At the end of it all, I have hope.
We lost our Lochy boy this past week. He ventured a wee bit too far from home (not far as the crow flies, but none-the-less, ended up on a 45 mph country road) and was struck by a car. A pedestrian happened to see him laying by the trees, down the hill from the road, and was thoughtful enough to call the number we had listed on the LOST DOG posters that were now strewn around our little town.
Stuart picked him up (I'm far too weak) and we buried him in the back pasture by the cherry trees.
Y'all. I hate moments like this.
I even messaged my brother in law: “You know that saying, ‘It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?' Well, that's crap. I wish I would have never known this pain.”
At the end of it all, it's not true. But in the moment, I felt it.
I'm so bloody tired of saying goodbye to animals. It is the very hardest part about farm life – to want to keep going when it all just feels all for not. I can't bear the pain. But I can, and I do, and we move on.
See the horrible paradigm I'm in?!
I completed a 23 minute rank to Stuart about how I don't understand how God could have created such a horrible… and beautiful… and painful… and joyful… and awesome… and excruciating existence all in the same. How could God have given me such a passion for this rustic life, while simultaneously giving me far too many situations where it'd be the better idea to just run for the hills with a bottle of wine?
But here I am. Dreaming big. Pushing on. Moving forward. Because, to be frank, I don't know what else to do in times like this.
By the way, “pushing on” will most certainly involve getting a puppy. Because hello. Who is going to guard my sheep now that Lochy is gone? A puppy. That's who. I'm a dog-person. What-cha-gunna-do.
Are homesteaders just weird people? Are we of a strange sort that continues to touch the hot kettle, even when our hand is already burnt? Are we gluttons for punishment and torture? Are we missing some sort of brain chemistry that allow us to see life as the rest of the world? In what matrix does it make sense to build a garden, develop soil, order seeds, plant them, then wait 5 months to harvest a crop that can be purchased for .25/lb. at the local market?
In what instance does it make sense for a homesteader to fall in love with the twin lambs that she helped birth – the lambs that she's fed and tended to every day of their lives – before harvesting them for winter food?
Strange, isn't it.
Sorry to get all reflective and funky on ya, but it tends to happen whenever I lose an animal. I take a step back – I reflect – I question what I'm doing with my life, and then I move on.
In happier farm news, Ginny is due to have her piglets any day. She's so large, it's almost painful to watch her waddle around the pasture. Don't tell Hermoine this, but Ginny is my favorite. She such an affectionate pig. If she wasn't four hundred pounds, you'd almost mistake her for a puppy. I'm very much looking forward to welcoming new life on the farm, even though we're just now heading into winter.
Both gilts should farrow before the end of the year.
I'll be beginning to hatch chicks this weekend.
Cece *should* be bred and due to calve in June.
Rosie, Eleanor, Noel, and Gwen are all bred and should lamb in the late winter/early spring.
Life is coming! And yet it's also going…
With Lochy. With the five lambs due to be butchered in the next few weeks. With the 14 rabbits that will soon meet their same fate.
I don't understand it. I can't. I can't even pretend to. All I can do is show up each morning with an espresso in my hand and a dream in my heart to make this life beautiful. With good food. With healthy relationships. With flower gardens. With an appreciate for that paper thin veil that separates life and death.
I am more aware of that veil than I'd hoped.
But I suppose, at the end of it all, that's a very good thing.