It was a tough week at the farm as we lost Big Mamma.
It was a tough week at the farm as we lost Big Mamma and two other of our chickens to raccoons

Sometimes…things don’t come up all roses.  Sometimes they don’t work out the way you had planned.  And sometimes, things can happen at the farm that really break your heart.  This was one of those weeks.  In fact, it was a really tough and trying week.  But, as crazy as it sounds  –  it’s the tough weeks that make you realize how important it is to work every day at your dreams.

It started off last weekend when we tried to fire up Betsy, the old farm truck. While in winter storage at the farm, it seems that field mice had decided to seek comfort and warmth inside of the glove box, under the seat, and inside of the engine compartment. To make matters worse, they decided to chew up the firewall material and wiring to make their fluffy, warm nests.  After spending the better part of a day cleaning it all up – we discovered the trucks two batteries finally were beyond charging and needed replaced.

The remnants of an ornamental pine tree after catching fire from a spark
The remnants of an ornamental pine tree after catching fire from a spark

And when I went to fire up our gas generator for a little power – the cord of course, came off in my hand with the very first pull of the year! Next up, we watched one of our little ornamental pine trees shot up in flames from a tiny spark that blew in from a nearby ornamental grass clearing fire we had set.  It was also the week we decided we had to tear apart the leaf silo project and start over – after it toppled over in a winter windstorm and became damaged beyond repair.

And then finally, the past few nights, total heartbreak. For the first time since our coop was built two years ago,  raccoons somehow found a way into what had been a  secure area – and claimed the life of three of our beloved chickens, including our absolute favorite “Big Mama”.  It was indeed a tough week at the farm.

So it got us to thinking about why we started the farm in the first place – and why we choose to garden, raise chickens, keep bees and build and work at the projects we do – even though they can bring their fair share of disappointment at times.

The old farm truck - the winter home of field mice :(
The old farm truck – the winter home of field mice 🙁

The farm is an escape for both of us.  It’s not our “real job”, but the one we love to do no matter what.  One of my pet peeves in the “real” business world has always been those that hold meetings for the sake of meetings, and to think so long and plan so hard that nothing ever happens (think congress?). I’m not sure who said it, but I have always loved the saying “Don’t be a think tank – be a DO tank”.  The farm has always allowed us to be doers.  If we had waited  for the “prefect time” to build the coop, create the garden, or build the barn – we may never get to experience any of them.  And yes, we have made plenty of mistakes along the way – and had our share of  set-backs and disappointments.  

The silo as it looked in the fall, before the windstorm that toppled it.
The silo as it looked in the fall, before the windstorm that toppled it.

Yes it’s true if we had never started raising chickens we wouldn’t have the heartbreak of losing any this past week.  And if we didn’t have the old farm truck – we wouldn’t have to worry about it getting destroyed by mice.  And if the leaf silo project had never been thought of – we wouldn’t have lost it to a windstorm.  But at the same time – we would never have accomplished a single thing.  The farm simply allows us to be doers – and  not just thinkers – and that makes it all worth it.

So although our hearts are a little heavy for our chickens, and although things didn’t go quite right this week – we will keep trying and keep building and growing – because the real disappointment for us would be to never try at all.  The best way to put it is that we are and always will be blessed with work we love to do.

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Albert Einstein, when he simply stated, “you have never failed until you stop trying”.   That’s the way we feel about our little farm and garden. it’s a never-give up proposition for us.

Our chicks are growing up and starting to get their feathers.
The chicks are growing up and starting to get their feathers – and will be enjoying the farm in a few weeks.

So this week, we will continue to care for our 18 little chicks that will head to the farm in late April, and ready our new beehive with a coat of paint to prepare for our first hive of honey bees coming in late spring.  All in an effort to keep growing and building our dream of the farm.

Happy Sunday,

Jim and Mary

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