Goat Cuddles

(If you can’t tell, April hates being picked up like this.  She is so cute, it’s hard not to.)

It seems like this time of the year is always the most depressing.  The pastures are all dead, revealing how much junk is lying around, lost during the summer in the tall grass.  Tthe rye never grows, or the deer ate it already, the animals are thin and pale, the garden just froze and looks like blobs of black slime from Mordor, the chickens are molting and look like overgrown street pigeons with mange, everything’s broken but we’re sick with some awful cold and can’t do anything about it.

Somehow people always end up coming out to visit this time of year.  People who know my dad.  I can just hear him smirking and saying, “I don’t understand why they want to farm.  It’s such hard work, and everything fails in Florida.”

It’s soul-crushing.

But this year has already been so different….

The rye is beautiful and already re-growing from several inches of rain we got last week (mowing the pastures first is the trick!).  The cows and goats look beautiful and healthy (it’s the copper!).  The garden is better than ever before (hoop tunnels and permaculture beds!), the chickens are starting to lay a few eggs with very yellow yolks from eating the rye grass, and we thought people were coming out so we picked up all the junk.

Not to mention a freezer full of meat, a counter full of brined pickles, and greens and yuca in the garden.  And three calves so far, fat and happy by their mamas.

A good start to the year.

For so many years I was striving for this, striving for a feeling of success.  It took me a long time to find out, but success isn’t just about how hard you try.  It’s also the flexibility to fail at things, and learn from that failure, and let your imagination guide you to new possibilities and solutions.  It’s about having an open mind to learning and trying new things – perhaps that idea you thought was stupid is actually the solution?  Failure is humbling, and humility makes you open-minded.

Success and failure are all tied up together.  And feeling successful is also about forgiving yourself.  Looking on the bright side.  Thriftiness – getting the most out of what you are offered.

Mostly I think what has led me here could be called stubbornness – not giving in and not giving up.

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