Everything in its place

The Easter Chicks are more than happy where they are –chicksbut the Turkey House has happy meat chicks in it. Federico has finished The Turkey Brooder House with a circle of windows around the top, so the chicks are draft free down on the floor but well ventilated with pull up sections to let in sun and breeze when they are older.  The other good thing about the windows all the way around the top is that tucked into the garage porch out of the weather like that – the building still feels light. Not blocky and dark.

One of the girls first jobs will be to paint this. (The image was taken with the wide angle so it is looking a bit wonky, but it isn’t). turkey-house-001

A photo for his mother.young man

In my efforts to create more room on this tiny farm I have ordered a dumpster, in New Zealand we call it a Skip. A dumpster involves a significant investment of hard earned cash but the Junk must GO.  And I have hands to help me clear out these buildings. The rat house especially needs cleaning out  in preparation for the farrowing wing and even the garage has piles in the corners that are breeding a lot faster than my pigs.  I think of the pile-up of rubbish as a bit like juggling, it takes so much energy to keep this stuff in order, to keep it in the air, to dodge and work around it, to keep my eye on all the balls –  I have recycled and reused everything I can – but there is only so much I can absorb, much of this stuff was abandoned here years before even John came. Broken windows, and rotting timbers, old concrete, rusty everything, fencing wire, barbed wire, old baling wire, all rusted – useless. Old tins, car parts, cracked  windscreens, ruined doors,  bent roofing, you know the stuff. All going. dog in field

kunekune pigs in field With any luck the dumpster will arrive on Friday. Our John has been given notice that I will be in his stuff too. Everything will be given a place to live and then it will have a place to be returned to. I spend huge amounts of time every day looking for things.  So he is agreeing to help and stay on his toes.  Though I imagine there will be words! There already have been. This is where a butterfly like me (who finds it hard to settle or own stuff) and a pack rat like John (who settles into his corner with all his stuff falling apart around him and is set for the course) have to be accepting of our differences and learn to meet half way.  I am very sure that he will spend a considerable time after work every day dumpster diving!


I see it as decluttering the flow of the farm. Clearing the pathways and giving my brain a rest from having to follow the path of things like shovels and hammers and hinges and wire cutters.  When there is too much stuff around things get lost and everyone gets frustrated. This is why I like a simple life. I do not like to own too much. It gets too heavy.  I cannot keep track of it all. la mancha goat


Good morning. The little goats still come into the barn every evening. I am not ready to leave them out in the field without a mother. They are growing though… beautifully.  Such lovely animals and like the pigs they are wonderfully biddable.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farm


77 Comments on “Everything in its place

  1. I feel for you. When we got married, I discovered to my astonishment that not everyone puts their tools back after use… I’ve become very possessive of ‘my’ tools, because they now walk, and I can’t find a thing. Of course, they’re ‘our’ tools now, but if neither of us can find them, they’re worse than useless…. Your skip will fill as if by magic, even with Our John diving into it nightly to retrieve treasures. There’s an art to filling a skip efficiently, and I’m sure you know it well. Who wants to pay for empty space to be carted away? Good luck with the clearing.

  2. I love that word dumpster (and the idea) – it describes the object so clearly, whereas the British word skip is laughably inaccurate! The French word is “benne” which doesn’t grab me either. I’m wondering if we’ll recognise the Farmy after the clearup! I’m in entire agreement with your views on stuff, and on returning tools to their homes.

    I’m having more computer problems, thanks to a rogue Windows update, so I may go quiet for a bit. (Do I hear you cheering?)

    Enjoy your day,

    • Sorry to hear about your computer problems. Hope they are sorted real soon. You will be missed.

    • Bonjour ViV! I hope you are still online to read this, for you inspired me to look up the etymology of “dumpster”- since I lived for a few years on Dempster Street in Evanston, Illinois, & always heard dumpsters referred to as Dempster Dumpsters & I assumed because they were manufactured further out on Dempster in some factory. So thanks to the brilliance of the net one click this morning brought me to Wikipedia’s story of George Roby Dempster (1887-1964) who created dumpsters. He was a successful businessman & progressive politico in Knoxville, Tennessee, who hired the handicapped & the blind & did many other good things. I guess my street was just named in his honor because I didn’t find any other Evanston connection to him in my brief search. But so, the word was a fun alliteration. And now I wish I were inspired to dump the winter junk all around me. Depeche-toi back again bientot as we enjoy your bon mots from France. Happy Spring Cleaning, Celi, & keep a sharp eye in the dumpster, John. Judith in Asheville.

