Goats, Gardens & Greenhouses... the life we choose.
I could have chosen a life of travel. Of nights in a little pub in Europe, sipping drinks, seeing new places and meeting new people. I could have chosen a life in a big city. Living in an apartment in the hustle and bustle of a downtown street. Instead, I chose a life quite uncommon for most twenty year olds. A life that requires constant care and attention to animals, months and months of planning and preparing for growing crops, hard lessons of life and death, and growth upon growth upon growth. It's work, this farm life, but it's been worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears. This is good work.
Does it really count as work when it's something that brings you pure joy? Because pure joy is what I feel when I'm out in the pasture helping deliver a new goat kid. Or when I'm saying "hello" to new seedlings. Or when I'm designing a new garden space. I'll admit, the overwhelming feeling of a constantly growing to-do list sometimes gets the better of me, but what else would life be but boring if not for farm life?
This last week marked a first for me: the first time I've helped deliver an animal. I think for the first time EVER, I felt like a real farmer. Something about assisting a laboring Mama in bringing life to the farm felt like I've started to find my purpose. I felt like I finally reached a point of validation for the life we chose. Like I could finally say "I'm a farmer".
Trust me: there is NO arriving in life, especially farm life. I think most farmers would say that even after years and years of experience, there are still moments of discomfort. Of doubt. Of unknown solutions to problems. I'll be honest, I feel like a lot of farming is a gamble. Will the animals follow their instinct and breed, deliver and mother up? Will the seeds germinate, grow and produce the fruit they were made to produce? Will the weather hold out this year and give us a good crop? A lot of life feels unknown.. and goodness, after this last year. I can see why so many people have struggled with anxiety about the future, myself included. It's very contrary for the human body to live in the moment, one moment at a time. It's in our nature to live in either the past or the future. To worry about the choices we've made or will make. It's natural, but that doesn't mean it's how we should live. I look at my animals sometimes and find myself jealous. They don't know worry. They live each moment, one moment at a time. That's what I want... to live each day with appreciation and relinquish my doubt about what tomorrow holds. To give up control of the things I know deep down, I don't have control over, and to keep my mind and heart set on what is good and pure and noble.
As we enter a new season of Spring, I find myself learning lessons from the simplest of things... like how a daffodil bulb sits in the cold, hard, harsh ground for five months until it burst through the soil and blooms. In order for it to bloom, the daffodil must endure the cold and harsh winter. We have to go through hard things to grow and bloom. We might not see the "light" for months, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.
Farmers have to work the soil, amend the soil, and spend countless hours tending and caring for the ground. Without farming the land, we won't see the fruit and flowers that the land can provide. We must put in the work to see the fruit. It may take months before we see any fruit, but that doesn't mean there isn't progress happening beneath the ground. See where I'm going? It's in our nature to desire to grow. To learn. To improve. After all, we will never arrive at something.. and I don't think the good Lord intended for us to arrive. He intended for us to work the earth He created, so that someday we might see the fruit.
I pray we will see the fruit of our labor this year. We finished the new greenhouse this past weekend.. and with just a bit more paint and some décor, it will become a labor of love for me. This space will be used for more than just a greenhouse. I hope to have many a night's with sweet friends, gathered around a long farm table, lights strung up, and glasses of wine poured, while we dine on farm grown food. I look forward to the conversations and growth that will happen in this space. Until then, I will continue to sow seeds and tend to the growing plants in the greenhouse.
We chose a life that keeps us here, on the farm. We chose a life that limits our availability and flexibility for social affairs. We chose a life that doesn't make sense to a lot of people.. and yet, we chose a life we absolutely love. A life I wouldn't trade. A life I know the good Lord intended for me. For us. For our animals.