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CCFB News» June 2021

Manifolds, Manolos and Manure

06/07/2021 @ 8:45 am | By Bona Heinsohn, CAE

Six months. Half a year. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a very short amount of time. In the scheme of do-it-yourself home repairs, it’s a very long time. In six months, we’ve added 10 calves and a calico barn cat; brought home an adorable, large Great Pyrenees puppy; tore out walls, ceilings, and an attic; plastered and lathed. We even learned that one of the supports of an original wall was crumbling. And we started rebuilding.


We added a stub wall for the kitchen cabinets and an incredible pantry. Did I mention that our new-to-us farmhouse didn’t have a pantry and the people before us stored their food in the mudroom – with their boots? We also added a vaulted ceiling, an open landing upstairs, a ledge along the stairs, and a substantial linen closet.


It’s not complete. But drywall is up. Mudded and sanded. The walls are cleaned. The floors are swept. I harbor a deep fear that we’ll never get rid of all the dust. Next up is painting, electrical, and plumbing. All before the cabinets go in. Before the countertop can be ordered. Before we really move in.


Each time I’m in the barn, I stop and look at our cabinets in boxes. Thirty-eight boxes to be exact.


At some point this summer we have to put up a fence. Eight hundred feet of fence, give or take (I’m the one who measured). Five strands of electric. Wood posts. T-posts. Gates. And before the snow flies, a shelter. With any luck the fire breathing dragon and his younger brother will move home while it’s still warm enough to ride outside.


Earlier this year, I asked my farmer if we “bit off more than we could chew” with our new-to-us farmhouse and our grand remodel plans. His response was, “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time. Chomp. Chomp. Sanding drywall. Chomp. Cleaning. Chomp. Priming. Chomp. Painting. Chomp. A lot of little bites.


Working with legislators is a lot like home improvements. Chomp. Chomp. Introductory meeting. Hopefully before the election. Chomp. Endorsement interview. Chomp. Post-election meeting. Chomp. Chomp. Follow-up calls. Nibble. Emails. Nibble. Newsletters. Nibble. Nibble.


Sometimes with legislators and legislative relationship-building, it feels like a monstrous task. Like the proverbial elephant. Much like my do-it-yourself home remodel, it’s a step forward. A step back. Lateral to the right. Lateral to the left.


Like my new-to-us farmhouse, legislative relations aren’t for the weak of heart. Or timid. Or for individuals who long for the most direct, quickest path. Instead, it’s for individuals willing to take small bites. Small steps. And willing to keep pushing forward.


For us, we’re pushing forward. JULIE has been called to mark out the pasture. Primer and paint are purchased. Plumbing parts are purchased. Light fixtures. The sink. And the dishwasher is purchased and just waiting to be installed. One bite at a time. But for the moment, don’t remind my farmer that we still have more to go.

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