Saturday, December 24, 2016

All Creatures Great and Small

Caring for a homestead has its ups and downs.

There are no made-up Hollywood scenes on the homestead, instead the harsh realities of blissful moments mixed with the grit of true work; the real deal.

  • Moments of pure delight as you watch a baby chick pipe its way out of a brown egg under the watchful eye of a broody hen. 
  • Elements of the unknown and despair when you come out to the coop to realize a beautiful hen is motionless in a small heap in the corner.  
  • The shocking surprise (and shrek!) when a rat jumps up as you are gingerly talking to your goats. 
  • And yet, other times on harvest day as hold and thank each animal as you carefully complete the circle of life on the prize-winning turkeys.

This is my life.

I have always been drawn to this of wonder and awe caring for all creatures great and small.

As a child, I dreamed of being a veterinary. I remember reading all of James Herriot stories wishfully re-living each line of books knowing that one day I would follow in his foot steps. Sadly, I recall the day our local librarian said I read all of his books; how puzzled and lost I felt. Thankfully for me, my family soon moved to the country and I began my own small "collection" of rabbits, barn cats, dairy goats and a retired show horse. I was in my element, reliving my childhood stories out in real life.

Though homesteading is often romanticized by the movie industry, caring for animals also means you become your own veterinarian. And soon you find yourself de-worming, cleaning and bandaging wounds, clipping hooves, dusting birds and dealing with whatever needs arise to cut down on possible veterinarian bills. This also means you make life and death decisions of the animals in your care. Can I nurse it back to health? Do I end its suffering? What are my best options? Sometimes there are famous come-backs and other times disappointment that despite best efforts, the life has ended.

These are hard decisions.

This Christmas Eve, I find myself at a cross road for a particular, prized show bird. I am unclear why it is injured or where, but knowing I need to step in and become James Herriot for a moment. As the bird rests quietly in the comfort of a pet taxi in my laundry room I need to make a choice, of which I'm unclear. These are the tough moments at The Britten Roost, our homestead, but I am truly honored to care for all creatures great and small.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

On and Off it Blinks

Hello. It's me. As I sit in the stillness of the house, no words form. Like a blank canvas, it begs me to fill the pages with words; my thoughts. Over and over the cursor, flashes on and a silent reminder that no typing is occurring. On and off it blinks. Yet, no fancy words, stories or pictures...just the raw realness of nothingness.

Where do I start? 
Where have I been? 
What do I want to focus on?

I find myself asking these questions with this new gift of time. Even as I sit and type these words, my my mind wonders about the answers to these questions.

On and off it blinks.

Having worked in an exempt role for several years, I knew I needed to step back, reconnect, recharge, refuel. And now after years of fighting a ridiculous pace...I'm almost at a lost. 10-20 hours a week newly discovered and I am uncertain what to do; where to start. 

The struggle is real. 

On and off it blinks. 

I suppose if this was during the deep of gardening season, I would not find myself in the place. But in a sense, I'm rediscovering me. I've cleaned the house, recovered the dining room chairs, enjoyed tea with friends, read a book, shopped for groceries, and organized 'the junk pile' to name a few. All in my back of my mind longing to start writing again. Nagging me, begging me. But where do I begin; what do I share? 

On and off it blinks.

How do I say I'm not sure what this new "normal" looks like? Or how do I share that I'm refocusing on what matters - my family, sharing life, working in my garden and God. I'm not sure. And then I wonder if it is the stillness that makes me ask these questions. Was my pace before so hurried, so rushed that I didn't think about me? Could I not quiet my heart to let God speak? 

On and off it blinks. 

I am finding less is more. So many things to share, to type; but still at this moment I'm watching the cursor continue to blink on and off. On and off it blinks. Like a calls to me giving me confidence to type the new word. 

I sit and stare at the blinking cursor in the stillness of my living room, Tomorrow, I hope will begin more words, stories and pictures. Tomorrow. But tonight, I cling to this idea of my 'new normal' and continue to watch the cursor.

On and off it blinks.