Wow! What a week! So many highs, lows and learning opportunities. As I ponder this week’s events, I’m left with the profound realization that I’m here to not only grow my farming skills, but also grow my character and faith. I was stretched to my limits this week – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Through it all, I realized a few things. Here’s a quick recap of this week’s events and learning opportunities:
So much chicken
This week we processed over 1,300 birds. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s A LOT of chicken. Six hundred birds on Tuesday, six hundred fifty birds on Wednesday and seventy-five birds on Friday. Wow! I really enjoy processing days, but that was intense.
In the long run, I am grateful for long poultry days. Learning processing was one skill that I really wanted to become proficient in during my time here. I’ve been getting good practice and I feel more and more confident and capable with each passing day. Next week we start processing turkeys, so that will be a whole new adventure!
When you tire
With long poultry days early in the week and not enough sleep (I don’t recommend staying up talking till 1:00am when your alarm goes off at 5:00am), I was extremely tired by Thursday. This week, it was my turn to go work with Heather (one of the contract farmers) at Greenmont (one of the rental farms). Around noon, I went to grab my lunch bag out of my car and noticed that one of my tires was flat. Ugh! That’s not what you want to see after a long, hard, tiring week. Oh well, what can you do? So, I worked with Heather until the evening and then went to evaluate the tire situation. Definitely flat. Very flat.
Now, anyone who knows me knows machinery, tires, cars, etc. are not exactly my strong suit. It just so happens that earlier in the week Daniel assigned me the job of putting tires on a hay wagon and changing a tire on one of the feed buggies. Up until then, I had never changed a tire by myself before.
As I stood tiredly staring at my flat tire, I realized that God always prepares us for what comes our way. He never gives us more than we can handle. Even though I was frustrated (who wants a flat tire?), I was thankful that I had learned how to handle the situation earlier in the week and that I was now being given the opportunity to test my skills.
So out came the spare. Off went the flat tire. It took me longer than it should have, but with the trusty owner’s manual and some help from Heather, I managed to maneuver the new tire into place. Was I late to dinner? Yes. Was I ready to be done with the day? Absolutely. But I also felt accomplished – and that made the struggle worth it.
On Friday morning, the last Polyface Intensive Discovery Seminar (PIDS) began. This time, I was in charge of directing parking in the morning. Seeing the excitement of the attendees always helps me realize how blessed I am to be here. They are so eager to learn and soak up everything Polyface has to offer. At the end of a long week, their smiles and enthusiasm are a welcome energy boost.
I am always amazed at the diversity of attendees – old, young, male, female, famers, chefs, homesteaders and aspiring farmers. They are all interested in how to produce amazing food in a regenerative way. What a blessing to be a part of this integrity food movement.
He restores my soul
By Friday night, I was running on fumes. Thankfully, this was the weekend I had planned a little get away. After finishing up chores on Friday, I headed into Staunton and checked in at the Hampton Inn. I desperately needed some alone time to sleep, relax, pray, think and journal. After taking a long, hot shower, I talked to my family and fell asleep. And sleep I did. This was the first day I’ve slept past 5:30am since my parents came to visit in July.
On Saturday morning, I cranked up the air conditioning, put on a hoodie and sat in bed to read my Bible. After an exhausting week, God’s Word poured into me, reviving me. The front of my journal says “He restores my soul.” How very true! My soul has been restored and I am ready to embrace another week!
At 11:00am on Saturday, one of my very best friends and former roommate, Mandy, arrived in Staunton. It was so, so good to see her again! We sat in the hotel room and talked for a bit before heading out to Polyface. I made lunch for us in the cottage and introduced her to some of the Polyface team. Then it was off for a tour of the farm. After showing her around, we volunteered to do some of the evening chores. Mandy and I gathered eggs, fed the chicks and washed and boxed dozens of eggs. She definitely got the full Polyface experience! I really enjoyed sharing my life here with her.
We finished the day by going out to dinner, going back to the hotel and devouring a pint of sorbet in bed. Yum! On Sunday, we slept in. Then it was off to a coffee shop to just hang out and enjoy each other’s company. What an incredible blessing to spend the weekend with her! Seeing someone from home also made me realize how excited I am to get back and start investing in my friendships in MN again.
It’s hard to believe, but there are only 7 more weeks in the internship. Time is flying by. As my time here draws closer to the end, I want to keep my eyes and heart open to all of the lessons I have yet to learn. We shall see what the next week has in store!