That’s right I am firmly ensconced into this, the first Mercury Retrograde period of 2008. At first I was a bit leery as we entered it on January 28th, but as I’ve come to see this retrograde brings a "re-freshing" look at things already in progress and makes us "re-view" our course of action. Nowhere does this hold more truth than in the area of finances and mortgage rates; feeling ready to jump on board the "re-finance" train yet? Well, that mercurial bubbling at the back of my mind certainly has brought focus back to our mortgage and line-of-credit as we engage our wonderful bank, Northwest Farm Credit Services (hollah out to Audrey G!) in conversations around refinancing. At first look, it appears quite wonderful! However, my dear ruling planet, Mercury, tells me to digs up all the facts, but hold off on any decisions until after February 17th, when Mercury goes direct again. Who knows, maybe we’ll see another drop in the rates and by waiting this retrograde period out, we would have flushed the best possible options into the open.
I’m also feeling firmly ensconced in my back pain right now too. Grrr! There is nothing more that Mercury Retrograde does the most than forces us to look at our health. I’ve been having some back strain issues for a couple of months now, after all the brush clearing, log moving, and firewood splitting in preparation for winter. I thought maybe it would have cleared up by now, certainly given the lull in physical labor through the winter. However, I defer to my ruling planet to take action and so after a visit to my doctor, he concurs that the need for an MRI is not unfounded. So I go in for a bit of magnetic harmonics this next week. Ahhh, Mercury, Mercury, Mercury, your influence is felt.
It’s also during these retrogrades that we can hear about projects that we may have put some effort into, but haven’t made much progress on. For example I’ve been dabbling into the preparations for fencing the lower section of land for pastures. This includes gathering costs of materials, staking and measuring distances, and figuring out the most cost effective solution. Well, as we enter into Mercury Retrograde, I get a letter in the mail from our fabulous Snohomish (county) Conservation District. They helped us develop our farm plan and have been out a few times since. Well, the last time they came out, we talked about the fencing plans. So fast forward to the letter and I come to find out that we can actually apply for funding to help us with the fencing costs! Apparently, funds exist to promote farmers fencing animals away from streams (of which the lower pasture area abuts.) Our wonderful representative prepared the paperwork for us to review. "Re-couping" half the costs of our fencing? Sounds like a good idea to me! Let’s hope this bears fruit!
Speaking of fruit (segue here) we bought 7 fruit trees to add to the new garden area; all are zoned hearty for our growing season. Come the first week of March, hopefully we’ll be past some serious frost and I can put them into the ground. It’s about that time that our huge plant order, from the annual Conservation District plant sale, should be ready for pick up. We order lots of erosion control plants, border shrubs, huckleberry bushes (they do quite well here), and even Christmas trees! The pricing is distinctly affordable when you can take advantage of this annual event. I am so glad to have developed a relationship with our Conservation District; its one of the business decisions we’ve made that has brought much benefit. I hope one day we can return the favor by hosting educational programming (in the Roundhouse Yurt!) that the Conservation District offers.
Yesterday, Glenn and I had to check out a local caterer that was offering a tasting at a nearby community church. It turns out there was also a wedding planner and florist there as well. It’s nice to make these connections. Even though we are a little ways away from needing these services, it helps to know some local sources for them. It is also really helpful to hear input from wedding planners as to what they look for so that we can be sure to plan for it here at the ranch. We received further validation that we are certainly on the right track. Apparently the demand for rustic settings, and especially places that serve small to medium sized crowds (think less than 75 people) are few and far between. This means we are positioning ourselves well in the marketplace. However, we want to focus on corporate meeting-style events first before broadening into weddings (which tend to have much more emotional investment to them). The wedding planner was certainly excited when she heard what we were doing, and that’s a good thing!
Finally, I leave you with a bunch of pictures of today’s saunter into the woods behind the house with our brave hunters: Shadow and Maximo. Maximo can find any bird that is in hiding, any smell in the snow that needs to be rolled in, and unfortunately, any cat poop lurking that needs to be licked (yuck! Why are dogs so lacking in their taste intelligence? It’s poop for Pete sakes! Leave it! I said Leave IT! Geee-rooossss!)