The contractor dug and scratched; leveling the ground under the old barn and digging for footings. They brought out a mini excavator and a dandy little bulldozer. I think the operator was a little nervous working around the cribbing supporting the barn. He had to pay attention to the cribbing, the I beams, and the barn suspended ten feet over head while carefully leveling the soil to grade and trenching for the footings.
After the footings where dug they set the rebar in place and made off for the long weekend. They have scheduled concrete for Monday. Lots of folks driving out the Valley have started to wonder what is going here. Boistfort Valley is about four miles wide and fourteen miles long with Boistfort Rd running north/south. Our farm is located at the northern end of the Valley so most folks living to the south pass by to get to town. Having this thing jacked up is a real head turner but so far we have only had one, make that two stop bys specifically to ask what we were doing. I should add here that nothing would surprise my neighbors at this point.
When my wife and I first moved down here we took over a farm that was overgrown with blackberries. There were old fences run everywhere; along the roads and around the buildings. Blackberries and morning glory had all but taken the place over. It was a bank repo, and so the previous owners had taken everything of value, including most of the light fixtures, leaving bare wires hanging out of the walls and ceiling. I remember my surrogate grand mother standing in the driveway crying when we first brought her here, "Oh Michael, what have you done!" But all I could see was potential. I have been blessed with some of the best, hardest working friends in the world. I called in every favor and spent what little money we had left after buying the place getting the fields in shape. I do not think the neighbors knew that I had done this kind of farming before we moved here. I had an established market and was anxious to reunite after a two year sabbatical from agriculture.
This area is mostly commodities and dairies. I am sure our patchwork operation, which more closely resembles a ridiculously large garden than it does a typical row crop operation, raised more than a few eyebrows. I distinctly remember a lot of "good lucks" and "hope you make its". The bottom line is that our customers where very happy to have us back, and what started as a five acre field in 2003 has grown to over thirty acres this past 2008 season. And the valley residents? They are awesome. They are quick to compliment us on our hard work and the beauty of the farm.
More on the barn after Monday.