day one=disaster

a week or so ago i had the most delightful pleasure of talking at length with a former hill and hollow apprentice. we spoke of the past, the present and the future. she and her partner have a farm now along with a growing posse of their own farm kids. we spoke on many topics but one keeps coming back to me, her comment on this blog. she said it was too nice. yuck. she claimed that there isn’t enough mention of the day in day out struggle of farm family life. she wondered why we didn’t delve more deeply into those awful moments, the pulling your hair out “i gotta get outta here” times.

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when my fellow farmwives and i began this project 2 years ago we made sort of a vow. we wanted this space to be one of inspiration and encouragement. we wanted to be real, but definitely didn’t want to complain. to that end, i have tried with each post to be reflective and honest.  there were many days when i was due to write my post and i felt sort of kind of frustrated with my existence. i used the time and space as an opportunity to put a positive spin on things, to sort out my emotions, get to a place where things feel better, and then write. it has been a positive exercise, truly positive.

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now, those of you that follow this blog are surely sitting at the edge of your seats knowing 2 members of my family returned to the farm after 15 days in sunny california. their homecoming was an event we looked forward to with excitement. when we greeted them at the airport it was clear my son’s transition was not going to be pretty. the reunion with paul was lovely, he was equipped with the skills to handle such a transition, but that teenager of mine, oh boy, he was clearly not able to find his place. the trip back to the farm wasn’t too bad, but his first day back, even after a long sleep in his own bed: awful. his gruff behavior and maladjusted attitude had me in tears more than once. all i could think of was how quickly can i send this kid away again?

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luckily, time eases everything and by day two all was normalized. that second evening after his homecoming, he was lying on my daughter’s lap reading a story to our youngest; about as blissful as this family can get. i could have written this post about that moment on the couch, but after talking with my friend and thinking about the guys’ return, i felt compelled to tell the tale of that awful friday:  the day nothing was right. all of those hopes and expectations were shattered in the midst of my teenager’s emotional turmoil. living with others is never easy, the ebb and flow of our own feelings are challenging enough to manage, but how about those of 4 others. of course, one of the reasons why those 15 days apart were so relaxing was the simple fact that there was less personal energy in the immediate air.

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we have settled back in, the sun still shines and my family has it’s groove back. some things have shifted and this is a good thing, for now, the sea is calm.

final photos from california, we have only one camera and it went away with the guys. it’s back too!

 

thankful

this dawn i am thankful for what the day brings:  the return of my guys. we have had a tremendous 15 days and everyone is excited to reunite.

deep in my heart i am full of gratitude to our california relatives for hosting and welcoming my family into their home.there are no adequate words.

surf

i mean really. all love. now, to the airport.

home and away

it was well over a decade ago when i met a lovely family, they joined our csa and we quickly became friends. we had a lot to share but one thing seemed so strange about them: despite sharing a home, a child, a life they chose to travel solo. she went one place, he went another, they juggled child care. they had their own vacation rhythm that often seemed just a little bit weird to me. you see, i was raised with the family vacation: christmas, spring, summer each had it’s own style and destination.  but each was special, significant and an integral part of my childhood. (if i had a scanner i would insert an aged picture of me and my sister on sanibel island)

now i am a mother, a wife, a farmer, a shepherd.  in all these years of family and farm life i have most definitely failed in creating our own vacation ritual. the excuse is we have so much to tend to here, the reality of leaving it all in someone else’s hands has proven an insurmountable task. we have swung weddings and funerals but that is really about it.

the time had come for me to let go of my own personal history with the family trip and let the reality of our family’s life surface. we had to split up. it took me some time to get here emotionally, i am hardly selfless, but it was clear a guys trip to california was first on the agenda. tickets were booked. plans were solidified and 2015 began with two of my favorite people flying westward to enjoy 15 days on the pacific coast.

in a conversation i had with our mechanic this past week i begged him to pick up my teenager’s four wheeler and do it’s annual maintenance along with a few repairs in his absence. i told him that father and son were visiting relatives on the coast and i was holding down the fort.  his first reaction was a mix of shock and dismay,  everyone thought i was getting the short end of the stick.

 

i am here now to report officially this is about the best thing ever that has happened for me and my family. don’t get me wrong, i can’t wait for them to return, but we have had a great time. i purposefully kept my to do list minimal in my guys’ absence. i wanted these days to be different for me and my younger children, i wanted to carve out time to do special things, rather than attempt to do all that i usually do along with all that my husband and son do too.

i have learned the farm is different without them here. the house is quieter, the rhythm slower, the pace is my own.  it has been totally sweet. i am confident all of us will have treasured memories of the first weeks of 2015;  the travelers and the stayers.

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