I had a rough week. Leo’s passing hit me a little harder than I had anticipated it would. My online persona/blog got attacked and ripped apart by the very people I am trying to share my life and culture with. And then to top that all off my asparagus patch and some of my cactus cuttings got destroyed while I was at work. I’m defeated.
The plant deaths were the final straw for my week, my Friday evening was spent sobbing and drinking wine because I just couldn’t do anything else. My plants are my happy. My cactus cuttings all have little back stories and memories that go with them. You see, whenever I take a road-trip or have a little adventure I take a cutting from a wild road cactus (there is a surprising amount of cacti in Northern California) or abandon homes. I plant that cutting behind my house and everyday I look out my bathroom window I see a garden of happy memories that the deer don’t destroy, a drought won’t kill and I can get fruit from. I know it is silly, but they are important to me, and it was heartbreaking to see my happy memories chopped up.
So Friday night I wanted to quit. I wanted to quit my blog, quit my plants, quit adult 4-H, quit talking about ag, and move to town. My passion had been shaken deeply. I know I can’t control death, I know I can’t control how some people perceive me or what I do, but generally I feel like its possible for me to have some control over my few cactus plants. I guess I needed another reminder that I have no control.
I spent Saturday away from the ranch. I went to champagne brunch, did some shopping and pretended like I was an urban person. It felt good. I needed it. And I still wanted to quit. It was nice not to care. I thought about taking up a new hobby that would be harder to destroy than plants and less controversial than agriculture. Maybe learn another chord on the guitar, or learn to paint or draw or something. The only reason I didn’t flat out say “fuck it” was because I had two very excited friends and I already paid my deposit on the pigs. I didn’t want my friends to feel how I felt.
I came home and cooked bacon. I mean if cooking bacon doesn’t make me happy, what could? I had an adult 4-H meeting planned the next day and really needed to figure out what I wanted to do before we fixed up the pig pen. Making bacon salad had no improvement on my mood, so I went to bed still ready to quit and dreading the next day.
My friend Kristen and her husband Ryan were the first to arrive this morning. I immediately felt better. I could see how excited they were to be here, to do manual labor, in the dirt and sun. Mahina and Daniel came next and they had beer! More betterness. After a few minutes of visiting with the girls, I felt a lot better. Their excitement was contagious.
After talking to them for a while I realized something pretty obvious, this is a huge deal. I forget that. I am slightly jaded because this is my normal, but my normal isn’t normal. I take my lifestyle for granted so often. Adult 4-H is a great reminder of how lucky I am.
I’m really excited about our pig project. I’m excited to work with people that were not raised in agriculture because after one day of working with them I can tell they are going to teach me more than I thought possible. I find myself falling into the pattern of “this is how we’ve always done it” with this pig project. It makes me want to slap myself, especially when I‘ve been yelling at my industry to stop doing that. I’m a big, ole, fat, hypocrite. Today was an excellent reminder that I have an opportunity to think outside the “this is how we’ve always done it” box. I have an incredible luxury raising some heritage pork, with some innovative and fun women.
I’ve started braiding Leo’s tail into necklaces and bracelets. I’ve always wanted to learn how to braid horsehair so it seems appropriate that Leo’s last gift to me, is forcing me to learn this art. For some reason it makes me feel better to make something from him to remember him by. I think he would like to know we’re still thinking about him, plus when I wash his hair to braid, it still smells like him, and that makes me happy, because his scent brings back a flood of good memories.
I was able to save a few cuttings from the “great mow of October 2012”. Hopefully I’ll stop being so hurt about it and start watering my yard and trees again. It’s just really hard when I deal with bad soil, heat, cold, turkeys, deer, dogs and cats, only to be foiled by man, when I make no secret how important my plants are to me.