Saturday, July 13, 2013

Discovering my heart

I just put in two weeks of lots of work, both physical labor and mental workout. Long 12 hours days without a break. And it was mostly all about this homestead, or what I call, the homestead sideways --- the local community garden and the local historical garden. And ya know, I found it rewarding, satisfying, and just up my alley. It agreed with my heart and soul. Nothing about it felt like it was an obligation or a chore.

All my life I thought I had the heart of a farmer, but I was never sure. It had never been tested. Since moving to Hawaii, I've had the opportunity to explore and see what my heart's made off. And I've discovered that at 13 years of age I was right about wanting to go to agricultural high school. I do indeed have the heart of a small family farmer. Not one of those big commercial guys, but rather that of a truck farmer or perhaps a heritage livestock breeder.

Small family style farming is all about work, struggle, sweat. Always hoping to earn enough income to survive. Always hoping that things don't go wrong too often so that you don't go broke. And things do indeed go wrong all the time. I've woke some mornings to find dead livestock, crops burned by the vog, a farm truck that won't run. The chipper, chainsaw, or weedwacker breaks while you're using it. The rototiller breaks down on the week you really, really need it. The water tanks go dry because of the drought. A massive outbreak of mildew threatens to ruin all the crops. The fencing is so rusted by the vog that the livestock is in danger of getting loose. The chicken flock comes down with fowl pox.

But sweet things help counter the doom and gloom. Watching newly hatched chicks learn to eat crumbles from your hand. Bottle feeding newborn lambs, and later watching them play "lamb games" as they grow up. Whistling for the horse and seeing her fly across the field at a full gallop, tail and mane flying. Seeing your crops growing every day, then harvesting baskets of wonderful veggies, knowing that YOU grew them!  Gathering fresh eggs each afternoon. Watching the border collie bring in the flock. Watching a newly seeded piece of land turn into a green pasture. 

Just about every morning here starts with beautiful sunshine. Listening to the birdsong is a wonderful way to start the day. When it does rain, as a farmer I am always thankful. I've worked in the rain, truly savoring the wonderful feeling of the rain on my skin.

I've discovered that I'm willing to take the bad along with the good. I see farming as challenging but also satisfying.

Wow, here I am in my mid 60s and finally discovered the true being of my heart. Thank heavens I finally got there! I am very grateful that I have lived long enough to learn this about myself and to be able to put it into practice. I've come to love homestead farming so much that even if I fail, it will still be ok. At least I finally learned who I truly am.

I don't regret my former career at all, not even one iota. There were good days and bad days, but overall it was a good career. Plus much of what I learned can be appled to my second career. But I am glad to have discovered homestead farming. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen Sister! It's amazing what can lie dormant in a heart.

    When i was in high school i took one of those tests where you answer about a million questions about yourself. At the end i got a list of the top three careers i was best suited for. I had a good laugh and then forgot about that test for the next 35 years. A memory floated back to me a few months ago as I watched the lambs playing in the pasture. It was a still evening and the sun was just setting fire to the mountains when i remembered the career that had given me fits of eye rolling and laughter so many year ago. Shepherd. Who knew?

    So glad you have found your bliss Su Ba!