Farm as Therapy

So as you can guess my “day job” is especially stressful now. Here is my pandemic commuter car equipped with protective items.

When I came home from work this morning, I immediately striped off everything, carefully placing clothes in the laundry and then hopped in the shower and washed well.

But then I can leave the pandemic somewhat behind and do the farm chores. Tom understands how important this is to me right now so is not as eager to get it done as he used to be. Here is my therapy:

The chicks are looking cuter (although out of focus).

Miss Smith is looking bloated. She is not in distress though. The only differences in her diet are that per Tom she snuck through a fence to get to a greener field of grass yesterday and we had given them a feed block a couple of days ago. So we pulled that block away and will watch her.

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Tom called the critter ragamuffins this morning. I thought that was cute.  When I first started this in the 1990s I called it my menagerie.  But ragamuffins seems to be a more appropriate term for them now.

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After the critter chores are done, for me the next chore recently is checking on the greenhouse.  It is another form of therapy as it is warm and usually bright in there.  I do like the time I spend in there as it is peaceful.  The germination pad appears to be at temperature but no sprouts yet.  I know it doesn’t look like much but the greenhouse Tom built for us is wonderful!

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During this pandemic isolation, Tom has been focusing on building an extension to the garage. He (with help) had put a roof off of the area behind the garage earlier, but now he is focusing on enclosing it to have more work space.  This is the area that the truck of my dreams sadly sits waiting for some attention.  She will be more protected now, and I have hopes maybe she will run again someday.  He has enclosed most of the walls, installed electricity and lights. Yesterday he was putting a light at the peak of the ceiling so pretty scary since he was alone.

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I noticed that the metal Tom has collect to use as siding has some unusual plant material on them.  The bees were also interested.  I decided to investigate the origins of this.  And there are 2 trees out front near the blueberries and crabapples that are dropping these things.  I am curious is anyone knows what type of tree this is.

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After this we checked out the orchard  This is Steve and Tom’s favorite place on the farm.  I wanted to see what was starting to bud and bloom.  The Asian pear trees are blooming nicely and attracting bees.

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A rabbit tried to take out many of Tom’s prized cider apple trees this last winter.  He managed to catch and dispatch one rabbit, and there has been no further issues.  He bridge grafted quite a few of his rare cider apple trees, and today it does look like they are coming back!  In addition we noticed that a Spitzenburg (my personal favorite apple tree) seems to be coming back despite being debarked in a ring completely at the base.  Tom did not try to graft this one as he assumed it would not make it.  So there is some hope that I will eat Spitzenburg apples again someday!  Here are some of the trees that he saved.

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As I mentioned Steve loves the orchard.  He hides all of his favorite stuffed animal toys there too. Today we managed to find in the orchard his favorites: rainbow bear, giraffe, and cheetah.  His all time favorite snake was in the back yard.  I think he especially likes this one since he has not destroyed every one of the squeakers in it yet. We chose colorful toys so we can hopefully find them again.

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Playing with Steve is a joy and I need to do it more often.  He is so in the moment with his glee that it is infectious.  His favorite games are tug of war and keep away.  He does not fetch.

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After the orchard check we came in for lunch.  I had a lovely greek salad and Tom had left over stir-fry.  We read the newspaper and watched Steve enjoying the sun out the dining room window.  All was peaceful.

Then the power went out.  Someone decided to run into a power pole on the 22000 block of Prairie Road.  Initially I was not concerned.  My plan was to update our now delivery shopping list (there is no more pick up) and then to blog quickly before taking a nap.  Then I was going to take a bath, have dinner, hot tub or watch a move (undecided) and get ready for work again tomorrow.  I created a hot spot with my phone and updated the shopping list.  I was feeling very techie.  Here is our shopping list in the now darkened kitchen.

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Since then I have been working on this blog.  One thing I came to realize is that the hotspot is fairly slow about downloading photos.  Plus since we have a pellet stove that requires electricity, our bedroom is too cold to sleep in.  I got cold, and there is no way to have a warm beverage.  So now I am in the living room 3 hours after I had planned to get some sleep.  I am in a sun beam on the couch with a wool blanket trying to get warm again.  I have learned when I am this sleep deprived it is hard to stay warm.

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One other thing I wanted to mention.  It is interesting how little things that happen when you are a child resonate with you.  More unconscious than conscious I think but certainly the conscious memories affect you lifelong.  For me some of these events were my two grandmothers telling me stories about their childhoods on the farms they grew up on in the era of the Great Depression.  They both spoke about how the farms helped save them from want of food. But they also talked about their relationships with the farms’ animals in a positive light.  Now I have since learned that there was great tragedy in these farm childhoods that they never mentioned to me, especially as a child.  But those stories stuck with me.  And now I am thinking that in some aspects they were right.  I am not going to be wanting for food no matter how bad this economic collapse gets.  And I have my relationships with the animals to help sustain me.  I am very grateful for our farm now as we have space and freedom in our quarantine that other people do not have.  Plus there are always things to do here to keep you occupied.  It is not just screen activities so that is a lifesaver for both of us.

So as I sit here not being able to sleep.  I do appreciate that my grandmothers’ stories helped lead me to this farming life, and I really am appreciating it now, more than ever.

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10 Responses to Farm as Therapy

  1. Teresa says:

    Your farm looks like you are much farther into spring than we are. I love the greenhouse. My seeds are somewhat struggling. I might have to start some over again. Stay safe. Thank you so much for the work that you do.

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  2. sanebishop says:

    Yes, same here, suddenly much more grateful to live on a farm and to have space and freedom to go and work outside.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you much for the last 2 paragraphs especially. My grandparents farm was a haven for me growing up and I loved hearing my grandpa’s stories of the farm he grew up on (his grandparents). It was a sweet reminder.
    P.s. love your kitchen floor, currently snuggled under a Hudson Bay point blanket that matches it 🙂
    Take care and stay safe

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    • Donna says:

      I am glad a brought you a sweet reminder. Our ancestors survived a lot of global events too so it should give us strength to get through this. Quite a few people are not fond of my kitchen floor. Comparing it to the Twister game. My husband doesn’t like ti because it shows dirt. But to me it is colorful and happy. And it encourages me to mop more which is a good thing.

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  4. Jeanne says:

    I’m sorry about your loss of power. It’s definitely not fun when you need heat in the house! We got more than our share of that last year in Feb., when we had what we call Snowmageddon! We lived in our house with no heat for four days! On the fourth morning the inside temperature was 48°! No fun! By that time the road had been cleared (mostly!) of downed trees and snow, and we were able to escape to the city and stay with friends for several days. To keep warm at night I was wearing about 4-5 layers of clothes, a heavy coat and was inside a heavy sleeping bag! I can’t sleep if I’m cold, so we’d go out and sit in my son in law’s Suburban which was toasty warm, get warmed up come back in and tuck in for the night! It wasn’t an experience I want to try again!!! – By this time, I hope your power is back on and your house is warm!

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  5. FullyFleeced says:

    sorry to hear about the power outage. that does make it difficult to rest and recharge during your home time. I am also so thankful to have space and critters to help make this time more tolerable. The pictures of Steve in the orchard with his toys made me smile 🙂

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    • Donna says:

      Thanks Denise. I did not get my bath but the power came on in time to make dinner and we used our wood fired hot tub. I was still having stress despite all that but did sleep well.

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