Speed bumps

I am a planner. I like when my schedule is set and known. I make lists. I check off my lists. It makes me happy. I am much better at being flexible then I used to be but it is often still a struggle where I have to remind myself that I am not in control…and that it’s ok.

Having a husband, six kids and a daughter in law, our own business, a farm, and 72 animals, yes my plate is full, as is my heart. It’s a joy and life I could not imagine being any fuller. But simultaneously, my plans, or any hint of plans, have been sufficiently thrown out the window.

Having kids is hard enough, animals add a whole different kind of crazy. They especially don’t care about your plans. Several chickens decided that sleeping in the tree is a better option than the coop. One night one didn’t even come home, we still don’t know where she was, but she returned home the next morning. We created a ramp for the chickens to go to their new much nicer coop but they won’t go in to it.  The girl goats decided to run through the electric fencing IN to the boys pen. Another day the gate was left open and the goats were hanging in the back yard early one morning trying to break a window in the barn. The boy goats got in to a sparring match one day and nearly knocked themselves in to unconsciousness.  We came home to bloodied heads and stumbling goats.  The pigs keep burying their fencing line and escaping from their pasture. I’ve moved the fencing twice and added blockades but they don’t care.  They’ve been meandering through the farm at will, digging craters of what used to be grass wherever they please.  Every day presents a new unexpected challenge that tests me.  None of this was in my plans.


Although we are striving to live a simpler, more intentional life, being here on the farm doesn’t mean that the realities of the world can’t touch us. In addition to our crazy animals, we have been thrown a number of other unexpected detours this past few weeks too. The old adage of “one day at a time” feels far too long for my weary soul. I’m in the one hour, maybe even one minute, at a time mode. In reflection, I see how many of my plans were changed. But I also see how many opportunities came that I never saw coming. I’ve had to dig deep to find the peace that I know is real. I’ve examined every choice and every action.

My resounding security is that our family, our home, our farm and our animals are where they are supposed to be. While I may not understand why life has thrown me so many detours this week, I’m always searching for the good in the midst. Because you can’t plan everything in life, so sometimes you just need to hang on, and see that maybe those detours have a different purpose.  Perhaps those detours were meant to cause us to slow down, to cause us to look around, to be sure we are where we are supposed to be.  So difficult as it may be, I am trying to embrace our speed bumps, and learn to continue to slow down.


Hog Heaven

We have never raised a pig. Living in a house full of bacon lovers, a pig seems like a perfectly acceptable animal to raise so that we can in turn have some pasture raised pork for the brood. Upon the move in, our first project was to begin cleaning out the old “pig barn” so we could plan for the arrival of our two pigs. Two seemed like an acceptable number, just like Noah we said, two of every animal on the homestead.
When you’re the new farmer in town the neighbors take notice.  Add that to the fact that our brood may resemble an episode of Duck Dynasty and people definitely talk.  I’m finding that animal acquisition, actually any farm supply acquisition, is firmly stuck in the “word of mouth” club.  When our new neighbor came over with an offer of two “club pigs” that a friend of a friend had a few extras of, the Hubby happily agreed to move them in to our newly forming pasture.  We set the fencing, the neighbor brings over two pigs, happy homestead.

Pigs in Barn IMG_5281

The problem here is that I had already been researching a heritage breed pig that we thought would be great additions to the homestead and found a local farmer that was utilizing some natural methodologies… and I had already spoken for two of them.  So maybe we’re doubling Noah now.  Two pigs, four pigs, is there really a difference? My amazing friend, who already does this farming thing well, volunteered to join me on the trek to acquire two Berkshire pigs to add to the mix.  Arriving to this new, much larger farm, we were a bit starry eyed as we took in all the infrastructure that surrounded us.  Again, in my state of constant distraction by all the pretty animals, I briefly heard the gentleman tell us that our two pigs were a female and a castrated male.  Farming life lesson…ask about the sex of your animals BEFORE you show up to buy them.  And then if you’re me, ask again because you may not understand.  I back up my SUV, open the crate, two farm hands load the pigs, I pay, I’m chatting, I’m overwhelmed, the pigs are pooping in the crate, in my car, oh happy day I just bought pigs, homestead here we come.

At the homestead we unload these sweet little piglets.  Mind you they’re 40 pounds each, but yes that’s still small and they’re still sweet.  The new Berks meet our little pink pigs and everyone immediately seems to get along.  Really, four pigs will be great! My friend and I are watching this beautiful interaction of the pigs discovering their new happy pastured home.  None of our pigs have come from pastured upbringings so we’re marveling as these animals discover fresh grass and forage for the first time.

Berkshire Pigs Pigs on pasture

Suddenly my friend observes something different, something unintended, two little parts that will quickly change the course of the homestead…a lovely, in tact set of testicles!  Yes, somewhere in the talking and distraction and observing and poop, I have managed to overlook that one of the Berkshires was in fact NOT castrated, and is in fact a fully functioning male.  Of course now that we have him home, we know that we can’t send him back, he was meant for us, our little Happy Accident.  Thankfully we have time to prepare, we will have time to separate him from the pink girls, and time to prepare for spring piglets.  So two pigs, four pigs, pregnant pigs, baby piglets, whatever.  We’re here for the natural process of life, we just figured we would ease in to it a little slower,  but it looks like Hank, our Happy Accident, will be quickly helping us create our own hog heaven.

Hank the Pig