This previous week has been an ever changing series of events.  At times I’ve wanted to cry, occasionally I have laughed, and more frequently than my Mama would be proud of, I have cursed!  In dealing with a multitude of events, and trying to make sure we are caught up with the quickly approaching Spring, my blog post got put aside, twice.

Many people assume that living on a farm, or homestead, whichever you choose to call it, is a day to day life of serenity and sunshine, where you awake to the birds chirping, the sun shining and a day free of stress and obligation.  A part of that is sometimes true….occasionally….once in a while….. 

lA better description of the reality of my life is that I awake to the rooster crowing, goat kids screaming and/or an alarm blaring, the varied Missouri weather of 70 degrees one day and 30 the next, and a day that no matter how much you get done, you know more is waiting to be done.  The ever changing events of any given day can lead to frustration beyond belief.  Those are the days I realize that I need to learn to react to with a shrug and laughter, more often than anger and frustration.  Sometimes though, you just have one of those days.

We were actually making progress on the stands for barrels for planting in the green house.  We went to town and bought lumber, measured carefully and, after a couple of adjustments due to something that didn’t cross our minds about how we were seating the half barrels, we ended up with some sturdy, waist high stands.  These stands will hold 4 half barrels that will be used for planting “salad” in the green house in the fall in hopes that we will have fresh grown greens and other salad fixings all winter long.  The plan will be to grow lettuce, spinach, kale, radishes, and onions, directly sown in the barrels.  I’m sure we will adjust our plans as we get further into the project. 

In the meantime, while we need to start seedlings for the summer garden, at least some of these barrels can be covered with a firm surface to create “tables” for our starter trays.  I cut some scrap plywood for that purpose, but I am getting a bit ahead of myself.  After finally completing the stands, I knew we were within minutes of getting my greenhouse to the point I could actually set a plant in it!  We hauled the stands to the greenhouse……only to find a minor problem…..

Though the greenhouse had withstood the high winds of spring on top of our hill for three weeks, for some reason it decided to succumb to the winds that day and go belly up!  We discovered it rocking back and forth on it’s top.  It was amazing how quickly my demeanor flipped.  I went from feeling satisfaction and pride in knowing we were almost ready to add plants… wondering how in the world we were going to undo what Mother Nature had just accomplished. 

In looking back, I can laugh at how ridiculous my precious greenhouse looked, and can almost hear Mother Nature’s witchy cackle as she reminded me that I needed to take the time to do things right… stake down the greenhouse!  Fortunately for us, we have a wonderful group of friends and a great family, so within a half hour of our frustrating discovery, we had help on the way, with a plan for up-righting the greenhouse and the rope it took to get it done.  I wish we had taken pictures of the process, because it actually turned out to be a very simple undertaking, that I couldn’t see in my stressed out response.  We simply rocked it to one side, secured a rope to the bottom board, that was actually on the top, at the moment.  That rope was secured to the UTV and three of us guided and supported the greenhouse to it’s proper position, while Papa pulled the rope with the UTV to pull it over. It’s been 6 days since the greenhouse decided to do somersaults in the wind, and now is upright, staked down, door back on, barrels in place, plywood cut for tops of barrels, and a few plants started.  It feels and smells like a greenhouse.  It will have additions made to it, changes made to it, and further work done to it.  Just like life, it will be a constant work in progress.

Despite all the unforeseen issues, the past couple of weeks have allowed us to move the broilers to a large pen in the barn and make them a new feeder and waterer that will ensure they will have what they need to grow fast, and prevent many of the trips into the pen with feed and water.  We have moved the turkey poults to an outside pen, moved the quail to the large brooder box, butchered a pig to teach a friend who was uncertain how to butcher one himself, set the incubator full of Chukar eggs and officially check my digital thermometer for an accurate temperature reading, helped a friend milk out a Nannie goat with a sore udder, hung some shelves in the canning kitchen, had a short visit with my parents, and hosted Easter dinner complete with massive egg hunt. The nice days have been busy with outside activity and the rainy, cold days have been used to plan the outdoor projects that will be done when the sun shines again.

During my upside-down day, I realized a few things.  First of all, life is never still.  Life is a constant stream of changing events.  Our reactions to those events our what help to determine whether we are going to have good days or bad days.  I work on my reactions constantly, and while some think I am too laid back, others think I am too volatile and harsh.  I have high expectations.  But none of my expectations are any higher than the expectations I set for myself.  Rolling with the punches must be a developed skill to allow life to be enjoyed.  In addition to learning to roll with the punches, it has been critical for me to learn to understand the differences in Men and Women.

