August....where have you gone??? I had fully planned on making a post about our crazy yet amazing week at Skagit County Fair. But it took me a full week to recover from that. And just when I thought I was good to go, a whopper of a week smacked me in the face. Family, farm, and work threw me for loop, yet again. Maybe I should get used to it by now!
The first weekend in August my folks came down from Kelowna, BC to stay for the weekend. It was a great time as always and I was so thankful for a little family down time. During their stay our beloved Gloucestershire Old Spot boar, Fergus, went down. We went out to feed Saturday, the 4th, and he was not able to get up. He was coherent, wanting to eat and drink, but couldn't get his legs out from underneath him. We started him on Dexamethasone, a steriod, and LA300, an antibiotic. Despite doing this, we saw no improvement over a 10 day period of this. Mind you this was happening during our busiest week ever at fair and my poor husband was the one taking care of the farm. He hand fed Fergus apples, a slurry of milk and grain, and water trickling from the hose. We had to keep moving a calf hut over him so he wouldn't get sunburned. He would try and get up but just end up flopping around everywhere. We kept trying to get him on his feet or flip him to his other side but he would always stumble and go right back to laying on his right side. It was pitiful and I was feeling terrible that yet again, we were possibly prolonging the inevitable due to our emotions. Tuesday the 14th we had Dr. Paul Schwab out to examine, euthanize, and perform a necropsy on Fergus. He advised us to save our money, not perform a necropsy, because it appeared that what Fergus was going through was mainly neurological. Most likely a middle ear infection that had gone to his brain or possibly a stroke. I was so thankful for his honest advice and giving us peace mind that we were making the right decision and that this was very unlikely something contagious. From there, we planned on putting him down ourselves. Unfortunately Nate was on night shift and needed to get to work after the vet left. It worked out OK though because I had to work the next day and I really didn't want to be there for it. That night I said my goodbyes to Fergus. I did what I could to make him comfortable, fed him more apples, rubbed his belly, hugged him, and balled my eyes out. That moment is when I truly realized what these pigs mean to me. It is hard to explain when you raise pigs to sell as weaner piglets or raise them from birth to butcher. I am always sad to see them go but I am content with what I have provided for them and for others. But this was different. This was a waste. This was suffering. We loved him. Our breeding pigs are like family members. And Fergus has been such a special pig. He is sweet, laid back, gentle and the best boar we have had so far. I felt like I was losing a dog, a member of our little family.
The next day I went to work as planned but feeling bad for what Nate had to do that day alone. On my lunch break I got some very sad news that my Uncle Greg had passed away. He had been battling cancer for quite sometime and had been in so much pain over the last years. I was relieved his suffering was over but hurt so badly for my Auntie and cousins. My Uncle Greg was such an amazing man....I was crying on my way back to work in the car trying to get some kind of composure and what popped into my mind was my Uncle Greg playing his guitar, making that funny face he did sticking his tongue out while strumming along. I just laughed. I knew he wouldn't want us to be so unhappy about this. It still is so very sad but I know he is in such a better place now. I have some pretty amazing memories to hold onto. Especially from this summer. Getting to see him have his Father/Daughter dance at my beautiful cousins wedding. And that he got to walk her down the isle. It was such an emotional and glorious thing to witness.
I continued to work the rest of the day to help keep my mind occupied. My co-workers were also very understanding and helpful, putting me in a better mood. Towards the afternoon I happened to check my phone. I had a message from Nate....
I couldn't freaking believe it! Could I possibly get more of an emotional roller coaster in one day!?! I looked like a crazy person crying tears of joy over a boar! Needless to say, Nate didn't go through with putting Fergus down. He was like a wobbly drunk but he was up! Here we were, feeling terrible that we had put this off for so long. That we had planned on him being put down on Tuesday but had waited until Thursday. And then he was up! It has still been a slow process for him and he has become a little spoiled with not having much interest in grain but eating any kind of people food we offer to him. It was quite comical because by the weekend he was walking around putting his nose right in the sows girly bits seeing if they were ready for a poke! I am hopeful that he will continue to make a full recovery but I have still been nervous. He better just continue to prove us wrong and show us his resilience in all of this.
