They say the only thing constant is change. I think they’re right. At least when you’re on a farm, that’s true in almost every way.
Spring is still fighting its way into the story here. The hundreds of tulips Thomas and the kids planted last fall are showing up one by one. Pink, yellow and the vibrant green of the stems. That, mixed with the green grass coming back, and you’ve got yourself some spectacular pops of color in the still mostly gray days. The sun comes out at least once or twice a week now, although the air is still mostly cold and crisp. Last Monday we hit 70 degrees before we dropped down to freezing and yes- snow- the next night. Isn’t it always funny to watch how the various seasons seem to fight to gain a little bit more ground? Today Thomas pointed out the reddish- almost rust- colors in the trees across the pasture in the front yard. It’s almost reminiscent of fall in the midst of this winter to spring evolution. Add in the recent time change and you might not know exactly what time of year it were if you were a newly awoken Sleeping Beauty.
Spiders and ticks are slowly coming back into the picture as well. And as much as the touches of heat I feel reach my skin from the sun give me hope and excitement for what’s to come, I also feel just a touch of dread creeping in too.
Maybe I hate it here. Honestly, today, when I killed a spider on my back porch easily the size of a silver dollar, I wondered if I could do it all over again. I wondered if I could muster up the will to endure another summer of spiders, wasps, locusts, june bugs, lady bug swarms, oh… and snakes. Although I haven’t seen any yet, I know they’re there too. When I asked Gage what he should do if he see’s a snake his answer was, “Kick it in the face.”
Maybe I’m in over my head. Maybe I’m not a country girl after all. Maybe farm life isn’t for me.
But then I realized that if the wasps are back, maybe the lightning bugs aren’t far behind. Oh those magical lightning bugs. And maybe if the weather is warming up, the amazing thunderstorms will be rolling in soon. We did have a very boring and completely non eventful tornado watch this week already! Maybe I’ll be able to start opening up my windows and enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass soon…
Yes, Thomas has officially cut the first grass of the season. It’s been since before Thanksgiving, but now it’s sure to be at least once every other week until it becomes once a week. The orchard is blooming and it’s stunning. I can still see through the woods, and although I haven’t yet seen it happen before my eyes, I know that in two months time, I won’t be able to even see into the woods, let alone through them. I’m excited to watch that happen, as I know the change will be dramatic and wonderful.
Our one year anniversary of owning the farm has come and gone, but our one year anniversary of living here is only just around the corner. We arrived in May of last year- Mother’s day weekend. I remember it like it was yesterday. And although so much has changed- everything has changed, really- I still have so many of the same feels.
I’m still afraid. I’m still unsure. I’m still being humbled. I’m still being molded and shaped. I’m still in it… right in the thick of it.
And as much as everything is different, nothing has changed.
I have been thinking back over the past- almost- year, and reflecting on the blogs I’ve written and the things I’ve shared with you Readers. The emotions, the adventures, the transitions. We showed up with 5 humans and 2 dogs. We now have 5 humans, 4 dogs, 3 cats, 7 pigs, 7 turkeys, around a dozen guinea fowl, and more than 40 chickens- I’ve completely lost track of the chickens.
Oh and now 2 ducks. We’ve got two new baby ducks in the mix. And I have to say that they are absolutely adorable. The kids each bought one duck with the money they’ve earned working around the farm. Today, the new ducks got to swim in the pig trough and it was a hit.
Lucy, the stray dog that showed up on our porch only about a month after our arrival to the farm, has 100% joined the family. If you’ll recall all the drama she originally brought with her (read more here), you might be surprised to hear that she now sleeps in the bed with Tom and I. She’s the only one small enough to sneak in relatively undetected.
