Looking Back and Looking Forward. From the Farm. December 31, 2020
February-March 2020 seems like a decade ago and yet we haven’t even annualized when we believe Coronavirus-19 entered the U.S. Honestly, I have never been so happy to live on a remote farm as in 2020! Isolation only meant we had no farm stay guests last spring. The farming part didn’t change. April lambs and kids filled the barn yard, minus the attention of visitors. Rotation of soils, growing and planting of vegetable seedlings, even mowing the lawn – all happened with the same rhythm as always. The days became longer and the sun higher in the sky. Yet all around us it seemed the world had come to a grinding halt.
Until early summer! Having been forced into hibernation from jobs and with school age children underfoot and challenged with online learning, there was plenty of energy focused on “What else?” – ‘what is safe’ and ‘where can we go’ were the operative questions in a Google search for people desperate for a break. And we were here to answer that question. Our farms and ranches saw a huge uptick in reservation requests because of our promise of seclusion and the restorative power of our natural world. We did our best to accommodate within the confines of our state regulations and health directives, and we did a pretty good job.
In the end, we didn’t offer anything different, we just offered a retreat from what was ailing the world. It was here that guests were able to relax their guard, a guard that unknowingly bound them in anxiety and frustration and worry. Allowing their kids to run in the grass, to play goat yoga with the goat kids, to brush the donkey or wade in the creek – this was the refreshment everyone needed to grab some semblance of a normal life, if only for a little while. There were lots of naps to refresh as well and great meals made fresh out of our gardens and off our farm stands!
It’s been the longest year of my life. Farmers and ranchers are good at changing direction on the fly because their farms and ranches often require it. So many parts of our operations are beyond our control – weather being the obvious one. But this year, everything has come with a price far higher than we have experienced before. It’s honestly exhausting.
So I want to leave off with this. A bookstore friend of mine introduced me to a fable for our time, especially as we move into 2021. It is called The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charles Mackesy. The illustrations are as incredible as the truths the author promotes. There are far too many to quote here, but the one that rang so true for me, here on my farm, was this. When the boy is asked if his glass is half empty or half full, he responds, “I think I am grateful to have a glass.”
We, as working farms and ranches, are grateful for the guests who cross our thresholds and support our operations. We are grateful we can share what we love and hold dear with others; that we can educate and make a bond that wasn’t there; that we can offer a retreat for those who want to experience farm life, do something different, or just take a nap! Thank you for this year. We look forward to hosting you in 2021 and beyond.
Cover Photo: Dog Day Acres, Lucas IA