Ebb and flow defined: "A recurrent or rhythmical pattern of coming and going or decline and regrowth." This, this is life. Often I have a hard time understanding this.
It's been a tough year so far. It's been a beautiful year as well. I think all of us can say this if we look hard enough for the good. All to often though, the "bad" or "negative" takes hold.
I have learned SO much in farming, not just about the actual farming, but also lessons that spill over into everyday life. Maybe the most important lesson is learning to accept what we can not control and focus valuable time and energy on what we can. In farming, no rain equals more dependence on hay equals more money and a less sustainable farm. In life, choices that other people make may cause me pain, yet I can not control their decisions. Both examples are not in my control. What I do have control of in both of these scenarios, is my reaction. I can get frustrated at the lack of rain and therefore less pasture, or I can get focused on what that means (more hay) and start arranging funds to help pay for the extra. In reality, it's the only logical option. Getting sad or angry won't bring rain and it won't help pay for more. In life, I can get hurt and frustrated by the actions of others that affect me, I can spend my time over thinking why; or I can just accept that I can not control others actions and focus my time and energy on keeping active in my life. Again, the second option is the only logical (and productive) choice.
I've also made myself see the flow in the ebb and flow of both farming and life. Getting stuck in the ebb is all too easy.
This past summer we took a tough blow. We lost a calf. While in reality this is a financial loss, for me it was so much more. Did I fail? Did I overlook something? I had lots of help from a vet, and still the calf died. I ended up finding out that he had "dummy calf syndrome" aka "weak calf syndrome." In short, he had very very little chance of survival, no matter what I did or didn't do. His own mother rejected him, she knew. Yet, rather foolishly, I tried. I tried to bottle feed him, when that didn't work (I later found out he did not have the ability to suck) I gave him subcutaneous fluids. In the end, he died, but he went out with love.
The very next morning, our Juniper "Junie" had her calf. While this by no means replaces the sweet calf we lost, I was reminded again, ebb and flow.
Our garden this year was a bigger challenge than ever, due to the dreaded Japanese beetles. Some mornings I went out to tend to the garden and was met with so many beetles I just wanted to give up. I didn't. Mike helped me get them under control and we carried on. I even canned for the first time this year! Beetle infestation (ebb) still managed to get some beautiful nourishing food (flow.)
As summer was winding down we were asked if we wanted to take on a bottle calf. A friend of ours has a small herd as well and this calf's mother died of complications after she had her. I wasn't sure I could take this enormous task on, but I did and I am so grateful for the opportunity. I have never bottle fed (long term) a calf and I sure haven't halter trained a calf. Well, now I have, or should I say "I am" as she's a work in progress.
The ebb and flow in this life experience is that her mother passed away which gave me the opportunity to save her.
There's a saying that goes something like "time spent in the saddle is never time wasted" ~ It's true. Even though my lovely mare tossed me off her back recently (actually she went all bronc style and bucked like a raging bull..but Mike assures me I did in fact stay on at least 8 seconds.) That's the obvious ebb.. time riding with him is precious to me. It's part of what drew us together and part of what keeps us together (flow.)
There have been some challenges with the bees this summer as well. Lost 2 hives at a remote apiary (maybe they were jealous of the bees here at our farm.. who knows!) We did learn from the experience though and that's key to successfully raising bees, or anything, mistakes are part of the learning experience. Or as my favorite saying goes, "do what you know until you know better."
Loosing bees ~ ebb :( Successful honey harvest with our other hives ~ flow... actually, awesome honey flow!
So you get it.. ebb and flow, everywhere and all the time. I have chosen to write about this in this blog because I see so many people struggling right now. People getting lost in the ebb. So lost they can't see the flow, but it's there, it's always there. even if it's something so very small.
Part of that helps me stay in the flow being creative. Taking something and making something out of it. This is not just something that works for me, there have been many studies done that prove that the people really living to the fullest, are creative. One does not need to be artistic to be creative.
Find your thing,, maybe it's cooking, or baking or maybe it's candle stick making!
I have been using my creative energy to make a few new things lately: Beeswax Wraps (a sustainable food preserving method using 100% cotton fabric that dipped into wax making a food wrap that is not only natural, but also usable over and over.)
The other new product is this unique luffa soap! Yep, it's all natural (and local) luffa with goats milk poured inside, making it an incredible all in one exfoliating and cleansing product.
Thank you not only for reading this blog, but also for the many of you that are repeat clients. Your continued business helps me continue to keep up here on our little farm.
Lastly, I wanted to add this:
"Life is amazing.
And then it's awful.
And then it's amazing again.
And in between the amazing and the awful,
It's ordinary and mundane and routine.
Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful,
And relax and exhale during the ordinary.
That's just living.
Heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life.
And it's breathtakingly beautiful." - LR Knost