Things on the farm are chugging along at a steady clip, and we are just a little over a week away from our first chicken harvest. Last time I wrote we were stressing a bit about the timeline crunch since our power wasn’t installed yet. The good news is the poles are now in place! The less-than-good news is that they aren’t live yet, but we are confident they will be shortly. We are definitely approaching the 11th hour, but I’m putting all of my energy into willing things to work out, so they will, right? I was on the phone with my sister the other day, and she has been dealing with the stress of working on a new house, hiring contractors, ripping up carpets, and taking care of her baby. She was getting pretty worked up, and then she had a revelation. She told me that instead of a “game face” she has adopted a “Maine face.” She said everyone in Maine is so doggone nice that things just always work out in the end because people help each other out. I like this philosophy a lot! I’m going to work on my “farm face.” Everything on the farm always works out one way or another, and we’ve become quite adept at flying by the seat of our pants. Especially when they’re Carhartts.
Last Friday I celebrated my 31st birthday. For some reason 31 feels a lot older to me than 30 did. I guess because it seems like I’m not more solidly in my thirties, rather than just teetering on the edge, waiting to be pushed back into my twenties by a strong breeze. I’m not actually worried about aging, I think I become more of myself the older I become. The essential “me-ness” has always been there, but it becomes more bold and complex with age. Just like wine, or cheese! And really what’s better than that? My dad recently suggested I write down what a “day in the life” is like for me, and that people might be interested in knowing what I do on the day-to-day level. I think my birthday is probably a great place to start, since it was such an awesome day. Here’s how it all went down.
Andrew was scheduled to work at his concrete job that day, but didn’t have to be in until 10, so we spent the morning together drinking coffee and enjoying local smoked salmon with farm-fresh poached eggs and chives. Then we took a stroll out to the goats so I could visit with my favorite kids. There is a small baby who is a slow developer and he’s very sweet and cuddly. I can pick him up and cradle him and he just nibbles on my shirt contentedly. Then we walked around the rest of the farm and visited the chicks, and pigs and carried out our various chores (feeding chicks, cleaning waterers out, checking the brooder temperature, chucking bread to the pigs, giving them milk, collecting eggs, feeding hens).
Then I took a very special shower. I usually only shower once a week or so (don’t judge!), and this time I had a brand new bar of homemade poppy seed soap from one of my customers, and a brand new razor I ordered from Harry’s. Nothing like getting razor blades in your mailbox to keep things exciting, hah. I also made a new leave-in conditioner, which helped tame my “no-poo” hair. If you’re not familiar, do a google search and you’ll see lots of people have jumped on the “no-poo” bandwagon. Instead of shampoo I use baking soda, and then rinse it out with apple cider vinegar. It gives me great volume and I love how cheap and natural it is, but tangles are an issue. This is where my new leave-in conditioner came in! Two parts water, one part jojoba oil, and a few drops of peppermint essential oil and I was a shiny new birthday girl! When you live a “simple life” like we do, it’s very easy to get excited about the little things!
After my shower I went to Costco with my friend and her three-year-old son. Costco is like a once-every-four-years event for me, but I needed a plastic folding table for the farmer’s market (starting June 20!!!), so Bri took me with her. Costco on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend is not a good idea. Cart maneuvering felt like being on the 5 freeway outside of Los Angeles, But we had fun with each other and little Elliott says the most hilarious things. He even asked his mom if his dumdum sucker was gluten and dairy free before offering me a lick. What a sweetheart!
Back at the farm we had our second visit from an aerial drone. The first visit upset me a lot, but this second one was great because I got the binoculars out and saw it go back home. Now at least I know where it lives, so if I feel so inclined I can stop by and very politely ask that they respect our privacy! I don’t mind when people come over and ask to walk around, take pictures, and enjoy the farm. But just having this thing flying in overhead and hovering above us and our animals made me feel leery. We have contemplated shooting it down, but after checking the laws it seems like this is not really an acceptable option. Although I certainly can’t help it if it happens to come over during target practice…
Later that afternoon I had the door to the house open while I was washing dishes, and a couple barn swallows flew in to check it out. They do this a lot this time of year, but this time one got confused and went for the window. I was able to catch him and release him, and it was pretty cool to have one of these lightning fast little creatures be still in my hand. Birthday power!
When Andrew came home we went to the winery (Covington Cellars: GO THERE!!!!) where I wash dishes for dinner. The chefs and I have become good friends, and they prepared an entire six-course, off-menu dinner full of Micha-friendly items. My favorites were bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with Marcona almonds, spicy prawns, artichoke and smoked salmon deviled eggs, and homemade hummus with amazing gluten free bread. They even gave me gifts including homemade sugar scrub. Now when I shower the combination of baking soda shampoo, poppy seed soap, coconut oil for shaving, and this sugar scrub (all while standing in what is essentially a metal pan), makes me feel like I’m baking a cake!
Next up Andrew and I went bowling, where we nursed bad cocktails while I trounced him pretty handily. Can you name a better way of making yourself feel exceptionally special on your birthday than by beating your husband at competitive sports? I sure can’t!
Unfortunately there is some less happy news to report. My grandmother, with whom (faithful readers will remember) I am very close, recently suffered a stroke event. While she is physically still capable, and certainly still astoundingly lucid for a 91 year old, she has lost some small part of herself. She tires much more easily, loses occasional words, and is struggling with the sensation of mental fogginess. At her age this is nothing unique, but for her (and us) it feels so. The real clincher for me in recognizing that things have changed was that she didn’t call me on my birthday. I was able to get ahold of her the next day, and she wished me a happy birthday, so I know her memory is still mostly intact. But that small little blip was enough to make me worry. At least I know she is in a wonderful home with lots of friends and caretakers nearby, which is a relief. And I’m so grateful I got to go visit her a couple months ago when she was still in top-form. She even took me to the opera!
The other bad news is that my mother-in-law’s cancer is progressing more rapidly than we expected. The new chemo drugs her doctors were excited about don’t seem to be doing a good job at slowing her tumor growth. Nancy doesn’t let news like this slow her down much; in fact she is currently on vacation in Cabo with her husband and friends! But it is hard for all of us to see her in so much pain and discomfort. She has to wear a back brace for some broken vertebrae (her bones are very weak due to the cancer, and then her car was hit by a drunk driver in an accident a few months ago).
As my birthdays come and go I witness the people I love also get older, have babies, mature, age, and head towards death. It’s easy to recognize the changes that occur in others, and sometimes it feels like I’m idling standing in place while the world whirls around me. Yet I must acknowledge the changes that are happening within myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My wine and cheese analogy really isn’t that far off; the changes that occur are subtle if you take a nibble or sip every couple of weeks. But if you take 21-year-old Micha and compare her to 31-year-old Micha, boy what a difference a decade makes!