Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Loss of Farming

We've been struggling with change since we moved onto the farm.  And loss, lots of loss.

Any change brings with it a sense of loss, even a good change.  There are things we let go in order to move forward.  Those losses we expected.  What we didn't prepare ourselves for was the nature of nature.  We didn't prepare ourselves or our children for how things happen that are beyond our control and how you just have to roll with it.

Our dog ran away in our first month on the farm.  He was a suburb dog.  He'd gotten out before, roamed a bit and returned.  He got out here and just kept running.  I'm sure, to him, the fields looked like heaven and he was all for it.  We never expected that our change in location would bring that loss.

A friend donated a barn cat to us.  The cat disappeared only to be found dead in the yard a few days later.

We bought our daughter a potbelly pig for her 12th birthday.  The first time she took it on a walk, the pig like the dog smelled freedom, slipped his leash and headed for the dense undergrowth of the back pasture.  We haven't seen him since.

A neighbor brought us a goat that the mother was refusing to feed.  He said if we wanted to try and keep her alive we were welcome to her.  We bottle fed her for five weeks.  She seemed healthy and happy.  One morning my 14 year old daughter took the goat her breakfast and the goat was dead.

The neighbors dog got into our hen house and destroyed 20 of our 24 chickens.

We adopted two puppies from a neighbors litter.  One of the puppies was so worm infested that she had to be put down.

We are still wondering at the lessons we are supposed to be learning from loss.  My 9 year old son would tell you that he's learning that farming sucks.  My 12 year old daughter says the skin on her heart is becoming thicker.  My husband has chosen his lesson as one of immediate caring and thankfulness.  Be good to what you have and thankful for every moment because nothing is certain.  It's a good lesson. 

I'm torn in the lesson I choose.  It could be that we are to learn that animals and plants on a farm are just part of the cycle.  It's all here to be managed and cared for by us and we are to do our best.  But as with plants, animals have a season and are not permanent.  The other lesson could be that we should only invest what we can afford, be it love or time or money.  Investing more than you can afford into anything is not a wise choice. 

I'll continue to cope with the loss and look for the lesson.  I'll help my children look for their lessons in our daily life.  And hopefully, the puppies we have and the chickens we are expecting will bring joy and not loss.

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