Sometimes as I’m trudging down to the goat barn in the dark, wet from rain and mud, to do my twice daily milking chore I have to wonder why the hell am I doing this? Why the hell am I working full time during the week and spending all of my free time doing chores? Doing chores in the dark, in the rain, and perpetually muddy. I plant stuff on the weekends but have no idea until the following weekend if anything has germinated. Worse yet, I don’t know if I’ve successfully kept the slugs and snails at bay or whether everything has been destroyed.
This time of year I always question this lifestyle. The weekends are the only time I get to see the goats, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, and garden during daylight hours. So all the big chores get crammed into the weekends. It seems that we work just so we can work some more.
A side effect of having animals? Urine, feces and vomit no longer faze me. Hard work and lack of sleep are the rule rather than the exception. Stick my hand in chicken shit? No problem. Step barefoot in cat puke in the middle of the night conveniently deposited right outside the bedroom door? That’s life. Goat feed in our bed? Yep. Being the only person at the Halloween store with real blood on their boots? It’s happened. Medicating a goat every 2 hours for 2 days? Check.
But then, as I stand in a grocery store aisle searching for that one packet of cheesecloth that I know they must have in a sea of random crap, I quickly realize why I do this, even in the dark of winter. And it’s not just because I hate dealing with the grocery store, which I do. Doing things our way make life easier. Not physically easier, obviously, but I don’t have to think about where our food comes from. I don’t have to stand there and stare at labels trying to figure out which product is the lesser of two evils. All the meat in our freezer is from animals that we raised or hunted. The milk is raw and always fresh and clean. There’s no BHT, BHA or high fructose corn syrup. There’s no transfat, no GMOs, and no soy. No factory farmed animal products or industrial farmed crops. No methyl iodide, 2-4,D or glyphosate. No Red #4 or castoreum.
Watching things grow, evolve, and change creates a sense of accomplishment. Pride swells, like a new parent, when your goat kids, your chicken/turkey hatches a clutch of chicks, or your rabbit kindles. Pulling carrots and digging potatoes are like opening presents on Christmas morning or going on a treasure hunt. Nothing tastes better than food grown through a labor of love. Everything is fresh and healthy and happy. Yes, even the carrots are happy.
Our life is interesting, it is fulfilling and it has meaning. And sometimes, on those dark, stormy mornings I need to remember that.