  3. I love purging and sorting and tiding. I would be there in a heartbeat to help fill the skip if I could C! My Pete and I also have disagreements about what to keep and what goes where and he like your John keeps everything!
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  4. This time of year I love to set things in order and tidy and clean everything. The Mennonite /Amish community that I live in considers everything to be common ground so I have learned to keep what I don’t want carried away (to be used and forgotten elsewhere) out of sight!

  5. Pack Rat here, Our John has my sympathy 🙂 Handsome and Useful … well done Frederico! Freya and Hazel growing up so quickly. Happy tidying up. Laura

    • Had to chime in with support for the pack rat point of view! My thought is that I’d rather be doing something else–anything else–other than sorting and organizing.

  6. My Gramma used to say “A place for everything and everything in its place’. I just love that saying and really do try to implement it around here. Sadly, My John has not heard of it, and like Our John, not only do things not go back in their personal places, but very little actually is ‘let go of’ which also makes me crazy! I, too, love simplicity! Makes life so much easier, and so much less time is wasted looking for stuff!!! Happy De-cluttering my friend! 🙂 PS I know what you mean about stuff being there from decades ago! The hay loft on our farm was chocked full of all kinds of the stuff you described when we arrived, with not even room for a bale of hay!!!

  7. The term ‘eye candy’ comes to mind *sigh*…. I do believe I am about half-way in between swept clear and pack rat, so my sympathies go with you both. In my heart of hearts I am a pack rat, no question; it almost physically hurts to throw stuff away. However, I have reached a stage in my life where I do appreciate simplicity to a great degree. This is why I say about half-way in between.
    Yes, with all the talk of cows calving and possible piggie pregnancies, gardens and gnomes, we haven’t heart much about the goats and their tees…….. lol She is looking rather fine, and hope all is well in that corner.
    You, too, have a loveRly day! Mame

  8. Happy spring cleaning. It will make you feel good to have the spaces all tidied up and I am hoping your John can handle a bit of organization. 🙂

  9. Well at our house the roles are reversed for the most part, I am the pack rat and my husband is the organizer. Except when it comes to tools. I like the tools to have a home and for them to spend time there bonding with the other tools to create a happy, easy to locate family. He seems to be of the free range ideology which unfortunately seems to have rubbed off on the kids. Do you have a scrap/junk collector in your area? If you have a lot of scrap metal there might be someone who would haul it away for the metal or if you have enough of the right kind of metal they may pay a small amount. That way the dumpster will have room for more trash. We use to get them at the farm often since it was on a major road on the way to the recycling place. Much to Dad’s disgust they often wanted some of his old machinery that he was still using as well as his actual scrap.

    • My thoughts too Jeanne… scrap metal recycling might well pay for the cost of the skip, plus a little profit.

  10. A good clear out is very therapeutic I find! We had to do the same with the old church in preparation for the quail; a good ‘bottoming’ as we call it!

  11. You are on the right track!! That sort of deep, deep cleaning of stuff long ago abandoned is SO freeing.
    A story similar to Our John’s need to keep things. My husband has a wool sweater. The moths got to it one summer and when he needed to wear it he discovered a hole (too big to mend)—right where a pocket might be. Instead of tossing the sweater or donating it, he merely put a piece of duct tape on the inside of the sweater. It was gray like the tape. We had money by then, we were no longer starving newlyweds. “It’s perfectly fine, no one will notice.” The next year I snuck it into a bag of donation clothes. He fished it out!!! We still have the sweater and he still wears it.

  12. I am an ‘everything should have a home, and be returned there when finished with’, kinda gal. Before I married Jack, my mother warned him not to stand in any one place for longer than five minutes or I would put him in the refuse bin. Mother love how are you! 😆 Fortunately for me, Jack was super tidy too. Pity the gene missed Elly! I like the look of the turkey hotel…. are you taking bookings. That is one fine young man you have there in Federico, pity I am not forty years younger! 😉

  13. I am envious of your major clean up. Nothing better than tossing unused and unusable stuff. Just make sure that none of the animals sneaks in for a look and inadvertently becomes part of the trash 😉

  14. I’d be afraid that the goats would escape and eat your vegetables or worse, if left out at night 😉

  15. I have been a “reader” but not a commenter, but I felt I needed to chime in with one of my favorite quotes from William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. Of course that does leave quite a bit open to personal interpretation!

