It was a cool morning on March 27, 2012. I awoke from my slumber, leaped from my cozy bed and ran to the smudged farmhouse window. In slight shimmer of the first peeks of sunshine at dawn, I could see them. The first lambs ever to be born on our farm.
I squealed to Brooks, “They’re here! They’re here!”
I ran outside, [phone] camera in hand, and gazed upon what I couldn’t only see as a miracle. Our first flock, having been on our farm a mere 5 months, were starting to lamb. I’d seen a baby sheep before in movies, magazines, and the state fair. The preciousness that they are met all of my expectations and then some when they resided at my own farmstead. Their little ‘baas’ were delighting.
Spring was upon us and this little moment in time was just the beginning.
A car whizzed by and I snapped out of my awestruck thoughts. I was standing in my front lawn wearing the ‘rattiest’ pajamas… you know the ones that droop from your every curve… like… so droopy do you even have a rear-end in there???, the pattern worn, and holes in less than conspicuous places… I needed to get back inside before the folk of our small town started talking… and not about our new lambs.
As I made my way back into our little farmhouse the rush of the good life overwhelmed me. Farm life. Or the simple life as some refer to it. This is what I’ve always envisioned. Baby animals, the moos, the baas, the cock-a-doodle-doo from a commanding rooster. Red barns and white two-story farmhouses. A green tractor (or maybe red depending on your brand preference) sitting proudly under a lean-to. A cat pouncing mice throughout a barn and an old dog laid up by a fireplace or wood stove. And flannel. Lots and lots of flannel.
I’ll bet that’s what you envision the good life to be, too. But, the reality is this – there’s always more than what meets the eye (or dream).
I had been raised to, of course, know that my burger was from a cow. Or my fried chicken from… well… a chicken. But, it wasn’t until I began this journey of being a real farm wife that I learned, while these things are true, there was more to that story.
Behind that delicious KFC and those char-grilled Whoppers were a life. A life that had to end so that I could enjoy the food before me. I guess somewhere in my heart I knew this. But, never have I lived it.
A short 9 months after these precious lambs were born, and they were the now the size of their mothers, we loaded the boys of the bunch up for slaughter.
That’s when the crying started. It had hit me. And HARD.
I peered through our windows as the Farmer and his trailer pulled out of the driveway. Deep sadness doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings that day. Appreciation. That’s what it was.
I learned that day that the farm life is not what I had envisioned. Nor was it what I was taught. Having grown up with chickens, goats, rabbits, and horses, I knew a thing or two about animal husbandry. But, I didn’t know about animal sacrifice.
It was that day that I started truly valuing the work before us. Farm life. Farmers. Cultivators. Educators. Caretakers.
Gone was the notion that everything was beautiful to look at. Because, sometimes, the farm life…well dag-nabit, it’s hard.
This is what this blog is about. A mixture of celebration when expectations of the perfect pictured farm life happens to come about, but, also the brutal truth. The reality of being a farmer, a farmer’s wife, and caretakers of animals, the ground that we call ours, and the customers who appreciate good food.