But I Hold These Riches

July 23, 2021

Expounded from an Instagram post...

Farming is hard work. I am not just talking about the physical labor, but let's be real: that's a step above what most can comprehend. When animals or plant lives are at stake, there is no "I am tired," "I am sore," "I am sick," or "I have another commitment." You have to push yourself physically and mentally to do what you can. And what you can must always press beyond what you feel up for. 

But you do it because no other life would satisfy. No amount of secretly being jealous over those watching TV at 6 pm on a Wednesday in 85 degree heat on a July night can actually eclipse your desire to love the land well

Financially, most farmers are not paid well or at all. A return only comes when a harvest goes right. Sometimes, all your meat birds are snatched by a weasel. But again, that's not the whole truth. 

There may not be paper money or gold blocks lining the farmhouse, but there is something so much richer. Really, quite a few things.

Time working together as a family. Feeling the worth of shared projects. 

Learning the value of hard work. 

Strong bodies. 

A know-how of mostly everything. 

There is richness of experience and food like I cannot put into words. Watching a calf being born. The excitement of hatching geese. What every vegetable and fruit actually tastes like picked fresh from it's vine or stalk. Sunrises and sunsets. Foraging for food that is gleeful to spring up for you. 

The feeling of knowing you worked for your sustenance. You know exactly what's in it - which rains fed it, how many times you weeded around it, and all its struggles to bring you such wealth. 

What about needing help? Having projects too big for yourself. Leaning on your community whether they are there, or not; whether they get it, or not. Being that community lighthouse making every attempt to gather a village again. Begging for barn raising, and creating an opportunity for volunteering. Being a hub to spread locally made food and goods. 

And, perseverance. The strong inner desire to put others, even animals or plant life, above your own desires. And that ego-degrading may be what's most important of all... 

Yes, we are rich. No condo with a high monthly payment, fancy vacation, or six-digit bank account would provide the true riches we swim in daily.

Instagram post July 20, 2021:

But I am the keeper of *these* riches.

Over the last three days, I read a memoir of life on an organic blueberry farm (the one we visited) and related so deeply. It was clear that loss marked so much of their farm life, and yet, she (Joan Donaldson - you can find her site and info here!) realized that there were some riches she kept alone: like the taste of truly fresh peaches.

Today, I checked my phone as the first bite of breakfast yogurt hit my lips to learn that my husband had cut his finger severely. I grabbed my medicine kit and left the house, spying fresh comfrey and burdock leaves that healed his last injury so well. Yes, I am still the keeper of these riches even when there's loss.

Loss of many kinds occurs yearly on the farm. But we all hold our breath and hope that whatever we lose: an animal, a crop...we can recover from. This afternoon, a halal lamb slaughter was also performed on the farm. While this is a loss, a rich sacrifice is also given. So many eat food that they've never seen processed. I hold these riches, too.

The wound actually looked a lot better than I imagined and we will just have to add a little extra mom muscle to everyday chores. And even though an injury in the middle of busy season feels like a loss, I still look around and see such riches only for me: sweet pea flowers, the first sunflower, our first plums ripening, sweet little ducklings, and so much more ❤️

Danielle Olson Jones

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