Loretta bathes

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We are blessed beyond all measure for the close proximity of two fairy grandmothers who have bent over backwards to ease the minor suffering that comes with parenting infant twins. For weeks after we first brought the babies home, the grandmas switched off spending nights here, and now they swoop in to take care of the babies so I can buy groceries, run into the pasture and – most importantly – bathe myself. Do not underestimate the power of a shower. Or a hot bath, for that matter, the way it makes a person feel clean and whole and human again. I once read a quote from Elizabeth Taylor: “There’s nothing that a hot bath and bourbon can’t cure,” which – have you tried this? Because she was correct. It’s the little things, y’all.

Loretta bathes

Last weekend their collective help was so generous that we were able to slip into the hill country and pick up a 4 month load of alfalfa from a friend whose dairy relies on a constant supply of the stuff to keep her animals healthy and the milk sweet. Any trip to her place ends up feeling both like signing an insurance policy and a smack in the face. To have this seasoned dairy woman/cheese maker/goat herder in my life is invaluable. But to see first-hand, the labor, planning and expertise that serve as the backbone to a successful farm-related enterprise? It makes me regret the milk-flavored kool-aid I drank years ago. I’ve come so far. I have so far to go.

dairy sunset

So in this vein of fear, regret, and excitement – and with the support of family whose arms are always open for us to toss babies into – we started the barn (and therefore, the dairy) finish-out in earnest. The weather here has dialed down to just a few degrees below broiling, a sure sign that the last fingers of summer have loosened their grip on Texas. Last week Jeremy stockpiled lumber and gates after we were able to sketch out the floor plan of the barn one evening after the babies’ cries quieted. Fueled by a bottle of wine and optimism, I pulled out the (very) dusty sketch pad that’s tucked behind a cabinet, the same one I scrawled out the plans for the dairy, the same one that’s still got so many empty pages. We talked about stalls and pens, cattle chutes and lighting and for the first time in months – almost a year – a flicker of some nearly forgotten fire stirred again. Perhaps energy can’t be created or destroyed but it certainly can hibernate. It felt like we were waking up again.

bright eyes

The new mantra between us is to “Just Get Through It,” maybe not as encouraging as Nike’s, but a necessary reminder that the literal and figurative sh*t will pile and fester if we don’t start digging out from beneath it – through the original plans for this place, through the nights that seem eternal, through the mornings so foggy from exhaustion. We know this period of life is fleeting    and that the chaos that defines us now will be exchanged for another sort of chaos later. That chaos is the fifth member of this family. I’m going to embrace it, dammit, I’m going to welcome it openly with a few glasses of wine at night, with a few cups of coffee during the day, with whatever will fuel the energy that’s still lurking but needs a nudge. Let’s go ahead and call the barn a symbolic beginning of the end of the worst of this most recent bout of chaos. Certainly it’s a symbolic beginning of some “next chapter” for the land and the animals. May that chapter be filled with a big red barn that smells of hay and livestock, where light filters through cracks, and animals snort and find shelter beneath wooden rafters and a metal roof. May it be the space we remember building when sleep was scarce, babies were crying, wine was flowing, and that stubborn voice we can’t silence whispered “Just Get Through It” until we did. Until we do.

alfala stockpile



1 Comment

  • Joe Young

    September 17, 20151:25 pm

    What a beautiful baby. You and your husband are very lucky.