Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Monster Battles

I just came in from checking on the flock and hawk - all of which were doing well. Most of the sheep were out in the damp air on the hillside. Only Brick, her lamb, and Split Ear were in the shed on the fresh bedding of hay inside. The little guy was curled up with a fat belly. Tomorrow I'll crop his tail and get him some baby shots, but besides that, it will be Brick doing most of the raising. She's my best ewe. She's older and a little surly. She has a permanent Elvis lip curl from a rip she got from thorns a few summers back. I remember Yesheva from Common Sense coming up and sewing her back together as I held her in a shearing position to patch her up. I had my head down the whole time and when I lifted it I got dizzy. It was an intense day of sheep work, but Brick had three beautiful lambs since. Farming is mostly trying.

As far as getting my head wrapped around this issue of keeping the farm, I'll say this much. I write about it here because it's what is happening. And being honest makes me feel less isolated. So I will share the month's progress towards getting out of this ditch. I have learned over the years you can't look at problems as a whole monster. If you are scared of anything - be it debt, a marathon, a relationship, a job interview - anything - you need to tackle one part of the monster at a time. No mere mortal can wrestle a monster and win. But you can learn to trip a foot, or dodge from a claw. You can spend your time being overwhelmed or spend your time figuring out how to beat him.

Today I ran short of my income goal, but I still made a sale. Some of you signed up for blog subscriptions or sent contributions (thank you!), and some just plain emailed me or commented in support. All of these small actions add up to enough ammunition to maybe blow up a big toe on the monster. And since today's goal was "blow off foot" (so to speak) it's start. You don't have great balance without your big toe. It hurts the monster. He's less stable and I'm more confident. Is this metaphor too much? I'll stop.

Point is, some people never think about taking out big toes. They can only see the whole monster. They can't allow themselves to believe in the chance they had. I'm at the point in this dream that it is harder to not believe in myself. The evidence that I will be okay feels real. Losing the farm doesn't. Which isn't to say that it isn't possible, just that I know how to take out toes. If I have enough time and wit and luck by this time next week I may have already sent in a payment, basically putting Gamera in a wheelchair. (I have been picturing Gamera this whole time). Still deadly, but far less of a threat. A giant turtle in a wheelchair is still terrifying, but I can run up the stairs. I gain some advantages when all I could see is impossible.

If all that was too long to read. Here's the gist: Today I woke up scared. Then I went outside to the surprise of the first lamb of the season. A lam on my own farm, one I have managed to pay 20% of the entire mortgage off in my six years. Then later I had a pop tarts for dinner.

Success isn't always a straight line.


Blogger English sheep gal said...

Morning, what a lovely surprise to see your new little ram lamb pic this morning (I'm not on Facebook or Twitter so only see the updates here, and hoped all was OK as posts had gone quiet for a while).

We too had spring even summer like weather here in Western NY recently, temps got up to 74 last week! Snow coming back later this week though, but enjoying the lighter mornings and seeing the green spikes of my daffodil and tulip bulbs starting to come up.

Congrats on the positive mental attitude, adding daily work goals to the list of chores you already keep. Does it still help raise money for you if we click on the advertising on the blog?

Looking forward to seeing more lamb pics, and of course the annual indoor pea planting ritual!

March 1, 2017 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger multitaskingmissus said...

That's a great way to start the day. The gift of new life! I have to say that I haven't been keeping up with your blog but I did read all of your books and some posts back in January. You are an inspiration to me.

I'm a relatively recent college grad (out for almost 3 years now) and it's been the most confusing time of my life. I've spent most of it working on what I thought I should be doing rather than what makes me happy. I read your book Barnheart and it changed my life.

You gave me validation and justification in going after the "crazy" dream I have of owning my own homestead and funding it through writing and whatever means necessary. Writing has been a long hidden passion of mine. But, what really surprised me was how much I love rural life including farm animals and all.

I have a vision board, most may scoff at that. But, it's full of photos of sheep and goats and chickens. Just know that when I think of my dream home in the future it looks a lot like yours and sometimes reading about your story of keeping on keeping on is all that gets me through the days.

March 1, 2017 at 2:55 PM  

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