Thursday night after work I decided that after all of the emotional ups and downs, a drink was well deserved. I went and bought a bottle of scotch, Balvenie 12 year if your curious. It was more money than I ever spend on booze normally but it was a special day. We had a dram in honor of my Uncle Greg and in celebration of Fergus. I have felt my Uncle Greg and my Nana and Grandpap around me this week. I am so happy that I can feel them but do miss them so much and wish I could give them just one more hug. My hope is that I can do well by my loved ones, whether they are here on earth or up in heaven. It's been a week of much reflection regarding that. Because you never know what the next day can bring. So CHEERS!
Enough of the doom and gloom....lets get happy!!! Trying to bring the joy back to our little farm is easier said than done sometimes but I can honestly say there has been much more if it lately. When we made the decision to downsize....or should I say, I finally agreed with my husband that we needed to reorganize and simplify our farm, I felt a big weight lifted off my shoulders.
My first real taste of that was having 5 pigs go off to the butcher. Pigs that had been kept through a hard, long winter, now off to fill families freezers. Our first taste of freedom from this pig burden we had created. We have plans to sell 3 sows here soon and 1 more to go off for sausage. That one hurts a little. A sow kept from my favorite pig, Luna. Our best momma and somehow she had a terrible mother for a daughter. Maybe, I shouldn't say terrible. Just not careful. She had 2 litters with us and was always very clumsy and not attentive to squealing babies that she was laying on. Now that her 3 remaining piglets are 4 weeks old, she nurses and cares for them as well as any other piglet that wants to nurse on her. Very frustrating and heartbreaking. Her sister Claire will be staying with us as long as she has a good sized litter. This last winter she only had 3 piglets, which her sister then laid on. So many tears were shed, holy moly....But then she took on her sisters remaining 2 piglets and Percy, our house piglet who's mom was going through a terrible bought of pneumonia. She was a fantastic, attentive, and careful just like her momma! So many pigs and so many circumstances. Hard to keep it all straight, sorry! The point being here is that we have a game plan. We are getting things done. Piglets are also starting to leave for their new homes and things are moving along for getting the pigs organized.
Now for the fun bits! Our newest livestock guardian dog, Mor'Du, another Anatolian Shepherd, has of course won our hearts. He is a love bug and is proving to be such a smart boy. We put him in with Ayla, our oldest and best LGD, so that she can train him. She has trained our 2 others and does a great job at keeping the youngsters in line. We were a little unsure of exactly how we wanted to set the 2 of them up together. Our goat fencing doesn't keep little puppies in since it is 4 to 5 strands of hotwire that they can duck under until they are big enough. We have our sheep in the portable electric netting but our sheep had never been with dogs. And our 2 oldest ewes have horns. Our best option was to put Ayla and Mor'Du in with them and see how it went. Ayla immediately tried to win the sheep over with her submission and licks to the face. They were unsure at first but they all get on amazingly well! I am always shocked when I see Mouse and Merida, the 2 older ewes, letting Mor'Du lick their faces and try to cuddle up with them. It makes my heart so happy to see it! It makes me love these dogs and these sheep even more. They have become such a peaceful and happy part of the farm.
We have had lots of surprise babies born on the farm recently. Or hatched I should say. We had a hen come out of nowhere with 11 chicks! She is a fierce mom too. 300lb pigs respect her and the dogs fear her. Our Ancona ducks also came out of the blackberry bushes with 2 different batches of ducklings totaling 20! There are some lovely markings and colours in the group too. Once they are old enough to tell male from female I will be offering them up for sale. They are great layers, foragers, and fantastic moms apparently.
Fair is just around the corner so the kiddos are getting their animals ready and we are planning for our busiest year yet at the Skagit County Fair. Jaelyn is entering 3 chickens and 3 ducks. JW is entering 3 chickens, 3 ducks and 2 lambs. One of the lambs he will be auctioning off at auction and the other lamb he will be showing. Iris, our bottle lamb and first sheep we purchased, will be the lamb he shows. Billy Bob Joe is his Suffolk wether that will be going to auction. He has worked really hard with his sheep and we have all learned a lot from this first time experience. I have faith in him that he will do well even if our lambs don't. I am already proud of what he has done!
