It's astonishing to me how quickly it all seems to go by... The tomatoes yield to okra and kale, the melons grow fat and the vines turn brown, seed pods are swelling, pregnant with the promise of life next season. All the crops senesce and step down to let the new generation take their place. It's really quite incredible. And exhausting.
With every addition to the farm, my work load changes, grows, and becomes routine. The routine is a moving target, the same and yet evolving. And here I admit that I have never been very married to a routine. Aside from nightly brushing and flossing, and a cuppa in the morning, I've always been a bit free-form in my habits. Until now. There is a rhythm to life on a farm that has done something to my spirit. Soothed it, perhaps, trained it to a new way of being.
The days begin and end with the sun. The sun has become my master and companion, and it is startling to feel the seasons turn via the ever changing length of days. I feel a bit like Indiana Jones some days, trying to escape the booby trap as the walls close in, except in my case it is racing to get home before the sun goes down so that I can milk the goat, dole out the piles of hay, the buckets of feed, latch the coops on the chickens.
I am governed by this cycle of light and dark.
I forget some times the enormity of this task, this project that I've taken on. Then there are days like a few weeks back, where I wake to find a predator has devoured 1/3 of my new hens- my winterflock expansion- gone in a flash, all the time, care, just gone. There are days when Francine kicks and steps into the milk pail, ruining the batch, and I am covered in mosquito bites and sweat is beading down my body and I raced home for this and I just want to scream. There are random animal deaths, crop failures, and sudden torrential rains in the middle of the night where I must put on my boots at 3am and go move goats from pasture to pen. It is no small amount of work.
On the flip side, there are the hatchling chicks, watching babies grow, the weekly making of yogurt & dulce de leche, teaching myself the art of goat milk soap making, magnificent harvests and beautiful meals here at the farm with friends and family. There are turkeys and baby bunnies. Perfect days where the sun rising over the fields and the goat milk in my morning cup of tea remind me why I am doing this. Why I have chosen this. I believe in what I am doing.
I am still figuring out how to make a farm work, but there are hopeful things happening: I am establishing relationships with some amazing chefs, and you can find me next month at the Hope farmers market in East Austin. I am making incredible headway on the commercial kitchen, and have been working up a design for a really huge outdoor kitchen/dining/teaching structure to be built over the next few months. The greenhouse will be up and running by the end of the month.
And my partner and I have adopted an orphaned duckling, Crackers:
So, even as the days truncate, and I am hemmed in increasingly by them, I am hopeful for this next season, a season of construction and productivity. No bad days, just good days. Here's to the next round of good days, y'all.