One thing being a Farm Wife does to you is to decrease your memory. It’s not that you don’t have the storage space in your brain, it’s that you tend to focus on what needs to be done, and consequently lose the ability to remember other things. You stand in the pasture, watching a calf being born, and if you don’t write it down somewhere, you tend to forget which day it was. You want to remember the punch line to that joke, but instead your mind is drifting back over the items that still need to be done. And soon. You want to remember each day that passes, but before you know it they are all running together and you can’t seem to remember if today is Tuesday, or is it Saturday?
I am a Farm Wife and a writer. My days are filled to overflowing with chores that need to get done, and I want to use quite a few of my experiences on the farm to create posts for my website. The problem is, I can’t always remember exactly what happened, or in the order it took place. All I can remember is how far I got hoeing the garden today, but that’s because I have a great reminder – sore muscles.
Last night, as I did my Bible study, I came across something I wanted to remember. My natural instinct was to reach over to grab a Spiritual Journal I keep to write down thoughts and important information that I know I will want to revisit down the road. However, it wasn’t there. When I finally found it, I noticed that the notebook was already full, and the last dated entry was from last year. When did I stop doing that?
Journals come in all types. When we moved to the farm, I began to keep several, all in different notebooks. I wanted to remember every single detail about living on this God-given piece of Paradise. I kept a Farm Journal, which highlighted daily chores, sightings and things that needed to be done. My Spiritual Journal kept quotes, verses and thoughts that I felt I needed to remember to help me become a better person. The Financial Journal kept track of all we spent and any income.
Randy kept (and still keeps) Cattle Journals, Hunting Journals and Hay Journals. In them he notes the dates of birth, death, sale and purchases of each cow that comes on to or leaves the farm. In his Hunting Journal he keeps track of any deer spotted, killed or allowed to walk away. He notes times of day, the stand in which he is sitting and other bits of information that he thinks may help him down the road. Hay journals include fields he cuts, yields, conditions, and weather. He often refers back to them to see if he can learn anything that may help this year.
It was sad to me to realize that my Farm and Spiritual Journal have been neglected, and I am now using my check register to keep up with my finances. The Financial Journal wasn’t so much about using the information for tax purposes, but to keep track of when we bought chicks, how much they cost and, down the road, how many eggs produced and sold. Although this same information can be gotten from our books, it just isn’t the same. Some of the entries are like this: “Today, we bought four dozen chicks – one each of New Hampshire Reds, Leghorns, Ameracuanas and Red Sex Link. The cost was $136.32. Had I gone ahead and bought another dozen, the per-chick price would have been less, but the work load would have been doubled and the brooder space a little too tight.” It was a constant reminder for me to balance cost, space, time and benefit to anything purchased.
Journals are a great way to record your memories, your thoughts, ideas, and dreams. By looking back on the things we have written, we can see how much progress we’ve made, note some of our mistakes that we need to avoid, and have a method of planning out our future. The best part about them is that they don’t have to be the ‘formal’ blank page book with ‘Journal’ embossed on the front. It can be just a simple spiral notebook from the Dollar Store, or even on your computer. The best part about these two options is you can have more than one, like I do. The important thing is to actually use them. Jot down an idea or two, in your Things To Reflect On Journal. Write down a recipe that your Great Aunt is telling you at a family reunion. Or simply share an experience with your Journal, so you can go back and enjoy it all over again later on in life. Just remember- if you don’t want your family reading something a bit risqué, you might want to keep those memories to yourself. Because unless you burn them, they will read them after you are gone!