The Catcher in the Rye

Well that was quite a Winter to come through, considering.

Of course now, after all we’ve learned, it would be a shame to quit. In fact, having thought long and hard about it, what kind of people would we be to turn our backs on such good luck as we’ve had? When you really think about it we all have far greater breaks of good luck than of bad.

We could hardly ask for a better community to have chosen or a more life affirming vocation than farming. Things that set us back, whether they be physical or spiritual, have a way of carrying us further along even when we don’t think they are. The old saying ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is one of the most profound and truthful statements ever uttered and we are firm believers in that principle.

Earlier today an old friend of the farm stopped by with feed for our pigs and we gave him a dozen spent layers in return. He has his own troubles to deal with; his town objects to his farm, he’s just had surgery, he’s an immigrant from another country without a lot of friends, but he has the right attitude and he has his family that loves and believes in him and a piece of land, just like we do. He and I and our sons worked side by side for a little while unloading feed and then loading up chickens and it was easy to work together. We talked about my burned down barn and his operation and we laughed a little bit about it and encouraged each other a little bit more. Neither of us chose to do this because we thought we’d get rich, but both of us are in a different sort of way. His 20 year old talked to my 15 year old about football while they passed hens back and forth across the fence. We tried to judge how long it would be before our sow would farrow (I think it will be tomorrow, he gives it a few days more) and we wondered about the way things would turn out for the sugaring season this year with hardly enough snow on the ground to cover the soil.

I got lost there for a little while, I’ll admit. My broken arm and the burned down barn. The past or the present. Good people who appreciated what we were trying to do and the ones who wished us ill will. Funny thing is that no matter what you do there is always something you could have done better, or not at all. The past, however, is the past and all we really have is what we do from here on out.

So tomorrow I am planning on Spring pigs, even if they come a couple of days late. My oldest boy will drive to the dump with me riding shotgun even though it seems like yesterday that he was small enough to propel into the air with my arms. We will feed the sheep, the goats, the cows and the pigs and we will try to figure out what we should do with that empty space where the barn used to be. We’ll start tapping the maples on Monday even though no one has started that early in over a hundred years because it’s time to tap them even if we aren’t ready.

We’ll keep on farming because that’s the right thing to do for us, and no matter what anyone thinks, no matter what happens to us and we will be grateful for everything, good or bad that comes our way because like they say, unless it kills us, it only makes us stronger.

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