Filling the dumpster and other joys

A few friends and family have asked me, “How do you guys juggle everything? Kids, farm and animals?

Well, we don’t. We take care of the bare minimum and shrug off the rest.

Over the summer life started falling apart at the seams. The grass grew too tall, the girth of the manure pile expanded and dirty clothes perpetually clogged the cellar stairs near the washer. We ignored doctor appointments and parts fell off the car.

Most nights Martin and I ordered pizza, deposited the kids by the TV and collapsed. All the while the grass kept growing and the horses kept pooping.

So I quit my job about a month ago. Since then, I’ve been tackling the mundane chores and triaging the worst cases of neglect. I’ve fired up the lawn mower, put the car in the shop, the kids in the shop, mended fences and paid bills.

And while Martin’s working and the kids are away, I’ve dumped massive amounts of junk in the trash. Pitched countless toy parts, boxed up give-away items, heaved dust-coated furniture from the hay loft. I’m on a mission to shed the clutter from Martin’s Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond binges.

Throwing out things is utterly cathartic and liberating. And quite addictive. There’s a strong impulse to throw everything out.

Martin knows something’s up. I’ve been quietly ferrying boxes to my Mom’s house. And our dumpster is stuffed to the gills. Last week I barely lassoed the lids over the bulging heap. Tuesday I peered out the window, awaiting the growling trash truck that would gobble the load and let me start over again.

When I’m not feeding the dumpster, I’m spending money I’m not making any more.

I’ve got a contractor to replace rotted windows, overhaul the deck and fix the carriage house (aka, “the bar”), which has fallen victim to weather, insects and rot. It started as a “hey let’s fix the leaky roof.” Now we’ve got a full-blown restoration and improvement project.

When it’s done, the carriage house will look better than the house. Which is good news. We might be living there after I’m done throwing everything out.