November is back! and with the fury and vengeance we should expect from 2020! What a wicked storm that was that blew in yesterday and continues to rage on now. As I look outside my window there are the huge fluffy snowflakes that are guaranteed to bring a smile to my heart and face. I think big fluffy snowflakes falling is my favourite natural wonder to watch. I Hope everyone fared well through the storm. We survived unscathed, and were even fortunate enough to keep our power on, which is not typical during a storm. This past week has been quite the adventure in farming on a few levels and I look forward to sharing some of the tales today. The recent beautiful weather we had was a magical blessing in my opinion. After so much stress and a challenging year, it almost felt like we were given a beautiful break from it all for one glorious week. I enjoyed every single second of it and it seemed all of my problems melted with each ray of sunshine I absorbed. Super contrast to the white snow flying around out there today. The past week on the farm saw more first time visitors and a few familiar faces. Almost every group that came was able to go for a walk with the herd and enjoy the sunshine. Smiles, laughter and joy surrounded me all week and I was able to let go of that dark cloud of lingering tension I had been carrying. In my journey of self awareness I have learned that for the majority of my life I was stuck in a co-dependent cycle. When we are in this space, we become either the Victim, the Rescuer, or the Persecutor in an endless cycle. Without recognition of these patterns you may feel lost in an endless dance, which was how I existed for most of my life. Through my FEEL training I have learned how to change from a co-dependent cycle, to one bringing co-empowerment of self instead. Now rather than persecute myself, I listen to myself. I don't look to be rescued now, but instead I support and hold space for myself. In order to not fall into the victim trap, I challenge myself to try to see beyond. Changing patterns is hard, no doubt. Nothing is gained without effort though and we owe it to ourselves to endeavour to be the best version of ourselves and to recognize the bits of ourselves we need to work on. Personal evolution happens when we let go of destructive patterns of behaviour and step forward in new ways, allowing the shift to occur.
For years while I was personally trapped in these cycles, I would just focus outside myself. I was always searching for the next person I could rescue, focusing all of my energy instead on trying to fix someone else. Let me tell you how futile that is. No one changes without conscious thought. What we try to put onto other people is our own expectations and ideals of what we perceive to be "right" for them. When we say someone "should" do something, we are in fact judging that what they're currently doing is wrong. In the end we fail ourselves by choosing judgement of another instead of support, and we also fail that other individual by enabling them to not do something for themselves, which in turn can weaken them further. I now use the term holding space, when I am supporting someone. What does that mean to hold space? It means walking alongside another person in whatever struggle they are in, without judgement, trying to fix them, making them feel inadequate, or trying to change the outcome. Holding space means opening our hearts to offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control. We only have the power to choose our own thoughts and actions and can never decide what is right for another. Knowing that I have plenty of my own work to do on myself stops me from thinking that I can "help" someone else anymore. I felt guilty for awhile when I first made this shift, like I was letting people down somehow. I recognize that the guilt I felt was a false self pattern, and let it go as quickly as it comes now, saving my own energy, and holding space for that person instead.
Letting go has always been challenging for me. I think that is partly why I am so passionate about living on a farm and doing the work I do. I can't control the weather, the daily chores that need to get done, the moods or behaviours of the animals and people I work with OR the daily surprises that can come with a typical farm day. Animals can get sick, things break down, don't work properly, wear out etc. Learning to roll with what the day brings, and being able to still accomplish everything I need to in a day despite the challenges gives me peace at the end of the day, with a bonus sense of accomplishment, that I did my best. That's all we can do anyways. There is always tomorrow, full of more of life's adventures, mysteries or mishaps that ensure no matter how old we get, we never stop learning or growing - unless we choose to stop learning that is.
Speaking of ups and downs, what a week! Although there was plenty of stress, I do believe that laughter and humour prevailed! Last week I spoke of my laying hens and how we will have to wait a few months longer for them to start laying. Well, I was wrong! We have at least 1 Bielefelder now giving us an egg every day or so! They are a little confused as to where they should lay when it happens to whichever one is dropping eggs in random places. The first one we spotted was found on the cement floor where the cows tend to hang out. I ran in to try to rescue it but Elsa got to it first. The next day I rejoiced to find one in the nesting boxes. Two days later I walked into the barn to find one in the middle of the main aisle, on the cement... Honestly though, the thought of one of my hens just walking along and all of a sudden dropping an egg like it surprised them to have happened has made me laugh each time I find one. Why lay in a cold and uncomfortable spot instead of the boxes filled with straw that Henrietta seems to love so much? I wish I could catch them in the act just so I could observe what happens. Are they surprised when they start to lay? Henrietta is our only laying hen at the moment, and she is so old she doesn't lay often. She lays in her nest for HOURS before laying sometimes. She also announces her amazing egg laying success EVERY time she lays, and kindly requests that all humans come to congratulate her. Seriously, the longer you take to congratulate Henrietta on her life's purpose, the louder she becomes. As she makes such a big deal out of her eggs, I just assumed the other hens would know what they were doing when the time came to lay, and not choose a nice place to do it. Any eggs are a sign in the right direction! Our hens are happy and healthy and will provide the best eggs. I can be patient and just continue to learn with them as they grow. I am so happy I added chickens to my life! If only the local fox population would stop trying to make a meal of them, we would be able to relax a little easier.
