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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Picking up the pieces, moving forward and re-setting priority number one!

The unforeseen, abrupt, loss of an income HURTS A LOT, especially in the spring on a small farm.  You start looking for more ways to cut already tight budgets and find ways to bring in any little bit of income to carry you through and keep the utilities on.  Farmers market, which was supposed to be on hold for this year, was added back to the mix.  Unfortunately, we hadn’t planned on a market garden this year so vegetable starts wouldn’t be available for sale.  Butchering hadn’t been done so we didn’t have any rabbit meat for sale.  Jams and jellies were still in their juice stage in the freezer.  We reached out to our neighbors and through some bartering and collaboration, little man’s father has managed to make a table at market work.

Chicken being chased by a toddler
with a camera
At the beginning of June I tried to do what I had done last year, bake four to six pies, four loaves of yeast bread and several desserts each market day.  I would come home from my off farm job and little man would ask me to play but I would be too busy baking to play.  He would ask to help so I would let him add pre-measured ingredients and mix when it was appropriate.  Baking took much longer than it had in the past.  Then when I moved on to the next recipe, he would ask to play again.  We would stop for dinner then go put the animals to bed, put little man and his father to bed then I would stay up baking more for market.  Since it was spring/early summer, the following night I would be transplanting from the greenhouse into the garden or the flower beds and he would help wherever he could, but then he would ask to play again, and again the answer would be, ‘As soon as I am done doing…’  The following night I would be baking again for market.  The following night would be spent cleaning out the rabbits and chickens housing, again little man would get his shovel and do what he could to help.  It breaks your heart when you have to tell your little one that you can’t play because you have to try and make a living. 

After too many times seeing that beautiful boy walk away with THAT look of total and complete disappointment, I decided that I was done with working full-time and trying to keep up with farmers market too.  I wasn’t going to miss another whole summer of playing and watching little man grow, all the while arguing with his father about distribution of chores/responsibilities and who was going to get to use the tiny work space portion of the kitchen first, just to try and eek out what little our local farmers market was going to gain for us.  Little man is far too important!  I wasn’t going to do it again this summer.

Now I come home in the evening and do at least one chore/job/task, which most of the time, includes some portion of something that little man can help with.  Then there is play time.  Sometimes it is fifteen minutes while making dinner, sometimes it is an hour and a half while the excavation of a new garage and parking facility are planned underneath the pine tree for the a pickup truck carrying blocks and a horse trailer carrying cows and rocks.  Often it involves running around with bare feet, pausing only to scratch a sow behind the ears, upsetting the chickens as they have to get out of the way of a racing toddler in the backyard.
2014's first harvest of
yellow beans from the garden

The worries are far from gone as little man’s father remains unemployed, but, the freezer is full and the garden is providing every day.  Now we have fifty meat birds ready to go into the freezer, I wasn’t able to buy the fingers for the chicken plucker we are building AND the one we borrowed needs fingers too

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