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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Changes aren't scary...

I had an epiphany the other day. It's been a long couple of months, starting in mid-March.  I had a conference for a week in Portland (6 hours from home). From then until now, I was gone at least once or twice a week, out of town.  From an amazing two nights of concerts in Portland to a week of hubby's open-heart surgery in Medford (scheduled and planned) to moving my sister back to Gold Beach, it's been hectic to say the least.  We lost our old dog, Bo, who had a great, long life, but I didn't get a lot of time to mourn him (I finally found time to put flowers on his grave the other day).

I knew it was going to busy but I really didn't think it would get to me much. I've been sober now for a long time (almost 16 years) and though I don't enjoy chaos, I've always functioned pretty well in the middle of it. And I did handle it well.  I didn't overdo or try to take on extra stuff and thanks to the generosity of friends and family who provided meals and a full couple of days of farm chores, there wasn't a lot of extra stuff at the farm.

After it all seemed to be quieting down I started getting ready for summer.  I work for 4-H, which is an amazing program for youth.  Summer is one of our busiest times because we have a 4 day, 3 night camp, a few 4-H shows (horse, livestock and static (crafts, sewing, robotics, cooking, etc) topped off with our local county fair which 4-H will be a part of, helping with events, etc. I have some great co-workers and we have some great volunteers who will help with all of this.  I have full confidence it'll go smoothly and for the most part, I'll have fun doing most of it.  After all, there was a reason that I used to take time off from my jobs to volunteer at these events.

Hubby is healing well from his surgery, though it's slow process.  It means that a lot of the stuff that he usually handles this time of year isn't getting done.  We have an amazing group of friends who are more than happy to step in and rototill the garden, etc. But that still means that the seeds will need planted, the weeds will need pulled, the crops will need harvested and then processed.  Last year I planted 3 long rows of green beans to sell.  That meant they needed picked every couple days, along with the zucchini, the cucumbers and so one.  It was crazy.  Then of course all of it would need to be canned, pickled, dehydrated, etc.  Of course there is all the other stuff I do.  It's stuff I love, but the thought of how busy it keeps me after work and on the weekends just scared me right now.

I started to panic, just a bit.  Well, maybe feeling overwhelmed is a better term.  How could I keep up with it all.  It was depressing.  Little things that I normally would have shrugged off made me nuts. I was feeling sad, I was cranky.  I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.  Then I realized something.  I don't have to do it all this year.  We can plant the basics that we want, a row of green beans, a row of snap peas, a couple of tomatos and some cucumbers that will need harvested a couple of times.  Then I can plant some drying beans, pumpkins (for decoration and cows) beets and carrots and maybe try some wheat. I know, this sounds like a lot, but once it's in the ground it won't have to checked on a regular basis and it will only have to be harvested once.  That leaves the blueberries that will need picked, but I plan on having all the wonderful people who've helped us out during this crazy time enjoy our harvest.  When the apples and pears get ripe, I'll do the same.  That way I won't stress about it going to waste. The smaller tomato bed will produce plenty for us to enjoy.

It's hard for me.  For some reason, doing all this stuff (which keeps us so busy) makes me feel so good about myself. I feel successful, accomplished and prepared.  But I'm realizing that it's okay to change things.  Especially if it means that our stress level declines for a few months.  We are good at what we do, here on our small family farm.  We are lucky enough to have our oldest daughter, her hubby and the cutest grandson ever live on the property right now to help out where needed.  Steve can focus on his recovery, I can slow down and smell the roses a bit.

I may still feel a "tug" when I realize that we might not accomplish all we usually do this time of year. I bet we get through it with a lot less anxiety, fewer quarrels and more fun.  It'll be part of the simpler lifestyle I've been looking for. Then I'll decide from there what we can or want to do next year.

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