Living with Persistence

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Life on the farm is hard. We post a lot of beautiful pictures because it really is beautiful here. But it’s also very challenging. Managing lots of animals, predators, food supply, projects, all the people who live here, and time, which is ALWAYS in short supply, is hard.

This time of year is particularly challenging. While we love gearing up for the holidays and the festive air, it’s hard on the animals. The pastures where they are confined until Spring turn to horrible mud pits. Manure management (yes, that’s a real thing) becomes a game of chicken with the weather. Fence maintenance is critical to animals staying safely penned, when all they want is to get out and nibble on the last little bits of grass beyond their pasture borders.

With the major fence projects of the late summer, we had not yet reconnected the electric fence around the perimeter of the pastures. The neighbor’s horses escaped the other night and came to visit our herd. Ours were so excited about the visit that they tried to push down our fence to get out. It was a very close call. So this weekend, that was at the top of the agenda. The fence is all now fixed and electrified, and the horses have all been reminded of the boundaries.

Our newest additions, the goats, are mating right now, in hopes that we’ll have some babies in the early spring. We’ve had Oliver in with the girls, leaving Cole out by himself in the back pen. He’s not very happy about it, and yells constantly when he sees one of us, just to make sure we know how he feels. Oliver will return to their pen before the weather turns really cold.

The chickens have slowed way down in their egg production, and have been molting (losing feathers and re-growing winter ones) over the last several weeks. We took in a very friendly rooster who was the lone survivor of an attack on his flock, and he fits into our flock nicely. The girls all seem to like having him here.

Oh, yeah. And sometimes the wind blows so hard, it picks up and throws gazebos.

The wind-thrown gazebo; Hay math in the barn

The mud pits/pastures; But it sure is beautiful out here…

It would be easy to get frustrated with how the changing seasons affect our animals, and how it affects us. It’s much nicer to feed, groom, and work with the horses when the weather is nice and warm. It’s pretty horrible to go out into freezing rain and gray weather. We don’t see the sun as much. We worry about everyone staying warm enough. The heaters go back into the water troughs, and the hours in a day get fewer and fewer; at least, the ones with daylight in them.

Living with persistence is about plugging away anyway, in spite of the challenges, the hard days, and the cold. It’s about choosing to embrace the hard stuff, move through it the best you can, and look for the opportunities to grow in the midst of it. Dictionary.com defines persistent as “lasting or enduring tenaciously”. I like that idea. No matter what comes our way, we continue to persist with tenacity. YES.

Where do you need to live with persistence? In your professional life, are there seasons as well? Times when you have to just push through with tenacity, to get to the other side of the challenge, to grow and learn? We’d love to hear about it in the comments. And if you need some help, we’re here.

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