Once fair is done, we will anxiously be awaiting the arrival of our first Jersey calf to be born on the farm! Tilly is due the end of August and I am so excited yet very nervous! I have a lot of prepping to do and really need to organize things so that we are set up for success with this. Having a milk cow will be a whole new venture. We have wanted this for at least 5 years and now that it is almost happening, I am questioning my sanity! But the thought of fresh milk, cheese, cream, butter, etc, etc, brings so much joy just thinking about that we have to try it! Plus, have you ever loved or snuggled up to a Jersey? Those big brown eyes just melt your heart! We love our Tilly girl.
As I am typing this I realize it doesn't really sound much like downsizing! Haha! But reorganizing is really the best word. We want our farm to be our happy place not something we are a slave to. And all this little changes and new additions can make it that when done correctly. We may have to change some more as we figure out what works and what doesn't but that is all part of it. Part of this farm adventure! I will be sure to share all of our summer adventures with their outcomes. It is bound to be exciting I'm sure!
Goodness, it has been 2 months since I have posted last. I don't know about you but the reality that July is here is just boggling my mind! Spring has come and gone. Now our Bi-Polar Pacific Northwest Summer is here. And I don't mind it one bit. In the past 2 months there has been much reflection, family time, me time, successes, failures, happiness, and sorrow. Busy, busy, busy. Never ending busy. We have our garden growing, hay put up in the barn, chicks hatching, piglets running everywhere, a new livestock guardian puppy, and ruminant critters out enjoying the green grass. With all of that, I have realized a lot of pretty damn important things...
I know I have hit on this before, but in the this day and age of social media, people have constant access to you. My hatred for that has grown, despite the fact that I have met some very lovely people through it. The combination of helping people and their beloved pets at work, the vet clinic, and then coming home to have to deal with people with the farm has really burned me out. It has created that same cycle I fell into during my seasonal depression of just ignoring things. Not healthy at all. Ignoring it gives me relief and major anxiety all at the same time. I hate it! I wish I could just start over somehow but it doesn't quite work like that. I am currently trying to figure out how I go about cleaning up my mess of messages and emails. It seriously just makes me want to cry thinking about it...one of my silly, stupid things I suppose.
Pigs, oh pigs. How I love them and hate them right now. We have too many pigs, not enough time, and frankly, I'm embarrassed by our whole operation. My husband always says I am too hard on myself, but last night as I did chores, I looked at what I had created and just cried. Hard. To look at each animal as an individual, not just a pig, was making my heart hurt. The fact that it was raining and everything had become a wet muddy mess probably didn't help things. But all I could see was how I was failing them all. By having them all. Ruby, our Hereford/GOS sow looks terrible. I was able to move her in with a much smaller group of pigs luckily, but she has lost so much weight. Too much competition for food with the older sows and the fact that she will let any piglet nurse on her has taken a toll on her body. Not to mention there has been some misunderstanding with feeding amounts between myself and the hubby. I tend to feed too much, he tends to feed less. Add in the 20 something piglets we have right now. I think they look terrible. That is relative and I have seen much, MUCH worse piglets, they just aren't up to my standard. They are supposed to leave in a weeks time and I don't think they look good enough to go. They should have been wormed twice by now, the boys should have been castrated, they should be fat and happy! They are happy, they basically have the run of the farm at the moment, running around and eating grass to their hearts content. This week will be catch up and piglet round up. Time to make it right.
While I was out in the pig barn, Luna, my most beloved pig and first Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, must have sensed my heartache. She came up to me and gave me one of her pig hugs, as I call it. She stands next to my side and puts her head around to the front of my legs, gently leaning into me. The realization came to me then, I want to do as best by her as I possibly can. Which means greatly reducing our numbers. I want to be excited to go out and see my pigs, not dread it. I want to be proud when I look out to the barn not embarrassed. If someone would just come and take all the pigs that need to go in one fell swoop and be done with it, I would be happy. They could just have them. That is the point I have gotten to. I am tired of the feed bill, tired of all the hay we go through, tired of the mess, tired of their squealing at feeding time, tired of the time they take. And it's my own damn fault I'm so bloody tired. It doesn't mean I need to continue on this way though. This also doesn't mean I am done with pigs. I love them too much. But our original plan to downsize a little has become to downsize a lot. I am hoping that by fall we will only have 2 GOS sows and a boar. With the hopes of adding a new gilt and boar at some point this year for some genetic diversity. But my hopes is to have no more than 3 sows and a boar on our farm. Compared to our crazy 8 sows and a boar.
