Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Still Home

I woke up this morning swirling with doubt and confusion. Not necessarily a bad thing, and not in a place of despair. It was a place of discomfort, though. While going through the regular list of AM chores I wondered if any of this was a mistake? Will I feel differently, or like a failure, when the last of this summer's lambs are butchered and there isn't a sheep on this farm for the first time in the last decade? Is the $6 a day in hay I am saving on the goat herd really the best move? I still feel that cutting back before winter is important. Every day without firewood stacked is another day of feeling stressed out, especially as August stalks closer. My eyes are on remaining here keeping this farm and the blinders are tight and focus is narrow. But there's still doubt.

Emails and letters are coming to the farm and they are overwhelmingly supportive. Most people understand that selling nine animals doesn't make you any less of a farmer nor is it a failure. Scaling back, reevaluating, and making changes based on budget and time is what is happening on livestock farms all over the country. But some emails are trying to comfort me by explaining that I did fail but I gave it the ol' college try and it's okay! I don't agree with those emails. This place still raises pork, chickens, geese, gardens, horses, lambs, and one hunting hawk. It's still a place sourcing meat, eggs, vegetables and fleeces to friends and neighbors. It keeps me sated in body and spirit. It's still my farm without sheep in January. It's still home.

Honestly I think people are just surprised I'm doing anything that isn't growth to the farm. Whether you agreed with me or not, over the years you've seen this farm continuously expand. What started with trio of sheep and some poultry turned into a full-blown homestead with breeding flocks, milking goats, horses in harness, hunting hawks, piglets and hives and gardens, oh my! Through all the mistakes and years it has remained pretty much the same or larger. I've found a way to make it work, thanks to the support of my real life and online community. But the whole time you've read this it's just been me here, alone. I'm tired in new ways. I need some sort of break, even if that break means twenty minutes less of chores in the winter and a little more money not spent on hay and grain to set aside for savings.

And speaking of the sheep; plans changed for the day we deliver and move the flock, probably into next week. The farm taking them needed to swap the day for their own needs. We have to be pretty flexible around here anyway, with weather and animals.

Still trying to sell the goats, pork shares, logos, illustrations, soap and such. Every day I write down the income goal and most days I make it halfway there, which is encouraging enough to try again tomorrow. I'm going to post this, get changed into running clothes, pump out five miles so I can get lost in music and meditation and then return here to the day's work.

Wish me luck. I so need it.