    • Hullo Julea thank you for chiming in.. This is one of my favourites too but I never get the quote exactly right.. I will copy it out and attach it to the side of the dumpster! c

      • Ahh, but you see…. a true pack rat sees EVERYTHING as useful, they KNOW it to be useful, if not today then maybe tomorrow! 🙂

        • Oh yes! Right on description of my dear husband…he not only keeps everything, retrieves what I send out to the dumpster but also brings home things that he finds by our street dumpster and thinks “might be useful someday”.Problem being that day never comes , most things he just forgets about and actually he is not very gifted with handy work to take advantage of the stuff. So what I see as mostly garbage for him is “useful”. Still not worth picking fights about as long as his “stuff” does not spill over into my “turf”, I guess! (for now…)

  16. I’m a pack rat like your John, a quality I dislike about myself. After starting over 8 years ago with next to nothing, I again have a house full of clothes, books, and only the mice know what else. It makes my thoughts bumpy.

  17. So much time and effort could be soothed around here if stuff just got put back where it belonged once the chore is done. It is so stressful to have to clean up and put stuff back before you can start what you need to do. Is it genetic or habit formed very young or never at all? Sigh
    Old rusted car parts and farm things. Is there a junk dealer nearby to have a look at what you are discarding? I know you’ve recycled/repurposed all you can, but worry – can you post a note on local college/contact high school art dept saying free dumpster diving for ancient rural artifacts/ebay possibilities/found art objects? (I scavengered so much as an grad student)
    I know old barns and homesteads and stuff is yucky, but one man’s trash is another’s treasure?
    In any case, cheers for tossing out the burdensome mess dragging you down!

    • Oh no, not the old stuff.. those are treasures.. the stuff I am dumping from the 2000’s, the old farm implements are over in the big barn at the old farm.. safely stored.. even I would not part with those.. i may need them!! c

        • You know, the most amazing ones are Puzzles, we look at them and look at them and cannot work out what they do.. however they are all saved, one day i will take Camera house into the loft of the BIG barn out at the old farm.. now that is the place to be..

          • I have a couple of oddities my dad had found clearing land or in old barns. Just have to hang on to them and try to explain to the younger generation what they are and how they were used…first you have to image using real horse power for work… People used to really understand how their daily “machinery” worked – and could repair it. Maybe those of us who relish the puzzles are the rich and lucky ones.
            (Here you’d have to have a big lock on that barn’s treasure. Sad)

  18. My home needs a good clean out and I am making some headway, but it is slow work. Sometimes, I can look critically at things and let them go, sometimes, my brain leans more toward the “must keep it” side. The physical pain I know well, like Mame above. My friend came to help me and with her help, we got things organized to have a garage sale and what is left goes to the Goodwill. Still haven’t had the garage sale tho…..it’s a process. That structure is gorgeously functional. So glad Federico is there to help. Perhaps he can help draw up the farrowing parlour plans that can be followed for others to come down the line this summer. I am bad about laying things down. During my visit at the farmy last year, I took to carrying around a bucket with all of my tools so I wouldn’t lay them down and forget! Happy tossing, C

  19. Oh! That will be the best investment in the world Celi. I just did that myself, we, not ordered a skip, (here it’s also a dumpster, in E it’s a skip), but called a company called Got Junk?, and two young men with a big truck came round and removed old carpets, old tvs, broken small appliances… etc, for a measly $120. Now my life, and my garage feel cleaner and in a strange way fuller. 😀 Well done for biting the bullet and ordering the skip. 😀 PS. C says Frederico is handsome as well as helpful. ;D

  20. My husband is an absolute clean freak, if it was’t for me we would have an empty house. He doesn’t dust or clean the toilets, he just doesn’t like clutter. A while ago when I was in Germany he had a huge garage sale and sold some of my favorite garden pots. He still hears about it. Good luck with your spring cleaning. I am not especially tidy or clean .

    • When we were first married, Jock cleaned out the hall cupboard while I was out. He got rid of all my coats (good anorak, gardening anorak, raincoat, warm winter coat, smart winter coat…………) There was nearly a divorce on the spot. I had to go to town wearing three cardigans, to buy a new mac. And Jock is the biggest hoarder I know!

      • Hello Viv! I think what happens is that it is so much easier to sort and part with other people’s things than with our own, I had a similar problem with my husband many many years ago …(he has not let me forget about my “mishap” yet!)…

  21. Good luck with the clean-up and convincing Our John that some of his stuff needs to go. My husband is always misplacing items. He needs organization in his garage. But, given everything from our basement is stored therein while we attempt to finish a drawn-out dratted basement project, he gets a temporary reprieve.

