It’s the little things…
And the big things.
This has been a trying week. Okay, let’s be honest, on the farm every week is a trying week. We have a LOT to get accomplished every day on our farm to keep it running (like every other functioning farm!), but this week was especially challenging.
One main thing happened this week that made the challenge greater than normal.
I got sick.
Sick like – I couldn’t let myself go near the milk, cheese sick.
Hmmm, I can hear you thinking – how does that work? How does a dairy run when the Chief Milkmaid can’t be in the dairy?
Well, just over a year ago it couldn’t. One of the lovely things that evolved from the crisis of last year is our Amazing Anna. Anna pitched in and did whatever was needed last year to help me survive in an unfortunate situation. And she keeps do it… whatever IT is, whatever is needed.
Also, we have a new employee Tom (not husband Tom… I know it’s confusing here too!). Tom has picked up a few milking shifts… and a few more when we need him to.
So this week, when I was ill and precluded from food handling… Anna stepped up. BIG TIME. Our inspector was here Tuesday and Anna got certified to be able to operate our equipment (pasteurizer specifically) without supervision. Sure enough, Wednesday I was sick and Anna got to show off her new skillz (yes, I spelled it that way on purpose because her skills are so cool!).
Did I mention Tom (husband) was travelling again this week (25% my ass!)?
So that leaves evening chores too… which employee Tom stepped up and came in for.
For 2 days I literally didn’t set foot in the dairy. If I wasn’t so ill I would have been able to appreciate it then.
So what happened? Many of you saw me at markets – we were there… Friday, Saturday and Sunday… Was I spreading some plague?
Nope, not me. It turned out the plague I had was a kidney stone. I had suffered them twice before about a decade ago. Once the classic symptoms woke me up in the middle of the night I knew what was causing the body aches, the cold sweats, the unrelenting sharp pain, the nausea, the pain (did I mention that?).
I drank, and drank, and drank water. I tried hard to be quiet and let the rest of the family rest.
Finally, 6:30am the stone settled somewhere else. It didn’t pass, but it moved out of the intense zone.
I whimpered a bit more. Tom was woken by my fidgeting and alternating trips to drink water and go to the bathroom, so I had some sympathy and support. He has been through this with me before… but usually with more than 3-4 hours of sleep under his belt.
Finally I fell asleep. I was physically and emotionally exhausted considering I had only had 2 hours of sleep before being startled awake by the tiny intruder.
I was able to get about 2 more hours to add to my rest before the demands of the farm and market laid claim to my quest for rest. At least I was able to re-enter the food zones knowing I wasn’t going to make anyone sick.
Life went on, a bit interrupted, with a hefty reminder that I haven’t been staying hydrated or selecting the proper drinks when I do (soda is bad… soda is bad… soda is bad… but just one more Diet Dr Pepper please?).
We did it. We survived. The farm survived. The markets survived… and on Labor Day weekend.
But only by the grace and competence of our exceptional support team…
Thank you Anna, and Tom, and Tom and Christine (who wasn’t mentioned earlier but specifically took care of me in my “illness” – risking getting herself sick and picking up even more work on the farm in addition to her usual duties and job(s) off the farm!)… and even our regular volunteer Lori, whose insight and intuition is valued and matched only by her exceptional company, assistance, reliability and… yes, I have to say it, her willingness to share Turtle with all of us. You all pitched in and the results were brilliantly successful.
This farm does amazing things… and though I often get the credit as the outspoken Chief Milkmaid – I know and I want everyone to know, it’s you… all of you that make up the dynamic, multi-talented, exceptional, unlikely, amazing team that IS the Little Brown Farm. Thank you.
Health note: The horrid little intruder finally did pass, on Saturday, mid-market… granting me the option to recover in my car for a little bit and listen to a radio interview of a friend. Sunday’s market was pain-free!