Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The part-time farmhand

A couple weeks ago, the girls and I were up visiting Blue Hound. Lily, Jovie and one of their friends were playing with the goats and scrambling after a hen and her peeps – tiny balls of uncatchable fluff. 

"If you know anybody who could work up here a couple mornings a week, I could sure use the help," Kristi told me. 

I've been underemployed for a couple of months now – something I'd assumed would correct itself as part of the feast-or-famine cycle of life as a freelancer. To be honest, I was grateful for the break at first. Most of my nights had been spent on my laptop doing work that wasn't particularly inspiring or all that interesting, but that could be completed at the end of a long day wrangling kids without a lot of headaches. I kind of got used to the new routine. My evenings all the sudden unspoken for. 

I probably should've used that extra time to write all those things that I'd always meant to write but claimed I didn't have the time to. But I didn't do that. I also didn't spend a lot of time looking for new gigs. I kind of dread the prospect of more marketing blogging. 

What have I been doing? I'm not really sure.

Anyway. When another slow month went by, I started getting antsy. To be honest, I was antsy the whole time. But the antsy-ness level had gone up. Markedly.

So when Kristi's told me she needs help – feeding animals, picking stalls, tidying up and other miscellaneous tasks – well, it felt like a good time to raise my hand. 

My office is this 72-acre paradise of pastures and pond and massive trees and ethereal flowers and dirt. 

The work is straight forward. Fresh water. Replenish the feed. Pick up the poop. Scratch the goats, give the pigs a belly rub, pat the horses. Make sure all the gates are latched.

If there's a wedding at the farm that day, additional duties might include turkey wrangling (they're very social and would almost certainly crash the party), barn scrubbing and flower picking.

I'm a rookie. I haul water farther than it needs to go. Get stepped on by horses. Bitten by hens. My skills with a pitch fork are minimal; the amount of time I spend chasing evasive manure around stalls is comical. 

Last weekend when I came home – sweaty and tired – even Jovie commented on how filthy I was. 

It's good to be dirty though. To smell the earth, the sweet hay, the milky tang of cows, the ammonia of animal waste. To hear the murmur of chickens and the boasting of roosters and the snuffling of pigs and the satisfied munching of horses. 

Everywhere I look is a painting. Still life and real life.

There's no multi-tasking here. No texting while Facebooking while making dinner while mediating an argument over the purple cup. I do the job in front of me. And then do the next one.

I feel guilty getting paid to work here. I know for every wheelbarrow and bucket I fill, my heart and spirit are filled ten fold. I think about this as cut Queen Anne's lace under a cotton cloud-filled blue sky. 

There are no blinking cursors. No blank pages to be filled. 

Life there is beautiful, even when it's messy.

It's a good job.

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