Tuesday, November 29, 2016

More, or Less

The anxiety gets to me sometimes. Yesterday it rattled my senses as I tried to focus on what needed to be done for the afternoon. Laundry, dinner, clean out the girls closet, Christmas shop, check Connor's essay. My hands actually shook as I hastily made chocolate chip cookies in an attempt to see progress completed on something. Baking's good for that. For seeing a project through and enjoying its end. I let Luc help. I had Gunnar in one arm and so I made them with a baby in one hand and a two year old's help. I made a mental note to check Craigslist for backpacks. He's about big enough now to be carried on my back. I'd get so much more done. Don't rush this phase. Don't rush this phase... He's asleep now, and already I miss the feel of him in my arms.

 The anxiety was in relation to the thoughts that plague me about this old farm. Every once in a while, and more lately, I wonder and hope and plan all that I want for this place. Yet the dreams I have for it might be too lofty. I think:

I don't want a hobby farm.  I want a working farm. That takes time, and money and both are short right now, and maybe they always will be. Even now, money so tight, always saying no to the kids for this or that, I feel guilt for not working a "real" job. I'm a registered nurse. I'm a registered nurse with 15 years of experience. I could get a good job. I could get a good job tomorrow, if I wanted. But I want to be here, raising my kids and working alongside my family farming this land. Is that selfish of me? I don't want to miss a thing, yet I don't want it to ruin us, this choice for me to be home, to try and take an old farm and breathe life into it. Joe works hard. He's started a handyman business he's building from the ground up. A business he's good at. With eight children, someone has to be home, behind the scenes, keeping things running and I'm glad it's me. We live in a poor farming community. "There's no money in farming" is evident all around.
The spring bucklings are going to auction in 2 and a half weeks. We'll see if it was worth it to raise them these 8 months. It wasn't hard if you don't count all the fence repair. Maybe the payoff will be encouraging. One can raise a lot of goats on 20 acres. Could we handle more goats and do it well? Or maybe it wont be profitable and we'll be back to square one. Sheep? Seems to be more of a demand for lamb. Maybe sheep and goats. We'd need better fencing, a herd dog... why can't I just be satisfied with a few silly animals? Do I really want a working farm?
And my soap business. I want it to be profitable. Time and labor, marketing, packaging, labeling, and supply purchases weighed it down before. How can it be done differently and competitively and still be worth all the time and effort financially? Others seem to do this successfully. Am I not committed enough?

I guess this is the plight of the entrepreneur- doubting and second guessing and guilt until one day, for a small minority, a breakthrough is made.

I just need to figure it out. And who needs money anyway? Is is really that important? Why can't I just relax and enjoy this life without the constant push?



Those were the thoughts that were blazing a red hot trail through my mind tangling themselves together and making me my hands shake.

Why can't I kick this? Hang it up. How long is too long to try and make a go of it? Honestly, a real effort hasn't even been made. I've had 2 babies in the three years we've lived here. Maybe next year will be the year we figure out what we want from this place. Maybe we don't want more than what we have now. Maybe what we really want is less. I need to figure this out.

I'm not sure I like this post. I'm not sure I can make you understand. The words aren't coming out quite right. Perhaps I won't publish it. But I want to be transparent. We may leave all this behind someday and I want to have this memory of why. Or we may be here forever, and I want to have this memory of how it was in the beginning, a first generation farmer.


Cookies done, Lucas gleefully covered in chocolate, I needed air. I took the kids out, cleaned the barn, and trimmed the goats' hooves with Christmas music a little too loud in the background. It felt good. I was reminded once again how much I like this work.  I checked under the goats' eyelids for signs of worminess. I was pleased that all seemed good. Nice and pink. Everyone appeared large and healthy and hearty. No worming needed this fall. Nice.


I cleaned out the barn. The pitchfork handle's loose again.

And why can't they make pitchforks that last? We can't afford a tractor, although we'll need one if  this farm gets any bigger. It's not cheap to buy pitchforks each year either. Little costs, all add up. So many of these little costs in farming...and life I guess.


I'm grateful we've reached a point where the goats cost us almost nothing to maintain. They have plenty of pasture and hay that we receive in exchange for renting another portion of our pasture out to a local farmer who cuts it. He takes some and we get some and it works well for both of us. They've been healthy (with the exception of one older doe we lost this Spring ) So the money we get for those bucklings will be all profit. Just in time for Christmas. That's something.

Work complete, I feel a renewed sense of energy. The anxiety is gone. My children are laughing at some silly play they're involved in. Lucas is talking to the goats. It does them good to be out here too.
I remember I'm a mother first, always first, and I dance with them in the barn to Emmanuel before we flip off the lights and head for the warmth of the house. It's just getting dark. Meatloaf's in the oven. The baby will need fed when I get inside.


I'm a fool for this life.

Or maybe just a fool.

Elizabeth
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1 comment:

  1. You may be an idiot, but you aren't a fool. A fool runs the wrong way. You are running toward Christ always and seeking His direction. No fool. Indeed. Love you, my girl. Praying always for you and your family. XOXOXO Mom

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