I tend to have a problem with the whole “go big or go home” mentality…
This mind set has bit me in the butt this year in the form of the Stewart garden. We created a beautiful raised bed area that I daydream of turning into an herb/flower/perennial garden. And then we plowed up a small plot for summer veggies.
Well, since we started from scratch, a lot, and I mean A LOT of time has went into plotting out beds, tilling up virgin soil, weeding said soil, tilling it again, adding compost and nutrients, creating paths, sourcing free material to outline garden beds, rig up some sort of water system, and most importantly… KEEP THE ANIMALS OUT!!!
Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
All that to lead up to the last 24 hours in the Stewart House. Drum roll please… After a hard days work yesterday Dustin and I came home to a garden in ruins. Because of an innocent, tiny little detail from the morning, Janet the baby goat ransacked the garden. Beautiful big red potatoes strung about with just a big enough nibble to render the potato compost. Lush and tender pea plants cascading up the wooden trellis, demolished. Thick and deep red beet leaves completely smushed. The cabbage, kale, and broccoli that I nursed back to health after her first escapade… obliterated.
Ugly language was used, a few garden tools were thrown, and I felt a wide range of emotions making me feel like a teenage girl again. An hour or so later, an apology to my husband, and a distraction with friends slowly started to heal the wound and I moved on.
This morning I was ready to go out in the garden and face yesterdays annihilation. But before I even had my first sip of coffee Dustin informed me that there were four dead chickens in the yard. Upon further inspection, we were in fact missing 20. Yes you read that right, TWENTY chickens that I have cared for from a day old, stinking up my house half of that time. Dustin saw a fox in the back field so the live traps have been set. This fox better relocate, or say his prayers. I thought I was an animal lover. I guess I still am. One fox, or the rest of my chickens. It makes sense.
What was really salt in the wound about the birds is that we were literally making a game plan to enclose the chickens last night. Free range is good in theory, but incidents such as this are exactly why I think they are better off with a nice, large, and secure yard to roam. So after last nights planning it was settled and that was priority #1 on the honey do list. Just a little too late.
I had some errands to run so I left the baby with her father, and ran out the door. I had a good cry in the car. While crying in said car I dramatically considered throwing in the towel. Thinking “we aren’t cut out for this. I can’t handle this much heart break. I can’t physically work that hard for nothing!”
I’ve decided I’m not going to let that get me down! I keep thinking back to Dori in finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming”.
Even though our garden, egg, and chicken bounty will be a bit late and probably very puny this year, its experience right? And it still makes me so so excited looking at the foundations we are building for this life, this soil, this family, this farm, this future, and this home we are creating.
Farming isn’t for the faint hearted. I just have to keep telling myself to keep swimming.