Committees & Big Ponderings
It's been quite a while since I've had the chance to sit and write some of my daily musings... lots of reasons for that. Weeds. Kids. Heat. Rain(FINALLY). Life.
I've finally got the weeds under control in the garden and am loving how the straw mulching we tried has helped to retain moisture in the gardens and help cut back on the weeds overall. There never is enough time for everything though, so yeah, its not picture perfect, but its coming.
Pulling weeds is fantastic therapy. You literally get to rip shit out of the ground and with it, throw away some of your frustrations while you silently muse about all that stuff in your life that you think you can control, but silently realize you can't. This year and this whole global pandemic has brought a lot of 'stuff' to ponder.
Growing up as the youngest of 4 girls, we were raised not knowing there was such a thing as 'boy' jobs and 'girl' jobs: there was just jobs. Dad and I affectionately came to call the roles around the house and farm, 'Committees'. We tend to think that we are actually funnier than we really are, so we started dubbing jobs as part of the 'Food Committee', 'Field Committee', 'Heating Committee', 'Haying Committee'... basically just take a job and add COMMITTEE to the end, and you get the just.
My mum and older sisters took on the roles of 'Food Committee', so I happily joined dad outside doing all the 'OUTSIDE Committee' jobs. I can drive a tractor, run a chainsaw, grow veg and now thanks to David, handle sheep and chickens and **SOMETIMES** cows with the confidence of a Senior Exec. Before the kids, my place was outside from sun up to sun down, and it was awesome.
ENTER motherhood. I love my babes, but I can still remember that day when I was NOT part of a committee anymore. Georgia was just a couple weeks old, and as I stood in the driveway watching the tractors, balers and wagons roll out to do go hay down the road, I stood there sobbing realizing how much more my life had changed than I had anticipated. My wee 'Grub Bug' needed me, I had a new committee to run, but that sudden role-change was something I had somehow overlooked.
I've had that feeling many times since then. David does his best to help me through these challenges. He is a supportive, often over-logical partner(I mean that in the most loving way, truly!) who has listened to my tear-soaked rantings as I try to navigate just who I am and who I am becoming, in these ever changing committees. He has taken the kids so I could go chisel plow(rip up a field) after a bad day at work, and praised me for my square baling skills (even if I drive slower than he'd like) when it was just the two of us working to get the hay in before a rain. But no matter how much I think I've become accustomed to the fluid roles of 'committees', they still get to me.
This spring something really shifted. With the COVID-pandemic still in Stage 1 here in Ontario, I took on a new committee: FULL-TIME childcare... like literally, 24/7, no break for over 30 days. Good friends came and helped David get the corn, soybean & potato crops planted(I got to plant potatoes for about 30 mins while the kids' Oma took them for a nature walk in the bush, maintaining social distances of course). It went really well and thankfully, the crops all got in.
But. I didn't drive a tractor this spring.
For the first time since I was about 13, I didn't have that solitude time that comes from driving for literally hours in 'circles'; that sense of satisfaction that comes with working the land and knowing you are part of something way bigger. And for the first time, I was okay with that.
If there's one thing that has come out of this whole Pandemic its the self-realization that the only real committee I need to be concerned about is the Family- Committee. In this time of such uncertainty, our kids needed me to be there for them, to keep their hearts and minds happy and safe, and they needed me THERE. David needed me to make sure that the house was clean, there were clean clothes in the closet, chores were kept up as best as I could do, that there was food and water for him out in the tractor and wrapped up neatly on a plate in the fridge, for when he finally came in at about 10 pm. I had taken on a more concentrated role and although it wasn't as 'flashy' or 'impressive' as the field work, it was just as crucial.
At first I thought of this as a 'stepping back' from the farm work, but that isn't what it is at all. This is actually more of a 'stepping up' into those roles that my mum, and so many other women and men on farms, seamlessly filled all those years, and stoically continue as best as they can everyday.
I want to be clear. I am NOT a 'farm wife': I AM a FARMER. I am not married to the farm; I am it. Whether I am driving the tractors, carrying pails of grain or folding the never-ending piles of clothing, washing dishes or making sure the kids have snacks for the hundredth time in a day... this is ALL part of the farm. Every single one of those little jobs plays a role in the operation that we are trying to run and hopefully show our kids how to love.
There will always be committees. David is now CEO of the 'Skid Steer' committee, as driving it scares the bejezzus out of me. I think this spring has taught me some key things about them though, but the most important I feel is the fact that regardless of the 'work' being done, it is all crucial in the bigger picture.
Now here is where the 'deep' part comes in.
Perhaps we should all apply this to the BIGGER picture we are now facing as a human race. In March we (here in Canada) were told to stay home, work from home, and 'stay safe'. We have learned that it is possible to work from home, even if that means your adorable 5 year old 'digs for gold' beside you in the middle of a video-conference with your school staff, and a friend texts you to let you know(TRUE EVENT!). We have learned that our backyards can be a paradise if we take the time to really appreciate them. We have learned how to bake bread, start a garden, make jam and jellies. We have learned how to 'homestead', and it is great! For those, like my sister and her hubby, who have worked through all of this, we have learned how to adjust our work environments, how to (hopefully) have a greater patience with one another, how to comfort each other from 6 feet away and virtually from half-way across the world, and how to forge ahead, even though the road ahead is dark. Our roles have all changed, and frig how they changed quickly! But that's the ticket: things change and that's okay. It doesn't mean that the work we are doing from home is less valuable. It doesn't mean that we are contributing to the 'bigger picture' any less.
We've just all joined a new committee, and that's okay. Will it all work out fine, who knows... but that's the thing with committees. They are dependent on the jobs that need to be done. Right now, we all have a job to do: KEEP EACH OTHER SAFE. WEAR THE MASKS. Do the dishes, share a laugh, make dinner at home, grow your own food and then share that with your neighbours and community. Cry. Yes, crying is good. When mother nature cries(Georgia's idea of rain), the world can grow again. Be present in the committee and when you need a break, take it.
I probably wont drive a tractor today... maybe tomorrow... but if I don't that's okay. The jobs and the committees will always be there, and I now know that its alright to step back and forwards, as I am needed because in the end, every piece of it matters.