I must confess that is how we were feeling on Sunday. A good whipped, mind you, not a bad one. You know, the gentle but steady flogging of honest, hard work, not the nasty lashes of a universe out to get you. This is farm life, and we’re getting into it more every day it seems.
We had finished coaxing the diabolical cover onto the greenhouse (a story in its own right, but I haven’t the energy for it right now) last Thursday, with the (mostly) very enthusiastic help of our youngest, finally having had a calm enough day for it. That was a big job that took us through the afternoon and until sunset (for my husband, who had the task of finishing off the securing ropes and suchlike). It was tiring but satisfying; we finally had a completed greenhouse.
So, you know, Sunday I felt we didn’t achieve all that much when at 3pm it was time to drop things and head to the hardware store before it would close. We installed the raised beds (that my husband had already framed during the previous two evenings out in the garage) in the greenhouse after raking the ground over, dug up the ground inside each of the eight beds, incorporated fresh soil from an older compost heap into each bed, and planted some of our seed potatoes in a new 20-foot bed adjacent to the greenhouse (the youngest LOVED that job and shared it with me 50/50). It really didn’t feel like very much progress after what we’ve been doing recently and, in truth, it really wasn’t that much work.
But as we drove to the hardware store with the boys, I slumped into my seat and confessed to feeling washed out, in need of a break. My husband – ever rational at these moments – noted that we’ve been doing a lot of physical work on nearly a daily basis while also doing our regular jobs and routines, and that we perhaps had a right to feel tired.
He suggested we get ice cream. Which was absolutely the right thing to do. Ice cream has so many great qualities, including staving off potential mutiny.
Today we broke ourselves in again by hand-digging and tilling a second 20-foot bed next to the potato bed (we’re aiming to have about a half-dozen 20-foot long, 30-inch wide beds beside the greenhouse this year) in the dusk just after supper. We also had a little walk across that same field to a test bed that we planted two summers ago, before our house was built, and talked about how we might use it this year. (It’s a bit far for convenience from the greenhouse and the new beds we’re putting in, but not so far that as to be unusable.)
As the light faded and my younger son helped me to carry some wire fencing across the field to use as temporary protection on our newest bed, he told me that he was made to do this kind of work. He feels most like himself and happiest working outside in this way. And looking at him, I know this is true. I’ve caught myself feeling frustrating recently when I realize that we talk about baking together (like we did when he was smaller, and even as recently as last year) and that we never do. I wonder when he’ll want to bake with me again. But now I realize, that I’m blessed to have one son who does indeed love to bake and cook (he and one of his good friends made lasagna Friday night while my husband and I went to purchase and ferry home the wood for the greenhouse’s raised beds), and another son who comes very naturally to gardening and growing food. How lucky am I?
Before heading up to the house I said to my husband “I guess we don’t need to worry about succession planning.”
I know I’ll be back in the turmoil of parenting and everything else that we’re doing tomorrow and every day after that, but it’s worth it to have these little moments.