For any of you that are collecting these newsletters, surely this will be one for the farm history book: this is the tale of the morning our barn burned down. I was asleep, we all were. Paul was actually sleeping at the Farm Stay after a late night of baking in the kitchen. There was a loud knock on my door. In my pre dawn haze, it took me a moment to compose myself. I heard a deep unknown male voice and the very familiar voice of Louise, my mother in law. “get dressed “ she said, calmly and sternly. Of course I thought the sheep were out. Sadly when our renegade sheep choose to jump their fencing, nearly 100% of the time they end up on Gram’s lawn. Usually she calls, but I was sleeping, maybe I didn’t hear the phone. It took all of 10 seconds to slip into some sheep wrangling clothing when she looked me in the eye and said “your barn is on the ground”. The man with her was our local fire chief. I was in disbelief when I walked outside, the smell alone was overwhelming and when I climbed the small knoll up to the site, my only thought was “i can not do this”. But I did. Of course I did. I walked slowly to the barn, on the ground, still in flames. I didn’t think to count the number of firefighters or trucks that were blocking my road for as far as I could see. In the next moments I watched as they worked, spraying water on what was still aflame. My Chevy Silverado was long burned out, the sheets of tin that once covered the barn roof were tangled masses of metal. What remained on fire was the hay. The hay. 140 square bales and 4 round bales that would burn for many days I was told. The firemen approached me and asked me a question I didn’t quite understand. “should we just let it burn?” “HUH?” I responded. Apparently I needed to authorize them to cease their attempts at saving my long lost barn. I was in shock, this was the moment I realized I hadn’t called Paul yet at the Farm Stay. “ I have to call my husband, he’ll be right here, he can answer that question. Eventually Paul returned and the children awoke one by one. I watched as my loved ones took it all in, speechless.
The next minutes turned into hours turned into days and we remained utterly shocked at the loss. We are each walking through the days making mental inventories of the items, some small, some large, that were housed in the barn. I know we are so lucky. Our livestock was on the other side of the farm, no one was in the barn, nothing in that structure held any significant sentimental value. It is all replaceable with a huge amount of money and an even huger amount of work. We can do that. We have a home, we are well, we are safe. Those are the good moments. Obviously there are quite a few dark moments. Navigating the terrain of the insurance company (who has claimed that the barn which burned down happened to be the only structure on my property not covered by my comprehensive farm policy, clearly I am going to have to get a lawyer!) is no fun, walking past the smoldering remains of the heart of the farm is amazingly painful and smelly. The very brightest moments however have happened in the past 24 hours. In a state of intense vulnerability I put up a go fund me campaign. I was advised by many to the truth I already knew, you will need money to rebuild. Do not max out your credit card she warned. In the first day we raised over $5000. our community mobilizing around us in our greatest time of need is absolutely blowing me away. We have been sustained by the outpouring of support in ways I have no words for. Each of you, your generosity, your unending confidence and love of our farm and our family is proving to be the best salve for our wounds. We will rebuild. We will come back better and stronger then ever. Wow.
week eleven in your basket:
summer squash or zucchini
1 1/3 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup white vinegar
6 cups peeled and sliced cucumbers
2 cups sliced onion
Stir sugar, salt, and vinegar together in a plastic container with a lid until sugar
is mostly dissolved. Place cucumbers and onion in the vinegar solution; stir to coat.
Cover container and refrigerate for at least 2 days, stirring occasionally.