All the feelings
We're on the homestretch of this pregnancy and I have all.the.feelings.
Seriously. The stupidest things make me weep. Scrolling through facebook is like a big cry fest, kittens, military homecomings, laundry detergent commercials...they all make me cry. Compounded on that is the knowledge that in less than 2 months our lives will be forever changed, not just because we're welcoming our son, but because we're also hoping to license and launch the dairy in the month of May.
And of course it's Spring. Does any farmer ever feel prepared coming out of Winter? I'd like to meet them. Everywhere I look there's a big mess, a mess that was easy to ignore when we were fighting freezing cold rain and snow, but much harder to ignore now that it's become mud.
The good news is, Matthew is devising some really clever solutions to help us fix our problem areas permanently. The bad news is it's just another thing on the list. Both of us have full time jobs and then of course there is Giz, who is super helpful, don't get me wrong, but not quite the construction apprentice you'd actively seek to hire onto your work crew.
But, goodness. She is a delight.
Which, of course, is part of the problem too. Because sometimes, instead of actually moving the goat compost together, we end up spending all morning digging for worms to feed the chickens. Or snuggling with baby goats instead of trimming hooves. Or hunting for potato bugs instead of moving firewood. Are you seeing the problem? We do get things done (she milks with me every night) but it all just takes longer.
But I can't rush her. I can't. I never want to be one of those people who says, "Hurry up" more than they say, "Why do you think that happens?" or "How does that make you feel?"
Which I suppose is also why instead of working when I put her down for her nap, I nap with her. As long as this pregnant body can still squeeze in her crib without breaking it, I will cherish every single nap with my daughter. Her warm, slightly sticky body nuzzled into mine. There's no feeling like it in the world.
Lately I've been overwhelmed by the emotions of welcoming a second child into this world and launching the dairy. Both are amazing, amazing things and the gratitude I have for getting to be the steward of both of these things is not diminished by my hesitations.
Because I do have hesitations. You see, it's also the end of an era. I've always had goats on this farm, and I have always hand milked them. And it's about to be the end of that. The pipeline system brings efficiency but it also brings a commercialism to this farm that has never happened before. Even with all the families we have fed over the years through our pastured pork program we've still felt like part time farmers. The dairy escalates our operation, even in it's micro form, to an enterprise that no longer quite feels like "backyard milking."
And then there are the emotions of welcoming a second child. I didn't know what love was until a child called me "Mommy". I want the world for her, more than the world actually, I want Mars and Jupiter combined, and all the rings of Saturn. I'm so happy we get to give her a brother, and I know she will thrive being part of a larger family. But I'll be damned if I'm not still weepy at the fact that her only child status is expiring very soon.
Plus, selfishly, we've kind of got this kid thing figured out. Giz sleeps through the night. She has since she was 6 months old. Unless she is sick, when I put her down at 7:30 I don't see her again until 7:30 the next day. This has allowed me to develop a good milking routine that lets my sneak outside before she wakes up to milk and feed bottle babies. I'm back inside drinking hot tea before she ever wakes up. I know too, this is all changing. Dang it's changing.
This past weekend we ran the majority of the dairy girls through the milk stand for the first time. We didn't milk since we still have all the babies on their mamas. But we did trim hooves and let them stand up there, getting used to the place. The dairy isn't done yet (you can see in the picture above, there's still areas that need to be painted and mats that need to be installed) but it's functional. Surprisingly the introduction to the parlor went better than expected...until it was time to kick them back out. Just as we had half the girls outside and were still negotiating with half the girls refusing to leave the skies opened up and giant hail started dropping out of the sky. Me and my pregnant belly took off running for their shelter. Thankfully, most of them followed.
I can only imagine how ridiculous we looked. Matthew, arguing with the half the girls in the parlor about their attitudes, me with nothing but a flannel shirt (that no longer buttons thankyouverymuch), drenched in rain and hail, running across the pasture, frantic goats trailing behind me, the turkeys and guinea hens screaming at us from the shelter of the trees.
I'm sure it was comical. And in fact, we laughed. Because, like most disasters on this farm, as quickly as the downpour had started it was done. We did get all the goats back in their shelter with fresh hay and alfalfa, babies were reunited with mamas, and the guinea hens finally did calm down. And then there was sun (or what we call sun this time of year in the Pacific Northwest).
I learned a long time ago if you don't laugh you'll cry. And honestly, I'm already dehydrated from all the unnecessary tears I shed from watching the monkey feed her pet kitten on youtube.
Everything feels a little weeble wobbly in terms of stability around here. But I'm rational enough to know that it's because we're on the cusp of something great, not about to teeter off the edge. So if you see me right now, and I start laughing, or crying, please know, I realize how ridiculous I am. And I thank you for loving me anyway.
ps: If you're wondering about the mural behind Ziggy Stardust, it's from Anthropologie. It was a birthday present from my mom last year and it makes me smile every single day.