WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!
It's been stormy and the morning mist rising from the river combined with a cool breeze for morning coffee in the front garden. The green was almost iridescent from a ray of sun streaming through the dark clouds still threatening a thunderstorm or two. I sipped my hot coffee and the chill in the air was perfect. I let out a sigh of gratitude and listened to the birds. Then, I did what I always say I won't do first thing in the morning: I picked up my phone for a little stroll through IG land. And there I learned how many farm families were hit by Elsa or strong storm winds that created havoc and loss. One IG farm I follow spent hours in the dark looking for their chickens when their schooners were lifted by 70 mph winds and catapulted into their pond. I read on to see if all were okay and actually chuckled when they reported they saved every chicken, including the rooster they ferried out of the pond by canoe. We do things day in and day out that we sometimes just have to say out loud, WHY?
I've been known to nail the old front door shut because the vintage latch couldn't keep the rain and wind from sweeping into the hall all the way to the kitchen; I've risked flood waters in our bottom pasture to rescue sheep marooned on high ground that was fast disappearing into the swirl of fast moving water; I've popped out of a sound sleep more than a few times to figure out what animal might be in distress, which includes our own canoe rescue adventures when a goat found himself on a bluff edge above the river with no good way back up. A farm friend in Kansas City lost her chicken tractors, also.
All of this came to mind this morning as I sat in an idyllic slice of okay-ness. The sheep were safely browsing in the upper pasture, the other animals (especially the pigs) still snoozing. But in the moment, I felt all the things that could happen, has happened or was happening! It's like the song the Avett's composed for the Biggest Little Farm: Sun, Flood or Drought.
The night the goat was transported on the river by boat was a relief for his safety, but one of those times you just have to ask yourself... Why? His Majesty, also known as Majestic was a bearded brute of a goat with a beautiful grey pelt and matching personality. He was the very best and loved us as much as we loved him. He ended up missing from the bluff pasture and we wondered if he had been chased or attacked by a coyote. The coyotes run the bluffs here, and when nightfall shrouds the jutting rocks above the river, their howls eerily echo a haunting song through the night. April @everydaygoodlifecoop was especially attached to Mr. Majesty and they had a special bond of trust. On the second night of his absence, faint bleats were heard around midnight and crept into our sleep until we decided they were real. We took headlamps and set out to find the source. April was first to find our poor boy wounded but waiting on the ledge directly above the water for help. Whatever chased him to the ledge also took a bite from his hindquarters. He was shaking and scared, yet serene in his willingness to be led down the bluff ledge where Amy @everydaygoodlifefarm had carried a canoe down the sloping juttings with her then boyfriend, ekinman. Eric was game to help and he definitely got a firsthand experience of life on our farm. My dad always joked before their marriage that he had no pity for Eric because he knew full well what he was getting into :)
The night was pitch black and our injured goat allowed April to lead him to the edge of a large slab even with the river to step into the canoe. Actually, he was kinda picked up and helped into the canoe. He loyally allowed his helpers to paddle him to the low water bridge where he was then walked a half mile back to the farm. We made him comfortable in the chicken house and the next morning our vet gave us the sad news that the bite to his hindquarters would be fatal in all probability. We decided on as much treatment as possible, and against all odds, Mr. Magesty lived another two years. He was even able to sire our second Majestic boy, who grew remarkably to be just as majestic.
So... "Why are we doing this?"
Why do we not go on vacation more often. Why do we stress and worry about animals and sales and why do I put money in equipment ALL the time?
And at the end of the day, our WHY is because we believe in what we do. We believe we can be a part of something meaningful and good. We believe regenerative agriculture is our way of caring about each other, the animals and the land.
And the simple answer is that we all truly love what we do and believe we are making a difference at our home and table and yours. Simon Sinek, the guy that brought 'why' to our attention a decade ago, simply believes that "When you know your why; your options are clear." I think when we know why we do something, our lens is clear in the how. I get an eye roll going in some areas of trending words, especially after being in so many professional development settings during my career. But, for some reason, today. Today, I took it all to heart and really reflected on our WHY. And as so often happens, other words were sent for my consideration today. Words of encouragement, friendship and gratitude for finding our way with each others' presence, especially during uncertainty.
Blessings for your WHY,