A Simpler Place in Time | A New Beginning

It took me nearly 5 years into my retirement to discover something about myself.

I ALWAYS NEED A PROJECT!

Up until early last year (2019), I had been busy with selling my big house of over a decade, then renovating, downsizing and moving into a condo with about 1/4 the square footage of my house. (This is one sure way to discover what are necessities and what you can do without!)  So I was able to consolidate and it was now time to decide what to do with the “Farm”.  Twenty-eight years had gone by and I still owned the special place on Whitetail Lane.  As I looked at all of the various options, one thing began to become clear to me; there was no way that I could bring myself to sell it (for sentimental reasons)!

“The Barnyard” Oil on Canvas Steve Testerman 2016

So the plan developed over a 6 or 8 month period; I looked at Log Cabins (too expensive), building a house (still expensive, but possible), a doublewide trailer (wheels), a tiny house (nope), an airstream (still too small and, again, wheels) … then somehow an idea emerged (I’m still not sure of the genesis)…a BARNDOMINIUM!

Texas Barndominiums was probably the first time I learned about what could be done … the answer is pretty much anything!

Check out some of the high end Barndos being built in Texas; mostly in the hill country around Austin.

About this time my friend Joan, by chance, was able to go on a tour of a Barndominium in Alabama belonging to author and celebrity chef Trace Barnett. She fell in love with the quant, farmhouse feel of this place; there is a great story of his place and what he is doing with it in his book (and some great recipes)!

So with some encouragement, and validation that … this was not a CRAZY idea; the project began!

to be continued…

A Simpler Place in Time | Cecil

Construction on the farm began to accelerate.  First there was a chicken house, then came the barn.  Next we built a small corral or stable on the back side of the barn; first for the goats and then we decided to take on a new resident.

Down the road from our place was a dairy.  One day, I stopped and asked about buying a cow; there were no cows for sale, but they had a couple of young holstein bull calves for sale – $10 apiece.  They weren’t even weaned yet; they had to be bottle fed.  So after a trip to the feed store for a big bottle feeder and powered calf milk; I returned to the dairy and chose the calf with a white heart on his forehead – we would name him Cecil (I have no idea where that name came from, but it seemed to suit him somehow).

I loaded him in the back of my truck and with a friend holding Cecil down, we carefully made our way down the road and to the new corral.  Before long it was time for Cecil’s first feeding and it all went smoothly!  He drank that half gallon of milk with gusto and twice a day from then until he was to be weaned, I fed him.  I supposed he thought I was his mother.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a good thing that Cecil bonded to me, because as he got older he got more frisky!  One day I remember a nearly 200 pound Cecil, running at me at full speed, only to do a double-fake juke step, like Herschel Walker, only to peel off at the last second, as I braced myself for the hit.  Cecil seemed to be smiling as he blew by at top speed; hooves throwing little chunks of turf and mud into the air.  He was just messing with me!

 

 

Cecil continued to thrive, but before long, he began to sprout horns and they grew into formidable weapons and as the hormones surged through his body he seemed to develop a “tude”.  He was a teenager now and he was not in any mood to tolerate nonsense.  I seemed to be OK, as “Mom”, but Cecil seemed to take a special dislike for Bubba.

One evening Bubba was returning back to the trailer from his deer stand, coming down a little trail in the pitch black.  Later we figured out that Cecil had planned an ambush and as Bubba approached the safety of our front porch, suddenly Cecil sprang into action.  His head was down, you could imagine that he had been sharpening his horns all day!

I not think it was possible that Bubba move so quickly as he did that night, bow and quiver in hand with Cecil at his heels!  He scrabbled up on to the front porch just in time, and Cecil came to a screeching halt.  We would not have been any help, we were all laughing too hard at the scene.

That was Cecil’s last adventure as a bull; in the next few days the vet came by and removed a couple of sets of things; his horns and those things that were making him so ornery.

After that Cecil was like a lamb, gentle and meek.  We will always love and remember ole Cecil!

 

to be continued…

 

 

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