When it rains it pours
At Glendower Farms, we take pride in raising our Iberian pigs on natural pasture. Every day when I do my feeding chores, I enjoy the fresh air and sunshine...except when the sun doesn't shine. We've had torrential downpours of rain every day for nearly a week. I estimate we've had 10 inches of rain in the last 4 days! Last night, I hardly slept for the flashes of lightning and crashes of thunder, and wondering if those loud claps were an indication of a tree falling. Were fences still standing or had trees fallen on them? Was I going to find pigs all over the property when the sun rose and I went out to feed?
Not to sound like an old, sad, country song, but the rain was symbolic of many aspects of life this week. First, I've got a cold, but not your run of the mill sneezing and sniffling. It's a splitting headache, throat on fire, I can't think kind of cold. I wonder if I'm making sense in my conversations or in decisions, or if I'm better off just to go back to bed for the rest of the day. To top it all off, my cell phone spontaneously combusted. Well, technically not, but when it refuses to charge and just shows a black screen, for all intensive purposes, it's useless. No calendar, no, camera, no calling or texting to schedule my farm, home school, or personal life, no e-mail, no internet searches. While I make a conscious effort not to be addicted to my phone, it's a valuable tool that I miss greatly today.
Getting back to the rain. Daylight arrived and I needed to ride the perimeter of our property to check for downed trees and mend fences if needed. I got into the John Deere gator and went out to the field. Thankfully, the fences were all in tact and pigs were safe and sound. As I was nearly half way through the first field, suddenly the gator began to sink in the mud like an alligator going under water. NO! NO! NO! I was about as far away from the house as possible. I made sure I was in low gear, the wheels locked, and in 4 wheel drive. I put it in reverse and the tires spun. I shifted into forward and the tires spun. I felt it move a few inches forward...and then sink further down into the mud. Reluctantly, I got out into ankle deep mud, and began walking home. I may have had a few thoughts about how this whole farm thing wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I may have had daydreams of moving into town and letting someone else raise these Iberian pigs.
Back at home, I sat on the back steps, trying to compose myself. My sweet Finley girl came out and noticed something was out of sorts. "What's wrong?" she asked as she saw my head in my hands. "The gator is stuck in the field," I replied. Sweetly, she put on her boots, and came down the steps to where I was sulking. "Let's go," she said simply. We rummaged around in the barn looking for what we needed. It appeared the men had the chains in their trucks and would be gone until long after the sun went down. We found an old rusted chain and hoped it would work. We got on the tractor and headed to the deserted gator in the field.
When we got there, we attached one end of the old rusted chain to the gator, and the other end to the tractor. Finley got in the gator in hopes of steering it out of the mud while the tractor pulled it to dry ground. The engine revved, the chain broke. We attached it again, it broke again. We both had an unorthodox idea at the same time. While I prayed I wasn’t going to ruin our essential equipment, I carefully moved the tractor to the tailgate of the gator. Tilting the front loader bucket up to make a flat surface, I slowly pushed it against the gator. It moved! Finley steered to safety and we both smiled. My one ray of sunshine on this rainy day. We headed back to the barn, grateful to have solved the problem.
Shortly thereafter, a semi truck arrived to deliver our order of non-GMO feed. I unhooked the tractor from the loader bucket and attached the forklift. I met the friendly delivery man, unloaded the feed with the forklift and placed it safely under the barn to be used in the coming days. The friendly delivery man complimented my tractor driving skills, and made some small talk before shaking my hand and being on his way. I smiled again. While there are frustrating aspects to farming, I realize there are frustrating aspects to any line of work. My headache still pounding, my throat still burning, still no working phone in my pocket (I would have loved to add some photos of our mud bogging adventure), I determined to be grateful and look for the rainbow in the sky. I am blessed to work with my family. I enjoy working outdoors to bring you quality Iberian pork. I have freedoms that many people in this world do not. I am grateful! I guess every cloud has a silver lining.