well I couldn’t think of anything to go with journey…so…
Jack wanted me to write about something specific, but before I get to that, I will give you the weekly farm update. Esme is sitting in my lap right now, completely content, not realizing why I was so freaked out this morning. Usually she does chores with the girls in the morning. When they had not seen her I did freak just a little. I had heard the screams of baby bunnies last night, Esme was out hunting. I guess she fell asleep somewhere with a full belly and slept through chores. I think I should give her a curfew.
Ruby is in heat again. Blackie seems slightly interested, but still not doing his job. That is alright though. I am not sure I want March babies anyway. Milking is going much better. Except for the few times that Paddy gets out and drains Nancy dry. Conner is totally loving that all the animals are in with him now. Oddly the sheep have been coming to hang out with him again. And not just the sheep that were raised with him. In fact Chev and Iot have been coming up to all the dogs to get their faces licked. I saw this for the first time yesterday morning while I was milking. It kind of surprised me. Then Huck came into the pasture this morning to milk with us and Chev was trying to get him to lick her face. This freaked Huck out. He is still tortured by the memory of goats bucking him far away. Anyway, it is interesting to see the puppies and all the animals, not just the babies, interacting.
This weekend was crazy. We did the cook shack again. I think this will be the last time. We are still getting amazing support from the communities but with Mennonite bake sales and Zimmerman’s so close, we just don’t get the traffic from the Dog and Gun like we thought we would. Waking up at 5 in the morning, rushing to do chores and setting up the cook stand only to sit there, well, it is a slight waste of our Saturday. One of the few days Jack has off work and we can get things done around the farm. If we were making lots of money for the community center, it would be one thing, but we aren’t.
After the cook shack, we had a party at Shagbark. It was to celebrate Frank a neighbor who does so much for us. In fact Frank has helped up set up the cook shack every month. He also buys food for himself and random people who stop by. He also sticks a lot of money in our donation jar. Really, I think the only reason we have ever had a profit is because of Frank. He also does so much more though. Like many people who do things just because they like to see people succeed, we felt that our “Thank you Frank, we couldn’t do this without you…” wasn’t quite enough. So after the cook shack Joan came over and we made cake and cookies. We also made a sign…”Frank, You bring the awesome sauce”. When we pulled up the sign, that we painted on our floor, we saw that all the paint had gone through to the wood floor. So we had to spend a decent amount of time cleaning that up. Did I mention this was a surprise party?? And that the whole time we were at the cook shack it was really hard not to say something about the party that night? And even harder to make sure the girls didn’t say anything? Yeah. Anyway, the party went great. Frank had no idea and it was really nice to party even though we were all dead tired.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that we didn’t get much done this weekend. I did forget to give garden news last week though. Out of our 11 50 foot rows all but 3 are planted out. That equals a lot of food. Last night while we were putting the t-posts in for the tomatoes I noticed a few flowers!! Yea! The peas are going great. I am hoping that our high 80 degree days lately(it is kind of about time though) don’t kill them. Our greens, lettuce and otherwise are being harvested daily and by the next day don’t even look like they have been touched. It is great. I love that the garden is doing well even though we don’t give it the attention it probably needs. The barn is doing well, though slow. There is a lot that needs to get done and so little time. The hospital is taking up a lot of Jack’s time and energy lately also. It is a rough time of year. The burst of activity that happens after winter. It seems like spring and summer just isn’t enough. But it has to be.
And because it has to be, sometimes we need to make decisions that we aren’t really happy with. Shearing of the sheep was going too slow. A good part of it is because we can’t shear them wet. With all the rain we have been getting that means a lot of days are out. With the hand shears we can shear one sheep at a time before Jack and I both are crazy sore. Part of this is because we are still learning. However, with the temperature rising I felt it was very important to get the rest of the sheep sheared. Only now we have too little sheep for someone to come out and do it. So, Jack got electric shears. We got Ysandre and Iot sheared two days ago. While we were both crazy sore after, we got two big sheep done in the time it took to do one. Progress. I imagine we will still mess around with the hand shears and try to get good with them, but as for right now there is just too many to do, in way too short of a time.
