Mar 6, 2012

The Wonder of Ordinary Days

Last night at the dinner table one of the kids commented that it was the six month anniversary of the evacuation. (Well, the first time, we did sneak back in at one point!) Six months. Where did the time go? In some ways it seems like yesterday, the immediacy of the moment, the adrenaline of throwing everything out of the market trailer and praying that the pasteurizer would survive the hurried move from dairy to trailer...trying to grab as many collars in hand as we could to load up the goats...corralling Noah as he kept sneaking out the back of the van to grab yet one more essential item (kittens and microwave popcorn!) In other ways I look outside and it all fades away to a (thankfully) very faint and distant memory because everything here now is so very ordinary.

When I woke up this morning and headed down the hall to start getting everyone up and moving I had to navigate three rubbermaid totes, each with a set of baby goats and as I wrote this line I got a call from home of yet one more set of girl/boy twins. It is with thankfulness that we have babies this Spring as we left most of the bucks at home when we evacuated.

We have had a busy week or so of phone calls and emails and texts as we contact all of our milk customers who have been waiting (some of them patiently) for the goats to kid so that they could once again buy milk from us. (Yes, the pasteurizer survived the hurried trip off the farm and back again.)

The pasteurizer is once again running daily as we alternate batches of fluid product such as milk and yogurt with cheese. Soon we might have to go to doing back to back batches at least two days a week in order to allow room in the refrigerators. There is simply no denying that a gallon of milk stores much more efficiently as cheese than as milk!

We are making a large chart of debt accrued over the very difficult Winter that has to be paid off--as the children are older (several of them no longer actually children) we decided that we want to work together as a family paying down this debt. They know that we are bringing in more money now that the goats are in milk and we want them to see where this money goes and to have a say in what gets paid, when. We started the business in large measure not only to provide for the family financially but to give our children tools with which they will be able to build their own future and being active participants in the decision making is to be a part of this. One of the biggest challenges that we are facing with this approach is differentiating for some of our children that the fact that we disagree with how they might approach matters does not mean that we did not listen and consider their opinion. I am thinking of having a tee-shirt made that says "I listened--I just don't agree." Also part of the goal of paying off this debt as a family is to also plan something for the end of the process--maybe a camping trip?

Also navigated as I walked down the hall was a pile of library books. Seems they were pulled out to decide what needed to be returned and what renewed for school. We did the feudal system the last two weeks, this week and the next we are moving on to the Crusades. I can't wait to see what happens when Noah learns about the Children's Crusade.

The house has been full of the typical Spring conversations of changes that we want to see on the farm. There is just something about this time of year that causes forward thinking--what new pens and fences do we want to see? Those new shelters that I have been idly designing in my head are now no longer whispering in the background but clamoring for attention. We look at the baby goats and make decisions. What direction do we want to take? What bloodlines do we want to focus on this year? How many do we really want to milk? What products do we want to develop or bring back after the Winter's hiatus and which ones will we let wither? It is a particular source of joy that Tim is actively involved in these discussions after so many months not able to participate due to being distracted by his internal demons.

I am currently sitting in McDonald's getting caffeinated while I wait for Tim to finish driving his morning school bus route. I drove in with him this morning so that we could go in together to an early morning meeting in support of a new local farmers market. I do not see that we can fit one more market into our schedule, nor do we anticipate having the product to allow us to do so but we absolutely want to support the community in establishing such a market. A new market could give local farmers more access to customers and if the market becomes well established it could also bring in dollars from outside the immediate area. We also like the idea of reintroducing people to an ancient form of transacting business. For millennia people have been bringing their goods to town to sell. This continues to be the underpinning of the economies of many towns large and small across the world and we are excited to see it perhaps coming to our neck of the woods, so to speak.

In a very real sense, we are experiencing a rebirth. When we returned home from the evacuation we were struck with this same sense. Everything at home was more dear and precious for having almost lost it. Unfortunately that sense was nearly submerged in the difficult winter that followed. With the Spring and the return of the normal yet sublime joys that come with that season, the sense of living in a time and place uniquely crafted for us as a gift from the hand of God returns and I, for one, intend to revel in it.

1 comment:

goatldi said...

I can see you smiling already! God is so good to us, spoiled sometimes we are. What a wonderful post!