Thursday, March 5, 2009
Yes, I do have days when I question the wisdom of the whole enchilada. Today was one of those days. It is 8:08PM and I am just now hanging up my proverbial hat for the evening. My hands are shaking with exhaustion and I am ironically eating a deli pizza dressed up with rehydrated Costco mushrooms after having spent the past 2 and a half hours grinding my own lamb meat. It isn't all pasture-raised meats and organic eggs here at SSF.
Between a half-day small-farming workshop on Monday and losing all of Tuesday to driving my mom into Seattle for her cardiology appointment, the rest of the week has felt like running a marathon to catch up.
Spring is intense, for small-scale farmers and for stay-at-home parents alike. Taxes, baseball, lambing, a spike in egg-laying in conjunction with a sudden island glut in eggs, getting the ewes back up to weight, a local election I'm involved in both professionally and as a volunteer, Dylan's homework, swimming lessons, piano, transition from cub scouts into boy scouts, and helping my mom with her current and future art class and shows...these (in addition to the mundane grocery shopping and everyday household chores) frame my days and leave precious little time for strategic thinking about which project comes next: finish Dylan's treehouse, start building his cottage/the guest house, fence off a production garden, get the ram separated or slaughter the ram, prune the trees and shrubs trashed by the winter and overcome with horizontal growth, expand the chicken run, build a proper fence for the veggie garden, establish a fruit tree orchard. What's most urgent first?
And every day I wake up with "finish planting seeds" on the top of my to-do list and every night I go to bed with "finish planting seeds" on the top of tomorrow's to-do list.
Now I'm really tired.
Tomorrow we head to Seattle for another rare city evening of dinner and symphony with our dear friends. But, when I bought the tickets in January, I didn't think about our ewes dropping lambs right now and didn't know my mom's first full art show would open tomorrow night. So, even though I know I will enjoy it and be glad we did it, right now the idea of going off-island for 18 hours or so just fills me with anxiety and fear. Every weekend seems a battleground for farm/family/couple/musician obligations and attractions. Mark and I spent 15 minutes on the phone today, walking through our calendar for the month to figure out how to pull it all off.
One of the main reasons we went to a single-career family model was to free up our time and make sure that our family spent most weekends recreating and enjoying each other's company. Right now it doesn't feel like we're meeting that goal very well.
I know this isn't anything close to a unique situation - we all struggle with time management, whether we're two-career couples or one, urban or rural or suburban. Farm commitments can be uniquely frustrating, however, because they trump everything - spending time on homework or other parental activities, for instance, b/c if you don't attend to your animals, they die. So, your kid handles his homework on his own while you're out throwing hay.
On the flip side, of course, there's working together on weekends and long afternoons as the days lengthen. Building the property and the business side-by-side as a family carries a satisfaction that's tough to match. And those times do happen - pretty often.
But, we all have long days.