The Farm Our Hands Built

We didn’t know what we were doing.

We had a longing.

We had unhealed trauma.

We started a farm in our hearts.

We grew love that looked like tomatoes.

We grew courage that looked like okra.

Our hearts swelled and poured out into the land.

Our small farm, growing more and more!

At last we burst at the seams.

Spilling forth into the world.

We pursued our hearts with our hands.

Gardens like our hearts teach us many lessons through failure.

We had to learn the patterns of the weather.

We had to endure the death of crops and animals.

The death of all we thought we knew.

The farm never stops teaching.

I posted and edited version of this poem on my Facebook, but I wanted to share this raw and unedited version because that's what farming really is. That's what life really is, raw, unedited, and unforgiving. It's always teaching. Today's lesson was hard.

I lost a chicken to the local bobcat last night. I know how and where it got into the coup and I just feel very lucky that only one chicken lost their life. That is, if I take immediate action and repair the coup. A repair that wasn't planned for, on a shoe string budget. This just means I will have to be creative and put in even more mental labor. A labor I choose to give daily.

I say all this not for pity or to scare some of you, but rather to showcase the realities of homesteading. For years I let social media dictate what I thought homesteading was because I had to start somewhere.

In the world of teaching yourself and reconnecting with self-reliance, there is no "one size fits all" equation to make it work. I just hadn't realized how the content I was consuming was shaping my internal view of my farm; of my efforts. I almost gave up in 2019 and went back to work full time after only taking half a year off to try and manage a farm, a 4 year old, and a (at the time) failing relationship. It was a lot. It was messy and I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere.

Thank goodness for hindsight! I get to look back at everything I learned and I'm grateful

that I took time off from the farm. It was a much needed sabbatical. I'm definitely going to share my experiences in hopes that it will serve as a road map for someone else. You're going to find the patch work shed-barn we built, stacks of collected materials we've scavenged, a 90x20 kitchen garden, 5 Nigerian Dwarf goats, 18 NB/AW Rabbits, 4 dogs, 20 mixed flock Chickens, and 1 free range "mini" pig. It gets messy and we literally deal with shit everyday!

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