We have had a pretty full plate these last few days, haying Mon, Tues, Wed, birthday party Thurs. Back to back Farmers Markets Fri and Sat. Saturday night we went to my in-laws for a family party campout in the hay field, got home Sunday…. you get the point.
The thing is, as I’ve mentioned , we homeschool. Well not much school happening these days but basically, my children are my constant companions, sort of. They don’t go to daycare or have a nanny, etc. They are here, playing, biking, reading, working, haylofting (I sometime make up words Sorry!) etc. So with those busy days, and mama on the tractor and everyone in and out, the house, well, it was looking pretty grim.
The problem is, between the wet and cold start to summer we have had here and the kids and I going home (my home that is) to Alaska to visit my mom for 2 and half weeks, we hadn’t gotten in single day at the lake all summer!
This is madness!
Completely abnormal for us!!!!
Well, my homeschool mom friends had been sending messages back and forth planning to go to the lake today.
I so dearly wanted to go.
A morning to catch up with friends, let the kids play with their friends…sounded perfect. The rest of this week was booking too fast and with the weather this seemed our only chance in the near future to have such a day.
I didn’t go.
Lately my heart has been reminding me that I needed to really focus on my home, and being a mom and wife/partner, for the benefit of our entire family, especially during the summer months on the farm. It just gets too hectic.
I knew that my laundry and dishes and home were calling. My farmer told me he needed me to watch the farmstand today as well, so it was a done deal. PLUS the girls had piano lessons at 1pm. I knew it was the right thing even though I was a “little” grumpy and sad about it.
But here is where the day goes from there! I was doing laundry, got my kitchen cleaned. I was paying my 8 year old $.50 an hour to read on the farmstand porch and come get me if she had a customer. Subcontracting is brilliant isn’t it?!
At 12:30 my farmer got all the kids rounded up to drop the girls off at piano while he ran errands to the bank, grain store and diesel. I was getting into better spirits and looking forward to two hours to myself. Went down to the basement to throw in another load of laundry and slipped on a wet spot and smashed my knee! Man oh man did it hurt! I was ready for a full on pity party!
I went out to the farmstand to help a customer and decided to treat myself to a pint of blueberries. So I grabbed the berries and a jar of milk and went right inside to enjoy my treat.
An iced coffee with our raw whole milk and maple syrup to round out the treat!
I sat next to window to keep an eye out for customers as I took a minute to enjoy my treat, answer emails, blog etc.
A couple of kids were walking down the road to the swimming hole, a blissful summer day…
Seriously MamaCat! That was supposed to be my treat since I didn’t go to the lake today! and I banged my knee!!! Waaa!
Just then I heard a boy’s voice in my mudroom
Who is calling me M’am???
I call out and head out to help him.
And out front are the boys who had been to the swimming hole and our vegetable manager Dennis, holding a young black lab by the scruff in one hand and a dead chicken in the other.
” I am so so so so so sorry” the boy said. ” What can I do, I don’t know what to do? I will never let my dog walk down here with me again. I’ll always have him on a leash…..”
Dennis handed me the chicken, remember this farm wife is pretty used to life and death with animals, it’s a farm.
I just stood there holding the chicken, telling him it was okay, accidents happen, asking Dennis to get a loop of baling twine to make a leash…
In my mind I thought, well he could “pay” for the chicken, or he could work it off with an hour of weeding… but the sweet boy was already so repentant, I didn’t want him to think I was angry, I seemed to just stand there, just saying it was okay until the boys headed off down the road with the dog.
Dennis and I stood there chatting for a few minutes about kids, dogs, accidents, life, when a car drives up and pulls into the driveway instead of the farmstand. Dennis and I both look to see who it is and I say, I hope this lady isn’t freaked that I’m standing here holding a dead chicken!
It was the boy’s mom, she had just found out and felt soooo bad. She apologized profusely and I told her the boys were very mature and polite about it, accidents happen, and that it was okay. She handed me a twenty to pay for the chicken and I mentioned that I had thought of letting them work it off weeding but didn’t want to upset them, the $2o was fine and more than paid for the chicken. She apologized more and was on her way.
