January 2011. The trustees have asked me to give an update on the farm activities for 2010.
Our sources of income remain the same. The Backhaus Brothers continue to rent pasture from us for their cattle and to hay the fields. Our rental income from the two houses is down in that the Barn house was in need of extensive renovation before Neal could move in. The Annex was empty for the last two months of the year. It has had some painting done on the inside and needs some residing on the outside. We are actively looking for a renter at this time.
In addition to the regular expenses for utilities, insurance etc., we have continued the work on the family house. Doors and windows needing repair have been replaced and all the necessary shoring up has been done except for the front covered porch side of the house. The next step will be to pull away the flagstones from the porch side of the house and to check the supporting beam to make sure it is in good condition. If no work is required there, the porch will need to be made level so as to keep water from running back towards the house. Replacing the siding will be the next step. We can then proceed with the help of an architect to propose the best way to implement suggested interior changes. We do still have some funding available, but will need to accumulate more so this will be a several year process.
John Fuhr, who has done the work on the family house, did extensive work on the outside of the barn house replacing windows, siding, shoring up etc. Neal completely redid the inside of the house putting in central air, redoing the kitchen and the bathroom, rewiring, improving the plumbing , repainting, etc. He charged us for his materials many of which were used (the kitchen cabinets and the air con unit), but not for his labor.
The next largest expense was surveying costs for the northwest line of the property. Calvin was in touch with Mark Ditch whose company has been doing the work. It has been a several year project as the corners have been difficult to find, but Mark is honing in on it and at the same time giving us a reduced rate for his work.
Unfortunately our goats are no longer with us. Jay Detherage because of changes in his life was not able to continue with his herd. As a result we no longer have our Amur Honeysuckle and other exotics eating machines. If anyone would be willing to keep specific sections of the fam clear of exotics we might be able to stay on top of it, but it is a challenge. I was reading that Shaw Nature Reserve has hired Americorps. We almost have a Corps of great-great grands who in a few years might be able to be put to work.
Jim Casper put down some more rock on the road and dropped a load of shot rock on the creek bank by the barn in an effort to stabilize it as it was seriously eroding away.
Thanks to Sarah Fehlig we had another wonderful Easter and Thanksgiving celebration with many of the family on hand. Keith Eckenfels who is now living in the basement of 4969 as caretaker is available for both holidays and family members in attendance are contributing to cover his costs.
From all accounts the fish are biting more than ever in the ponds, Bald Eagles are coming in greater numbers, and frost flowers are to be found in the woods if your timing is just right.
All the best,