The other day, while my dear friends, Aisha and Shannon Sams, were visiting the farm from Santa Barbara…
Lucy got herself pretty dramatically hung up in a barbed wire fence. We were out on a walk around the back pasture, where we commonly walk with the dogs, and suddenly the peaceful dusk was broken apart with the screams and yelps of our sweet Lucy girl. My first thought was that she had been attacked by a coyote or something, but with 4 dog big brothers to protect her, I quickly realized it must have been something else. We found her stuck by the skin of her stomach- and when I say stuck, I mean she had gotten her skin snagged and then somehow managed to summersault around the wire. She calmly allowed us to help her summersault back around several times before we could pry her free. That evening we got to know our nearest Amish veterinarian! $10 later and Lucy was given a clean bill of health. Although I do have to say that she is now infected and on antibiotics, but currently snuggling up on my bed. She’ll make a full recovery, I’m sure of it.
The kids however… were pretty traumatized by it. Especially my aspiring veterinarian, Cadence. She was pretty shaken up. I think this farm will absolutely be the thing that pushes her into or away from vet medicine for sure.
Speaking of stray dogs, our other more recent stray- Scout- unfortunately bit Thomas last night. Pretty severely, actually. He’s a very sweet, old Golden Retriever, but for whatever reason, showed the first bit of food aggression last night during dinner time, and Thomas’ hand is absolutely worse for the ware. No stitches (although I would have absolutely gone to get some if it were my hand), but the damage is certainly done. Scout is currently sitting at my feet as I write this, but he isn’t long for this farm. Were trying to determine what to do with him. Last night, the answer was pretty clearly that we wouldn’t be able to avoid putting him down, but today a Golden Retriever rescuer is willing to take him and work with him. I hope that ends up working out. She is insisting on a 10 day waiting period, to insure Scout (and now Thomas) doesn’t have rabies. So yea, that’s real farm life right there. Rabies.
Although we’ve killed 2 turkeys and 1 pig on the farm so far, this is somehow different. Scout- although only a few months into our family- is a pet, not an animal. He sleeps on the couch and works better than a doorbell to tell us someone has come to visit. It will be hard to see him go, but when it comes to these sorts of things, we can’t really wait for a second offense. So pray that Scout finds a wonderful life somewhere else. Shalom Scout.
Aisha and Shannon aren’t the only ones to visit the farm during this season of transition back to where we started. The Coventry’s spent two nights with us. Rachel Coventry (formerly Graham) and Thomas have known each other since they were kids. Rachel’s older brother, Aaron, and Thomas grew up running around the Graham’s family farm in Champagne, Illinois, and in part, that’s where Thomas’ excitement for raising his kids on a farm was rooted. It was really special to spend some time with Rachel and her family, walking the farm and learning about what they’ve been blessed to have learned from years of experience about growing food and building a farm.
Rachel’s mom and dad will be joining us this Saturday for an evening, and we look forward to catching up with them and giving them the grand tour of everything we’re building here. It’s going to be quite a treat to have the Graham’s here to see our vision coming to fruition. We stopped in to visit them as one of our last stops on our relocation trip to the farm. They have very much been tied in and through this farm journey from the very beginning, whether they realize it or not.
After the Graham’s, Thomas Aunt is coming for a few days to visit. And then Thomas’ grandma- Grammy- will be here for her second visit. She currently holds a one way ticket, so we look forward to seeing what the spring and summer will bring her and the kids as they get to play and adventure together. We’re so blessed to have even more family and friends planning their travel in our direction, and because I love to host and be with people, I’m eager to walk out these next few months as we approach our first full year as farmers.
As everything seems to be coming full circle, and as I witness everything that has changed start to return to where it first was, I have to say that maybe I was wrong… maybe it’s not true that the only constant is change. Maybe nothing is changing… maybe it’s just us. Maybe we’re changing. Growing. Shifting. Shifting back. Moving. Learning. Saying hello. Saying goodbye…
It’s hard to say.
But as the green starts to return to absolutely everything around us, I know that there is something coming… maybe it’s change, or maybe it’s just more of the same coming back around. Either way, I’m ready. I await it with open arms and an open heart. Even the challenges. But probably not the spiders… I don’t await them. I just kill them. Always.
That will never change.