No, I have not just now discovered the physical differences in the sexes, but have focused on the psychological and emotional differences.  Do I respond well to those differences?…..nope….not usually, just ask Papa if there is any doubt.  I am still, at times, totally confused by these differences, but I am aware of them.  This awareness is the beginning of understanding and compromising. 

Let’s take for a minute, laundry.  Ladies, did you know that most men DO NOT MIND dressing from the basket of clean clothing?  Really, they don’t care!  Their clothing is available and clean.  Good enough for them!  Men, did you realize that there are women who find it important to fold and put away laundry after it is clean and dry, but also ORGANIZE their closets and drawers?  Yes, my clothing in my closet goes from white to cream to gray to black to brown to rust to red to pink……and each section goes from sleeveless to short sleeves to long sleeves to sweaters/jackets.  I can find what I want quickly, put together outfits that I feel good about wearing and quickly change from dirty jeans and boots to something clean and nice to run to town for feed.  And, yes, that is important to me.  I truly feel better about myself if I go to town free from the odor of pig or chicken shart. 

How about the perception of tools…..and their storage, or lack of.  Some men truly find it easier to return to the place where they last used them, and search for them than to have to open a tool box or cabinet to find them.  They actually usually know where they used it last, and are perfectly happy with the extra time it takes to do a project caused by the search for the elusive 1/2″ box end wrench, that they used 4 weeks ago to replace the lawn mower blade.  The see no need to waste time organizing the screw drivers by size and design in a separate drawer from the wrenches arranged in size order.  They will be used and thrown in the last opened drawer, if they don’t get left where they are.  On the same line, gentlemen, do not be surprised if your tender loving lady becomes a fire-breathing-rainbow-word-spewing-dragon…..when, even though they have bought you the fourth set of screwdrivers in less than that number of months…..they can not find one to complete a 2 minute job.   

Gentlemen, the view of watching your lovely farm woman use your best screwdriver, along with your new Eastwing hammer to chip away the large boulder that is preventing her from planting that new rose bush in the perfect spot, is about as pleasant to you as the feeling she gets when she finds Gramma Emma’s antique bowl in the dog pen full of dog feed!

The author who wrote, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” surely lived on a farm where two very intelligent people are trying to come to an agreement on the best plan to get the same result.  Or they lived in a home where the most important jobs of getting ready to have company for dinner have been strongly debated for eons. 

For the lady of the house, the importance of mowing the yard for the third time this week is definitely up for debate.  While the man of the house, sees no need to make sure the floors are swept for the second time today….after all, “those young ‘uns are going to be running in and out all day anyway”….and who will know whether the stove was shiny and the counters were spotless, because they are soon going be covered with delicious food and no one will care.

Life has away of giving us balance, if we accept it.  It gives us ups and downs, it gives us sun and rain, it gives us cold and warmth, it gives us men and women, all of which are not only necessary to survive,  but useful to creating a life we enjoy and want to pass on to our children and grandchildren.  I recently had an impromptu Easter dinner at the house.  No one who came knew that my stove was not as clean as I wanted it, that both my washer and dryer were full of laundry in various stages of completion or that my bed was not made.  And apparently no one cared that my laundry basket was full of clean clothing waiting to be folded, nor did they care that there were cobwebs in the corners or that I didn’t take time to change from my “chore clothes” to “company clothes”. 

They did enjoy the food, loved being outside for a HUGE Easter Egg hunt, and visited and hooped and hollered throughout the afternoon.  The grandchildren will not have memories of a dinner where Nana was cranky and running them out from under foot, but will remember getting to sweep the floor (even though the corners were missed) without someone coming behind them making them feel like they weren’t good enough.  They will remember getting to “stuff” the Easter eggs with candy with their Great Grandmother.  My 8 year old granddaughter will remember getting to peel potatoes for the first time (with a vegetable peeler).  My grandson will remember feeling the pride of putting the baby goat back in his pen, by himself, without being made to feel like he wasn’t fast enough to do it himself.  These are the feelings I want everyone to feel when they are with us.  These feelings are only nurtured when you allow yourself the time and opportunity to truly and realistically set priorities and gain an understanding of the that are truly important to others.   

Spring is definitely a busy time, where every spare minute can be filled.  No matter what you get done, there is more waiting to do.  So I challenge you all to take a deep breath, smile at your family, and enjoy what you are doing.  If you are doing it just because it needs to be done, you are missing so much.

I mean really, who would want to miss a moment like this?  Welcome to my life! 🙂

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