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Archive for October, 2014

Peace of Mind

I don’t often think about “peace of mind”, usually only when I have lost it. Peace of mind that is…

I have been living here on Morris Brook Farm for three years now, three wonderful years. Over those years I have gradually introduced different animals to the farm, sheep, cows, chickens.  I have raised them from babies and they have had babies of their own.  Well, not the chickens yet, they have only been here for five months.

It is fall now, and time to breed the sheep if I want lambs in the spring.  That is the question…do I want lambs in the spring?  I hadn’t given it much thought, it was just understood that is what would happen.  This was the first time I realized I had lost my peace of mind.  I was fretting over whether to breed just Cotton again, or all three of the girls?  Should I take them to a neighbour’s farm for six weeks and have them bred there, or borrow a ram and keep them here?  If I bred them all I could end up with six lambs next spring?  Six lambs to worry about, possibly hand feed one (or two) again.  My mind was whirling and not in a good way. My beautiful sheep had become something more…something that stole my peace of mind.

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One animal I had not introduced to the farm was cats.  I have often thought about bringing a cat or two to live here.  I had visions of them hanging out in the hay barn, and with the sheep, catching mice and frolicking with Emma.  Many times over the past three years I have checked out Kijiji ads and debated whether or not to reply to the ad.  I have always closed the ads without replying.

This past weekend I replied to an ad.  Beautiful baby kittens…free.  It was Thanksgiving and family was coming, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such cute kittens here then.  They would grow to be the cats that would do all the things I envisioned.

I brought them home.

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Cute aren’t they?  They did the job, they were admired and played with all weekend.  It didn’t take long before I realized again…I had done something that stole my peace of mind.  These babies were too young to live outside in the barn.  It would be many months before they could be left alone with the sheep, the mice and Emma. I worried about them, I fretted about how I was going to keep them safe and happy until they grew up.  I felt guilty that I had taken on a responsibility I was not prepared for…and really did not want.

It took awhile before I knew what I had to do to regain my peace of mind. Time spent thinking, fretting, getting more and more irritable and grumpy.  Why was I feeling like this?  I loved my life on the farm…what was wrong with me?  Then I knew…it was the sheep and it was the kittens.  Once I knew what was making me feel this way it didn’t take long to decide how to fix it.

I decided the sheep would not be bred this fall.  I would just enjoy them as they were, beautiful sheep with beautiful wool.  I was not going to spend the winter worrying about birthing lambs in the spring.  Ahhhhh…big sigh of relief.

I decided to return the kittens to the farm where I had gotten them.  They were very understanding and happy to take them back.  Ahhhhh…second big sigh of relief.

I woke this morning and felt…peace.

We all do things that we later wish we hadn’t…and if we are lucky, we can sometimes correct those mistakes.  We all fret about things we think we should do…but are they things we actually want to do as well.

Be careful what you do…you don’t want to lose your peace of mind.

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Giving Up

Painting has never appealed to me.  I didn’t know why, I just knew that I didn’t want to do it.  I loved the idea of it, a few brush or roller strokes and  Ta Da! a whole new look.  I just never really wanted to do it myself.

Over the past three years I have added a few outbuildings to the farm  A generator shed, an outhouse, and most recently a chicken barn.  I haven’t finished the outside of any of these buildings…just build them and leave them alone has been my motto.

I know that without some kind of exterior finish, they won’t last long.  They all need something, siding or paint.  Well I priced out the siding and Wow! that was not in my budget right now.  So I thought a nice coat of green paint would do.  Something that would blend into the trees and fields, and best of all something that I could do myself!  How hard could it be…right?

This weekend promised to be a beautiful, warm, sunny one.  I had a couple of jobs that required that kind of weather,

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hauling in some firewood

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and painting the sheds.  Of course, with my life long aversion to painting yesterday was dedicated to hauling firewood.

The Massey and I worked steadily together, I loaded and he did the heavy work.

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It was a good day, six hours of loading and hauling and stacking and the wood shed was starting to fill up.

This morning dawned clear as a bell and I knew what was on the agenda.  There was no putting it off…time to paint.

I gathered the supplies, paint, rollers, brushes, tray and stir stick.  Oh yes, and the ladder, not a big ladder, just a step-ladder to reach the top.

I assembled my tools, climbed the ladder (figured I should start at the top) and began.  It was not good…I was dizzy, felt weak and nauseous.  I would paint for a couple of minutes, then climb down and sit for a few minutes, with my heart pounding.  This is crazy, I thought.  Painting isn’t that strenuous, what is going on.  Up the ladder I went for another few minutes.  No luck…same response, and back down the ladder I came.  This went on for a while and finally I gave up.  Close to tears, (who can’t paint a simple shed????) I went in the house, called my niece and asked if she was interested in painting my shed.

I was giving up.  I am not a person who gives up easily, so after a few minutes I thought “I can DO this! I CAN do this!”  Out I went, back into the chicken pen and back up the ladder, for a few more minutes.  It took me two hours to realize that I really couldn’t do this.  I simply could not paint this shed.

Two hours of painting and this was the result.

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At this rate I would be here all winter.

I gave up.

I was completely demoralized and knew I needed to turn this around or the day would be a complete write-off.  I looked at the woodpile, and at good old Massey sitting there beside it, and off I went.

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Down the driveway to get more wood.  This I could do…this would actually produce results, another pile of wood ready to be stacked.

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I was pleased with the wood work, but couldn’t stop looking at the sad attempt at painting.  Could it really be true that  I was incapable of painting?  Surely not…there must be an explanation.

Then it hit me…maybe it wasn’t the painting…maybe it was the ladder????

I looked over at the outhouse, a simple 6 foot high structure, no need for a ladder.

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Out came the tools again, the paint, the brush, the roller, the tray.  I was on a mission.

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Ta Da!

There it was, a whole new look after just a few brushes with the roller. Well, the first coat anyway. No dizziness, no nausea, no pounding heart, no weakness.

I can paint!

I just can’t paint with a ladder.

It feels good not to give up…and sometimes you have to ask for help!

 

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