2020 and 20/20


grassy path by fence

The last few years have been something of a blur, punctuated by unexpected (and a few unwelcome) changes. Seeing as it’s early in 2020, let’s look back at 2019 and look ahead to what 2020 may bring to our farm.

The exclamation point that started all of this was a significant health scare three years back, which was not a sudden event, but one of those things that you know will eventually happen, and you don’t feel bad enough yet to do anything about it. That is, until it sucker-punches you with a week-long hospital stay, enough meds to knock out a Percheron, the realization that life has irrevocably and permanently changed, and the even more sobering awareness that you may never be “well” again. Along with the consequences that ripple out from that one person to everyone in their sphere of influence.

Those ripples, not surprisingly, affected our entire farm. No longer were Angus beef cattle a viable option –people were not healthy enough, and, having worked those cattle by myself, I knew in my bones that I couldn’t do it alone. Well, I suppose I could have, but the safety margin was non-existent. I’ve seen what scared or confused cows can do to people, and it is not pretty. I didn’t want that for myself or for the people who rely on me. I returned to the farm full-time from having an off-farm job, and the fall of 2019 became “how many projects can I finish before winter?”. The answer is – a lot more than I expected! New fences, new shelters, old equipment sold, barns cleaned and reorganized for sheep, specialized maintenance projects hired out and completed, plus those thousand-and-one piddly things that lurk in the corners.

sunrise over misty trees

Turning the ship of a farm to a new course has been long, tedious, painful, rewarding, exhausting. In short, all the “feels” wrapped in a 185-acre package and tied up with sisal. But the ship is turning, and we are both pleased and content with where things are going. People are healing, we are learning what the “new normal” looks like, and I am more relaxed than I have been in, well, a very long time. Things are stressful, sure, but that’s farming, right? We say that phrase a lot around here.

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