Deciding that I am only going to keep things on the farm that give me peace and joy is something I wish I had done a long time ago. Instead of trying to farm in a way that would give me popularity and some how make it big. Not sure what I was thinking there. I am sure some piglet customers will be disappointed but our Old Spots are calm, peaceful, easy in all aspects for us. So we need to focus on that. We will only breeding them for the foreseeable future. They are the breed I am passionate about. Everything else has been around to make other people happy. I need to farm in a way that makes ME happy! Not to mention my animals. Luna hates the other pigs. They genuinely stress her out. So I am wanting that peace for her as well.
Moving into Summer I have even more hope then I did at the start of Spring. There is a plan in place for the pigs which will make for an easier Fall and Winter. A plan that I hope will allow me to give the best to my animals and the best to potential customers. The end of Summer will bring on a whole new project of a family milk cow. Tilly is due the end of August and we can't wait! She could potentially help feed us and the whole farm! We are also gearing up for fair for our kiddos with the newest project for our son being his market lamb. I will have to write a whole other post about that and sheep. But thankfully the sheep, goats, and cows have been a bit of serenity here lately. Now to get our pigs on that same boat too.
This last 4 months or so have been rough...I know I haven't had it as bad as many, but none the less, some days it has been hard to just get my butt out of bed and get on with the day. You see I've been struggling, not just with the farm, but mentally. Something that I'm seeing more people talk about is the mental health crisis that is affecting Farmers. I'm not sure where this tid-bit of info came from but I remember reading somewhere that Farmers have one of the highest suicide rates. That blew my mind. But then I also got it. I could see why. No, I am not suicidal, thank God, and I don't farm on a big scale or rely on it to make a living. But I've been depressed and my anxiety has been higher than it has ever been. I have gotten really good at faking it. Putting on the happy face, becoming the fake it till I make it Cassie. Depression is not something I ever thought I would deal with. How could I be depressed when I have so many things to be thankful for and make me happy!? In many peoples eyes, I've got it all! I have been trying to fix this issue since about February and I feel like I am just now starting to get a hold on it and really figure myself out. This is why I have been THE. WORST. about getting back to people, staying in touch, remembering events, posting on social media, etc. I feel like it is a stupid excuse somehow, but I have just not been able to handle it. It has been an overwhelming feeling of suffacation, dread, exhaustion, and disappointment.
Pigs kind of put me in this icky place. Which may seem odd because I freaking love pigs. But put together the crappy farrowings, sickness, an insane demand for piglets, and the longest winter I can remember in the pacific northwest, I got myself into a real bad place. In the midst of all of that, I had people constantly messaging me about pigs, pork I need to collect money on, chores that need to be done, children and a husband that need my attention, working the the vet clinic that can be so rewarding but so draining, and meanwhile, I feel like I am drowning. Every ::ping:: on my phone sends me deeper into my hole and I just want to hide there and cry. I keep telling myself, "It's ok, I will be able to deal with it tomorrow." Well, now it is nearly May and I still have yet to get back to people or collect money that we really do need for pig feed. Many days I wish I could just run away from it all and start over new. Run away so I can find myself again.
It should be pretty easy really. Why wouldn't I want to talk to people about pigs and get paid for what we are working for? For one, I get major anxiety asking people for money. Not the greatest when you are trying to sell something. Then tack on a high demand for piglets that you can't fill the orders for due to those bad farrowings. I HATE saying no to people. I am a people pleaser by nature so telling people no also gives me major anxiety. Really I have created this monster. I have grown our operation to try to be able to please everyone when the reality is, I can't help everyone. If I had 100 acres and a few giant barns, I think I could do what I had truly invisioned. Maybe. Instead, I have 10 lovely acres and 2 very old, but lovely barns to work with.
