Without a doubt, farm life is the best life. According to the rules of the English language, that sentence is ‘an opinion.’ But, also according to the rules of the English language, ‘ya’ll’ and ‘ain’t’ aren’t words, and ya’ll know that just ain’t true. So, bypassing said rules, that first sentence is ‘a fact.’
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’re well aware that I find incredible value in raising our children in an environment where daily work is the norm and animals are appreciated—for pleasure’s sake, for appreciation of God’s creation, and also for home-grown food. An environment where a lot of our entertainment is found among the trees, or along a creek; around a bon fire, or in a rocking chair watching a storm blow through. In all these years, our excitement has yet to fade every time we witness the arrival of new life on the farm, whether it be in the form of a calf or a litter of piglets. It’s always so wonderful when they are born.
But this article is about what happens after all that. Sometimes, after a storm blows through, you go inside and talk about how beautiful the trees were, swaying in the heavy gusts of wind. But sometimes, you go inside to have that talk, only to be interrupted by a phone call that your cows got out because your fence was damaged by a fallen tree.
Sometimes, you get so excited about a litter of piglets that you start making plans for them right away…plans that are years down the road. But then the next morning, you come outside and realize the new momma pig hasn’t let the piglets nurse, and as a result they are weak. Some will pull through, but some won’t.
Sometimes you spend hours preparing the perfect farrowing pen, equipped with heat lamps for the winter chill, and fresh hay for bedding. It looks almost picturesque when you’ve finally finished it. And then you come out the next day to find that overnight, the cold winter rain dripped down onto your heat lamps, busting them, causing some of your piglets to freeze. Other piglets had burrowed down into all of that beautiful hay, only to be hidden from momma…so she accidentally crushed them when she laid on the bedding.
Sometimes, you spend weeks planning your garden, and days preparing the garden area. Hours and hours preparing your trellises and planting your seeds. And the next day, you come out to realize your chickens made a buffet out of all of your hard work.
I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point. In farm life, there are SO many times where you can get one huge, swift, overwhelming feeling of discouragement. We’ve all gotten to the point where we have thoughts like, “I just can’t do this…I’m gonna sell off or butcher every animal I’ve got…This is the farm where chickens go to die…I’ll never get a tomato plant to produce…I’ve been raising the only predators my animals have ever had to worry about (thoughts you’ll get as you struggle to find the right farm dog).”
It’s when these kinds of thoughts hit, that you may even say out loud, “I give up.” You’ll walk away, take your boots off at the door, maybe even take a shower to dust off all the dirt and frustration. But then you sit down and just start thinking about where it must’ve gone wrong. You won’t be able to help trying to figure it out. And that’s a good thing. Because you can do this. It’s been done since time began, and you can do it, too.
It may take a day or two, but you’ll get your strength of mind back. You probably won’t even be able to help it. Because farm life really is the best life. And once you’ve had a taste of it…once you’ve bitten into a garden fresh tomato that you grew from a seed, or once you’ve milked a cow that you trained, or once you’ve raised a beautiful, healthy litter of piglets…you just won’t be able to stop trying to do it again.
You’ll take a deep breath when the disheartening blows strike…and maybe even take the rest of that day off, out of discouragement…but even when you’re in the midst of all the ‘trials-and-errors,’ you don’t ever really want to leave that life. Now, don’t get me wrong, you CAN’T WAIT to have it figured out…but you’ll find the grit to get up and get going again, in no time.
Just remember…we’ve all been there. Anyone who is trying to live off their land at all, or trying to raise animals at all…they’ve all felt what I’m talking about, sometimes several times in a short time span! But all of us homesteaders/farmers/gardeners realize that the struggle is actually part of what makes farm life so rewarding. It’s only after you’ve unsuccessfully attempted a garden…four years in a row…that you understand why people post pictures of their tomatoes and cucumbers, in pride. Or why the value of our elders, who plant gardens annually, is exponentially more than what they’re often accredited. And on that fifth garden…the one that you walk out one day and find the prettiest tomato you’ve ever laid eyes on…you’ll be convinced that you’ve just eaten the best vegetables you’ve ever had in your life. A dinner of garden vegetables will be one that you cherish and look forward to. That’s the kind of rewarding feeling only farm life can bring. And it’s only made sweeter by all the struggles that you faced before hand.
So let me just encourage you…keep on keepin’ on. We’ve all been there. Ain’t that right, ya’ll?