In Part 1 of my Long Distance Farming blog post I left off with us buying the farm. If you haven't read Part 1 yet you can find it here. So I took a month off of the spill and packed up everything I owned and moved across the country. I got there a few days before Wes did and left shortly after he got there - to go back to Louisiana! It was early July 2011 and it was hot! Lucky for Wes he was in charge of the first of many major home and farm tasks while I was gone: installation of geothermal heating and (more importantly) cooling. Meanwhile, I watched the process unfold from Louisiana as Wes posted photos on his facebook page. This was how it would be for the next two years. In addition to facebook, we used facetime a lot as well. Not only have I done facetime with Wes, but I have also done facetime with our cats and, most recently, our chicks!
One thing that is really hard to do when you're farming long distance is buying things on a budget, which in my case means buying things on craigslist and auction sites. Well, the shopping online part isn't hard, but buying site unseen and having your husband go pick it up while you're away is another story. Case in point: the robot. Yes, we now own a robot. Okay, it's not really a robot but that's what we've come to call the gigantic, heavy, mysterious ultrasound machine that is in my basement right now (mysterious because it's from like 1980-something and I can't find a manual for it)! According to Wes it weighs somewhere in the vicinity of 300 pounds...and it doesn't fit in a 2 horse trailer. Yes, a 2 horse trailer that I just happened to find on craigslist around the same time that I won the robot auction and it was only logical that I should send Wes to buy said trailer and then go pick up the ultrasound machine with it! Yeah, only logical...
So I had never seen a 2 horse trailer before, but I had done all sorts of online research on trailer pricing, etc. while I was in Louisiana and this particular 2 horse trailer seemed to be in good condition and a good price. I emailed the seller some questions, she sent me more photos, and the deal was a go. Well, Wes went to get the trailer and then went to get the ultrasound machine and (1) the trailer had no ramps to wheel the 300 pound robot into the trailer and (2) even if it did, the robot wouldn't fit in the trailer anyway due to the center divider. So my wonderful, patient, loving husband rented a U-Haul truck to get my robot. My robot which to this day I have not plugged in and tried out because I can't find a manual for it and I am pretty sure it is missing a cord. But I got it for $56!
By the way, this 2 horse trailer looked nice and big online but it turns out it has a dressing area taking up about 1/3 of the space. My alpacas aren't really into western wear so they have no need for a dressing area, so I can only fit a few of my animals in it at any given time (and only males or females because there isn't enough space to separate them). So if you're interested in trading a nice 2 horse trailer for a livestock trailer please give me a call!
So that's a little insight into the past 3 years of my life and how I came to be a long distance farmer. I finished my last rotation in Louisiana in February and, while I am sad to leave the people that have come to be like family over the last 3 years, I am happy to be able to shift my focus to farming full time. I am thankful for things like facebook that make these long distance relationships possible. I am also thankful to have such a supportive husband who has really stepped outside of his comfort zone over the last couple of years to help me make this farm happen. If you take anything away from this blog post, take away the fact that if you are passionate about something, you can make it happen, and no matter how hard it is you will be happy because you are doing what you love.