Saturday, April 18, 2009

Farmer meltdown

I'm having a complete meltdown tonight! I'm overwhelmed and behind and tired of relying on other people!

My garden needs to be tilled. It is hard clay and totally unplantable. My neighbor said he'd do it when he did his, but then his house burned down. So my other neighbor said he'd do it when he did his. This was a month ago. I needed to get things in the ground weeks ago. I have asparagus that I ordered that came and is sitting in pots. I built a raised bed to plant it in, but it needs a lot of dirt to fill it.

I need a pick up truck load of dirt for the asparagus bed and the onion bed, but we don't have a truck. So I'll need to borrow a truck and I'm tired of borrowing the neighbor's truck! Did I mention I had onions that need planting? I do and strawberries. Plus all the seeds that need to get in the ground. All my brocolli went from small to flowering overnight, so no brocolli for us this spring. The peas got too cold when it snowed and now it is too hot, so we probably won't get any peas either. And Mark mowed over all my blackberries. I feel like a complete gardening failure and want to go back to doing everything in pots.

We got ducklings but the heat lamp we got is too big and it is too hot in their pen. I need a smaller bulb but can't get one until Monday because Logan has poultry judging practice ALL day tomorrow and I have to go to a pet store because the feed store only has the big bulbs. The house is a mess and I'm not sure when I'm going to clean it.

Sweat Pea doesn't like Aurora and is always going after her. I've gotten in the way a few times and been gouged with her horns. And it hurts! I have to lock them all in the stall together at night because of the coyotes, but we only have 1 stall right now so I know that is stressful for them. I have no idea what kind of guardian animal I want, none of them are ideal.

Orion keeps getting out of the fence and eating the apple tree. I keep plugging the holes he finds, but he keeps finding new ones.

I have to take the sheep to be sheared in a few weeks, but I don't have a transport cage or a truck. I'm planning to make a transport cage out of goat panels, but I have no way to get them home without borrowing a truck. We are supposed to be getting my dad's old truck, but Mark has to fly up there and get it sometime. Who knows when that will be. I need a truck!

Mark is out of town backpacking, but I can't go anywhere because I'm milking twice a day. I really need a break from Logan who has spring fever bad and is driving me crazy! Everytime we are outside he throws things at me and thinks it is hilarious. The wind threw Logan's trampoline across the yard. Luckily, we were able to fix it but it has no net right now because the poles got bent and we need to bend them back.

And I want a pygora goat but no one breeds them anywhere near here.

Anyway, I'll be fine tomorrow, just taking my turn for a meltdown tonight.


linda m said...

You know, everyone is entitled to a meltdown now and then. So go right ahead and "melt". Sounds like things aren't going too well and you aren't getting the "help" you need. So just sit back, take a deep breathe, have a much needed temper tantrum (just like kids do), then "roll with the punches" and turn everything over to a "higher authority". If it is meant to be it will get done, if not then it wasn't meant to be. Good luck, wish I was there to help. I will send positive feelings (best I can do for now).
Love, Mom

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

I "get" it but if this helps -

We're in the middle of moving, starting over at 52 years old, at a new place, I am waaay behind the 8-ball, living in an RV, in a campground, spending all spare time around jobs on the old barn. We have years worth of work to do.

Yes, a pickup truck is a must, with a camper top on back for transporting goats, sheep, etc. have a hitch for a utility trailer for hauling loads of stuff.

Melody said...

It'll be okay. Spring is a fast paced time on a farm, but it'll become second nature in no time.

I hope that there is a spot that the last people used as a garden spot. If not, you might want to just use this year to get it ready to plant in the fall for fall crops, or next spring. Meanwhile, why don't you just plant in pots if that is what you know and like. You don't have to do everything right away.

For my garden, and mine is medium to big for the city, but small for the country, if you know what I mean, I do square foot gardening. I like working with the 4'x4' dimensions. It makes preparation, watering, and weeding more practical, easier, and quicker. I use a pitch fork (but a normal person would/should use a garden fork ;-) ) to turn over the soil. There is a controversy in the farming world about tilling and no-tilling and which is better. I compromise and just loosen the soil every year (but the first year and each time I break new ground it is back aching and time consuming!). Raised beds would work great with square foot gardening (the book is by Mel Bartholomew). Maybe you could prepare and plant a couple this year, and do a couple more every year until you have the total amount you want/need.

Just remember that you don't have to be perfect at everything. And to be honest, you can't. Some things will need to slide for now and then be picked back up later. But in time, after pens are constructed and ground is broken, things will be common place.

Just remember: you are doing great! You are so much farther along with your goals this year than last. And next year you'll be even farther. You can do this!

{{hugs}} Melody

Christy said...

