Saturday, November 17, 2007

Desperate Again

I was wrong. We don't have enough money to buy a new computer. In fact, we don't even have enough to buy hay. Our hay guy has been letting us get some on credit, but he's reached the limit of what he's willing to extend us. Not that I blame him---he's been very patient with us so far, paying as much as we can, even when it's not enough.

So yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we've been rationing hay. I let the broodmares back out into the pasture, such as it is, so that I could save what hay we had left for the young horses and the sheep, and Senter, who are in pens where they can't graze, even on the sparse November grass.

Fortunately, Ken had just bought a load of grain, so everyone can get a little extra grain to make up for the smaller hay ration.

Ken's paycheck just came in, and I'm expecting several checks in the mail: payments for the two horses I'm selling on "layaway" and payments for fleeces, sheep's horns, and skulls that I've sold. Ken is due for his annual raise and, perhaps, a Christmas bonus sometime in the next few weeks.

So we'll be able to buy hay again soon... good thing, because all that's left in the barn is the loose leftover scraps, which we'll rake up and fork into the truck tomorrow at feeding time.

The trouble is, even though we can scrape together enough to buy hay again right now, we also need to scrape together enough to pay $1,000 in property tax, plus the electric bill and heating bill and phone bill and mortgages...

When I look at the horses in the field, I know that I made good choices in selecting them. They are really nice quality, and I know they'll all produce gorgeous foals with Senter. But then I look at our bills and our budget and our empty hay barn, and I wish I'd never started this horse enterprise.

I'm so tired of knowing that it's all my fault that poor Ken is under such stress, trying to juggle all our bills. He works so hard, he deserves to be able to enjoy the benefits of his labor without having to flush all his money down my horses mouths. I want so much for the horses somehow to pay him back, but unless the horse market turns around drastically and I can get decent prices again, I don't know how that's ever going to happen.

It didn't seem like I was risking so much. All I needed was modest sales and steady hay prices for the horses to break even this year, and then my investment would start to pay off next year. But now we're just scrambling to sell as many as we can to cut that horrible hay bill down to a manageable level.

So anyway, we have no money for a new computer for me. We did scrape together enough to buy the one piece of software I absolutely require, and installed it on Ken's computer, so I can mostly keep working there when Ken's not using it. So I'll still be able to work on the websites people have hired me to do for them, as well as my own websites which need updating.

Mostly, this whole ordeal of worry and scraping leaves me feeling tired and sad all the time. Ken wavers between optimism and panic, but really the only thing holding me together is sheer stubbornness that these things HAVE to be done, so somehow we'll find a way to do them. But it drains me. I go to bed at 8:00 some nights because I'm just so tired, only to wake up again at 4:00 a.m. to start worrying all over again.

Some friends of ours have invited us over to their Thanksgiving dinner, which is really nice of them, since we can't afford to do one of our own this year. Thinking about going to their house made me realize how infrequently I get off the farm. Ken drives into town frequently, sometimes to do errands, sometimes to go to poker night with his friends. But I never go anywhere. I feel guilty spending the money for gas to drive to town, when we can't pay for hay, so I just stay here on the farm for weeks at a time.

We don't get TV here (although we do have videos we can watch on DVD), and I don't listen to the radio or subscribe to a newspaper or any magazines. So, other than the internet, I'm completely isolated. The animals are my life. And I'm not even able to do right by them.

I'm too tired even to write this post properly, so I'm sure it sounds very rambling and whiny. For that I apologize. Sometimes when I write here I try to make things sound happy and interesting, even when that's not how I feel. But this time I'm too sad to even do that.

Things will get better. Or they won't. Either way, there's no choice but to keep plugging along, doing our best.


Meggie said...

Oh Nancy, I wish there was something I could do. Hang in there! Hopefully the checks will arrive in the mail soon.

Mark said...

Money! The bane of all our existence but so dearly needed. I too wish I could wave that magic wand and solve all of our financial worries (maybe I'll buy a lottery ticket?). If only it were that easy. My thoughts are with you. I heard about microloans made available through the internet, small loans from small investors. I don't know what their terms are, but you might want to look into it. I wish I could steer you right to it, but I am plumbing my memory and I saw a newsclip about it some months ago. Banks may be bastards, but there are other creative financing techniques. Hang in there Nancy!

Ness said...

Hey Nancy, Like others who have posted, I wish I could do something. I think about you guys every single day and I hope something comes along for you soon. You're putting the right energy out there, something has to happen.