The pigs are the hardest on the land and these buildings. Downsizing is going to need to happen. Something I am dreading but also looking forward to. How do I get rid of my girls? Do I sell them and risk them going to a home that may not take care of them well? Do I butcher them and end their lives on a happy note? I really just want to keep them all and downsize when it's their time to truly go. We currently have 7 sows and a boar. We are thinking we need to get down to 2 to 3 sows and a boar. It sucks. I don't want to. But I need to. For the lands sake, the barns sake, and for the pigs sake really. I feel like I can do better by my pigs if I reduce my numbers. It's just a matter of picking who and when.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed in myself. Because really, I am fucking devastated. I have wanted so bad to make something big of this. The term "Making It" is all relative really but I had dreamed of selling large amounts of eggs, pork, and lamb. Having our own beef and dairy. Having an amazing Gloucestershire Old Spot breeding program. Possibly going to farmers markets and becoming a well known member of the Skagit agriculture community. Instead I feel like I have become an unreliable mess of a person who no one will want to deal with. My reality may be that I focus on feeding my family first, do things small scale, and any extra that is sold is a bonus. My husband, God bless him, is a major help to me with this, but it isn't his dream. His dream is to have a happy home, family, and good food in the freezer. I so wish I could be as content as he is! When I stop and think about it, I am a one woman show with help 2 weeks out of the month. For the grunt work really. We do have fun making plans for the farm but 90 percent of the dreams come from me and my husband is nice enough to come along for the ride. Not to mention support it. This is also why I think I have gotten myself into this black hole. I am trying so hard to be a good wife, a good mother, a good employee working 3 days a week at a Veterinary Hospital that I love, and also be a farmer. Spreading myself too thin over too many things. I want to be a full time farmer and be that "dream farm" that I see so often on the world of Facebook and Instagram but it just can't happen right now. Oh, and that Facebook/Instagram thing, I have wanted nothing to do with that because of all of this and then some. I can't help but compare myself to others and then feel like a failure when I see other people who are "Making It" and I am over here being an emotional, stupid mess of a person who can't seem to get her shit together. It has become exhausting and not fun but at the same time a safe haven where at times I don't feel alone in this. Hence all of my ramblings that I am sharing currently.
How do you fix it when you really just want to do all the things?! I can't imagine giving up anything but that is obviously selfish. And if I am miserable doing all of things, what is the damn point anyways??? Now I am trying to find that balance. I think it will be a slow process but I am praying to God that I can find it. Some of that is being found in unconventional ways like New Age Spirituality mixed with my Christian beliefs, and refocusing on what is best for myself and family. I am no good to my family when I am a crying, angry, flustered, forgetful, depressed mess of a person. And my animals suffer for it too. There are so many things I would love to do better for all of the living beings in my life but I am not freaking Super Woman. As much as I would love to be. I am a woman with passion, stubbornness, and dreams that will get me through it, but I can't do it all by myself. And I am no longer willing to put myself into a emotional and financial hole to make it happen either.
Money is the root of evil when farming. And I think it is why there is so much suicide with farmers. I don't know a whole heck of a lot about the Big Ag world but I do know it is insanely expensive, riddled with mass amounts of debt, some how equaling out to cheap food. It is pretty freaking messed up. We are getting closer to being debt free, which we have been a few times in our lives, besides our mortgage, but if we keep going like we are right now, we will fall right back into debt. Being a slave to our farm in all aspects. A vicious cycle that will only consume me more and be of zero benefit to my family. To truly do what I want right now, it would cost a lot of money up front. With a big gamble of not getting it returned all the way. Things could go well and I could have a nice chunk of change in the bank, or things could go bad like they did this winter with having 3 piglets on the ground instead of the 24 plus like there was the potential for. At $130 to $150 a piglet, you do the math on the loss there. Not fun at all. The amount of emotional ups and downs takes it's toll on people like me, trying to make this work. Some have better luck with it then others or are just more cut out for the job but I don't think anyone is stress free in it. The fact that you have to work so hard, put up so much money up front, go through so much emotional stress, for minimal return, makes you wonder why the hell anyone does it.
Those days when you get the rewards, its like the best high ever. Watching your kids run through the field, laughing and playing hide and go seek in the tall grass. Listening to a momma pig grunting to her 12 roly poly piglets while they nurse on her. Collecting a still warm chicken egg from a nesting box. Eating your homegrown bacon for breakfast with a good cup of coffee. Having a nightcap with your husband, watching the sheep, goats, and cows graze. Those are the moments when your heart tells you, this is where I need to be. When you know its not about the money. Where you want to do whatever you can to save your lifestyle.
