The high winds and bright sunshine are blowing Winter away and I will not be sad to see it go. It has been a brutal winter for me: I was horribly sick for December, January and the first half of February. I thought I would die, that I would feel totally exhausted forever and that Work was going to kill me. Eventually I did get better and I adjusted my work schedule and Life is a little better.
Life, however, is messy, and even as my strength returned Good Enough Farm has experienced unforeseen difficulties. I have been selling my eggs to Mayberry’s Produce Market just down the road from me; Due to health problems, Mr. Mayberry is going out of business and I will have to either find another place to sell to or downsize the flock. It is difficult to make the decision either way. It was so hard for me to ‘sell’ myself to someone in the first place and I just don’t want to go through it again. I love looking out at my flock and it’s varied colors and busyness. I would miss that if it were reduced. And I just added to it in January with four layers and a docile rooster waiting to join up with the main flock in another month. What to do, what to do?
Part of that January chicken order was an even 10 broilers. One died the first week and the other nine are fattening up slowly. I have to take the bathroom scale out and start weighing them so I can butcher the fattest ones early. One of them has a wonky leg and I keep thinking that I should just put her out of my misery; She does get around, albeit with difficulty, so I grant her a reprieve each day, waiting until there will be no more days for her.
Growing your own food is messy.
Gardens struggle and fail, rabbits overproduce or underproduce or get eaten by raccoons, broilers are hideous but delicious, chickens lay too many eggs or not enough eggs. *sigh*
I didn’t realize all the ways that it is more responsible. I am responsible for the health of my soil because of what I do or don’t add to it. I am responsible for the health of my plants because of the attention that I do or don’t give them; If they get eaten up by bugs or disease that is because I didn’t do my job. If my lovely pumpkin vine only gives me one pumpkin, I’m responsible because I didn’t sit out there and assist the male flowers to pollinate the female flowers. If I lose a dozen eggs in one week to breakage I’m responsible because I didn’t add the powdered egg shells to the feed.
But I don’t think I would trade any of it for an ‘easier’ way. It has been a blessing, a tremendous gift, to be connected to the earth, to the animals, to Life.
Life is messy. So are bare feet in the mud and garden dirt on your hands, piles of animal manure and rich compost, sweaty faces and sunburned backs bent tending over a garden plot.
What a glorious mess.