Friday, September 23, 2011

#100 - A Milestone! BIG ACTIONS!

Since beginning my Farm Life Lessons blog, I've learned SO MUCH about farm life. This is my 100th blog that I've written and these past few months have been a joy. As for lessons learned, mainly, my lessons have been about chickens.

After years and years of us wanting chickens so that we could enjoy fresh eggs, we finally broke down and bought chicks. To be honest, the chicks entered our lives at a difficult time in our marriage...our daughters were now both adults and we were trying to find our way in the world as STILL young people with grown children. That's a weird freaky zone for those who are still raising their children. Once they graduate from high school and enter college, things change.

Never did we imagine that getting a few chicks could be so therapeutic. Really, they were. I've learned in my Farm Life Lessons journey that living a more simplistic life can give you the chance to be nurturing and to be nurtured. That's what life is really about anyway. It's not about what you can all gets old, out of date, boring and unimportant, but things involving nurturing feeds your spirit and brings value to life.

So, as simple as little chicks may seem, they have brought more meaning and more depth to my daily world.

There were people I loved who told me that chickens were horrible and that I'd be miserable with them. These people only had negative things to say about having chickens. But, I was not to be deterred. Oh, those chickens will be smelly and disgusting! But, I didn't listen.

Fortunately, Deputy Dave realized that it was time for us to buy some chicks, no matter where we lived, we didn't need to wait to move to our acreage, we wanted to do it NOW. So, we did.

We bought our chicks, raised them in our master bathroom until they were large enough to finish growing up while protected by the confines of the chicken tractor and chicken coop that Deputy Dave built. So, into the backyard they moved and there in the backyard they still happily live.

It's a decision I'll never regret.

Having chickens teaches you about the cycle of life, but in a different way. We have raised our two daughters, they are beautiful people, but being parents taught us how rough it can be when you are just trying to make it day by day. Having chickens is certainly not the same as having children, but I do feel as if my nurturing and care of these creatures is rewarding because I get to be entertained by chicken antics and the fresh eggs we constantly get to enjoy cannot be rivaled. It is worth every moment of hardship to raise chickens.

We've seen their intelligence at work; we've seen nature's innate workings in action; we've seen that we will have heartaches, joys, losses, fears and brave moments with our chickens and each day brings new lessons.

Above all, I'm slowly gaining a deeper understanding of the farmers from our past, the ones who didn't have pesticides at their disposal, the farmers who knew how to care for the land with what the earth had to offer. I feel a sense of gratitude and amazement each time I gather an egg from the coop, to imagine what it must've been like to be a farmer and to know that your eggs were a staple of your versatile and delicious with a slab of home-grown ham or a few strips of bacon. Each egg I hold in my hand is precious to me. I am thankful to my chickens for laying eggs and for helping to feed my family a very healthy food. It's a joy to know the direct source from which my eggs come and this makes the eggs all the more delectable and enjoyable.

Heather playing in our backyard with Tux, her Australian Shepherd.
Since we are living in the city limits and suburbia only gives us a small amount of space to cultivate, I am thoroughly anticipating the day we get to live on our land so we can have the chance to also raise our own swine, to have a milk cow and to plant a MAC-DADDY GARDEN! And don't even get me started about fruit trees!

Again, I am surrounded by naysayers, "Oh, you don't want to raise pigs, they are not worth it, they are a mess and destructive and a waste of your time." And I hear, "You will be surrounded by wild animals and that won't be fun."

Well, I've found that the naysayers are speaking for themselves. As for me and Deputy Dave, we seem to be built for the farming kind of life...the things that other people despise seem to be exactly the parts of life we enjoy most.

The problem we now confront is the issue of WHEN to put the house up for sale. WHEN do we make the big leap? WHEN?

We are so close to making the leap, but we don't want the timing to be off. We still have one daughter finishing her degree...she's close...she's a huge part of our life and we offer her our support by being here for her while she is focusing on her studies. Stefie is a great student, a beautiful person and lovely to be around. So, we're not in a rush to leave or to rush her out into the big world.

