We have been on the farm, minus a few trips into town for groceries or animal feed, for about two weeks now. Our Governor just mandated that everyone ‘stay-at-home’ on Wednesday. The first report of COVID-19 in the US was in WA in January and we have just been watching the numbers grow and spread across the country since then. By staying at home we are helping to slow the spread of this novel virus and, to be honest, our life is normally like this in the spring. We cancel appointments, we hunker down and wait for lambs. They arrive at all different times of day and night. We never know what they will need when.
Before owning a farm, I interned on several farms where I would work six days a week with (maybe) a day off to run errands and spend some time in town. I have been thinking about those past internships a lot lately and I am feeling strangely prepared for this pandemic moment. However, now knowing that we HAVE to limit our trips off the farm has made us think more intentionally about our daily routines. With two little kids and my off-farm classes, my life on our farm is different than my intern life. I have been out in the world a lot, so despite the fact that the farm normally gets busy this time of year, it is still hard to lose freedom and choice.
I like being home. I shift between being an introvert and an extrovert and so staying at home, with a good dose of social media connection, is okay with me for now. With the push over the last few years to build out the creamery, I have also felt like I am three months behind all the time. I am hoping that during this time I can catch my breath a little and tackle that stack of paper on my farm desk.
But, despite these positives, the last few weeks have also been hard. We are running a preschool as well as a farm and even though I am grateful for more kid-time (especially since June starts Kindergarten in the fall..mom sobs!) it is overwhelming to be a full-time business owner, mom, daughter from afar, and responsible citizen all at the same time. We tried to have a lot of structure for the girls at first, but now we are a bit more relaxed about ours days. And there is magic in the unstructured time–playing in the farm truck, jumping in puddles. These two always show me new things on the farm and I am also seeing a lot of my younger self in them as well. How are you all holding up? If you are home with kids, what is working and not working?
I also have to say that farmers and artists are saving me right now. I am inspired by the creative ways our farm friends are navigating this pandemic and it is a good reminder to me that farming is a business and a PUBLIC SERVICE. Now is the time to sign up for that local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)..the best way to support farms is to buy from them directly! Also, the proliferation of classes, readings, and concerts that are online right now just makes me cry with joy! I remember seeing this bumper sticker a long time ago that said, “Plant seeds and sing songs!” At the time I thought it was sort of cheesy, but it is actually what I think we all need to do right now to stay sane and connected during this crazy time.
I hope to be writing blog posts a bit more frequently these days. I am also teaching an online poetry class on ecopoetics if you are interested. Also, there is room in our Sheep Cheese CSA that starts in June. There are lots of lamb pictures to come on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Please stay connected in one way or another. Share the love, share the joy, we are all in this together!