Mom - Thanks. The boys are always melting down about something so I thought it was my turn. The stress gets to me too but I have to hold it together all the time.

Joanna - Thanks for the support and for pointing out that it could be worse. I just feel so much pressure to get it all done now.

Melody - Just what I needed to hear! Thanks. I'm putting too much pressure on myself I know. I hope to not have to till someday, I know it isn't ideal. But the garden area right now is hard clay and there is no way you can plant in it. I'm going to add dirt and compost every year and hope to get it to the point where tilling isn't necessary anymore. I read other blogs and see how far along other people's gardens are and I feel bad.

kristi said...

Stress is makes you stronger in the long run and helps you realize where you made your mistakes so in the next round, you'll get it right:) You'll find the right animal(s) to raise in time too. You just have to find the right animal personality to match yours and the lifestyle you want. I don't think I'll ever get this whole farming thing right but I'll keep plugging along because for some crazy reason I love it!

Glenda said...

(coming out of lurkdom)

Hi, Christy. I want to ditto what Melody said about container planting and square foot gardening. If you have stuff that needs to be planted now, get some containers and get it planted!! It definitely doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" situation with your garden this spring =).

We live in a city and this is our first year to branch out from container gardening to square foot beds + container gardening. We don't have a pickup, so my hubby made numerous trips to Lowe's to pick up the needed soil/humus/manure to fill the beds. We borrow my brother's truck only when we absolutely cannot fit something into our little Corolla, and lots of bags of dirt in multiple trips fit just fine ;).

Can you guys rent a walk-behind tiller, or will that not work? If it will, it'll fit into the trunk of any car that has a trunk.

Revert back to the "Shine-y" concepts about "need to do's". There are a lot of "need to do's" in your post, and just reading them makes me feel overwhelmed for you! It sounds like there are some that very definitely are "need to do's", but many of them are "want to do's". Think about how you help Logan out when he feels overwhelmed, and apply those ideas to your own self.

When I clicked off my reader to come over to your blog to post this comment, the first thing that caught my eye was the banner of Logan and Orion -- what a joyous life that picture presents =).

SwingCat123 said...

Oh Christy. When I rains, it pours...and the roof leaks and the car breaks and your our of milk. Stinks doesn't it. I think we all have or will be there. You deserve a good rant with all that your trying to do. Try not to compare your garden with anyone elses. I hope you got a good nights rest, take the chance to grab a cup of {fill in favorite indulgent beverage} and know that it will all get better in time.

I'm with Melody and Glenda; you don't have to have your full spring garden in right now. Stick with the easy stuff. Just think, that will give you lots of time to start planning your fall/winter garden and slowly work to amending the soil.

A great way to work new soil if you can wait a season (either give up part of this years garden or think toward where you want expand to next year) is to plant potatos directly into the bad soil and just treat them as a "cover crop. They will really break apart the clay, the tops will smother most weeds, cut them down in the fall and leave them as green mulch.

Christy said...

Glenda - Thanks for the shiny reminders. I've gotten so sucked into farming and all that entails, I've forgotten the basics premise of unschooling (not with Logan, just with myself). A walk behind tiller isn't an alternative with the size that needs to be done and the hardness of the clay. If it was, I would have done it myself weeks ago. I'll talk to Mark when he gets home and come up with a plan to get it done this week.

Cat - Thanks for the potato tip! Potatoes are actually one of the things stressing me. I haven't gotten mine planted yet and it seems like everyone else has. I'm going to get some potato bags to plant them in for us and put some in the ground as ground cover.

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

Aw Christy ~ it's just that time of year for all the overwhelming To Dos to get under our skin. I KNOW what you're feeling and if it helps any, "this too shall pass". Really, it will. Just give yourself a big hug and count your blessings, i.e. what HAVE you accomplished. When you see all that you HAVE done, the not-done list won't seem so huge. I wish I lived closer, I'd be sure to run over and help. :) Hugs from Kansas and hopes for sunnier days for you this week. :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Gosh Christy! Did you just move into your new home not long ago??

And look at how much you accomplished so far. You're putting way too much pressure on yourself, really. I'm so proud of you and I'm impressed with all of your plans and stuff you've accomplished.

Heck! You're a got and sheep herder AND a chicken mistress and a gardener...and yes! You are even milking a goat, too! You're doing a lot more than most people even dream of doing. Be proud of your accomplishments, my friend.

And most of all remember to be kind to yourself. Stay small this first year. Prepare for next year. Don't try to do it all this Spring. A garden and a farm take time to grow, time for the farmer to acclimate to all the new changes and to learn and grow right along with it.

Each year you will make new strides. And each year you will get closer to your goals.....and even make some new ones as you learn more about your land and animals.

