flying at us faster than we can answer them – decisions that need answers NOW unless we want expensive machinery and contractors sitting idle while we research easement modifications and masonry loading weights.


So yeah, it’s kind of a crazy wonderful panic time all around. There’s more to tell, but right now I need to get back online and figure out the ramifications of fir vs alder ceiling beams…

[Cross-posted from the farm blog at]

2 responses to “And so it begins…

    • Congratulations! I’ve been intrigued by straw bale construction for ages. But we briefly evaluated it for the farm here, and quickly came the the conclusion that it wasn’t going to be practical for our specific needs.

      And “Natembea”: the short story ( is that it’s a Swahili word (and concept) that D and I were introduced to in Kenya back when we were courting. Part of a phrase meaning “We’re kind of on walkabout – we’ll know where we’re going when we get there.”


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