Monday, August 15, 2016

With a Little Help From Our Friends...The Chatsworth Farm Comes Back to Life

Community...at work.

We continue to sludge our way through the grunge, debri, and destruction left behind by the folks who semi-resided on our Chatsworth farm this past year and slowly, we are making headway. In fact, "headway" gathered great speed this past Saturday when a motley crew of relatives and friends came together to make the farm presentable enough for realtor photos. They included sisters Mary (and husband Dave), Peg and Teresa, friends Marty, Will, and Emma, sons Jason and Kyle (with his wife Amanda and baby Easton to spread light and joy) and our granddaughter Nicole.

Last week daughter Raven and our other two grandchildren Allana and Wesley tackled garden weeds while neighbor Duane made the first pass through the front yard with HIS tractor and mower. In between these two groups of helpers, we were offered tons of assistance from other friends and past customers but I could not fathom taking them up on their offers until the grossest leftovers (especially those within our old farmhouse) were carted away by Keith and I.  But, it worked out well this way, as Keith and I were, after two straight weeks of cleaning,  physically tired and emotionally drained. Thus, this Saturday Morning Live group, motivated us again.

These people were amazing.

Will and Marty of the world famous, or at least it should be, Spence Farm, started the day with  heavy equipment, a tractor and pull behind mower. Marty tackled the front two acres of pasture with weeds that were in some places, over eight feet tall. He worked on it all drizzly morning. His son Will worked with me gathering up old fence posts for the metal pile and then he worked alongside Keith and our son Jason pulling out the ridiculous fencing the previous tenants had left, where they had pastured the cows literally up to our back door, blocking off the entire west side of the driveway.

This allowed Jason to mow the backyard and when he was done, except for the multitude of cow pies, it resembled, well... a backyard again.The transformation was made complete by son Kyle who weed wacked the house right down to its brick and pored concrete foundation! Some of the trees allowed to grow alongside the house needed chainsaw action from him as well.

My three sisters and brother-in-law tackled the farmhouse and small garage with vigor. Trash went to the big burn pile, junk went to the dumpster, cobwebs were sent screaming into outerspace and toilets were shining like diamonds when they were done.

I kid you not. The queen of England herself does not have cleaner thrones.

Friend Emma led the brigade against all weedy things in the two raised flower boxes in the yard which two weeks ago could not be seen at all, and she and the sisters freed up three rose bushes also left for dead. And might I say, my sister Teresa with an industrial sized weed wacker in her hands, wresting with shoulder high Comfrey and Horseradish plants, is a frightening sight. This morning two of the three rose bushes had new blooms, just in time for the realtor photos. Sadly the blooms were not big enough to cover up the porch destroyed by the last tenants, but still, their red and yellow colors may soften the blow for prospective buyers.

We listed the house with a realtor today and half our our livestock has now been sold. Our farm equipment is going up on Craigs list and next week we'll tackle barn cleanup. Selling our farm business, and  home via contract for deed turned into a nightmare for us, but with the help of all our friends and family the fog is lifting. Soon, we hope to once again focus primarily on our Poor Farm activities. Soon.

I'll end this post with a few before (we assumed ownership again of the Chatsworth farm ) and after (we hacked away all the weeds and cleared up the debri) photos.

          The front porch






        The shop







        The Wee Garage




       The front pasture    






     The Farm Store




 

22 comments:

  1. Great results! You have some seriously great hardworking friends and family. Best of luck with the sale.

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    1. I'll pass on your comments. Pros these people were. Pros.

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  2. To be honest, the before pictures made me cry. I have seen your farm in it's prime and what they left was despicable. With all your hard work these past two weeks, the farm looks great. I think about you and Keith everyday. I know one day this will be a chapter in one of your many books and in true Donna fashion, it'll be a great story.

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  4. That is an amazing outpouring from your friends and family! This new phase can't help but go fabulously with such a group at your side!

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  5. It boggles the mind that so much damage could happen in the length of a year. It looks more like 5 years of not just neglect but malicious, even viscous vandalism. I can't get my head around the kind of people who could do that let alone LIVE there and convince customers they were selling 'wholesome, organic, fresh' milk and eggs. As awFUL as that was, it's counterpoint is the aweSOME response of your friends, relatives, customers, (have I missed anyone?) rallying around you. You are blessed. Hang in there.

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    1. It was such a reminder to us, that when you neglect anything, people, property, relationships, it doesn't take long for it all to fall apart.

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  6. Kris has taken the words that I was going to write so I wont repeat except to say how can anyone allow them selves to live in such a mess never mind about work in it. It's great to hear that you have so many loyal and willing friends and relations, they have done sterling work.

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    1. Yes, that Kris is a real word thief, but you are commenting all the way from Ireland. That always gets kudos from me. And "sterling" is the perfect word to describe our helpers.

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  7. Good friends family and neighbors are truly priceless! After my mom died the real estate market crashed so we decided to rent out her very nice ranch house for a bit. After a couple of months of no rent and no response we hired a locksmith to get in and walked into much the same scenario (minus the manure, she lived in a city). It truly boggles the mind how some people can be so literally careless. Good luck to you.

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    1. Oh deodar, how I feel for you. The first day we looked around we were in shock. So glad I took photos. Lots of photos.

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  8. The change in over a year of 'care' from the new tenants makes me sad in all the worst ways. All of your hard work gone, just like that, because someone was only interested in making a buck.

    Bless you, your family, and your friends for cleaning the place back up and breathing new hope into for the next family. I know it is a lot of work for so very little reward, but at least you are doing what you can.

    Hope things work out better for you this time around!

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    1. I hope so too Amanda, as I need some free time to start doing some labor on other peoples homes and farms. We owe them all big time.

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  9. Well done on all the hard, hard work you and your family, friends and everyone has put in. I just can't understand how some people can trash a place like this it makes me so sad.

    The 'after' photos are a tribute to all your hard work, and the 'before' photos a lesson to us all if we intend letting out any sort of property.

    I hope the sale goes well, oh and well done in selling half your livestock, I bet they were relieved to go to good homes after their last year of hell :-(

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    1. Sadly Sue only a few of them have gone to other farm homes. Most have gone to the sale barn. I'll be blogging about that soon.

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  10. The trouble with this sort of Criminal Behavior is that it kills any willingness to help the next person. Like the landlord with one bad tenant who won't ever rent again, it's easy to become hard & sour. I'm so glad you have good people around to help carry the load & ease your way out of this tragedy - because that's what it is. I hope everything sells quickly & for a good price because you deserve it.

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    1. Sharon, we do feel hard and sour towards these two individuals but we still believe in the general goodness of most folks. Proof was in all the help we've received lately.

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  11. I'm so glad that people are rallying to help you. I've no doubt that you've helped plenty of others in the past years(and will help more in the future). I hope you get a great offer on the place quickly and that the remaining livestock go to good homes that will cherish them as you have.

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    1. While in Chatsworth. Keith and I did enjoy helping new farmers get set up, so to see and hear from so many of them lately been emotionally rewarding and humbling.

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  12. my question is why people would do all that destruction!! I feel so bad that you have to go through all of this. Great that you have so many friends and family to help you get through this rough time. You are strong farm people so you will come out on the bright end of things.

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