Now to find the balance. I am trying hard to not fall into that deep, dark, black hole again but instead slowly crawl myself out of it. My husband and kids are my driving force behind that. Words can't describe my love and need for them. I'd give this all up to keep them. I want them to be happy here. To have fond memories of this way of growing up. For Nate and I to not regret these years farming and raising our kids. I am blessed that we can have this way of life. That we have jobs outside the farm that support us. I have so much to be thankful for. Now to just open my eyes, take in the good with the bad, and make this a happy place. The sunshine is coming back, in more ways than just in the blue sky. Here's to hoping I can catch it and hold on tight.
What a freaking week or 2 it has been! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you probably know all about my crazy lately. It has been an emotional roller coaster ride, pretty normal around here really. You'd think I would be used to it by now. This time was a little different though. A first for us in dealing with a very, VERY sick pig. It is bound to happen at some point when you have livestock. Animals are born, animals thrive, animals get sick, animals die. It is just how it goes.
Hildy had her first litter of piglets March 1st. A small and frustrating litter of only 5 with 2 passing away shortly after being born, due to failure to thrive despite me best efforts. I had to work the next few days so Nate was on piglet duty. When we went to bed Friday night he told me that Hildy didn't eat that night. Very odd for a momma that just had piglets. They are usually ravenous. I was a bad farmer and didn't check on her that day or the next morning due to pure exhaustion from some crazy ass days working and let Nate deal with things. I told him that if Hildy still didn't eat on Saturday then we need to have the vet out because something is up. Sure enough, Hildy was really freaking sick. Nate pulled her last living piglet to be hand raised...that's a whole other story though.
A few weeks prior she had a random bloody nose which was very odd. Checked with my favorite facebook pig group and the consesus was that since she was acting fine otherwise, to not worry about it. I wish I would have done something though because I think that's when everything started really. Farrowing a litter of piglets comprised things and put her in a bad state. The vet said it was pneomonia. Antibiotics and a pain reliever/appetite stimulation was put on board. Draxxin and Banamine to be exact. The next day she started bleeding from her nose again. More than before. And she had a horrible cough to go with it. We had to force her multiple times a day to get up so that she didn't have constant pressure on her organs. No matter what we put in front of her, we could not get her to eat. I made multiple phone calls to the vet during the week. We decided to switch it up and add on a steriod, Dexamethasone, as a last ditch effort. The word Euthanasia came up in one of our conversations. I can't begin to tell you what a shitty feeling that was. We are pretty in touch with the fact that the majority of our animals are here for food reasons. Momma pigs are here to make babies that can be raised for pork. When their job is done, they become sausage. No waste that way. No suffering either. But this, it just seemed cruel to me. Hildy being so ill, so miserable, only to die from it all. We wouldn't be able to harvest her because you never, ever want to eat a sick animal, and then you add in the fact that she was pumped full of drugs. Now forget about the food aspect of this. These pigs are like family. We see them at least twice a day, everyday. They are loved, snuggled with, given treats, nicknames, they all have their own personalities, likes and dislikes. We have a connection and bond with them. Some of them more than others. But we love them all. We are the stewards for these creatures and feel we need to do best by them. Even if they are just a pig.
I didn't want to say goodbye to Hildy. Not because I would have wasted almost $400 on this pig for nothing, not because I would have been out her life and 4 out of the 5 piglets, not because I couldn't eat her, but because dammit I care about her! I have never had to say goodbye to a farm animal this way. The time will come one day when I have to but I would like that to be as far away from now as possible.
I had Nate pick up a few more doses of Dexamethasone and a new antibiotic on Friday. This would be our last effort. "I'll give her til Monday." I think she heard me because we couldn't get the darn shots into her anymore. She was now getting up and running away when we poked her. Where before she would just lay there. I became frustrated. "You damn pig! Don't you know we want you to live!?" At that point I was giving up hope. She still wasn't eating and now we couldn't even help here medicine.
Don't give up hope...
