Wednesday, July 14, 2010


My new favorite thing on the farm is Larry's commercial power washer.

I borrowed it to take care of some barn cleanup.

First of all I worked over the new milking stanchion area.


It was a zen-like exercise, washing down the little bits of grain, the spilled milk, the grime that settles in. We wash the area with a garden hose and sweep but that cannot compare to the power of Larry's power washer.

We had worked on manure removal in the barn earlier in the day and I was so excited about the borrowed tool that I moved it into the barn to clean the old milking area and the concrete lane in the middle of the barn.

I washed down the cobwebs, the bits of hay, the old dry manure, the dust.

I got covered in splashed on manure, head to toe. Thanked God for such a strong immune system and wondered if there were a way to develop a program to help other people develop a healthy immune system by having them come clean our barn. I wouldn't charge them too terribly much.

Working on the scrub down made me feel happy. I love our barn. I love loving on our barn. But as my helpers disappeared and the day grew short, I started to get very frustrated. At first I thought it was about the kids who would rather do other things than help me on the barn.

And that was a part of it.

But I also felt frustrated because I feel thwarted at times because I want to be a farmer and tend my sheep and weed my garden and clean my barn, but things like taxes and accounting and the bakery take up a large portion of my time.

Don't get me wrong. I am unbelievably thankful that I have been given the opportunity to be an entrepeneur. Our business is successful so far and has provided a decent income. Decent enough income to be able to stay on the farm. The bakery fits our family mission. It works hand in hand with the farm as a complimentary function.

I guess I felt the same frustration felt by many other countless farmers who also have to work another job to pay the bills. There are only so many hours in the day, even for those of us who are happy to work really long ones. I want more time to work on my farm.

I also felt frustrated because I remembered that as a family we would all seven of us work very hard, usually quarterly, to do a big, thorough barn clean up. Two grownups plus the kids were able to make a big dent in the duties.

With Philip gone I feel frustrated to have to be the bad guy all the time. The mean mom boss having to always tell someone to do something.

We are still learning our new roles and it is a bit complicated. Trying to figure out if the system needs to be revised.

I think it does, but that would require some extra time to sit down and work out duties and division of labor.

During our Bible study time tonight I asked the gals to pray for me to be a wise and kind manager. Way more patient than I am. I didn't even bother to ask them to pray for me to be nice. I hope God will work that out in the long run.

Tomorrow I will awake and bake, hopefully. The farm maintenance will have to wait for a time. But tonight I will dream of scrubbed clean barns. And the beams that drew me to this farm on the very first visit with the realtor, hand hewn logs, old, very old, cut by some tough old fellows, shaped with their tools, hauled with their horses and put into place by some very amazing old farmers. It is an embarassment that I am trying to work this farm in the footsteps of those wise men. I know nothing.

But I aspire, in these faltering steps, to live a life I think we were born to live. And I laugh, thinking about how such a modern convenience like that commercial power washer could bring me such simple and pure joy!

The kids wanted to use it to wash things down, but I claim seniority. Can't wait to knock down a few more spider webs.

By the way, I sure am thankful for a shower and clean water.

1 comment:

Debbie Millman said...

the only thing i have to compare this to is how good i feel after organizing another closet in my house....feels lame in comparison. glad for the gift of the borrowed power washer and for the joy it brought you....