“Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. Remember no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. Sometime, somewhere, somehow we shall find that which we seek.” –  Helen Keller

I won’t go so far as to say that this past year has been a failure.  Having a friend’s back, regardless of the cost, is never, ever, failing.  It is, in fact, a blessing to be able to do so.  And it is something that I don’t regret.

The Domino Effect

It is like a row of dominoes standing on end.  One thing leads to another until our entire course we so carefully planned has changed directions.  Projects that we have wanted to do have been put on hold.  Routine care of the animals is rescheduled to the weekend, instead of weekdays.  Instead of taking the first step outside about the same time the sun is waking up has changed to forays to the barn and coop guided by a flashlight.  Putting hay out in the evening is dependent on the tractor lights.  It’s as if we have become vampire farmers, as so many things are being done at night.

Despite the adjustments we have had to make, I am finding that I can embrace and celebrate this new normal.  In some ways it has become a challenge – can we actually get the chores done if we hurry?  Can we find enough time on the weekend to build an automatic chicken watering and feeding system?  Will the bolt that just bounced into the grass shine by the glow of a flashlight?  Um.  That one is answered, ‘No’.

In an odd way, it is refreshing.  Things on the farm had become fairly routine.  We feed and water in the morning, followed by any gardening that needs to be done.  The Country Boy heads off to work on equipment maintenance, fence repairs or anything else similar; once a week to the feed store – you get the picture.  Doing things at different times of the days has helped us to prioritize better and to see farm life…well…in a different light.

I think sometimes in life we work so hard to make our dreams become a reality that we get bogged down in the inconsequential things.  We want to force perfection.  Wait is too difficult  – we want it now.  We stand so close to the seedling every day that we fail to step back to see that it really is growing into a tree.  By doing this, we forget that we are working towards something beautiful – and true beauty sometimes takes a lifetime to achieve.

A Look Back 

Yet in looking back over this past year, we have had an opportunity to take a good look at our dreams and goals for our farm.  We were fairly certain that re-evaluating our Seven Point Plan would show us that we were a bit unrealistic, and maybe we were trying to bite off more than we could chew.  Surprisingly, we found out that we were really close to staying on track.  Yes, there are a couple of things that will have to be deferred to another point in time, but for the most part, we are slowly but surely working our way toward our goals.

We know that this is just temporary.  There may be a few setbacks and delays, but they come with the benefit of extra income.  Both of us may be working full-time, but those paychecks will help to pad our savings a bit more than normal, and with those funds we will be able to do more.  We may have to wait to do them while we are working off-farm, but we would have had to wait even longer if we depended on the meager savings we were previously building.

Our faith in God, our efforts and our farm has not waned through all of this.  We know that regardless of how hard life gets, or how many times we have to change our course, we are where we need to be.  On the farm.  And we know, without a doubt that “sometime, somewhere, somehow we shall find that which we seek.”  It is this belief that keeps us going.

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

1 Comment

  1. What a wonderful article! I can empathize, especially about balancing income with time for farming. How many “days-off” have I both wished that I would be called in to work for 8 hours of “time-and-a-half” and not to be called in so I could catch up on farm chores? Either way, it’s adding to what you so adroitly identified as “dreams and goals”. Rock on Sister! — Gary

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