It’s been a year and a half since we decided to slow things down on the farm and I’ve gone through many changes and have mixed emotions about were we are now.
These are a few of the reasons we decided to downsize.
The drought was killing us. Both financially and emotionally. We were constantly pouring everything we had into our little farm, and watching it dry, crack and blow away. It wore us down in a way I didn’t think was humanly possible to be worn.
Preston is a full-time firefighter. This left me carrying much of the farm load while he was gone. We also home school our children. I needed to refocus some of the time I was giving to the farm back to our children’s education. We only have one opportunity to do right by them, and I’ll be damned if I let it slip through my fingers.
We just got plain tired. I’m not a whiner, so I won’t whine here, but I will say that farming in Spicewood TX is like climbing Mt Everest. Farming is hard. Having people you care about depend on you for food is hard. Taking a piece of scrub and turning it into something productive is hard. Going to sleep tired and waking up tired is hard. Though we loved it so, we needed to rest. To regroup. To reset. To recharge.
So how has life changed?
Texas gave us rain! And rain. And rain. We have gorgeous, green pastures again. In fact, we just planted many hundreds of lbs of rye and oats, and they are up! And for the first time in a long time, I think they just might reach full growth this season. It’s like the rain fell on my soul. It soaked me to the core and I feel satisfied in a way I haven’t in a long time when I look at all that green.
I am no longer torn in my responsibilities. My children get all the time they need from me to grow in their studies. And I love that. We joined our local Classical Conversations campus last year, and what a blessing it has been to us! It gave me the structure that I needed, especially with a high schooler, and my children love it! I have a peace in my heart about their education and I know that I am doing right by them. I am not dividing up my time anymore. They are my time. They get me first.
We have a freezer/pantry full of our own food. I will never forget Preston and I getting into an argument right before we made the choice to down size the farm, because he wanted to make eggs and I said he couldn’t because they were all spoken for. Our customer base was growing at such a rate that many times we didn’t even get to eat our own food anymore! Preston said to me “What’s the point in all of this if we don’t get to eat it?” Now we do.
So, what are we doing?
We still raise all our own meat, eggs and have a large garden. We still sell grass-fed beef. We still raise Dexter cattle and train them as family milk cows. We still have a co-op garden. We are still clearing land and building fences. We are still working to improve this little piece of scrub hill country.
But lately I find myself longing for more. Maybe it’s my innate ability to never be satisfied with staying still. If I have an inch of free time, I feel it need to fill it. Or perhaps it’s that green grass and cool wind that’s calling my name. Maybe it’s the many things I see that are still waiting patiently for us to get to them. Maybe it’s all of these together.
One thing I know, farming is not a profession. It’s not something you walk into and then away from. It changes you. For good or worse or both. I know I look at things different from most people. To me, food is a seed, sweat, toil, and love. Dirt is not to be sanitized, it’s to be slowly run through your fingers and cherished. The only perfume I ever want to wear is wind and dew-drenched grass. My old cow is still my best friend, she listens to my hurts and has let me cry into her side more times than any human ever will. The barn is still my happy place. Going outside at night is still my sanctuary. And this land still holds my heart.
So, right now, I have to tell myself to be still. Enjoy our victories. Love my children. Relish in the fruit of our labors.
But the future…