I love the sun. I love to be outdoors. I love to go barefoot on warm grass. I start my days with morning dew on my dress, I spend my afternoons with sunshine on my shoulders & I end my evenings with dirt under my fingernails. It is my harmony. In fact, I’ve come to the stanch conclusion since moving out here to Wildwood Acres that few things compare to the superlative pleasures associated with slipping into a blissful bed of line-dried linens. There’s just something magical about scrubbing down in a cool shower after a fruitful day of hard work & play, then sandwiching my squeaky clean, aching & earth-drained bod between cotton sheets that sniff of sunshine & country air.
I’ve never been an avid believer in the whole “one can always have too much of a good thing” philosophy. After all, chocolate. Case closed. But last night, coming off of a long week & an even longer weekend of fun in the sun, I found myself toying with the notion that there may just be some legitimacy behind the “too much of a good thing” viewpoint.
You see Josh brings home the cheddar. I grill it on butter-slathered rye with a side of homegrown pickles & watermelon for dessert. In other words, he is our source of financial stability. I am the one who keeps the home fires burning. It’s our system. It’s not everyone’s dream, but it works for us. He has his responsibilities in sustaining this family & I have mine. Neither of which is any less important than the other. Above all, we contribute to the common good of our brood & we respectfully high-five one another on the daily to keep up the momentum & boost one another’s morale. Having said that, part of my responsibilities at present include chasing a toddler who perpetually poops while weeding a garden, harvesting vegetables & fruits, planting row after row of our fall crops, cleaning the chicken coop, slaughtering turkeys & let us not forget the eternal act of smacking myself in the head repeatedly ALL DAMN DAY in a desperate attempt to ward off the onslaught of countless assassin deer flies who – from dawn until dusk – have ceaselessly annihilated my person for the past 3 months. People, I’m not complaining. I have the greatest gig in the world as far as I’m concerned. I’m just saying it’s possible that too much sunshine tainted my good sense by the weekend. I was in full-on zombie mode last night. I’m pretty sure I pushed my physical abilities to capacity last week. Not a bad thing, but an eye-opening observation for me regarding the importance of striking a balance. Maybe the sun physically baked my sanity out of my skull because I was hearing what my children were saying last night, but I was essentially responding in a weird, out of body, sleep-talk sort of way. At one point, a child asked if I wanted to watch a movie, to which I replied: “Thursday”…. Needless to say, I went to bed shortly thereafter.
At any rate, Josh & I joyfully celebrated our 17-year wedding anniversary on Saturday. It was probably the most special anniversary we’ve shared thus far. It certainly will go down in the books as the most memorable. A glorious weekend jam-packed with love & laughter, celebration & death. Yes. You read that correctly…. DEATH. Nothing says “we’re at the pentacle of married life” like snagging an old tattered quilt, a bottle of nice red wine, a couple of snacks & then sneaking off from the children to enjoy a good, old-fashioned picnic in the shaded canopy of loblolly pine. Picture it, a soft summer breeze pushing through the trees, bullfrogs serenading on the pond to our left, the brightest, puffiest white clouds ya ever did see, dancing across an effervescent blue sky…. An 11-year-old girl’s shrill, echoing across southeastern Virginia as she discovers a dead duck in the backyard. This is the stuff dreams are made of people. Good Lord.
So, we’re not sure what happened this time around. We may never know. Sadly, our bird loving middle child (along with the rest of us) are slowly coming to grips with the fact that hobby farming comes with a lot of highs & a lot of lows. We aren’t becoming hardened to the idea of death or suffering by any means. We love our little flock & we all mourn for the loss of our rooster Pedro & now the ducks. But we’re much more realistic than we were in the beginning of this homesteading venture. We’re starting to understand that we can’t take these situations so personally. It doesn’t have everything to do with failures on our part. We have free-range poultry. We have farmland & forests surrounding us. These things are going to happen. Forever. We do our best to protect our feathered friends. We lock them up at night & we try to keep an eye on them during the day. It’s just a hard truth to learn that only the strong will survive. Pedro was the epitome of passivity & the ducks were… Well… Let’s just say the ducks were an easy target for predators. From what I could tell, they weren’t what I would consider to be the sharpest tools in the shed if you catch my drift. With 6 turkeys, several new hens & about 25 “fry pan specials” (aka: meat birds) on the way, we shall find a new rhythm in our bird-raising world soon enough. But we’ll always hold a special spot in our hearts for the ducks we raised from itty, bitty baby quackers. After all, they were our first farm life friends.
At any rate, everyone here at the homestead is fine (sans the ducks of course) & we’re just going to keep on keeping on. It sounds wild, but Josh & I both agree that it was the most blessed anniversary we’ve ever shared. If nothing else, it will be the one that lives on in our memories for the rest of our lives. We’re right where we are meant to be, doing what we do.
ABOVE: You’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day. Lord, ya know you make me high when you turn your love my way.