Stefie in her senior year as an Officer on the dance team.
For both of our daughters, we preferred that they take advantage of having supportive parents so that they could have every chance available to get a firm grip on what they want to pursue in life. It's great when the kids are wise enough to take advantage of this opportunity, as they should. Not every child has this kind of support. But, the more that they let us help them now will mean the less we will need to help in the future with their financial stability. So, helping my daughters right now in their young adulthood is also a gift to Deputy Dave and myself...for OUR future. The longer they let us assist them in giving them a leg-up for them to reach their dreams will mean that they are more likely to grasp those dreams sooner than without our help.

Here's another little one we'll be glad to support with love and guidance
as she finds her way into the future.
I learned at an early age that you can be surrounded by people who talk big about supporting your dreams and who talk big about doing what it takes to help you reach your dreams, but often, it's your parents who were the ones who actually took the big ACTIONS to follow the big talk that lit the path to reaching your dreams. Big talk doesn't work. Big talk is empty. Big talk is someone stringing you along while they do exactly what THEY want to do as you don't get to pursue your own dreams. Big talk is something each of us must learn to recognize or we will be swindled by smooth words as we spiral downhill, going no where fast. Big talk with opposing actions will cause you to drift further and further from the things you had once aspired to become, to enjoy, to sacrifice to enjoy...big talk can surely create big letdowns in life.

Big talk doesn't last. Big actions do.

This is where parents can attempt to protect their children...parents differentiate between big talk and big action. And, as long as my youngest is still around, we are prepared to take big action, even if that means staying in this house in the city a bit longer so that she can finish her degree and be surrounded by those who love her and who want her to live a life of fulfilled dreams. For Stefie, that actually means finishing her degree, being able to work with children, and mostly, she dreams of being a mom. Stefie is a Texas gal, through and through. She loves Houston and will probably be a teacher one day. But, she dreams of being a mom, and I love this about her. I think that is the highest aspiration any woman can have...being a mom is the most important job I ever had.

My girls are young ones here...having such fun!
So, Deputy Dave and I took big actions to make sure our daughters received their education, earned their degrees and are able to be self-sufficient. Us taking big actions to make sure these steps fell into place so that our girls would get a jump-start in their lives is kind of like us nurturing those chickens and getting's all a big circle and the good support you offer comes back to reward you. I love that part of life.

Give a little now, get a lot in return later. Farm Life Lessons seem to mirror this ideal, and it is great that our own path toward moving to our acreage is blooming and becoming brighter before our eyes as we get to savor the final countdown with our youngest daughter as she finishes her degree. Times are changing, our lives are evolving and I do think we will love raising farm animals more than most people in our lives can imagine. All their big talk and negativity won't slow us down, our big actions toward fulfilling our own mid-life dreams are already in motion and it is a wonderful time in our lives.

We welcome more big action and scary changes! Wahoo!

Let's Go!!


Rae said...

Don't listen to the pig naysayers. Our pigs are the least stinky and easiest to care for critters on our farm. Easy peasy if you teach them about hotwire and give em enough room to roam. Gonna be sad when they go to butcher next week.

Congrats on #100!!!!

LindaG said...

We're looking forward to lean, home-grown bacon.
Have you been able to get out to check on your property?
Have they gotten the forest fires under control? We are not hearing a lot here right now.

So I guess we know now which came first. ;-)

Teri @ Love From the Farm said...

So glad you're ignoring the naysayers...I've been surprised by how much I care for these critters that come in and out of our lives on the farm. "From the city to the farm" changed me in ways I didn't expect - all of them good: I'm more reflective, I'm less busy-both with tasks and inside my head, I've learned to do things I didn't even know I wanted to do, I notice and cherish the close-to-the-earth things, I have resurrected memories of my grandma as I do the things I did alongside her on her homestead 30 years ago....
I have unintentionally rambled on. Keep following your heart. 'Nuff said. ;)

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

Rae - Thanks! And, I wonder if this is your first time to send the pigs in for slaughter? Sounds like you've been going thru so many new experiences this year. Did you process the turkeys?

