Over six years on the west coast.
Closing in on seven (seven!) years together.
Twenty-seven months in our 16×20 temporary home.
Two children instead of two babies.
Goats. Chickens. Ducks. Pigs. Beets. Tomatoes.
A fig tree. And the fig tree that replaced the first fig tree.
Cords upon cords of firewood.
Tears, laughter, memories to preserve and forget.
This adventure of ours – myself and that wonderful gentleman who so graciously operates as my partner in parenthood, livestock management, business and love – is ours. Unlike chapters in physical books that can so neatly be titled and assigned pages where you know exactly where you stand (at least functionally) in a story…life is not like that. Our “narrative” (barf) is not the same. We’re living, breathing, human beings who inevitably experience changes that both pop up out of nowhere and sneak up behind us.
This was the first weekend.
Two days of consecutive hours where time with the kids could weave in and out of concentrated work on the house, productive time on the land and an actual visible, tangible, dent in the to-do list that could easily wallpaper our entire home.
When we should have been, preferred to have been, out celebrating Canada Day…we were instead nursing a small goat in her final hours…succumbing to pneumonia less than a day from when the signs first started to appear. A wee one who had never seemed quite up to the task of life, who’s mum hadn’t rejected her but wasn’t actively taking much of an interest in her. A tiny teammate to her small pony sized brothers.
A doeling. Not yet named though calling her ‘Scoop’ had been floated around given how many times we would bring her to her mama for a drink when her brothers were off galavanting. Then when it came to fill a prescription we would never use for antibiotics, ‘Tiger’ became her name for a couple of hours.
How much do you intervene?
Now that it’s been a year and a half since I waved a flag to confirm we are in fact still alive and well in our little tent…seemed like an appropriate time to check in again and say…well, something.
I’m not going to sugar coat it – this adventure has been taxing. Demoralizing. Completely humbling and sometimes troubling. We’ve had moments where it felt like it would be far easier to walk away than continue to push forward without a clear vision or deadline for when (or how) we would come to have more than canvas for walls. Amidst all of this, we are perpetually reminded how fortunate and utterly lucky we are to get to choose this path and continue to walk through it.
It’s been six weeks since we brought Maximus home. Six weeks, though the first two were spent in town re-learning all the in’s and out’s of newborn-ness. All while juggling (chasing, wrangling, negotiating with) our gloriously willful, intelligent almost two year old.
So, let’s say four weeks. Four weeks of (mostly) living at the farm. On our land. In our tent.
It’s not easy, but it’s perfect. Perfectly imperfect and ever changing and improving as we find spare minutes to do more than just survive the day triaging everyone’s needs (trying to never forget to whisper a quick “I love you” “I love you too” at least once every twenty four hours).
Thinking back to the timeline and goals we had back in July…it feels both like a blink and a lifetime ago. Even if everything had fallen into place perfectly – and to be fair, far more has worked out then gone awry – my idyllic picture of the last couple weeks before month nine spent getting to know our new home was just that…idyllic.
It’s been a week since I said “we’ll be moved in!” but alas, this isn’t the case just yet…and I can’t blame anything convenient like the weather even.
The progress has been steady and the work has my broody mama-to-be(again) heart all warm and fuzzy but the reality is there’s a ticking time bomb in my ever expanding belly that is making my brain think unrealistic “are we there yet?!” thoughts about everything. An hour delay feels like an eternity, a week can seem like a massive failure unless I give myself a proper moment to wilt…weep a bit…then recover with a better, more logical (less hormonal) perspective on what matters and where we’re at.
Oh, this month has taken a toll.
I think somewhere around August 28th or so, I made a promise to this growing belly of mine that September would calm down. It wouldn’t, couldn’t possibly be as crazy as August.
It’s officially mid-way through the month and I’m officially into the third trimester for baby #2. Thank goodness we’re not stressing about harvesting, canning, preserving and all the other ‘ings’ that typify this season…instead, there’s just the pesky detail of moving farms across islands to contend with.
Between the two of us, I’m certainly more of the planner but by no means do I have it all worked out. However, with the various intricacies and pieces that need to fall into place at specific times…so far, I’m feeling rather proud of how we’ve been able to rise up. Myself as the planner/coordinator extrordinaire and Scott for endlessly putting up with my stage direction while simultaneously spearheading the layout and design of our initial homestead clearing.
When it comes to our land, we have all sorts of idealistic views around maintaining as many of the trees as possible. But of course, not all of them can be saved. Not all of them should be saved. But how do you decide which trees live and which trees live on as firewood, hugoculture logs or lumber for our home?
- Hire someone who knows far more than you.
- Take your time and do things in stages.