March 15, 2010

war paint

My hope is that this will serve as an update for our friends, family and customers who have been wondering what we're up to. We have kept quiet about things until now because that's what we needed to do for us. Thank you for your love and support. It means so much.
Where do I begin?
I have been very selective in my blog topics as of late and for good reason. I wish I could freely write about what Nate and I have been experiencing the last few months but, however juicy a story it would make, I simply cannot. I sometimes regret the public format of this blog. I was encouraged to start this blog as a way to share our experiences by a good blogger friend, Danifred. I became so inspired by Danifred's blog and admired the fact that she was contributing daily to what would someday be a keepsake for her children. I knew that I would love to have a record of the trials and tribulations of starting our farm for our future children to read someday. I also wanted it to be a way for our friends, family and customers to be updated on what's new with us as well as a way to understand the struggles we go through to make it all happen. They are all common struggles for entering farmers and we feel strongly that people need to know that side of things.
This means that this is a public blog instead of an anonymous blog which really limits me in times like these. I desperately need to write in order to work through my feelings but cannot risk having my words read and misunderstood by the wrong person. Oh how I wish I could tell you the whole story but for now, I'll keep it brief and general while saving the real story for a book someday. I hope you'll understand.
I'll begin by saying that it has been a long, emotional, frustrating and painful road which has just finally come to an end.
As you know, we have spent the last 2 years trying to achieve our dream of a farm. If you need a refresher, you can read our story here. Knowing that the land we were farming was for sale, we knew that our time there was limited and we spent those 2 amazing years thinking about our next move. Obviously, we were hooked on farming so there was no question in our minds that we would continue, but where? Should we try to buy a farm? Could we buy a farm? Is there another arrangement similar to this one? We didn't know what we were looking for and hoped we would know it when we saw it. We poured over the farm realty websites daily, asked everyone we knew and posted a few ads. We had a few very interesting offers and options but kept looking.
As you may also know, we settled on moving to this farm just before Christmas though there were still so many unanswered questions. Some of those unanswered questions were important - like where we would live, but we convinced ourselves that the potential outcome at this farm was so worth it that we should just forge ahead. There were many, many incidents that made us question our decision but we just kept telling ourselves that we needed to stick it out. And stick it out we did, though hard as we tried, it just became too much. We found ourselves depressed, deflated and compromising our integrity and self-respect. Nothing in this world is worth that. Especially not a farm. It was time to honor ourselves and to do what was best for us.
With the support of our family, we made the decision to leave right away. This decision required an even more difficult decision, one that was hard to accept . . . we needed to get rid of our hens. They were what was keeping us from being able to just pick up and leave. We would be staying with my mother but what about the girls? I can't begin to tell you how painful it was to even consider this. Anyone who knows us, knows how much we love those hens but we had to consider the big picture. Our constant misery was not good for the hens as they inevitably pick up on our stress. A dear farmer friend had just lost a large number of hens to predators and was still in shock from her loss when we proposed that she take our girls. She agreed and we left the farm that night moving the hens to their new home. I wont lie and say that it wasn't excruciating to pick up each one as we unpacked them from their crates and set them in their new eggmobile but we did what we had to do. Chickens are resilient and adaptable, more so than humans. They will settle into their new surroundings in no time. It was us that I worried about. The first few days were far from easy. Nate and I barely spoke to one another as we tried to recover from the shock of our reality. We were emotionally drained. What just happened? Have we completely failed at our dream? Can we bounce back from this? How do we even begin to move on from here? Tears flowed freely.
But then we started to remind ourselves of all that we've accomplished and all of the knowledge gained in just 2 years of farming. Wow, did that help change our perspective! The more we told our story to friends and family, the more confident we were that we had made the best decision. And were those last 2 months at the new farm a total waste of our lives? No way. We are so grateful for the experiences, even the awful ones, as we have learned so very much.
We are unbelievably fortunate to have such a support system in our family. What a gift to be able to take the time we need to pick up the pieces, research our options and attempt to plan our future. We have taken back control of our lives and guess what? We're discovering that there are so many exciting possibilities out there for us. In fact, there are big plans in the works. We're just not sure if things will fall into place in time for a 2010 farming season, which is a bummer.
So, gone are our beloved hens and gone is the farm life that we loved. . . but not for long. This is only the beginning and we are more determined than ever to make our dreams come true. As a good farmer friend told us in response to our current situation, "No way have you taken a step backwards. You're ahead of the curve. Look out world, Nate and Kristen have their war paint on!"

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