I know it's hard. I wanted a garden this Spring so badly. But after my injury and surgery, I just realized that I needed to let that wish least until next year. I'm going to grow a few things in containers and enjoy my small harvest and be thankful.

You have so much to be thankful for, Christy.
I know you are aware of that, too.
But it's easy to get overwhelmed by wishes and dreams...and always want more.

I keep remembering your heartache and frustration over the past couple years just wanting to move to some land in the country. You didn't think it would ever happen.

But your dreams have come true,my friend.

Like all dreams, it just takes time.


Gail said...

Welcome to the farm life! It just get discouraging and a little overwhelming but you can handle it.

The world will not come to an end if your house is not perfect.

Things will fall into place soon and you will wonder why you were ever worried.

The plants will grown, the animals will prosper and peace shall reign on you farm.

Hang in there, it will get easier or you will becomed more trained.

Hope this day was good for you.

Wrensong Farm said...

It's good to know that I'm not the only one that has meltdowns about all the things that need to be done!

Gayle said...

Meltdowns are a part of life. I'm having one now as well. My husband is working out of town, eating in restaurants and enjoying a beer with the guys and I am home alone with five kids and all the animals not having very much fun. I'm having a meltdown and I unplugged the phone. I'm taking a few days for myself. Oh, and did I mention my plants are going to die because I don't have enough lighting. It will be okay. It won't be the way you want it, but it will be okay .

Anonymous said...

Don't you feel better now? We all have those days. I am so behind on things here too.
Last year at this time I had broccoli ready to eat. This year is just hasn't grown as fast.
I haven't gotten as much planted as I should have by now. The weather is up and down too much lately.
We never ever get caught up here, but it is such a great feeling each time we cross one more thing off that list of to dos.
Good luck,
I think it is great at what you already have accomplished!

Christy said...

Melissa - I wish you could run over and help! It would be great to have someone to work with.

Lisa- I know, I'm expecting too much. Honestly, it is hubby that is putting the pressure on me. It was a big deal to move here and he is expecting to see "returns". It does put a lot of pressure on me. I feel like I have to justify everything I do and make it a success quickly.

Gayle - I'm sorry! I know how it feels. I'm sorry about the plants, I know you put a lot into them.

Pam - I'm glad I'm the only one without brocolli. It was the first thing I planted this spring and it didn't grow forever, and then flowered basically overnight. So no brocolli here either. Luckily, I can try again in the fall. This weather is driving me crazy!

Claire said...

I can completely relate to your situation. Fortunately, we have a pickup truck, but other than that, I am waaaay behind. Seeds not planted, tilling not done, shrubs need to be moved in order to do tilling, serious lack of time due to full time job plus part time law school, it's overwhelming on an almost daily basis. I just have to keep telling myself that one-thing-at-a-time mantra and not get too worried about it.

For your blackberries, maybe if you put in some stakes or poles on the ends and string some wire for them to climb on, that will help keep the bushes under control and also help them from getting mowed. They do bounce back well. But of course, you need to find the time to put in stakes, etc.

Hang in there, I feel your pain!

ChristyACB said...

Hang in there! Everyone gets a rant and meltdown now and then. It's normal.

I also went with raised bed square foot gardening when I realized there was no way anyone could till my clay or even get the machinery back there safely.

It might be worth it for you this year to make a few of those and fill them with the dirt you have delivered. In the long run, it might save you hassle.

Keep on keeping on, as the saying goes. Small steps and just go out and stomp about a bit to let off steam, maybe.

Ron said...

Hey, Christy, cheer up. You can do anything, just not all at once.

My dad had a very good piece of wisdom for me when going through some tough teenage years. He told me that life doesn't get any easier, you just get better at dealing with it.

That's so true... hey! You are going to have a garden there for years, you are going to amend the crap out of that soil, your boy is going to get older and help out, your hubby is going to be impressed with the results at some point (or just quit feeding him). It will all fall into place eventually. :)

Take care,

Christy said...

Claire - That is a great idea for the blackberries! I'm going to do it this weekend.

Ron - Thanks for the encouragement. I sure hope you're right!

CeeCee said...

Holy cats, I've had a meltdown a week ago on your schedule.
Wish I could help you out in the garden. Maybe this year you just wait until fall to plant your garden? Down south you can do that, you know?

Don't forget to take care of you. Farm animals can quickly take over and you'll quit loving it.

JLB said...

Christy, you can come have a pity party with me I know how you feel...I have no garden, cant get anyone to do anything on it, cant get hubby to do outer fence so the goats can get out of it, his truck has been broke for over a year now, and I transport the goats (yes the full grown ones) in the back of my SUV and then have to shampoo it out! AHHHHH It's nice to know someone else has these problems too lol