Spring on our farm is brilliant, verdant and delicious to behold. The orchard blossoms yield to fruit and the pastures are knee high with grass. By this time in May, the daylight starts creeping over the eastern foothills at 4 AM and the last glimpse of sun disappears at nearly 10 PM. So many hours of light to work with!
I yearn for a dark rainy day to hide inside with a book. Instead the lawnmower calls my name, and the fish pond needs cleaning and the garden must be weeded. It’s not that things don’t happen on the farm during months like this. It’s just that nothing we do is enough. Blackberry brambles have taken over everything, grass grows faster than we can keep it mowed down, the manure piles spread on the fields in April are growing exponentially again and the foals have grown large and strong without having good halter lessons when they were much smaller and easier to control. The weather has been so iffy that no string of days has been available for hay cutting so the fields are yielding to the point of the tallest grass collapsing under its own weight when soaked with rain. Farmers call this “lodged” hay, flattened by the weather, and more difficult to harvest.
Suddenly our farm dream seems not nearly so compelling.
We have spent many years dreaming about the farm as we hoped it would be. We imagined the pastures managed perfectly with fencing that was both functional and beautiful. Our barns and buildings would be tidy and leak-proof, and the stalls secure and safe. We’d have a really nice pick up truck with low miles on it. We would have trees pruned expertly and we’d have flower beds blooming as well as a vegetable garden yielding 9 months of the year. Our hay would never be rained on. We would have dogs that wouldn’t run off and cats that would take care of all the rodents. We wouldn’t have any moles, thistles, dandelions or buttercup. The deer, coyotes, raccoons, and wild rabbits would only stroll through the yard for our amusement and not disturb anything. We’d have livestock with the best bloodlines we could afford and a steady demand from customers to purchase their offspring at reasonable prices so that not a dime of our off-farm income would be necessary to pay farm expenses. Our animals (and we) would never get sick or injured. And our house would always stay clean.
Dream on. Farms are often back-breaking, morale-eroding, expensive sinkholes. I know ours is. Yet here we be and here we stay.
It’s home. We’ve raised three wonderful children here. We’ve bred and grown good livestock and great garden and orchard crops and tons of hay from our own fields. We breathe clean air and daily hear dozens of different bird songs and look out at some of the best scenery this side of heaven. Eagles land in the trees in our front yard. It’s all enough for us even if we are not enough for the farm. I know there will come a time when the farm will need to be a fond memory and not a daily reality. Until then we will keep pursuing our dream as we and the farm grow older. Dreams age and mature and I know now what I dreamed of when I was younger was not the important stuff…
We have been blessed with one another, with the sunrises and the sunsets and everything in between. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.