Next week, we’ll be starting all over again. We’ll have three times the land we have now with none of the work done that we’ve done. We’ll have to start new gardens, build a new barn, put up new fences, clear new pastures, get to know new neighbors. Honestly, it’s not something to look forward to when I look back at all we’ve done to get where we are today. Nevertheless, we’re not doing this for ourselves, but for the children and families that we know will enjoy it in the future.
By the grace of God, the transition is not going to be all that bad, though. We know what needs to be done, we know how to do it, and we have help to get it done. The land was owned by a farming family for over a century and was very well cared for. It was cleared for pine timber, so we don’t have to deal with acres of trees to remove ourselves–we simply have to stump the land, grade it and sow it for pasture .
Moreover, we have a really wonderful neighbor, one of the sons of the original family who’s not around 70 years old and retired. He knows every inch of the land, knows how to do everything, knows everyone in the county and is very happy to have us as neighbors and eager to help us get things moving.
Today, I dropped by to look over a few things and he caught me. He had a list of things to talk to me about–wanting to help me get the work started and show me around his shops and property. He’s a wonderful guy who really is the perfect neighbor for us. He makes his own wines, restores old tractors, is a woodworker who makes fine furniture and old fashioned household products, he’s a gardener and sells hay to the neighboring horse stables. While we were there, he showed me his 1890’s sugar cane press (and gave me a jar of “Ralph’s Cathouse Biscuit Molasses”, which he makes with that press), his 1957 John Deere bulldozer, the dozen old John Deere and Farmall tractors he has restored (and in use), his woodshop and his new project….a tractor pull track! Yes, in September, he’ll be holding an antique tractor pull contest for the members of the Union County Antique Tractor Club. He also couldn’t let us leave without showing off his latest creation–a barrel train he pulls with his golf cart, made of painted 55 gallon plastic barrels.
There’s a lot of work to do over the next few years, but I’m looking forward to hanging out with Mr. Ralph.