There's very little farm work needed right now, just general upkeep, and a few house repairs. Some farmers who no longer have children at home said they will call on us from time to time. For now we have plenty of time to fix up our barn home. I'm sure it must appear like a bouncing red-brown rectangle from the road, so much activity going on inside. Sweeping, hosing down , tacking up old horse blankets against the North wind - here and there a splash of patchwork color. We sleep in the loft. It's warmer there. Jake has opted for downstairs. We even have some odds and ends of furniture - chairs - tables - hammocks. Mr. Johnson says planting time will be a workout. Now is "getting-in-shape" time. Enjoy ! Days are mellow.
We hauled wood for two nearby farm couples today. These are older people whose children are now gone. They had to stop farming about two or three years ago. Sons and daughters went elsewhere for work. The land lies idle except for small gardens. They can no longer compete, but consider themselves lucky to be able to hold their home. There will be other things we can do. We were paid in cider and a lovely quilt. Too much for what we did. They wanted to give and we'll do more later. The art of quilt making is a wonderful grace. A bit like life, weaving warmth from small things. The ladies have started sewing circles again. So many farms are minimal now. Even in poverty there are blessings of togetherness for those wise enough to see them. We also brought some carrots for Jake. Something to see the dainty way he nibbles them in real appreciation.(30)
Beat a slow drum. A man in a station wagon came to the house this afternoon. After supper, Mr. Johnson called us all into the parlor. He was sad and heavy. Told us in a monotone that our living in the barn would almost double his insurance costs. He just couldn't afford to pay more. He was so downhearted we had to comfort him. It was ridiculous, but those were the rules, the agent had told him. How he found out we were there, I don't know, but small-town news travels fast Mr. Johnson said. We will go to the farmer's meeting tomorrow night . He thinks maybe something can be arranged somewhere near. We can still help with Sprng planting, and they'll help us with food. We told him it would be alright - we'd find someplace else to sleep. But it was a crestfallen group that dragged back to the barn. We've come to love it. Such a feeling of home. Even Jake seemed to have heard the news and nuzzled my arm with extra attention. Warren says we've weathered worse and we'll weather this. Sandy and Mario are singing sad songs. Rick is silent. I understand. Like Jill, my worry's used up. I can only believe someway it will work out. I think we were led here, and not for it all to fold up. We were silent a long time before sleep. There was no need to talk - circulating feelings said it.