I got a coat.
Well, duh Leah. You live in Northeast Iowa where it’s winter 3/4 of the year (or it feels that way…)
But this coat is different. The purpose of this coat is a new one. During my intensive therapy program we had a session on the difference between instant gratification and long term gratification. The idea is simple. We often face choices where one option gives us pleasure immediately but the delayed consequences are not positive. The opposite side is less happiness in the moment, but a result that is more pleasing. An easy example is chocolate cake or a salad for lunch. The chocolate cake will make me happier in the moment, but I know that the salad is a better long term choice for my health and well-being.
I do the same thing with depression symptoms and cycle-thinking. I know that it’s better for me to get up, out of the house, eat health, spend time with others, better the world around me and make the most of my day. However, that’s often easier for me to sit in my chair, wallowing in my self-defeating thoughts. I need to be very conscious and aware of my choices if I want to have positive long term results.
One of my biggest struggles while learning to conquer my depression is the love/hate relationship with my farm. My husband’s farm. Our farm. I love that this is the place my kids will grow up. I love the lessons it teaches my children. I love the passion my husband has for it. And the views from my front door are pretty awesome.
But as I’ve written about before, farming takes a lot of time and money. It’s hard work and it’s incredibly demanding. I don’t always love it.
So during this therapy session, I came to a realization. I had a choice to make. The farm wasn’t going to change. The demands would always be present. The only thing that could change was my attitude and feelings towards this piece of land I call home.
I had to fall in love with my farm. Every bit, every piece, every hardship, every reward.
And y’all, I’m working on it.
One of the steps I took was designating a “chore coat.” I liked to use the excuse that I didn’t have the “proper attire” to help with chores in the winter. I was just that, an excuse. So, if I got rid of the excuses, it would be one less obstacle in between me and my love of farming. So I got a coat. And I’m trying to say “yes” more often when asked if I want to help with chores and farm duties. It’s still a work in progress (it gets REAL cold out there…) but I must be in control of my attitude and choices.
This came into play in a significant way a couple weeks ago. I was home for the afternoon with my youngest. I had a busy day at work, my feet were tired and sore. I had just finished an Epsom salt soak and was relaxing before the older kids got home from school. Then I got a phone call from my husband. One of our heifers had just given birth, two weeks early, in a huge pile of snow and my father-in-law needed help getting the baby calf into a safe and warm place. Super. We had a big snow storm just a couple days prior, it was darn cold out and I really didn’t want to go out there. But I chose my attitude and put my fears aside. I went out to help.
My father-in-law has been a farmer most of his life, but he’s getting older now. At 78, he doesn’t move as well as he once did. And we are all well aware that I have almost no skills when it comes to farm work. So the two of us decide to take the four wheeler down the icy and snowy hill, where we are going to put the calf in the trailer and bring it into the garage. Nothing could go wrong with this plan. I wish someone had been there to video tape the two of us, because I’m sure we could have won some money with our comedic actions. Thankfully, our plan went off without any complications and we got the calf into the garage. Isn’t that what you keep in your garage… baby cows?? The calf warmed up quickly with several dry blankets and towels. And when my husband arrived home he got the snow moved away from the barn, and transferred the calf and new momma (who had been previous left in the yard due to two crazies being put in charge of the situation) into a cozy place in the barn. The pair are doing fantastic now. The baby has been named “Snowy.” And I’m a little bit more of a farmer.
With the weather beginning to turn, it’s much easier to get outside. I’m ready to hang up my coat for the season. But I’ll keep the attitude, motivation and growing love for the lifestyle I’m choose to embrace.
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