Monday, December 14, 2015

We Bought a Farm: Getting to church on time in the winter

First off, I am never late.

Like almost never, ever

It is not an option for me. I'm not sure if I learned it from my parents or myself, but those who know me well know that if Wendi isn't there on time, something significant has occurred to cause the lateness.

We like to attend the 9am service at our church. This is mostly because JB is usually working a shift that starts at 10:30 or 11:00am and this allows us to all attend together.

Biggest farming fact I've learned during our first year:

So much of what you can and cannot get done during each day is influenced by how much sunlight you have that day!

It doesn't get light enough out until about 7:30am -- especially when there is dense fog in the area. (Of which there often is here in the foothills.) Church is 30 minutes away which means that in order to get the kids all signed in and into service by 9am, we have to leave here at 8:15am. This means we have 45 minutes to do all the chores and then get back to the house, get all finishing touches on children completed, load us up and head out.

It creates some conundrums for me ...

Do I get showered and dressed and make-upped and jewelery-ed before I go trucking through the dirt and mud? Or do I wait and try to quickly shower change right after I get back knowing that I still have a lot of last-minute touches for the kids ... especially Hannah ... (I can only change her mere moments before heading out the door as she changes her clothes so frequently.)

I usually opt to get myself completely dressed and ready to go and yes, even risk it by venturing out in the sweater and jeans I usually wear to church. I then put Hannah in her crib with some books to read, have the other three kiddos completely ready to go and reading or doing some independently that they can't get really dirty doing, and head out with JB to conquer the chores. The diaper bag is on the table completely packed. Everyone has eaten breakfast. Bathroom stops are complete.

You know. All that jazz.

(Sidge usually joins us for the chores on the farm, but we have outlawed him on Sunday mornings mostly because he always comes back filthy.)

If JB and I do the animals together, we can usually get it done in about 25 minutes. Tight. But doable. And right now, it does require two people to move the chicken tractor. (We have an idea for how we can get this tractor movable with one person but haven't implemented it yet.)

The prospect means that this is the most I have ever been challenged to not be late.

(And I must be honest, it leaves me very little understanding in my heart for people who still show up very late for things. C'mon folks! If I pulled it off with four kids, one dog, 10 sheep, 8 pigs, 49 chickens, 15 duck, 23 guinea fowl, and 12 geese .... you can do this!)

Of course, this is all figuring that JB is home that morning. We haven't had a Sunday morning since the time change that he started at 7am. But if he does, I am not sure what we can do. I don't think I could pull it off by myself, and we'd probably have to skip church or just do the later service.

All righty, so that was a very long introduction to our Sunday morning. As I carried the duck and geese feed in a bucket, I silently prayed that I wouldn't slip down the embankment like I had done the previous morning -- fully dressed for a birthday party I was attending with Abigail.

And I didn't fall this particular morning, but I did quickly see that every single goose and five of the ducks had gotten out of their enclosure overnight!

This happens now and then. If the wind hits just right, the birds can get enough lift to fly over the fencing. We aren't sure if they do this on purpose or just randomly.

Either way, they don't run away. They stay close by, wishing they were back inside with their buddies.

(People often ask us about ducks and geese and why they don't fly away. They actually can't really fly due to their breed type. They are designed to be meat birds so they are too fat to fly.)

Talk about a time sink. So now JB and I spend a good amount of our allotted time wrangling birds without the boys help. (We always use Sidge and Isaac to catch the birds when they get out.)

You should have seen us, dressed in church clothes, trying to catch all these ducks and geese without getting ourselves dirty.

Each day of this new farming life, I say to myself at least one time:

What in the heck am I doing here? Is this really my life?

So on this particular day I found myself saying this while wrangling the birds.

This is my life. And while it is quite overwhelming and so amazingly different from anything I have ever done ...

I have joy.

And I look forward to spending the rest of my life on these hills, wrangling all sorts of flightless birds and moving the chicken tractor.

In my church clothes.

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