Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Throwin' your hat over the fence

Dad and JB feverishly working to the finish the new chicken brooder before half a thousand of those little guys arrive. We had an older brooder that we retired, and this one will be sturdy and "stand the test of time." I told John: "We shouldn't have torn down the other one until we built this one." He said: "If we didn't tear it down, we'd never build this one. Sometimes, you gotta 'throw your hat over the fence' a bit."

It's crunch time here on the farm. Summer is always crunch time. We have over 500 meat chickens arriving in just a few days. We have a brooder that is not finished. We must get it done before those baby chickens arrive. Like ... must. Like, not getting it done is not an option. 

Which means: all hands on deck. 

My hands aren't very good at building a brooder. So, instead, my job is to get other things done to alleviate the pressure on Gramps, Jacob, and JB. Things I normally wouldn't do myself on the farm, I'm trying to get done so that they don't have to worry about it. If I can solve it myself right now, I do. I leave the petty things to my own brain.

We used to school through the summer. We tried. But in the end we found that the summer is when the farm needs us. We need to be available to the farm during that time.

So, now, we will tie up our school year on May 28th. The kids are counting the days. Maybe I am too. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. 

Yesterday I said to Jacob: "I wonder what I would do all day if I wasn't trying to educate my children."

I thought about it. I would read more. I would write more. I would farm more. I'd see my friends a little more. And maybe I'd watch a movie now and then. As it is, I watch zero TV or movies. If I have time, I'd rather read, or write, or sleep.

I keep wishing we didn't find ourselves in these farming predicaments. But weather slows us down. Mistakes slow you down. Other things pulling on your attention slow you down. And the truth is, a farm requires you to "up your game." You can use your own brooder forever. But it's falling apart. And it's wet. And the rats can get into it.

The fact is, a homestead, in its truest sense, is a BIG commitment. And it requires you to throw a lot of hats over the fence. You want sheep? You gotta just go and buy some. There is no going "half-in" on raising sheep. 

Kristin Kimball wrote about what farming requires in The Dirty Life when she said: 

“It’s never the way you think it’ll be .... not as perfect as you hope or as scary as you fear. A man we know bought up a big piece of good land nearby, a second home, and once, at a dinner, I heard him say, ‘In my retirement, I just want to be a simple farmer. I want ... tranquility.’ What you really want is a garden, I thought to myself. A very, very small one. In my experience, tranquil and simple are two things farming is not. Nor is it lucrative, stable, safe, or easy. Sometimes the work is enough to make you weep. But most days I wake up grateful that I found it — tripped over it, really — and that I’m married to someone who feels the same way.”

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