Last week’s blog posted at seven on a Tuesday night. By ten my inbox was flooded.
I’d written about a horrible discovery earlier that morning of twenty-two dead chickens, suffocated in their coop. The email and Facebook posts from friends and strangers alike left me weeping more deeply than I did that morning. It was staggering and reassuring and, at that moment, exactly what I needed. I felt heard and understood.
What I didn’t realize was how ‘understood’ I’ve been all along.
The next morning Bernadette arrived. 8:05, on the way to a dentist appointment, with five hens in the back of her truck. “You can start again,” she said.
Around eleven Janice showed up. We sat on the porch and talked about the birds, her doe and buck rabbits, the goats, what it’s like when so much seems to be failing that you can barely recognize what’s going right.
Karen dropped in to check on me. She had a similar experience with turkeys. Charlotte told me of a rooster who met the same fate. Cheryl hugged me, for a long time, and didn’t have to say a word.
These are a few of my fellow farmers who I lean on. Women, some single, some married but all doing farm work every day of their lives. There are more. So many more that when I count the women I know who principally farm for a living and I consider a friend, I run out of fingers.
It is humbling to walk next to so many talented, dedicated and unassuming women. Its more humbling to think that I write about my farm life, as if it’s all new territory, while my grandmother and her grandmother have been at it for centuries.
It took twenty-two bird to shake me awake and realize that while I’ve been trying to ‘create a community’, I was already in one. For this reason I like to think those chickens didn’t die in vain.
Thank you to all the supporters of the farm stand and farmers! You make it possible for us to do what we love. And as always, thanks for stopping by,