Dennis and I could only chuckle, I was still holding the dead chicken!
Soon after the kids and my farmer came flyin’ in. The girls asked if we could pleeeeaaaase go to beach and my farmer said we should go. He had a little hay to put in this afternoon but he could handle it.
The phone rang and while I was on the phone I looked up to see the boy.
“Hi! You’re back! What can I do for you?!” the chicken all but already forgotten for me.
” Can I please do that weeding?” he says as he burst into tears.
Bless his heart he was so sweet! I wrapped my arms around him and gave him a big hug and told him he didn’t need to do that, his mama had already paid for the loss.
” I know but he is my dog” he said through sobs “I was responsible for him!”
I could tell, this kid wasnt leavin’
I told him he didn’t have to but if he really wanted to, he could weed for a little while, while I got organized for our outing. He could work on the strawberries and my kids would happily help him. I walked them down to the berries, the kids and I showed him the ropes and I left them weeding.
Ten minutes later my oldest came in with a gash in her foot. She had stepped on a rock in the strawberry field.
This day! I swear! Good gracious!
Half an hour later, with Grace in the house soaking her foot, I joined them again and we all chatted about the satisfaction of weeding as I showed him how to look down the row and see how good it looked, he was looking so much happier. Soon his little brother showed up and asked if he could help too. So we showed him how to tell what was the weeds and we all worked together chatting.
It was such an amazing transformation.
That sweet boy NEEDED to pay me back so that he could get that feeling off his heart!
After an hour I told him we were done and handed him back the $20 his mom had given me. He didn’t want to take it but I told him a person couldn’t pay for a chicken twice, and made him promise to give it to his mom as soon as he got home.
Off the boys went, we had made new friends who only lived half mile down the road.
And this day just. kept. going. We got home at 6 and I started on supper when Grace came in saying Papa needed my help. I turned off the stove to go find him. He was just finishing unloading wagon and asked if I could grab the truck and bring up the flatbed to the back field. No problem! I got this! Although let me say backing up a truck onto a wagon by yourself is a bit of a pain. Tractor is much easier. Wagon on. Up I go.
When I arrived he motioned me to hop into the wagon and move the bales tp the back. I’ve done this plenty of times, it’s actually pretty fun, the bales come flyin’ at ya.
But this time I was in flip-flops, not work boots and I didn’t have any work gloves, and my knee was hurting… you get the point?!
But it’s a farm and there was no one else to do it so up I went.
The good news is, it was so stinkin’ gorgeous up there with the sun setting! And the kids playing in the hay wagon. It was almost causing me physical pain to not have my camera!!! or maybe those were just hunger pains :p
When all the wagons were full we switched to the flat bed. We were running out of daylight. The only other times we have done this, I have run the baler.
But this time he motioned me up onto the flatbed! So there I was, in my flip-flops, standing on the flatbed wagon crouched like spiderman trying not to fall off and CATCH the bales and stack them, with no sides! on a hill! Did I mention this was the outside row and the hay wasn’t that great so the bales were HEAVY!
I swear, my farmer just shrugs like it’s nothing.
He has no clue how challenging this is for me and that in my mind I’m thinking I’m a total badass for handling this! without a single complaint! and that I should get wife of the year award!!!
The sun had set, it was getting dark and finally he switches with me. Running the baler at just the right speed while operating the hydrolics to aim the bales just right to my farmer without knocking my kids of the wagon, in the dark, takes a good amount of concentration in itself.
We then made two trips each DOWN the hill with the full loads, in the DARK. My farmer warning me repeatedly to GO SLOW. At one point my wagon almost tipped as the wheels on one side lifted, it hung in balance I stopped! Close one! A first for me!
Kids and I came in at 9:30, 1 kid down for the count snoozin’ in the cab of the pick-up.
I re-start dinner and serve my farmer and my girls as he comes in at 10:30 pm.
WHAT. A. DAY.