We eagerly anticipated 2013’s arrival after such a wild ride in 2012. We had great hope for sanity in 2013. Now that we’re a week in to the New Year, we are taking stock — has the tone changed? Are we feeling more on top of our farm and life? Or, are we still perpetually tensed for the next crisis?
I suppose it would be unreasonable to expect a very full life to feel simple or easy just because the clock chimed midnight and we hung new calendars. And, as one would expect, it hasn’t suddenly simplified. Not at all.
This Thursday we begin our new Full Diet CSA adventure, and as we prepare for that we have been doing all sorts of last minute problem solving and planning. It’s amazing how so many moving parts can create a sort of hilarious chaos of overlapping happenings. (Casey’s new farm quote: “We can only do 10 things at a time, not 11.”)
The last 24 hours are a good example of how everything is always harder and more complicated than we anticipate (even though we know this, we are still always surprised at what obstacles can unexpectedly pop up).
We’ve been trying to buy two more cows in order to bump up production for the Full Diet folks. The farmer we were buying them from was planning to bring them out last Friday, but his truck was broken, so we rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon — just two days before the start of the Full Diet. It was going to be a tight schedule to get them here, somehow quickly adjust them our farm and its systems, and get milk.
And, of course, there needs to be some further complication. In this case, Casey had an appointment at OHSU Tuesday morning for an ultrasound. Can you believe it? Yes, we dealt with yet another cancer scare over the holidays. Casey found a large bump on his neck in early December and when he went in to have it looked at by his surgeon, he immediately did a needle biopsy (his reaction: “This is not a false alarm!”). The doctor said it was unlikely (but possibly) metastasized melanoma (scary!), but more likely thyroid cancer. Fortunately, thyroid cancer is very treatable, but still it was hard news and a hard wait to get the test results.
We finally got the pathology results the morning after Christmas — the cells were benign thyroid cells! The doctor said it was a nodule that would most likely clear up on its own (no more surgery! yay!). This was a better outcome than we considered possible … but he wanted to schedule an ultrasound to confirm everything, which was then scheduled for this Tuesday.
So, a neck ultrasound in the morning and cow delivery in the afternoon. A tightly packed day, but we figured Casey could do it, and he prepped our employees on receiving the animals, in case he wasn’t back in time.
Then, Monday night, the farmer called and said his truck was still broken, and he wasn’t sure when it would be fixed. But we still needed the cows. What to do?
To add to the “fun” (the parents out there will appreciate this one), Rusty had been up later the night before and fell asleep for a very late (4 pm) nap on Monday. Sometimes he will sleep through the night even falling asleep this early, so we put him to bed. But then he woke up at 8 pm, ready to go for a new day. So, Casey and I were trying to brainstorm how to get these cows to our farm with a babbling preschooler sitting between us on the couch. But, we came up with a plan … one that required a lot of little things to fall into place, and we wouldn’t know it they would work until the next morning during business hours.
We have a truck, but we only use it on farm, so we’ve never insured it. So, first thing I would have to get in touch with our insurance agent and get it insured so that our employee Jasper could drive it to Hertz and hopefully rent a hitch and a horse trailer and drive to the dairy (a place he has never been before) and pick up the cows. He’d also never driven a trailer on a road. Meanwhile, Casey would be on the road driving or at OHSU, so possibly out of touch for questions. And, the rest of the crew would be harvesting for restaurants. And, of course, Casey’s cell phone was broken, and the new one hadn’t arrived (came that afternoon), so we were one phone short of having a complete communication connection between all the involved parties.
Anyhow, it worked. Hertz had what we needed. We got the truck insured. Jasper drove safely on the roads and got back with the cows in record time. The restaurants got their produce. And, even though Rusty didn’t finally fall asleep for good until 1 am, Casey and I both managed to get through our respective days with alertness. And, the ultrasound confirmed that Casey does not have thyroid cancer!!!! Hoorah!
Casey and our two resident cow mavens spent a good amount of time this afternoon introducing the new cows (Kelly and Dabney) to our farm’s milking routine. They managed to coax them through it all, but the cows weren’t relaxed enough to fully “let down” yet. Hopefully tomorrow!
Anyhow, so is 2013 different? As I noted to Casey last night (between various Rusty wake-ups and problem solving sessions), perhaps the craziness isn’t going to go away, but our coping skills have increased — once again, we have that much more experience under our belts, giving us better perspective and better problem solving skills than ever before. Plus, we have a larger crew of great folks — having lots of hands on deck helps a ton. And, we’re generally feeling calmer all around (not sure whether it’s true or not, but we both think the Low Carb High Fat diet we adopted last fall has made a huge difference in our ability to handle stress and stay calm — no more blood sugar highs and lows!).
So, a situation that seemed to be a dead end was not. It could have made us cry in frustration while our son babbled on and on and on about volcanoes (ALL.NIGHT.LONG). But, instead, we found ourselves laughing. And, getting the job done. Cheers to 2013!