As I look around the farm, all I see are things that have been neglected the last couple of years. When I began to make the bakery a full-time job, certain things had to be set aside. Even before Philip died. When Philip died, even more things had to be set aside. The chicken fencing that worked well for a couple of seasons ceased to work.
With eyes fixed on the goal of taking care of kids and working to provide sufficient income for our family, I turned my eyes away from non-working chicken fence.
Same with goat fencing.
And big garden.
And weed maintenance.
And house maintenance.
Don't get me wrong. We have had countless people help with endless tasks. But a farm and an old farmhouse require constant maintenance and I have been very frustrated by my inability to take care of it all.
At times I berate myself for not managing things more efficiently. Then I ask myself which thing should I give up to get those tasks done? Reading to the children? Sitting down to an occasional family dinner? Having a few moments in the morning and the evening to be still and listen?
So Saturday morning, Larry and the Lee's came over and we set our mind to the task. The kids and I gathered trash and accumulated junk from all over the farm. Old tires that we inherited with the farm. Blown about bits of this and that. Detritus that maybe at some point in time had a purpose, but no longer serves. We loaded it all up and Patrick and Larry took it to the dump. Paul tackled alcatraz. I mean the old fence that was long ago set up to be temporary and kind of became permanently ugly. It never really served its purpose of keeping the chickens kept in their yard. Well, maybe it did for a few weeks. But like many other things in life, we had to let it go, to tend to other more pressing matters, and the weeds grew around it, the wire tangled up, and whew, it looked terrible.
By twelve-thirty, trash was hauled, fence was down and we sat ourselves down to sandwiches and cold drinks.
By one, the next crew arrived, the Depret-G's, Kari, the other Patrick and former milk customer Mike and his friend.
We put Larry and Paul's monster weedeaters to good use. Kari painted the intern cabin and the living room ceiling. Not only did Maggie D. contribute a homemade from scratch chocolate cake, she joined our Maggie and Rose and Nora in painting cabin door and fence and lots of other little tasks. Rose and Serge and Larry took down the old, not to code part of the deck. With Patrick on tractor, the young men loaded up the metal fencing to the metal pile and the wood stuff to the giant bonfire. We mulched. Larry did some work on the driveway and cleared off part of the old manure pile with the skid steer (my new favorite tool!, wish I had one!!!) Mike and Rick moved some manure, and helped with repurposing boards into a new life as deck pickets.
It was a long hard day. We sat down to eat homemade beans, pico de gallo and tacos chihuahua (thanks to the Depret-G's for the happy pork!) very late that evening, cool air embracing our sweet chat on the deck.
At times I felt embarrassed to have people helping us with tasks that show how behind I am. It is humiliating at times to need help. But not a soul made me feel judged or condemned.
They made me feel loved. At least it appeared that they were having a good time getting to work together alongside our family, readying our farm for another owner.
Have you ever noticed how occasionally life makes you feel like a total failure when you can't meet your own expectations? There is so much more to be done.
And yet, in surrendering my pride, receiving the gift of friendship, love and generous help from friends, there is satisfaction and joy, which somehow compensates for all the unfinished, impossible, larger than life goals I set for myself in the past few years.
It was a very good day.