Becoming Whalen Farms
Each day at our new home is completely different from the day before. We’re in flux. So much movement. So much change. So much work. We’re tired. And some days, we’re overwhelmed to the point of tears brimming the edges of our eyes, threatening to pour over. And when they do, it seems as if the ocean runs out. The release is good. Needed. And then we hoist our chins up, and soldier on. This is the price of becoming Whalen farms.
We prayed for this. Dreamt of it. Imagined the day we packed up our belongings to create a new life. Not because our old life was bad, it wasn’t.
But we knew we were capable of more.
We aren’t regretful in the least. But it’s hard. And yet we get up each day and keep going because we see it. We look out over our land with steaming coffee in hand and we know what it is we need to do, to create the picture in our heads. And so we get to work. Because it’s worth it.
It’s worth it because it’s hard. Because most won’t do it. Because it asks of you all that you have. In faith, in finances, in sweat equity, and blood.
But we see it. In tiny slivers, we see the dream in physical form. In the flowers that now surround us, in the crisp produce we pick off the vines, and in the animals that excitedly greet us at dawn. The little and big things happening. In the possibilities of things to come.
This is the price we pay to become Whalen farms.
We must take this land, this house, that have been neglected, and bring them back to their former glory. One shovel full of dirt, and repair at a time.
I can already feel the land breathe a sigh of relief. It’s growing things again: tomatoes, peppers, squash, flowers. It’s alive. Being tended. Loved. Chickens run across its ground in search of bugs. The dog bounds around the yard, fetching his ball. And the cats stalk under the house in search of mice.
We’re impatient, wanting the process to speed up.
We hate the waiting game. That we must rely on others for some of the work needed. We look forward to the day the big, hired-out projects are complete and we can move at our own pace.
I can’t wait for my kitchen floor to not sag under the sink anymore.
Years of an unattended leak have left the subfloor under the sink damaged. Thankfully, the joists are solid. Almost 100 years old, they will firmly be in place another 100, God willing. The subfloor though must go. But we have to wait for the foundation to be repaired on that side of the house. And so I stand daily in a squishy dip in the floor, doing dishes and praying for solid footing again.
When people find out what we left, the house, the property, all to come here and purchase this, they think we’re crazy. I won’t argue with them. We are.
This is just one of the ways we pay the price to become Whalen farms. We’re also struggling in the extreme heat without air conditioning, as we squeezed into the contractors’ schedule, and they work on our house around the jobs they already had. We huddle in the homeschool room, or the kids room, or the master bedroom, three of the only places in the house we have air conditioning units. Cooking in the hot kitchen leaves me frustrated, sweaty, and wanting to skip a meal rather than make one. But the family needs fed, so we look for ways to use the stove minimally while keeping full bellies.
One day we’ll look back at these issues and they’ll be distant memories.
Hurdles that make you appreciate the progress more. So we embrace these hard moments, taking them one day at a time.
Someone took all the electrical from the shop while the home lay vacant years ago, so we run extension cords from the house to the shop so Travis can turn on his saws and tools, and get to work on repairs and outbuildings.
Some say we’re lucky, to be given this opportunity, and we are. But it’s one thing to say we’re lucky, and quite another to be working in your shop, with extension cords running across the yard and concrete floors, as you sweat in 87% humidity which makes it feel 105, making an enclosure for your chickens that are stinking up the house and need to be transferred to the coop. Are we lucky? Yes! We don’t doubt it. But not everyone would put in the work to be “lucky” like us.
This is the price of Whalen Farms. And we gladly pay it. Because the price is worth it. We’re building something that will outlast us, live beyond us. Something we can pass down, that will hopefully contribute to the town and area, and our kids and their kids.
I hope our story encourages you. We can do hard things friends. We can accomplish big things. One shovel of dirt, one repair, one decision, and leap of faith at a time. Follow along on Instagram to see what’s happening on the farm in day to day. And make sure to check out the podcast Homestead Journey to hear more about are adventure in depth!