Wednesday, October 21, 2015


       Do you know that feeling, when you step into the gym in the first week of January or the third week of September, and you haven't been in forever and so you don't really know how to start? I mean, your whole body is completely out of shape, so where do you even begin?

                   That's how I feel with this blog.

       I started this blog out of a love of farming and of writing, and as the first semester of college took off so did the blog. I wrote about all the things I loved; Sookie the pig and sunrises and hard work. Then, life started moving faster, some amazing opportunities came my way and I took them all. Because apparently, I never say no to a great opportunity.
        So the role of Hallie the Wide-eyed and Pensive Freshman is now being passed along to New Hallie, the two part-time  jobber, the half-time college student and the middle school ag teacher.
       I love New Hallie--she is tired all the time but she is challenging me and stretching me in ways my lazy, sleepy self never would have imagined. I love every second of the things that fill my day. But New Hallie lives out of her car and doesn't even have time to pack a lunch in the mornings so she spends way too much of her Chick-fil-A paycheck on eating Chick-fil-A. She scrimps time for sleep and treadmill runs at the gym and is often late for one job because she is preparing for the other. Does New Hallie have time to farm, much less to write about farming? No way.

        In the sticky, mopey months of July, August, and September, it is easy to keep away from the farm. There are bugs and summer humidity and enough grass that no animal needs much tending to. I would easily leave home in the morning and duck in long after dark, and I was fine. The blog could wait, the farm could wait, I could put my farm-y passions on hold.

             Cue October.
        To you, October may mean scarves and lattes and pumpkin and the most memorable cancer fundraisers ever, but to me it means a lot of other things, too. October means piles of hay and breezy days and chilly morning feedings with hot chocolate as the sun comes up.

             It also means babies.
        If there is nothing that will pull you headfirst into the work of a farm, it's the babies. Our breeding season for our cows schedules them to birth in October, and so the calves are hitting the ground in a flurry. And there is nothing like the sweet eyes of a week-old calf. I could sit out all day and laugh at their wobbly little gait as they play in the field. I admire their mothers for their keen instincts in taking care of their new babies.

        The other day, as the busyness of the semester had me in a whirlwind and I was everywhere all at once, I got a text from my mom that one of our first-time mothers, Audrey, was in labor. We were going to have a calf! We expected trouble since this was her first time in labor, but by the time I got home and we tried to check on her in the dark, we could hear the tiny mooing of her new baby. For the first time in a long time, I jumped willingly out of bed in the morning and went out to take my first good look at our gorgeous red calf. I had forgotten how great it was to be this happy and this proud of the living things we own.

       If that wasn't enough cuteness for a day, my Ag class (more on that later) is on the tail end of our hatching project. What was once just a line of half-baked chicken eggs in a machine that sounds like Darth Vader now all at once seems like the cradle of life that it is. Today we were holding each egg up to a lamp and we were able to see the tiny feet kicking as they gear up to push out of their little eggy homes. And I have never liked chickens much, but to see a simple egg, which I'd usually crack open and eat for breakfast without a thought, turn into this space-age baby pod is just too cool. So at the first little peep of the first chick breaking through the first layer of shell, I rolled out the mattress and set up camp around the incubator. 

       Because the truth is, I've missed this. I have tried not to admit to myself that I have longed to spend my endless hours here, sweating in the sun and basking in this place that is teeming with wild and beautiful life. Somewhere in my race to make this my life's path I took real farming out of my life and replaced it with low fuel lights and meals from a paper bag. I don't want to miss this anymore.
       I'm not quitting. I'm not going to just flake out on the amazing things I've been doing the past few months. So maybe I can't spend all day fixing fences and flying kites and watching the rain clouds roll in, but I can hurry home a little faster and help my mom fix Juan up in his new costumes and sleep right here by the fireplace waiting for these chicks to hatch. 
           Because this is what I'm made for and I will never let that go.