Wednesday, May 20, 2009

a new kind of tired

This year has been my most ambitious year of homesteading ever. The garden, the animals, the day job.... all of it more intense than ever before, than I ever imagined when I started writing this blog. Back when I lived in Idaho I had no idea my life would lead me to Vermont, to sheep, goats, and border collies... Yet here I am, writing you fresh from a short nap in my hammock. I fell asleep because I stopped moving. I have found this to be a common side effect of May.

I love this little farm, but this month has taught me a new kind of tired. I have never been this consistently sore and exhausted in my life. It's the kind of work that leaves you aching, reeling, and hopeful at the end of every day. It's is a lucky place to find yourself. To know you're alive and healthy enough to take care of others, and make dinner rise out of the ground like Lazarus himself.

I wake up around 5 and start my day the exact same way. I kiss Jazz on the head, I scratch Annie behind her ears, and I stumble to the percolator, fill it with something black and strong, and turn on the stove. While my coffee heats up and brews, I feed my animals and work in my garden. By the time I show up at the office at 8 -- I've already put in two hours of work and three cups of coffee.

At the end of the weekday I use up as much daylight as possible while the garden is so young. There is so much to plant, and weed, and tend. We had a killing frost a few nights ago and it wiped out some of my more fragile beds. I replaced all the dead plants tonight-digging in the mud with my bare hands to find a home for new basil, beans, and squash. As I squatted over bed 10, I looked over at the 8x8 corn plot I've been hacking away at. My big goal for the long weekend is to plant a mess of sweet corn seeds. They'll live just north of my small pumpkin patch. I do this all for October, whom I love.

Finn is doing well. He's growing like a weed and nearly off the bottle. The kits are growing and happy, and all the birds are strutting like debutantes. All is well here, and in my heart I know all this toil May shoves at me will only make that July harvest taste even sweeter. You pay as you go in this world, and I'm happy to shell out.

13 Comments:

Blogger GrittyPretty said...

i recognize that kind of tired, though I only have 1/4 acre and some hens and ducks. you are amazing! been reading your blog for a while and LOVE it.

sweet dreams!

May 20, 2009 at 10:15 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Jenna, I loved your book (just finished it) and I love your blog and look forward to every new post. Thanks for sharing your world with us! Your life and spirit are very inspiring.

Sending you good vibes from Tucson.

May 20, 2009 at 10:45 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I gotta tell you that while you may be exhausted, you are an inspiration and something I strive to have one day. Am getting there, but reading your site every day keeps me working towards the goal. :)

May 20, 2009 at 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Kandy Gray said...

A farmer once told me that, to avoid loss from a killing frost, you should never plant your more tender plants before you can achieve the following;

"Be able to sit on your bare bum in your fields for 10 minutes with-ought freezing".... works for me every year....

Kandy from Canada

May 20, 2009 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Little Ant said...

Yes, it is definitely exhausting I agree. But there is nothing more satisfying than surveying your handiwork at the end of the day and knowing your sweat accomplished it all. :)

May 20, 2009 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

you guys are the bees knees

May 21, 2009 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger Mountain Man said...

It's a GREAT tired!

May 21, 2009 at 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna,
What contentment you have in your life..something so many people strive for and never find. I loved your book and your blog..such an inspiration to us who only live that dream through you.

Joyce in Alabama

May 21, 2009 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Your May is our March, which is thankfully past us now. When the day comes that you can actually stop and breathe, it feels wonderful and makes everything that came before worthwhile. I envy your hammock nap, though. We have two hammocks, but no two trees are close enough together. We'll need to build a frame for them, I suppose (but that's just not the same, is it?).

May 21, 2009 at 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I guess thats whats been making me plant more in the gardens and make plans for other things like chickens. I find that by reading your blog everyday, and even sometimes re-reading older posts, I'm inspired to do more to get to that place of having a farm. I'm inspired as a 20 something to start relying on things that I did, or made, or planted with my own two hands. Inspired to want to go back to the old ways.

May 21, 2009 at 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I first found you at Huffington Post and kept reading you there and started checking your blog daily. Then I saw you in MEN and was silly with excitement (Look! Jenna's in MEN!). I saw you in MEN again, and then, last night, getting caught up on my reading, I saw a part of your book reprinted in Countryside magazine! So I can no longer contain myself; I just had to comment! I want to say I'm so glad your words are reaching so many people. You have something so unique to say. I hope many more get to hear it!

May 21, 2009 at 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just had to laugh out loud when I read that you fell asleep because you stopped moving. Yes, exactly!!! In May I too have to be very judicious about when I sit down, because it might be very hard to get back up again! There is always soooo much still to get done. This spring though, I am starting to see more and more long-term progress. Fruit trees I put in last year are blooming now, the asparagus survived, etc. Keep up the good work, we all know it's worth it.

May 21, 2009 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Cindi said...

We're new to your blog, after seeing you in MEN, but are hungrily poring through the archives of your blog. :-) We're not total strangers to livestock or gardening, but this is the first time we'll ever have done it on our own property, which rocks!! Our goal is the same endstate as yours, basically...to be able to make homesteading our full-time job. Dark Brahma chickens will be here in a few weeks! :-D

Love reading your blog, and you can bet we'll be waiting to read what happens next at CAF!

Cheers!
Cindi & Matt
(just north of the NY,US border, in Ontario)

May 22, 2009 at 2:02 PM  

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