Monday, June 14, 2010

Country Living Ain't for Sissies (Unless You're a Ridiculously Wealthy Sissy)

"Country living ain't for sissies." This was the thought that crossed my mind as I panted and sweated, cleaning the barn last night. It's a chore that can't be avoided without suffering even more discomfort and aggravation later on, not to mention the guilt at the potential discomfort of the animals that would have to use it. My critters come first.

There are a lot of things that need to be done / dealt with on our little farm/ranch that are not for sissies or the faint of heart. Cleaning the barn is only one. Using pitchfork, rake and broom to remove three loads of soiled alfalfa and wood shavings, with the accompanying stink after a couple of really hot days, is no picnic. You take a moment now and then to walk to the water spigot to wash your face and take a swig of fresh cold water, and breathe. The satisfaction when the job is complete, the cozy nest restored for these little ones that rely on me, is so worth it. The compost that the debris will create, also worthwhile.

As if the barn cleaning last night weren't enough, it was then time to unload the grain and seed purchased at the feed store. Lugging 40 to 50 pound bags of food and dumping it into bins is not for sissies, either. Yet, it's amazing how much we can do if we just decide to do it. Sometimes it's baby steps that get us there, other times, it's much easier than we had expected. Being satisfied with what *can* be done makes finally reaching that goal even better. No sense in stressing over acres of weeds and tall grass that need to be taken down. Spend 20-30 minutes a day, and watch it disappear. Savor the patches when they are cleared, and look forward to and plan the next day's spot.

I had to laugh as I was working on that barn, and gave a silent prayer of thanks for Shippey, for Wales, for team leaders, for rangers, for an awesome team of friends to work, play, sing, laugh, and learn with. The reason I was laughing is that I thought, "Well, good thing I had that training at Ty-Nant on how to shovel sheep shit. It's not all that different from goat."

I learned a lot more than how to shovel ancient sheep dung from an old barn on that 1978 tour, and the tours and work projects that preceded and followed it. I learned that I am capable of anything I wish to do. It may look hard, it may be hard, but when you dig right in and figure out how to do it, there's no greater satisfaction. I also learned not to be afraid to try new things. This is why I'm not afraid at all to learn as I go on how to care for goats, chickens, growing a garden, raising goat kids, milking, making soap, cheese, butter, cajeta, ice cream, and more. Research, look it up, try it out, dive right in.

Most good things on a farm don't come easy or quickly. There's no instant gratification in sowing seed, breeding a goat, or incubating an egg. That's perhaps why the results are so sweet. It's a result of something that *we* did, in conjunction with the earth, sky, rain, and Spirit's creatures. Teamwork with a capital T.

At the end of the evening last night, I kicked back on the deck in my favorite chair, and enjoyed a bowl of freshly made ice cream from our sweet goat's milk. I took in the view of my growing garden, enjoying the views and sunset, the smell of the first rose to bloom this season, anticipating the gardenia's sweet fragrance as it wakes up after a wet winter. As it got darker, the stars started to sprinkle the pitch-black sky, brighter out here than in the city, and I breathed a sigh of gratitude. I'm getting healthier out here, with the hard work and good food. Life in the country is good.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to see you post your daily schedule - that you wrote just previous to blogging.