I haven't posted for awhile, and it is because this one has been sitting in my drafts and I was having trouble deciding if I should publish it or not. But... it is a part of life, so here goes. (written last October) There was a recent event in my life that has led me to look at the big picture of where I am and where I want to be. We never know what tomorrow brings, or if we will even be here to enjoy it. Life can change in a heartbeat. We worry about the future, plan for it, save for it, and it may never come. We need to live each day true to ourselves and go to bed with no regrets. This past month has brought me to a point where I have really sat down to think about my life. My aunt was killed in a random shooting event in the government facility where she worked, and that triggered some of the assessment. But even before that, I was looking at my life and what is really important and had to re-adjust a few things. It is the people, the relationships, the memories, not the things, that make all the difference. We took a family vacation in Carlsbad, CA, where we go every year. This year I enjoyed it more than usual. We all played on the beach and in the water, ate together, good friends went with us… in short, it was amazing. Our last morning I was standing on the beach with the 4 kids looking out at the ocean with an ache in my heart. I really didn't want to leave. I don't think it was the beach as much as what this week represents. Time together as a family, no obligations, no plans(other than one day at Sea World), reading together at night, wake up and eat breakfast together in the morning. It was so refreshing. I realized I want that everyday, and will do what I can to make it happen. On the second day of our drive home, we learned my Aunt was in the building where the shooting had happened. As we drove all day, I kept checking in with family members for news. Nothing. Finally at about 8pm, we were still about 2 1/2 hours from home, I got the call. My mom confirmed what we had all been fearing the whole day. I sat in the back and cried with the kids. They hadn't even met her, but to think an Aunt, a mother, in our family had died was very sad. And each birthday and Christmas they had always gotten a card from her. Tough conversations came out of that, and like I do every day, I prayed that I say the right things to our children, to keep them on the right path and make them moral and virtuous human beings. Life is precious. Life is tenuous. There are no guarantees, and we must live each day with no regrets. There is some little life force- the soul, we call it - that turns a body into a life. I see it so often in my work, in life, and on the farm. Yesterday we had a yak in labor and were excited about the baby. Later in the day the mom was up and eating, but no baby to be seen. We searched the pasture and came upon a tiny, cold form. It was perfect. Little head, little ears, little hooves, tiny tail. But it was still. That little force that cannot be defined was not there. It was an empty body, anatomically the same as the little one standing next to it out there, but minus the animation, the personality, the life. That drove home the point God has been making in my life this past month. Each day is a step on our journey. We have no idea where this journey goes or how long it will take. We have no idea what will happen along the way. We can make plans, but at any given moment those can be torn from us in a tragedy or turned into something beautiful and wholly unexpected. You just don't know, you just have to live each day to the fullest, with no regrets. P.S. When we got home from that beach trip, there in the mailbox, was a birthday card from my Aunt.
This past weekend was Applefest, the big event of the year here in Cedaredge. It is a fun time with lots of vendors, good music, and of course, APPLES! The whole downtown is blocked off, and about 10,000 people come to participate in the festivities. We have a great climate for growing apples(and other fruit) hence the celebration towards the end of the picking season. We also had company, our good friends Kent and Anna Chavet from Phoenix came up for the weekend. We went to the Applefest Gala Friday night and enjoyed good food, dancing, and great company.
Saturday morning Winnie participated in her first triathlon- which she thoroughly enjoyed and did very well in. Next year I will do it again(skipped this year) and Winnie, and maybe Tori and Alex. It is a shorter one, and the kid distances are perfect.
We also sold our younger Pinzgauer bull and a steer to Rocky Mountain Pinzgauers in Elizabeth, CO, and they left on Saturday as well. The day before we had loaded up a yak steer for a buyer, so our animal numbers are shrinking! We do have a few more yaks for sale that I hope to move before the winter.
All in all a fun and productive weekend,
I can't believe how quickly the summer has flown by. The girls started school last week and Gus already caught his first cold of the season. Cherries, apricots, and now peaches being processed and eaten, apples still to come. Yaks back up at the house (too soon!) after consuming all of their summer pasture. Two goats to get rid of before winter- one great-looking Boer buck for sale, the whether to eat. And work is going great! It has been a fun summer, and I am sorry to see it come to an end. But fall is in the air, cooler days and mornings especially, as well as some much needed rain. If we only had all the hay we needed for the winter I would enjoy it even more! The little chicks are big enough to go out and about with the big ones, and will soon start laying. Buck has been a great addition, the alpacas really like him, and we do too. The girls love having him do chores with us and laugh at him racing alongside the 4-wheeler. In another week we leave for our annual trek to the beach, and everyone is looking forward to it. We will spend a couple days on the front end in Phoenix, and Gus will celebrate his 2nd birthday at Nana's house. Winnie has been training Annabelle the calf, and would like to show her this winter. That will be a new activity for us. Change is in the air!
This morning when I was out moving sprinklers, Buck found something in the field that he kept sniffing and going back to. I went over to check it out and found a new baby fawn. It was unbelievably small, smaller than Brother, the cat that was out there with me. I got the kids, and they came out and loved it. While we were looking at the fawn, Buck found a second one about 20 feet away. The grass wasn't even that tall, and you almost had to stumble over them to see them. They are so well camouflaged! Tori wants a pet fawn now. After swimming, we went out to see if they were still there, but mom had come back and moved them. Maybe we'll find them again tomorrow!
Whew, been busy and neglecting this area of our farm. Today Tori(7), Alex(5) and I were feeding the cows and calves. The little heifer calf is a sweety, and so curious! She was licking the girls' hands, arms, pants, anything she could get at, while they fed her and the others. So we got a little halter out, put it on her, I pushed, Tori pulled, and she had her first lesson in a halter. She did great! And we had fun. She is probably pushing 175# now, but super gentle. The afternoon clouded up and got windy. I was sure winter was over when it started raining, but then it turned to sleet and then snow. So much for the mud drying up! Jeff was marking one of the fields down the hill all day, but got home pretty quick once the sleet and wind made their appearance. He is halfway done anyway(and will probably dream tonight about a tractor with an enclosed cab)! The girls went to a movie afternoon with friends at our church, and we had company for dinner. A great end to a perfect day in paradise...
With Jeff out of town for a few days on business, of course there will be hiccups. The most recent being yesterday when I came home from work to find water running out the bottom of the air conditioner in the garage. There was a layer of ice on everything, and I was dumping water out of boxes of Caprisuns. What a discovery at 6:30 pm with 4 hungry kids to make dinner for!
Susie (and sometimes Jeff) Hirsch, parents, vets, small scale ranchers, and regular people, who must have a sense of humor to survive!