I was reminded of this great lesson Monday morning....her last chance...She ate! 3 chicken eggs and grain! Not going to lie, I cried. From happiness, relief, and for this giant weight being lifted off of my shoulders. I hadn't realized how much I was stressing over this. And how badly I wanted her to pull through. I really thought we would lose her. But with teamwork and deterimantion, we got her to pull through. I am hopeful now, once again, that she will continue to improve.
Was it silly to care about her so much? Maybe. Was it stupid to put that much money into a pig? Maybe. But there is the side of me with farming that I can't ignore. The passion and love for these creatures. They all count, big or little. My hero, Steve Irwin, is always in the back of my mind when caring for them. It might be the side of me that makes me not the best farmer from a realistic stand point but I do try to be somewhat rational. Would I have spent every last penny on trying to save her? No way. But I also wouldn't have let her suffer.
It just so happened that we had the most gorgeous weather Sunday and Monday. It made me feel new again! And then with Hildy, my hope had been restored. An overwhelming amount of happiness all around! Being able to soak in the sunshine, the sheep getting to frolic around in the front yard, the birds singing in the trees, and my kids playing so very happily outside until it was dark was just what my soul needed. This winter has been rough and I'm seriously shocked that I want to keep at this. I'm crazy so of course I do! Hildy has been just the reminder that I needed, to keep pushing forward even when shit gets rough. There will always be sunshine at the end.
Photo Credit: Brooke Hampton fb/barefootfive
Well, I'm going for it...even if it is just to get my thoughts out for my own personal satisfaction. I figured I would finally start a little blog to share what is going on here on the farm. The good, the bad, and the ugly. But hopefully lots of fun, happy things, and less sad, depressing things. Even though with this lifestyle those are bound to happen at some point. I am not the best with words and sometimes I tend to ramble, hence the name I've chosen for this little blog of mine. But I will share with you all the same if you're willing to read it.
The hardest thing to do, is to know where to start with this. Do I just dive in? Do I give you some background? Do you even care!? Lol! So I think I will do a little bit of both...
One of the things I hear the most from other the people, "How do you do it all!?". The truth being that I don't. And I'm a little bit crazy! We have pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, cows, dogs, cats, reptiles, and our own brood of 3 young children ages 9, 6, and 4. My husband works full time and I work part time at a local veterinary hospital as a receptionist. With all of that, there are many chores to be done every day that we are just so accustom to now from kinda, sorta, not really growing our farm slowly over the last 4 or 5 years. It's just normal now. Housework is usually put on the back burner if I'm being totally honest so that is part of how I "Do It All". Not that we live in a pig sty or anything but you won't see my house in any kind of fancy magazine and I most likely will not be giving out any kind of home decorating advice here. I have been trying to embrace the hygge lifestyle lately but that is a totally different topic. I am to distracted by lambs and pigs lately to do much about that anyways.
I do love to share my experiences, whether they are good or bad. And I think I would like to share more about our methods here as well. Why we do things the way we do. Why we have chosen the animals we have. What it is really like to live this life. It is my passion. My love. And my dream. I am still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with this crazy dream of mine. It is a constant battle of knowing if I am making the right choices, doing things the right way, being a good enough wife, mother, and farmer. Trying to find the balance with all of it to make it work. Cause really that's my goal. Make it work. Do what I love. Make my family happy. Make other people happy. Easier said than done! But lately I am meeting and talking to some amazing people who are really pushing me and inspiring to do more, or do to less, and to push forward.
A warning to you as well if you are still reading this....I am a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Some days I want to do it all and other days I am ready to sell all of this and just live in a quaint little home with a tiny yard and perfect house. But come on, that's not really what I want. It's just a little pity party, temper tantrum, whatever you want to call it, to try and make myself feel more sane! Maybe even if I am not really sane, at least I am not boring right?! We all have things in life that drive us and make us happy. That fill our cup. That light a fire in our soul. For me, it's piglets and lambs, green pasture, fresh cut hay, collecting eggs, cuddling my dogs, watching my kids climb in trees and build forts, and cooking a hearty meal that my fills my families belly. I also love to laugh, cry, swear, have a good drink, be alone, but get together, and just be me. So now you are forewarned about what may be my farm ramblings and what they may entail. I have no idea how often I will post but I will do my best to keep a good balance of ramblings, education, inspiration, silly, and cute baby animals for you. Until next time, Cheers!