West Side Story

Freddie assessing west side of barn
The “big barn out back,” nearly the size of our “little house up front,” was in such a state of neglect that a couple of our friends actually suggested we just tear it down.  Freddie  included.  (More on our BFFreddie later.)  NO WAY was I going to witness the sacrifice of this character and NO WAY could we afford building a replacement from the ground up.  This was going to be our garage and the Harley workshop/hangout; divided in purpose with the back half where the built-in tack room and feed storage bins were to remain “on task” for farm-related things and animal housing when needed. Sliding stall doors from the front half (which was partially gutted to accommodate our tractors and implements) are going to be roughly restored and definitely repurposed in the house… eventually.

As luck would have it, a friend of Debi’s (more on my beloved  sister-in-law later) had recently been laid off and was looking for a temp position that involved long days of laboring, heavy lifting, underbrush clearing, dismantling, rebuilding, painting and occasional authentic Costa Rican meal preparation for ten bucks an hour and a place to shower up and catch some winks afterwards.  Enter our open arms, Lenier, and let’s make ourselves a barn.

“The West Side (of the barn) Story”

After clearing away a few year’s worth of leaves, brush and the “dumped debris” beneath, the foundation was shored up and the hopelessly rotted facade removed.  We rented one of those huge demolition dumpsters as there was also tons of trash and scrap left behind and/or dumped both inside and outside the barn by a prior owner who was in the roofing and siding business.  The west side of the barn (as seen in the first photo above) was in the poorest condition, so that was tackled first.

The process may have been as painful as a root canal at times, but here you can begin to see the fruits of their labor after a couple of the window sockets were filled with double dutch doors. 

“the happy ending”

I’m a Farm Wife… and I hate GMOs.

modern homesteading, one step at a time.

gmo corn

I’m a Farm Wife. And I Hate GMOs.

I’m a farm wife – of a grain farmer. A GMO grain farmer. There’s been a lot of heated debates about GMOs lately, as there should be, and it seems like I hear the same things repeated over and over in our agricultural community. If you’re against GMOs, you’re against farmers. If you’re against GMOs, you must be some yuppie woman from the city who drops her children off at their charter school, hits up her organic market, and goes back to her 7th floor flat to practice her internet activism against GMOs. If you are that mom, no offense, and the movement can certainly use you, provided that you really do your research and don’t quote things from NaturalNews without first making sure they are entirely unbiased and true. 🙂

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who loves agriculture…

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A decade ago, when the term “blogging” was “another new one,” it initially struck me as just another outlet for those with a refined sense of self-importance, or the “dear diary” types, or folks who simply don’t get out often (which lead some to talk to themselves… in the font of their choice, often with images).
Through the years in the more recent past, I’ve come to truly appreciate the presence, at my Googled command, of so many talented, educated, highly-experienced, witty, and quite “selfless” folks I so ignorantly and dismissively categorized above who obviously enjoy putting themselves “out there” to share with any willing takers their thoughts, ideas, emotions and intellect.  I’ve “taken” full advantage.  No question goes unanswered, no pipe dream uninspired, no meanings undefined, no opinions unstated.
There are so many visually-appealing, thoughtfully-designed and professionally-presented blogs out there that I certainly feel pretty insecure and a bit silly about starting one of my own.  But the inspiration to go for it anyway is fueled by the common thread that seems to bind all those whose blogs I’ve stumbled upon accidentally, perused briefly or whiled away unproductive hours on: PASSION.  We’re all passionate about something, and I think it’s pretty awesome when self-described socially reclusive types such as myself are able to experience the kinship of others with like passions from the comfort of a swiveling chair in a house we don’t care to leave very often.
As per one of the definitions of a blog that I found, “a personal diary, a daily pulpit, a collaborative space, a political soapbox, a breaking-news outlet, a collection of links, your own private thoughts, memos to the world,” I know this blog won’t be a daily undertaking, and obviously not very private (but by default in that I may well be the only one here).  If you happened upon my blog by sheer circumstance, I hope you’ll find something worthy of your time, however fleeting it may be.

In March of 2008, my husband Greg and I purchased a 10-acre property situated on a wooded lot on a dead-end avenue squarely centered between the Atlantic City Racetrack and Atlantic City Airport.  The cedar-sided bungalow built in 1971 sits at the end of a rather long lane (driveway, I suppose) and was complemented by a big old barn, a multi-room stable, a henhouse, a lean-to shelter, a horse stable, a gazebo and three koi ponds… all in a sinful state of neglect and disrepair with a bit of vandalism and dumping to boot. I’m “passionate” about its piecemeal restoration and the quality of life doing so has afforded us. 


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