Petals and Thorns

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It’s May! Yay! Those April showers certainly have brought the flowers and with them the blackberry  bushes. I have a love/hate relationship with those vines. Yes, they do provide the most wonderful berries in which I will gather and devour along my morning walk in the next few weeks. Those same vines are viciously cruel, leaving me looking as if I was dropped into a pit of wet and angry feral cats. It does not matter how careful you are, those beastly thorns will find the most vulnerable unprotected patch of skin to torture.

When we purchased our property two years ago it was wildly overgrown, there are still areas on our five acres that we have yet to set foot on. It’s been a battle with hedge clippers and a lawn mower but I am gaining ground. I am using all the tools I possess to claim my land and my future. Along with the multitude of scratches, cuts, and painful thorns embedded in my tender flesh are the lovely hidden surprises uncovered as I subdue my little plot of earth. Yesterday my prize was a tiny purple flower standing defiantly lovely in contrast to it’s prickly confinement. This kind of beauty is what compels me forward despite the pain I might endure.

Farmlife, as in all life is, is full of these moments where joy and pain walk hand in hand.  Last month we watched as one egg out of twenty miraculously hatched after 46 days of not so patient watching on my behalf. I had finally given up and decided to discard the last two eggs from the nest when I heard peeping coming from one of the eggs. I rushed to replace the egg to the nest before it’s mama returned and the next morning I was rewarded with the smallest little fluff of yellow I had ever seen. Joy! My hope fulfilled!     I made the decision to leave the duckling and entrust it to the faithful duck who had set there so long for this little lone survivor to hatch. I returned to find it’s tiny form cold and lifeless on the ground, it appeared to unsuccessfully follow it’s mother outside the shelter. Death and loss is always painful, even a tiny duckling not fully one day old can have an impact on one’s heart. Life can be brutal as well as beautiful.

It wasn’t even a full week later that another lone survivor duckling hatched , this time from our incubator. We had started with ten eggs but only four started developing. I had  begun to lose hope when a mistake on our sensor placement caused the temperature to rise higher than it should. Against the odds, this little one made it and the joy of this triumph was made just a little sweeter in contrast to the dismay I felt earlier in the week. Trials, pain, disappointments and such are the black lines in a painting that define and enhance the colors of our life. Hope and patience to wait for beauty in the midst of pain and loss is the intrinsic nature of a farmer. It takes faith to place those costly, diligently thought out seeds in the ground and wait for the fruit of their labor. So many factors are out of our control and yet there is no victory in life without taking risk and doing the hard work. Our labor may be painful and the risk come with a cost but we will not gain anything of true value without it.

I may be tenderly typing this entry with sore, berry bush thrashed hands but; I do have a renewed passion and gratitude for my life and that my friends is worth it.

 

 

New You, New Do

I am probably quite similar to a most women in the way I have not made taking care of myself a priority. I suppose we convince ourselves of our need to be somewhere else or to do something perceived more important; these ideas often takes precedence over caring for our physical and mental needs. I have been married for 31 years, raised three children, homeschooled, worked in a busy church office and participated in ministry most my adult life; I have been running at full speed for as long as I can remember. A person can only neglect themselves for so long before it takes a heavy toll. I made excuses for myself and allowed myself to believe I would get all those bad habits under control “someday” when life slowed down.

Five years ago we left California and moved to a rural county in Western Washington; my life seemed to go from 100 miles per hour to 10. It took a couple years to find the right property to build our future on, but we finally found the right place. I was in the place I had dreamed of for years surrounded by so much blessing; however I felt hopeless inside. I had no solid reason to feel this way so, I reasoned my emotions on hormones or pre-menopause symptoms. I was doing active hard physical work on the farm but I kept gaining more and more weight. I was exhausted , and depressed. I would look in the mirror and not recognize myself, I felt lost and trapped in a foreign body and mind. It is a frightening feeling to be so disconnected with your own self, but I worked really hard to portray my old self.

Fortunately, I asked my husband to make me an appointment with a new naturopathic Dr. in our area. Dr. Taylor found me to be low in vitamin D, a low thyroid production and obese. I faced the facts head on and embraced a new diet, began taking a thyroid replacement and vitamin D supplements. Within two weeks I began to feel hopeful again, as if someone opened the window of my mind and let the sunshine in. I share my personal story to encourage anyone who may be struggling with symptoms like mine to not put off taking care of yourself. I am so thankful to look to the future with a healthy mind and body so I can enjoy living on my little farm with  hope and joy. I even decided to ditch the muck boots and work clothes for the day to get a a new hair style. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our families and our farm is to do the best thing for ourselves.