• Cara Van Leuven

F is for {Failing} Farmer

Bitter cold blanketed the Midwest, and with that, one thing became clearly apparent. We suck as farmers.

This reality struck with the ice storm on Friday night. The road bordering our property has a speed limit of 55 MPH. Cars were driving by at less than 10 MPH with hazard lights a blazing. Our Friday night plans were axed and one hour into being farmhouse-bound I was making Snapchat recordings announcing I was already tired of being stranded in my own house.

There we were on the farm - drinking and watching TV and painting and discussing a closet-redeisgn on Friday night. As riveting as it was, we pulled ourselves away from reality and sunk into slumber. I awoke at 12:30AM to howling winds and sheer panic. I was so worried about our ducks; Muscovy ducks are tropical, only capable of surviving at temps above 10º. All John Dalton and Stephanie have is a doghouse full of straw. I woke Tom and insisted we block the opening of their home and add more bedding.

The following morning I still didn't feel right about those ducks. Once again, I insisted we reconfigure their habitat and add a heat lamp. Alas, I think they're comfortable and I can sleep through the night.

Now any seasoned farmer, or a person with common sense for that matter, would have made better arrangements for the ducks before this storm. It's not like it was coming as a surprise. It was all over the news along with phone alerts declaring the weekend would be a horrendous experience for driving and being outdoors.

The other disappointing aspect of our farm living is the complete inability to enjoy it 100%. It's like my relationship with Tom - I love him dearly but don't want to spend all my time with him. By Sunday I was writhing on the family room rug begging to do something, anything other than being cooped in our house another minute.

I painted for hours. I developed paintbrush blisters and crossed eyes. I baked cookies that stuck to the pan and ended up in the trash. I watched Where The Red Fern Grows. I cried. I chatted on the phone. I made more stupid Snapchat videos. I made a CrocPot dinner.

There was nothing left to do on Sunday but leave, however brief. Neither Tom nor I could take stability any longer. It was in the truck with the farmhouse in the rearview mirror when I looked at Tom and said, "We suck at being farmers." "Yeah. We're the worst."