These days, the biggest daily chore is "poo patrol" as I like to call it. With the cows and donkeys at the barn and not on pasture, that means each and every piece that is dropped MUST get picked up by someone - a human someone. If that person isn't me, then it is a wonderful, loving and dedicated volunteer that will pick it up. Without the help of my volunteers this farm would not be the clean and tidy place visitors know it as. I only have so many hours in a day to complete the tasks of running a business, a farm, and a family. The amazing team of volunteers I have step up to the plate to help lighten my load. Not only do I adore and love these amazing ladies, but the herd does as well. I prefer my team to feel like family and will always try to be there for them as much as they are for me. Whether that means swinging by with my handy boyfriend when your car breaks down, or hosting a surprise birthday party to help make someone feel special, I will always try to do my best by the team. This past weekend one of our youngest volunteers turned 12! Her family made arrangements for her to have her birthday celebrations begin here at the farm. I was away and missed the celebrations, but her mom was kind enough to share some of the special moments with me. It looked like a perfect day! Hope you had a great day Bridget!
I was whisked away for the weekend by the wonderful Fred - who tries so hard to make me smile. He booked us a room with a jacuzzi for two that overlooked the lake. I will refrain from mentioning the name of this motel for the purposes of telling the hilarious story of our weekend experience there, mostly as this was a place local to my area - apparently under going heavy renovations lol. We arrived on Friday evening, after the office had already closed so checked ourselves in. It was Friday the 13th so we should have expected something to go wrong. Quickly it was discovered that the room hadn't been cleaned very well, but that tub sure looked inviting! I set to cleaning the room, which honestly didn't bother me as I usually do it anyways just to be sure. We very quickly learned that in this "suite" as they called it, if you touch anything, it will literally break. Every tap in the room came off at a touch, as did the towel racks. The room came with no coffee maker and apparently they offer none in their not open restaurant either. The towels were cleverly folded to hide all the holes in them. I wish I remembered to get a picture of the towels lol. Saturday morning we were woken at 8:30am by the contractors ripping apart the unit right next to ours... So woken, and without coffee we set out to Huntsville to buy some things for our room - including a coffee maker and kleenex. Saturday evening I needed to track someone down to borrow a bottle opener to open the wine Fred brought for us. The bottle opener also broke - but AFTER the bottle was opened so it was OK. Phew! Even with all of the room issues, we took it all in stride and laughed about it all. Life and travel is always an adventure and you need to be able to relax and just go with it. I had an amazing weekend away with a really sweet man, who really put some special effort into making me feel important and loved. I look forwards to our next adventure away together.
After such a relaxing weekend away, it felt like we returned into utter chaos. We had a pre-arranged plan to pick up a load of round bales from a neighbour at 3pm Sunday afternoon. The weather forecast wasn't good so we knew we had to work quickly. Well, remember when I mentioned things break on a farm? Well, after hitching the hay wagon and driving over to the farm to get the hay, it seems that the wooden deck on the wagon was completely rotten away, and the entire thing came falling apart at the end of their driveway. I am so grateful for the ingenuity that farmers possess to get things fixed - even if just good enough to limp home. We learned a valuable lesson about the importance of checking your equipment before every use! With the help of Paul and his tractor, we managed to push the pieces back together, tie it up and drag it home. What should have been a simple hay run turned into over an hour long ordeal, meaning we missed our window of good weather. While we pulled the broken trailer home, Paul loaded up his own hay wagon for us to use it. We were in the midst of unloading the hay into the barn when that storm hit like a hammer. There was rain, hail, snow, thunder and lightning and you couldn't see more than a few feet. With super human strength it seemed, Bailey, Fred and I muscled the hay into the barn and under cover without it getting ruined which I am very grateful for. We were all beyond soaked and freezing cold, BUT we got the hay in so we celebrate! It's those small victories that add up to a great day. When we can sit back afterwards and share a laugh together, or even laugh about it years later, that is priceless.
Well friends, the hour is getting late and the herd calls for their dinner so to the herd I must go!
Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead! Sending blessings of love and light ~ Angee