Friday, December 31, 2004

The trials and tribulations of a junk shop materialist pursued by his possessions...



Karl's blog identifies him thusly, and this morning, as we begin preparations to leave tomorrow, I have been thinking about what I want to take home with me from the farm.



The material possessions notwithstanding (how sick is it, on many levels, that we had to buy a clam shell to put on top of the minivan to get everything home? Granted, part of that everything is four new sleeping bags, thank you Grandma and Grandpa D, but there were enough new kids' presents to fill a large suitcase...), I have also been wondering how much of the serenity of the farm I will be able to transfer back to life in Missouri.



We have fallen into an easy and natural routine here. The kids start waking up and getting up around 8:00 a.m. Every night I have to remake their bed completely, and last night I found out it is because Tommy tears the bed apart to get his brothers up... Joyce and Tom get up around that time too. Dereck and I usually wake up and and I say, "What time is it?" and he looks at his cell phone and nearly invariably says, "8:50."



This morning the phone rang off the hook, so we finally gave up and got up, though we watched Love Actually with Tom and Joyce last night and then all of us had trouble getting to sleep.



This morning, we got up, and Tommy informed me that I had to make frosting for their gingerbread houses, and Christian told me we better find his lucky orange because he was starting to get really angry about that.



I said, "Coffee."



I went down and Joyce was putting cinnamon rolls onto pans and getting ready to make bacon, so Dereck made the bacon and some eggs and we had breakfast and then Dereck and I talked religion with his parents for awhile, while I cleared the table and loaded the dishwasher and then made the frosting.



Tom and Joyce had to go and get 15 new chickens today, so the boys and I went out to do the chores. It has really warmed up, so this morning I went out in my pajama bottoms (not unusual), boots, sweatshirt, and gloves. The gloves were more for the chores than for warmth.



Sam let the chickens out and fed them, and then we all walked up to count cows. Every morning we count: seventeen cows. Usually on first count we get fourteen or fifteen, then we walk closer, see more lying down or more behind each other, and then one of us will say, "I've got seventeen." And then we do a second count, and when someone else says, "I've got seventeen too," we count one more time and then we spend some time petting Molly, who was particularly friendly today, and watching Lucas bark at the cows.



Then, we came down and I had Sam get hay for the calves in the wheelbarrow. He said, "The farm may not have made me into a man, but it sure has given me new muscles."



I got grain for the calves and their brush, and today all three of them let me brush them.



Sam remarked this morning as we were walking down from the cow pasture to take care of the calves, "Who am I? I really like the farm, and I have really gotten used to not watching television."



I said, "Good, because when we get home, you're not going to watch it either."



And Dereck said, "You know, you can achieve this on your own, Sam."



Sam was quiet after that, thinking. He said, "I don't feel like the same person anymore. I think being on the farm has changed me."



We walked together down the hill, and Sam said, "I'm not sure of anything anymore. Except that there are seventeen cows up there in the pasture."



And what is sad about that is that even though he may know it is true, every morning, he still has to walk up the hill to the pasture and check.



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