HGTV should start a show called The Farmhouse Reality Show. I may be on to something big. Based on my own experiences, that could be exciting, dangerous, exhilarating, frustrating, and wonderful for the participants all at the same time. We have definitely had our share of each of those emotions and scenarios in the past two years.
Many people have asked how The Outdoorsman and I are balancing our full-time careers, raising our three children, caring for over sixty farm animals, and keeping Green Acres running smoothly. To be honest, there are times when I don’t feel like we are even CLOSE to finding the perfect balance. We fail at things. We make mistakes. We learn. We get up and try to do things differently and better the next time.
After almost two years at Green Acres, one of the many things we have come to accept is that we can’t do it all. There is no way we can have perfectly manicured pastures, perfectly cared for animals, perfect amounts of family time, and do an “Employee-of-the-Year” job all at the same time. The learning curve is enormous concerning the upkeep of our land and animals. We have made adjustments in our expectations, to be sure. The Outdoorsman has decided to keep about one-fifth of our land manicured with his tractor and shredder. When we first moved here, he was spending every single night after work mowing our 30-acre farm with our small tractor. After about a year of that, we decided to focus on a much smaller portion of the land and that has freed up his time to focus on other things.
We have to make choices. Hard ones. Like selling some animals that are making things complicated for us. Just last night, I placed the very first heifer I ever bought for sale on Craigslist. She is a miniature Hereford and we just can’t keep her anymore due to the fact we need to put a bull in the pasture with all of our heifers and the rest of them are standard size and we, obviously, can’t risk her being bred by a standard sized bull because it would be dangerous for her health. Therefore, even though I hate to sell her, it is what needs to take place so that we don’t have to fence a whole new pasture for just one heifer. When I first purchased her, I thought we were going to focus on miniature cattle, but The Outdoorsman and I quickly realized that miniatures were not popular in our ranching community and they are extremely hard to find. We, therefore, made the decision to go with standard sized cattle after we had purchased Annabelle so, even though I am really sad to let her go, it is what is best for our family and farm in the long run.
Another dose of farmhouse reality is that sweating is not an option. It has been unfortunate that we have had a record-breaking number of days of unbearable heat in our area. It isn’t fun at all to carry feed and itchy hay to all of the animals in the heat, but we have to do it anyway. It also isn’t fun to keep having to refill water buckets that have been turned over by pigs and errant cattle that keep finding their way into our front two pastures by swimming across the pond and under a fence. Yes, cows can swim. That was news to me, too. (By the way, pigs are really good swimmers, too.)
The hardest thing for me is that things look messy a lot. It is amazing how quickly a working farm becomes disorganized, messy, and downright dirty. Same things goes for inside the farmhouse due to the constant traffic and dirty boots entering the house. Sometimes, I have to just shut my eyes or focus on a favorite spot that is clean and organized at the moment.
The good news. God is helping me to adjust my thinking. He is helping me to know that it is okay to not be outstanding in all areas at all times. There will be times my house will be messy, times the barn will be filthy, times my schoolwork lags behind, and times my children may think I have dropped off the earth, but in the end it is okay that I am doing my best to keep all things running smoothly and meeting the needs of those people who need me the most–my children, my husband, our families, friends, and colleagues. It is okay if things at the house don’t look like a show on HGTV and okay if I don’t have myself together in certain areas of life such as correspondence with others. (Definitely my WORST trait, hands down, is sending cards and gifts to people I am thinking about. I promise you, People I am Thinking About, you are on my mind and I love you and care about the things you are going through. I just can’t seem to get myself together in this area except in the form of praying for you. I got ya there, trust me!)
The reason for sharing my thoughts? To let you know that running a farm and working a full-time job can be tough at times, to be sure. The pictures I post are always beautiful and serene, but the work it takes in between the photos is pretty demanding. We have chosen this life we live at Green Acres and are thankful we are able to pursue our passions. I walk around and take pictures at the end of every day to remind me of what the hard work is all about because the ability to walk around our own land and view the amazing sunsets, scenery, and animals is worth every drop of sweat and work we put forth each day.
Our own farmhouse reality show is becoming much more calm. We are accepting the fact we are a work in progress. It is obvious that farming and living on land enlists being in a constant state of learning, adapting, and changing as you move forward. It is still moving forward, nonetheless. Just not at the rapid pace you had in your mind at the onset of your adventure. It is okay. Everything will come together at the right time for our family. In the meantime, we will enjoy the ever-changing journey on Green Acres.