I know some of you may have already experienced the first blanket of snow, or a night around the fire. We haven’t. The first storm is rolling in today, so we have officially started the season. Autumn is my most favorite season. I love the colored and the changes in the wind. I love how it brings everyone in. Cozy blankets, hot drinks, plenty of reading and movies. It’s the only season I really get into baking. Soup is very common. I just love Autumn. Don’t you? Autumn is when our goats get bred. I can’t wait for fresh milk again. Our turkeys will soon be processed and frozen. Last year’s turkey is in the frig defrosting. The garden is cleared and needing tending for the fall planting. The jackets and coats are coming out. The dresses and shorts are set aside. The nights are longer, the days shorter. The hens aren’t laying so much. Things are getting quiet around the farm.
As I’ve hung clothes on the line again (thank you warm weather), I have really been pondering the seasons’ changes on the farm. We have been out here in the country for a full year now, and I’m barely feeling like I have a better understanding of what each season brings.
We are coming from winter, which is the least busy of all the seasons. The main goal is get animals bred, stay warm, and rest from the hard work of the rest of the year. I see it as the stay inside and fatten up period. Baking becomes frequent, and reading is plenty.
When you are stagnant for so long, it’s very difficult to kick into full gear Spring. We made it through baby goat births and building garden boxes, and now we’re gearing up for planting the seeds and selling the babies. This requires paperwork, advertising, disbudding, castrating ect. In just a few short weeks I’ll be back to milking twice a day. We have drip systems to fix, fencing to build, and trees to trim. It’s about time to decide which hens are no longer laying and, therefore; need to processed. Spring is the busiest and most work here.
I very much enjoy the rest of the Winter, but I am definitely ready to begin the work of Spring, so as to profit from the harvest in the Summer. Things are picking up here. We are praying for a blessing on this little farm. May He give the increase for our labor.
Around here we are busing ourselves with all the preparations that make spring so wonderful. House projects, garden projects, and looking closer to the arrival of baby goats.
I am so very excited about the babies coming, and in a deep corner of my heart I harbor the knowledge that tragedy could strike. I am becoming quite obsessed with researching all possibilities, so as to avoid such a sadness. I truly feel just as excited as if a human was being born into the family. I am, however, much more nervous as there are no doctors to help in trouble. I am the help in trouble. That is a heavy burden, but oddly one I am looking forward to. Pray friends. It is only a slight chance of danger, but one I must have my wits for. In just a few short weeks we will, God-willing, be posting plenty of pictures of cute furry goats.
Children have been dirtier, as they have been thoroughly enjoying warms days of play out of doors, while adults paint the house and prepare for the season. I must remind myself continually that this is great for them, however bad it is to the house.
I’m confident that we will plant a garden this year. So far, that’s all I can promise. The garden beds are made and filled. Just a bit more compost for the top, and planting will commence. I am hopeful, and above all, prayerful for success.
I can hardly describe the changes of humility and knowledge that have occurred within, in nearly a year of living on the farm. I am in constant reminder of my need to pray. For strength, wisdom, mercies of all sorts, and thankfulness. The responsibility to our animals is heavy on me always. Not in an oppressive way, simply in the fact that they depend on us for so much, like an infant does it’s mother. Though it’s not a daily demand of overwhelming work, it’s very important work We must decide the best feed, shelter, grooming, safety for them. If these are not met properly, it is none but our fault how it affects our animals.
I may have had a notion that this would be easy, because I read a book on it, and it made sense. I referred above to humility, enter that here. I am in complete and total understanding that good farmers and good husbandman are bred of education and intelligence. One really must have so much understanding of everything, from plumbing to medicine to chemistry to mechanics. We are far from a large farm…we are minute, really. The fact is we have worlds more to know. I pleasure in a life of constant growth. Both spiritually and mentally, I am sure our lessons from the farm will last our lives through.
Around here the excitement, hardships, joy, satisfaction, beauty, growth, and chores are a never-ending swirl of life.
Here at the farm we have divided up the household and animal responsibilities into age appropriate sections. I have had very little to to with feeding the animals since the goats have been dried up. Yesterday was different with illness still lurking about these parts.
I certainly didn’t want to send any sick child into 20 degree weather.
So, I slipped on a few knit layers and rubber boots and went about the morning chores alone. I forgot how much I truly need to get outside more, even in the cold weather.
I love listening to our winter friends, Sandhill Cranes over head. I can’t get enough of the affection our sweet does give me and each other. Are there really so many things more adorable than a fluffy rump chicken running about?
Okay, if you’re about to say kids, I’ll give you that. But, seriously, I absolutely love our life, how ever trying times can be, no matter the sacrifices of worldly glamour. Caring for animals may tie us down more, but they are more than pets. They are our livelihood our food, our entertainment, our family.
We learn so much, even about our Heavenly Father, as we raise and care for our animals and our farm.
I can’t imagine wanting to go back to our former life. I know we are always open to whatever path is laid before us, but I do hope it includes livestock and mason jars. I really love it here. I am filled with thanksgiving and humility for the life we are living right now. I am so excited for the future lessons and experiences that only a farmer’s life can offer.
I don’t say this to make you feel as though your life is unimportant. I have simply come to realize more depth in my own life. For me, it can be as simple as grasping the meaning of time-honored sayings or, even, spiritual concepts.
The phrase “pigs sty” just doesn’t mean as much unless your eyes have seen and nose has smelled. Seriously, I would rather starve than eat from a pig’s trough as the “Wayward Son” of the New Testament did.
When I read in the scriptures that the fields are “white for the harvest, but the laborers are few”, I envision our neighbor’s cotton fields-breathtakingly white as far as the eye can see. What a daunting task to think of harvesting a field like that without enough help. It would seem downright impossible!
The Bible is filled with farming references and examples. As I walk about about our humble farm, verses are alive before my eyes. Much how I would imagine a trip the Israel, I see and have a greater understanding of the depth, pain, toil behind the stories. I know for certain I would go leave a flock of sheep “to pursue the one”. Every animal we have, we love, nurture and enjoy. How much more does He love me…you? He pursues us! Searching, calling…do we listen?
The future is never certain, so all I can be is overjoyed to be placed here, now, and forever in my heart. I don’t want to forget these tiny moments on the farm, with my Lord talking to me while I go about my chores.