I find that I often get in my own way when it comes to appreciating everything that we have. With a broken 5 hours of sleep I can struggle to appreciate the song birds in the morning or the crystal clear night sky when putting the sheep to bed. Wrestling Lily to bed at 8:30pm on a day she naps until almost 5, I sometimes forget just how lucky I am to call that little girl my daughter. Carrying Connor in the backpack while he protests and I try to get all the animals fed I can become frustrated with the extra time it takes to complete my morning chores. Attempting to corral the last egg eating chicken by myself into the fence she escaped from I can get frustrated that I am working alone again and loose sight of what a wonderful wife I have and all that she does for our family.
A few days ago, after mucking the stalls in the barn with some student volunteers and spreading the old straw and manure on our barren field, we tilled up what was left of the hard packed top soil using a borrowed tractor. The field is full of stones and gravel which just about rattled the tractor to peices but after about an hour I was finished. I was grateful to have been lent the tractor which made the entire job so much easier. Today I seeded the field and spread lime by hand. Walking through the dusty dry field throwing ironically damp lime that wouldn't feed in out spreader I felt thankful for the field. As fields go it is far from lush but the satisfaction we will feel when the grass is growing thick and our lambs are growing fat will be far greater than it would've been had we not worked to improve it. I built a harrow to bed the seed and lime in the field and quickly realized that the amount of drag made pulling it quite difficult. I did half the field and gave in. Being a man of science I declared it an experiment instead of a defeat and we will see where the grass grows best.
I move the sheep every morning but this morning was the first time the paddock was far enough away that it couldn't stay attached to the barn. This meant using broken fences as suggestions of where to go and praying they didn't shoot any of the gaps in the fence to head for freedom, and bears. I use the term gap lightly as the paddock we drove them into was an almost straight fence-line... A one sided enclosure by definition does not enclose anything. I employed Diantha, Lily and Connor (who was sleeping in his carseat) to help keep the sheep in the area we wanted to enclose while I ran around picking up and resetting the fencing we used to guide them out to the field. They were great, Lily has been herding pullets and if you can herd a pullet, you can herd a sheep?
The three of them left to do dorm duty at school while I continued to do some things around the farm. After failing to get the clearing saw started I decided to go for a walk down the stream that runs through our property. As I walked the river changed from silt clay bottom to large rocks and boulders. I sat down on a large rock in the middle of the stream where two smaller streams entered the main channel. I had never been to this part of our property before. It was loud. The mosquitos were out and hungry. I just sat there in my own space. It started to rain. We need rain. I thought about how lucky I am to own this land, to have help and resources to improve it. I thought about bringing my family to this rock to sit and have this stream drown out all the other sounds. I swatted a mosquito and started walking back up the stream in the rain towards home thankful for everything that home is to me.