Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Good Medicine

Work is great medicine.

Today we took care of chores and other household odds and ends then went to pick up our big order of grain from Dutch Valley. We meet a big truck in the General Store parking lot and load nearly a ton of people grains onto our pickup truck to take home and distribute to other customers and to stash in our bakery for milling.

After that job was completed we all went out to the garden to work for a few hours. We weeded the onions, found the carrots under all the weeds, and cultivated several rows. Thomas took down the old cucumber trellis and moved it for Patrick to set up in another bed.

Thomas and I set out on a mission to relocate dock and plantain plants. Dock and plantain are our friends. They have amazing root networks that mine minerals up to our topsoil. However, unlike our very good friends, they do not know any boundaries. They make themselves at home, stretching out, choking out everything in their path. So with pitchfork and spade in hands, Thomas and I dug up those terribly healthy plants by the root and relocated them to a pile along the fence line. Hopefully they will begin to compost soon and all those minerals they mined for us will be returned to the soil.

We have so much work to dig up those weeds and plant new rows that I was tempted to get discouraged. Looking at the big garden could be quite depressing. But bit by bit, we made our progress and I assured the kids that if we work hard together tomorrow we will be even farther along in our goal of beating the garden into submission. Oops, what I mean is bring gentle loving order to our garden world.

Patrick planted another row of Silver Queen corn and I planted two more. The potatoes and onions look healthy and fine. There are radishes about ready to pick to go with the lettuce that is about ripe. I could probably thin out some of the onions and that will make a great salad for Sunday dinner this weekend.

We were pretty pooped when Jason came by to pick up the truck. I asked him to give me some advice about a flooded out spot in the barn. We walked out to the barn to survey the lagoon and I felt overwhelmed and discouraged to see the mess.

He gave me some great ideas and we said goodbye. I grabbed a shovel and pitchfork and began to dig into the manure that had been accumulating. There was no way I could go back to the house to cook supper until I reached a certain point of sanitation.

I had on the wrong shoes, had the wrong tools, but couldn't walk away.

Moments later, I heard the truck park and saw Jason walking back into the barn. He grabbed a shovel and joined in, saying he wasn't going to leave until we got done what I needed to get done.

Of course I broke down into tears, telling him how frustrated I was at my inadequacy, how I felt like a failure and wondered why I was trying to fool myself that I could run a farm. How it was ridiculous to think that I could do this job and why didn't I just give up?

He gave me a hug, reminded me that we all have our piles of manure laying around sometime, and don't worry, it will get done in good time. Then the big kids all came and joined us and in short time we at least got the concrete uncovered and drained out at least half of the flooded area.

We then strategized hay making and managed intensive grazing, he had a beer and I began cooking our supper. At almost 9 pm.

When I was a little girl I dreamed of having a brother. My brother died before I was born. He only lived a few hours. I always felt like life would be better if I had a brother. I had no idea when Rachel came along that her husband would become my dear brother.

I needed a brother tonight and he was right there. So he got to go home and eat his supper late, and we got to our supper here late. Tired, but happy to get some important chores started. I still feel a bit concerned about some of the pressing matters on the farm. Must get the rest of the old waste hay and manure moved out and spread on the fields. We have rows more of dock and plantain that need to be dug up. I need to get some fencing materials to get a new paddock situated. The lawn mower won't start and the grass is growing.

But enough, already. We are not alone, and even if the task is bigger than me, little by little and step by step we will do our best to be good stewards of this wonderful farm we have been given.

Working on a farm is good medicine. I have no need for sleeping pills. The exercise keeps us strong and fit and we don't have to go to a gym. Taking care of business keeps me from being sad every moment of the day. It makes our brains work. It is hard to be depressed when you have to milk cows and listen to peepers and look at fireflies and smell sweet honeysuckle and feel rich dirt in your hands.

So off to bed, the morning comes early. I hope you all have some good work to do with your hands tomorrow. It might not fix all your problems, but it will help. I promise.


Chris said...

I seem to be the happiest when I'm doing a lot of gardening; like right now!

I've been using an affirmation. "I have all the time I need and want to do the things I need and want to do." It's on the wall where I see it daily. My brother tells me it has some biblical association; I don't know but I like it. I prioritize more and procrastinate less.

And as my sister says, "You don't have to be good at everything." I'm so glad we have our brothers and sisters to help out. Cheers.

Jayme said...

I love you, girl! Would love to come and weed for a few hours.