There is an ebb and a flow to farming. A slow time. With short days. And the longer summer days that seem to go on forever.
Winter can be slow.
Summer never is.
We currently have about eighty little turkeys growing in our brooder. We had quite a hard time with them the first week and lost twenty. They seemed to be dying from seemingly unknown reasons. We did a lot of research and attributed it to a "flip-over" disease that just seems to affect some turkeys. But losing twenty just takes the wind out of your sails.
My girls have been very into the show Little House on the Prairie. I kept thinking about the time the hail destroyed their wheat crop. Pa got so upset he was just going to up and move and start over somewhere else. He felt beaten down. We aren't reliant on our farm for our livelihood like Pa and Ma and their three girls. And yet, man ... loss just really gets you. Especially when you can't fix it.
The life of a farmer is so dependent on things completely out of his/her control.
We need rain. But not too much. We need sun. But not too much. We need cold. But not too much. We need predators to not find our farm. We need the electric fencing to be firing. We need the animals to survive and thrive. But too many births and we will have to sell some of the animals because we don't have enough space to carry them. It's such a delicate balancing act. Constantly.
Never in my life did I find myself checking the weather so often. It hasn't rained in six days. Now it's raining. Now it's raining too much. Stop raining.
In fact, the first night we had the turkeys, we forgot to check the weather. At six p.m. we checked on the turkeys. Then Jacob and John and I came in the house to relax and have dinner. When we went back out at 9:30pm we all looked at each other with panic spread on each of our faces. When did it get so cold. We ran to the turkeys. The weather had dropped from 91 to 65 in just a few hours. They were freezing! Another hour or two and half would have been dead. We went into panic mode. Setting up extra heaters. Racing around. Even sitting in the brooder to keep them from piling on top of each other.
(Turkeys have a death wish if you didn't know that.)
It isn't just the turkeys keeping us busy. We have sixteen new baby guinea fowl in their own little brooder now. The garden is thriving (and failing.) Some things make it. Some things don't. We are eating what comes out. Salads for days in a row. Then no greens for a few days and cabbage galore.
It's the nature of life. Of farming. So many beautiful moments. And many hard ones too. I'm learning to ride the waves and trying to be affected less by the highs and the lows.
It's a beautiful life.
And a hard one.
P.S. I stumbled upon this article posted by an old friend on Facebook the other day. (Thanks Gil!) I've realized that even those this is life is hard, I think the gift we are giving to our children is worth every piece of difficulty.