Jack has also come home the past two days with 12 275 water tanks. These will be our cisterns for the cabin and the barn. Now that was the plan. However, it turns out that there was a lot of interest over at Dancing Rabbit. So now we only have seven. That is alright because Jack does believe that he can get more. It is also great to be able to help our neighbors.
So now what Jack wanted me to write about. I am afraid this is too long already. I don’t even have any pictures to break this up with. Anyway, I will try.
We get told a lot and often that we have all the luck. That we are special in some way. That normal people couldn’t do what we do. It is am impossible dream. When we first came to Red Earth I kept a written diary. Hey, we didn’t really have power! Anyway, an excerpt…
“Two days ago was yet another beginning. Though was it really? Can you really see a beginning? Or is it more clear when you look at if from the future? Was the first day I met Jack a beginning? Or was it the day that I looked at hime, three years later and though to myself, “I like him more than as a friend.” So many beginnings, yet I rather think of it as a journey. There wasn’t really a beginning, just a path. Some paths I wasn’t really aware of until time had passed. Some paths I wanted to get on, but couldn’t find my way just yet, the entrance need to be cleared. Some paths I was just too scared for. Some I got on without being aware I was making a turn. Isn’t that how life is? Look back and you realice there really isn’t any turning back. I”m sitting in a tent right now with the wind blowing so hard that it feels like the tent will blow away, there is no turning back. Jack and I realized about a year ago that we couldn’t live like most people do. It isn’t that we are different. As much as people would like to say we are stronger, stupider, braver, more weird, strange, insert whatever here, we aren’t. Period. We just aren’t.
The days leading up to coming to Red Earth were pretty nerve wracking for me. I felt like Mrs. Bennet with her nerves, we all made several joke about that. I’ve mentioned it many times that the reason Jack and I make such a good pair, he pushes me. He lends me confidence.”
We have had to defend ourselves often of being “different, stronger, braver…” Geez! Even, “having better kids”. Seriously. We are doing nothing more than anyone else could be doing. If you want to be doing something like we are doing, well then get off your butt and do so. I’m not going to lie, it isn’t easy. But if life was easy…well, would it be life? What would be the point to life if you didn’t push yourself to do something? What is life if you aren’t doing what you want to be doing?
I feel like I get this a lot. From breastfeeding my babies, (it is so hard, why would you want to?), to homeschooling, (you have SO much patience! I could never do it), to gardening, to living off grid, to having animals, to milking every day. But in general, it is bullshit. If you want to do what you love, don’t let people tell you that it is too hard, or that you will fail. I really do believe that every person out there can make a difference. It isn’t always that you change the world in big ways. If you start small by making yourself a happy, useful person, well, that ripples through everyone.
Sometimes you have to see that the path you are on isn’t going to take you to the place you want to go. Sometimes you have to go to the edge of the cliff and jump. Sometimes you have to realize that falling down hard is going to hurt, is going to be scary beyond belief but that after you fall you will be able to get on the right path. The path that is going to lead you to where you want to go. Sometimes there is no other way to get to that path. What I worried most about was, if I stayed on the path I was on, would I eventually settle for what I didn’t want? What was “good enough”? What everyone else thought I should be happy with?
So my advice? Jump. Jump, don’t look back and be scared. Jump with confidence. Jump knowing that YOU are special. YOU can make a difference, even if it is just making you a happier person. Jump and get on the path that you always wanted to be on. Jump knowing that we are all special, brave, strong and worth it.
I don’t mean this to get all inspirational. That wasn’t my goal. But every time someone says something about how different we are I find myself trying to figure out what they are saying. Are they really awed by us? Or do they just want an excuse to not do it themselves by setting us up on some unattainable pedestal. So if you see someone who is living their dream(by the way that doesn’t mean they don’t still have really rough days), don’t tell them how special they are. Maybe you should ask them how they jumped off their cliff. How they got on the path they were meant to be on.