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Help on the Farm

We can’t do it all. We just can’t. Now that my husband Houston and I are firmly established in our 60’s, we’re realizing we can’t do everything ourselves at the farm anymore. While I’m speaking mostly of the physical responsibilities - we fatigue sooner and more easily - it’s true across the board. The mental and emotional boost of having help recently has reminded us of the importance of someone walking alongside us in every aspect. 

This past week a teen and a young adult each had a turn on the tractor, doing their part to tame the jungle that threatened to overtake our farm. 

If you live in our part of Texas, you know how much rain we’ve had. Mowing when the ground is saturated is not only difficult; the tractor also leaves deep ruts in the ground. Hence, it’s been two months since the property was mowed completely.

Because Houston is collaborative by nature, he’s had multiple friends help out on farm projects over the past seven years. From any vantage point on the property, we can look around and see evidence of the input of friends, athletic teams from the college or artists from the artist work exchange program. Houston is great at working with others. 

I, on the other hand, work most often alone. Writing is a mostly solitary endeavor, for example. And I guess I’ve allowed that mindset to bleed over into my worklife on the farm. However, when I look back over the years, the most fun I’ve ever had as a writer was while on a writing team. We brainstormed ideas together and then each went off to write and came back later to share with the group. Maybe I should take a lesson from that experience and work harder at finding others to help me with my farm responsibilities. Whenever I do that - like getting a cleaner who preps the tents for us weekly - I feel immediate relief. I’ve also been encouraged when friends have offered to help clean the occasional tent, do a load of laundry or help me set up for one of our Chef’s Table Experience dinners.

We’re realizing that having someone alongside us is way more efficient AND it provides enough energy to accomplish a given task and then some. With this in mind, our desire to engage someone to live on our farm and help manage it makes even more sense. I’m hopeful that I’ll remember this lesson the next time I’m feeling overwhelmed. 

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the June 22, 2024 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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