When I write about what project we’re in the middle of or what animal or child did what funny/cute/intelligent act or what delicious meal we just ate, I may inadvertently make people think that everything at the farmstead is all sunshine and rainbows and happy, fluffy animals and cheerful, polite, helpful children.
|A tree from our forest fell onto the road. Yay.|
|The horses and I wondering why there’s a lake in the pasture instead of green grass.|
|That is a wheelbarrow full of soiled straw from the chickens.|
|Like our great room floor? Abstract painted concrete.|
LOTS of crying, messes and hard work.
Occasionally, I imagine what Noah must’ve thought as he was riding the waves with a boatful of animals–I doubt he loved every second of it and may have occasionally thought of pushing a few of them off the ship to keep his sanity (Hey, I know you felt, Noah). I am an animal lover at heart–always have been, and I’m assuming always will be, but sometimes they drive me bonkers. Like when I caught the dog clobbering a hen for the fun of it because she couldn’t find her soccer ball and settled on the barred rock minding her own business in the backyard (Whoops–she apologized for that one). Or how the horses become nippy and greedy and pushy during the coldest months, when I’m not exactly excited about being outside either, hauling water over the frozen tundra or divvying up grain, only to have them shove me out of the way instead of saying thank you. The chickens who are so incredibly messy, it’s almost impossible to believe a bird so small is capable of such mayhem and the rooster, who is sure he’s doing his job and protecting the hens from children, spreads his neck feathers like he’s a dilophosaurus right before he spurs an unsuspecting someone from behind. The cats? Let’s just say their goal in life is to be the bane of our neighbor’s existence by decimating the chipmunk population, then bringing the evidence of their slaughter to the back door, so when we walk outside, we’re shocked just long enough that they sneak inside, choosing of all places to clean off after their bloody massacre, someone’s pillow. And those are just our animals–don’t get me started on the woodpeckers who systematically drilling holes in our house, the wasps that I’m sure are pure evil, the greedy foxes who eat ALL the chickens in one sitting, or the mice who welcome themselves into our kitchen to chew on the kids’ crumbs and poop wherever they feel like it. So. Rude. And gross.
|On the right, our beautiful new bathroom floor! On the left, the subflooring in our bedroom that we’ve been living with for three years! I dream of carpet…someday…|
And that’s just the animals. We haven’t even gotten to the house. On top of trying to keep the day to day operations of homemaking running smoothly, there’s always a project to paint or build or trim or demolish. That also means I’ll probably also be sporting paint in my hair, dirty, broken nails, bumps and scratches and bruises from said projects. It means cleaning is pretty much futile (no one notices I dusted when the’re staring at the pool of paint or stain I didn’t bother cleaning because we’ll be replacing the flooring) and a lot of income, instead of going to cruises and fine dining, goes to the local home improvement store or if it’s been a particularly rough day, urgent care.
|Everybody loves Henry!|
Despite the challenges being a wife and mother with a gaggle of kids, a house to flip and a whole herd of ornery animals, I love it. I LOVE IT.
|The girls taking a friend for a spin on Stoney.|
Have you ever seen a child’s face the first time they climb on a horse? I have. Many times. It brings back the feelings I had as a child whenever I was lucky enough to ride and I love it every time.
Keeping a garden is constant, backbreaking work–almost like having another child to take care of. But, like children, the reward is great. All year long, we enjoy the fruits of our labors and they are delicious.
Though it sometimes means extra baths or scratched knees or running out of carrots, the kids can go play outside without fear, to run and climb and play and feed the horses treats whenever they feel like it. We can light up a campfire whenever we feel like it and take hikes in our own yard, the moon and stars are never impeded and there is a never ending supply of nature to observe. Every time, it’s a memorable experience.
Though home improvements often leave us weary, tired and tests our patience and skill, we have already redeemed one house from nearly uninhabitable to quaint and cheerful and are now working on our second. It is satisfying to literally stand back and see our own handiwork. It makes rest more enjoyable and drums up a sense of satisfaction when projects are completed.
|Thank goodness for a large mud room, where we can hang dry clothes when the dryer goes kaput.|
All these experiences masterfully teach us too: patience when we have to redo a post a horse broke, gratitude for a large enough room to hang up the laundry when the dryer breaks, happiness despite possessions (or lack thereof), wonder at small miracles, like hens laying fresh eggs, joy in our children, satisfaction when overlooking the horses while washing dishes, perspective when we could (and have had to) be living in an apartment or in town, recognition of God’s hand in all things. This is the life we’ve chosen and we love it.
|Everyone getting along. So sweet.|