Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Our Year from Hell

Just over a year ago we were giddy with excitement about our bridge project. The abutments were in place, we'd lined-up help from a pipeline company, and the bridge was on the way. Then, after a long day of bridge work, we found out the bridge was too short.

That was the beginning of what we've dubbed "Our Year from Hell".

Our too-short bridge was a source of stress and frustration. The very warm winter meant that all the ground that was ripped up turned to mud. We called ourselves "mudpeople" for several months. 

At the same time we were dealing with the bridge construction project, we had a pipeline crossing our property. Equipment was all over the place, and we fielded phone calls and visits from the company reps on a daily basis. We spent a long time looking at our land being ripped apart.

Next, our well died. We spent two months without running water, and waited for our new well to be drilled.  Then we waited for the water to clear. That stretch of time was exhausting.

Our next hellish time came during two weeks in July. A storm knocked out power and water in the midst of a heat wave. There was damage all over the farm.

Finally, our beloved Beast is gone. We miss him terribly.

I've been waiting to write this post for a year now. When I sat down the other night to find some pictures to include something struck me. Yes, there were many challenges this year. Yet, all those challenges led us to a better place. 

We have a bridge now. The railings are coming soon. We can drive to our house in all kinds of weather and hauling all kinds of things. It was worth the wait. 

There is a gravel driveway that leads to the house. We don't have to hike through mud, and park the car in a bog - luticoles no more!

The pipeline is done, all the equipment is gone. Although our land looks different, it is starting to recover. The pipeline provided finances for future projects (and vacations!) as well as lots of wood. We will have easily accessible wood for the next several years. 

We have a new well. Our water is now safe to drink, and runs clear. Having a good source of water is priceless - and hopefully we won't have to pay that price again! 

There have also been a lot of good events at the farm throughout the year of hell. 

We were able to sell four beeves this year. All the work building fence, putting up hay, building a chute, hauling water, and chasing rouge calves paid off. We covered some of our expenses and have a freezer full of delicious beef

The garden was a success. We ate well all summer, and are still harvesting. Our freezer and shelves are full of preserved veggies. 

A farmer's market started in New Martinsville. We were pleased with the response from the community, and feedback from our customers. It's encouraging as we think about future farm plans. 

The cabin has the start of a bathroom. We've made good progress over the past few weeks and are looking forward to continuing the work. 

So, we are calling "Our Year of Hell" officially over. Although there have been a lot of hardships and hard work, looking back - we've been blessed with a lot of progress and beauty. We have big plans ahead and can't wait to see what the next year brings. 


  1. Lorraine in WisconsinNovember 14, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    You made lemonade from all your lemons. May you never experience anything worse than what you did during your "year from hell."

  2. Well if you can make it through a year like this one, I'd say you can make it through almost anything.

  3. Always look forward--the future is where the fun is.

  4. If two people were "created" to do what you've done this year - it was you two! The strength you've found within each other and within yourselves is astonishing and yet - not. It's BOTH your ancestors that created this "drive" within each of you. You worked your butts off in college and still, each day on your brae bank farm! The rewards have been MANY for your readers as we watch you hammer the farm into your dream. LOVE to you both!

  5. Like you, we're glad this year is almost over! We had squash from the CSA farm we belong to for Thanksgiving dinner, as well as carrots and parsnips. How about you? What did you eat yesterday from your farm?


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