  22. I so love reading about your life. I rarely comment, but I am here every day, reading and enjoying your story. (I live in South Dakota, by the way.)

  23. My ex-husband has a strong personal attachment to every piece of junk he’s ever owned. That’s why he’s gone, trying to live around his crap collections was more than I could deal with. Now he’s in his own happy place, surrounded by everything he loves, and we’re much better friends. I love dumpsters. It’s amazing how quick it is to fill them. Living on a farm, you always need things that you only use occasionally. It’s great to have a place to store them, though, where they aren’t rusting away and you aren’t tripping over them or having to move them to get to something else. Have a great time tidying up.

  24. It’s nice to clear things out–something I need to do, too. Daughter has a neighborhood yard sale coming up, the perfect opportunity for me.

  25. Been lots of purging here…..not just me, the whole area from here to the coast and back into the villages…..our local Council kindly offer a hard rubbish pick u twice a year…..also known as ‘bring out your dead’ day. The verges are lined with piles of junk for days……I shudder sometimes looking at the things …or rather, the condition they’re in…ugh!…..people have been keeping under their houses and in sheds for at least 6 months. It’s a great way to have a tidy up. Also a good way to find interesting things you didn’t know you needed 🙂

  26. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good throw out, inevitably I get rid of something I want later on but on the whole it’s great. Both the G.O. and I are great finders & keepers of good stuff often ala Nanette’s footpath recycling above. Not having a lot of room helps us be a little discerning but a farm would be scope for excess.
    The turkey house looks great. What paint colours suit turkeys, I wonder.

  27. My house is on the ‘home farm’ and housed one family starting in 1886 until I bought it 25 years ago. The barn was FULL of STUFF! I got the biggest dumpster I could and filled it easily, (including the raccoons in the freezer but that’s another story). I lived year on my own for 10 years and while I tend to hang onto things I’m not a real pack rat. Then I met and married my John and it seems ‘what goes ’round comes ’round’. Everything is almost as full as when I first bought the place! He goes up north for the nine day deer season every November and I’m always threatening to bring in another dumpster to purge the place. As for putting things back, I have given up. I have my own set of tools in my own tool box and woe to him who pokes around in there! His idea of organization is not to be understood and when he’s looking for something and asks if I know where it is my standard reply is ‘probably the last place you used it’. Good thing we like each other!

  28. Love and use the word ‘skip’ but am a real pack rat 🙂 !! And to me everything I own is ‘useful’ and ‘beautiful’. Since barely a magazine and but a few books have been moved out of the door in the 21 years I have lived here I guess I need a huge skip but can’t think of a thing I would like to lose 🙂 !! Specially all the favourites from my school days, all the prizes won, all the presents given, every precious object collected overseas . . . . and I wake up in the morning and say ‘hello’ and ‘thanks for being there’ in every [overcrowded] room 😀 !! Hmm: one of the benefits of living alone . . . .

  29. The turkey house sounds like a veritable Hilton for chickens. Things are getting better all the time, and as for clearing junk, I am all for it! Clutter clearing releases so much energy once all that debris from the past has gone. Even if there are Words, it must be done.

  30. I have to get rid of things when my husband isn’t home. My son was the same way! I think after my mom and I cleaned out my grandma’s house (it took us months), it cured my of EVER needing to hoard anything. Now I declutter my house and send the things I’m not using to charity every 6 months. It’s so freeing. I can’t wait until the farmy is all organized for you, what a treat it will be! So refreshing! Love the picture for mom. Gorgeous.

  31. I am like you, and my husband was like John. Our solution was to give him his “shop.” He could save anything he wanted, collect anything, as long as it fit in the shop. No slopping out into the yard, no overflow into the house. When he wasn’t able to turn around in there, he got rid of a few things, rearranged others. It kept us both sane.

  32. I was married to a pack rat for almost 25 years. Exhausting. I still have too much and purge almost daily. Now my son has brought his load to my house and my nerves are frayed once again. It’s bad Feng Shui to have that much clutter. Keeps the flow of money and good from coming in. Of course, most men just don’t understand. I wish you all the best luck I can muster up. Your young helper looks like he could be a model. Or maybe your photography has helped.

  33. My Mary Anne is only part butterfly (she settles, but doesn’t like corners that accumulate stuff) and I . . . I settle for an occaional visit to a friend who lives alone in “his corner with all his stuff falling apart around him and is set for the course.” He offers a beer, but it’s too early. We talk about work. When I return, I check the garage first. Sometimes it feels too clean, almost windswept.

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