Linda - we are supposed to go to our land within the next two weeks. There's so much we need to do. We also need to pull out the Cub Cadet and do some work on it while we're at the house. We're so ready to go...the brutal heat we've had this year did not allow us to be able to go sit outside on our land. Most days were over 100 degrees and the drought made it a smothering heat. The fires have subsided, like today, it'll be about 95 degrees, but we did get a couple of rains that helped TREMENDOUSLY!

Teri - I can't even express how profoundly your words have touched my heart. It's moments like this when I know we're doing the right thing. I am really hoping to bring back some of the lost ways of homesteading for the children in our family, so that future generations won't be so confused and unknowing about it all, as we are through the lessons. I remember times with my great-grandmother, such as sitting on the porch and snapping peas together and doing things outside on the land. But, I have been so blessed to have our nieces and nephews over for them to learn about veggie gardens, growing herbs, raising chickens and enjoying eggs from the coop. And the funny thing is...all of them want to come over to do these things instead of doing regular "fun" things. I'm so glad they are learning a few things that today's generation is clueless about. I've also seen how the country constantly brings out a different side of does seem different and sweeter and simpler when we're on our land. But, you put it so perfectly. Thank you for helping to put into words how I feel.

Vickie said...

Hey again, Lana - I answered your most recent post first I see. My husband and I had to wait for our daughter, our youngest, to get settled in nursing school before we actually made the big move to the farm. It's something we've always wanted to do, too. My husband isn't as excited about chickens, etc., as I am, but he's coming around. We've had a good garden the last 3 years and he's seeing how much food we can produce and freeze and can. We're going to get chicks in the spring, and I'm looking at plans to get my coop built this fall and have it all ready to go. We're going to raise a calf or two for freezer meat. Don't know about pigs yet. I wouldn't mind have a few goats either, but we'll see about that. I can quilt and can and do other farmy things, and I know I'll learn how to do others. I'm so happy when I'm at home on the farm...

Vickie said...

Oh yes, I forgot to you how pretty your girls are - just like their mom!

Lana from Farm Life Lessons said...

Vickie --- Sounds as if we have much in common. Our youngest daughter has been studying Child Development and she is eager to be a Child Life Specialist. And as for the chickens, my husband wasn't AS excited as I had been about chickens, but he's turned out to be more enthusiastic and more in-tune to the chickens that I will ever be. Of course, I have a great relationship with the chickens, they never peck me. At first they did, they went after my toenail polish, but I began to carry a bamboo stick with me at all times when around the chickens to allow me to gently prod them away from my feet and its worked. Now, they seem trained. But, they still peck Deputy Dave--he does not walk with a stick. The chickens let him approach them, they let him pick them up and they are comfortable with him. And I'm telling you again, if I had chicks by the time you were ready, I'd still send a complimentary flock your way. As for calves, we are planning to do the same thing...for meat and one milking cow which I believe, for me, will be more thrilling than chicken eggs. I want to learn how to milk a cow, churn butter, have our own buttermilk, mozarella, etc. especially mozarella. I love mozarella and tomatoes, my FAVORITE MEAL. My husband has actually raised cattle and swine in FFA. He's comfortable with large livestock, so that's a good head-start for us. Deputy Dave definitely wants to raise pigs for our own pork. I wanted to raise goats, but mostly for the goat milk, however, if we have a milking cow, I will be all set. As for quilting...I've tried and never succeeded. I've never been around anyone who quilted, but I've been around people who sew for my entire life. I'd love to quilt. And thank you for the sweet comment. This mama has been getting old, have been through a lot and don't always feel so lovely, but I'm learning to take the lumps and bumps as they come and to accept me for me. After all, each of us is perfectly imperfect. I'm very excited and inspired every time I get to hear about your challenges to get to the farm. It sounds as if you too have been through some tough mountains and valleys to get there. And, I do believe getting there while enduring challenges makes the arrival all the more sweeter.