I only have to look at last July’s blogs to be reminded of how difficult July is on a farm. Black snakes showing up, chickens suffocating in the heat, weeds, weeds, weeds. A single word describes July and August for me.
The work load is crushing. The heat is crushing. The tempo of keeping up with friends, family, and responsibilities is crushing.
Ironically, these are the most thrilling days too. Everything is booming and joyous. Vegetables grow inches each day. New customers arrive weekly expressing their appreciation and admiration. And the talk in the field is always about how to do it better next year.
My goal this year is to keep a list about what’s gone well, what didn’t work. Five months in, the list is long and reflects the shifts in season.
March and April are all about planting more next year, new varieties, new ideas. May and June is staying on schedule, staying disciplined.
These days the list is an outpouring of how to be better prepared for the inevitable crush. Staying open to new ideas but learning to say ‘no’. Taking care of myself when everything is crashing in. Remembering earlier in the year that weeds and bugs and critters will take over if ignored.
I imagine, over time, managing the ‘farm’ crush will get easier. July and August will always present the best and worst of farming but I will mature and somehow learn to move through it with grace.
The same, I hope, will happen with my friends and family. My parents visited from Oklahoma this past week. During our short time together, I could hear myself droning boorishly about the 14-hour work days and body aches. It was a justification of sorts on why I couldn’t be more present, more available. They already understood and didn’t need any reasons, still I felt compelled.
Personal sacrifices will also forever be part of my July and August. But I sure hope to mature and learn how to deal with those too with a little more grace.