Have you ever heard the phrase, “too much of a good thing”? Summer on the farm, especially late summer, is full of MANY good things. Our days are filled with the demands of running a business and raising a family. All good things, but they amount to too many chores, too many acres of hay to bale, too many machines breaking down, too many animals to feed, too much work to do—all in too few hours in a day and too few days of the summer left to enjoy. August is truly FULL. And while I’m happy to be working and making a living as a farmer, and I’m happy to be busy from sunrise to sunset, it is truly too much of a good thing.
For example, we have been making cheese like crazy. Nearly 1,000 pounds a week is a lot of work for a small creamery like ours. It means lots of hours in the cheese plant, and fewer hours dedicated to other parts of our operation or finishing important projects. It’s too much of a good thing.
My eldest daughter and I have been selling our goods at two farmers markets each week. The hours spent preparing, travelling to and from, and standing at a farmers market really add up. And of course every hour away from the farm is an hour of productivity lost. I often joke that I am a people-friendly introvert, because although I genuinely enjoy connecting with customers and answering questions about our farm, I am exhausted at the end of a market day. No… I’m emotionally and physically spent. I am barely able to function after too much of a good thing.
My husband has been mowing and baling hay any time there’s a 2-3 day stretch of sunny weather. In an effort to get the bales in fast, he accidentally clogged the baler and bent two parts integral to feeding and wrapping the netting around the finished bale. Was that too much of a good thing?
We just got an adorable new puppy, after the very unfortunate loss of two(!) sweet dogs over the winter. Little Archie is from a dear friend of mine in Iowa, where she manages over 1,000 sheep with her border collies. I am beyond excited to have Archie as part of our farm family and am thus far encouraged by his actions: he knows instinctually to weave back and forth behind the flock as we move them from the paddock to their pen, and he knows to lie flat in the grass to de-escalate a situation. But Archie is nonetheless a border collie puppy, full of boundless energy from dawn to dusk. He drags garbage from the back hall to the living room, chews up farm boots, and teethes on our inherited antique furniture. Little Archie is definitely too much of a good thing!
Summer of course is the busiest time for our ice cream and gelato sales. With the help of my good friend Deanna, we churn at least once or twice a week, filling our largest chest freezer with half pints and tubs for scooping at events. But all of that goes out to customers as fast as we can make it, and we find ourselves at square one again the very next week. We never seem to catch up, and that is one of those “good problems” to have. Too much of a good thing can be frustrating!
But the impending departure of our oldest daughter is looming. Harper leaves for college at the end of August; in fact, we’ve known her move-in date for several weeks now. As busy as we are, the days are flying by and I feel like we are careening toward her departure like a runaway truck going down Vickerman Hill. There’s just no slowing down or avoiding the inevitable! I don’t like dwelling on the subject much, and keeping busy helps me avoid all the sad feelings. She’s excited to start this new adventure and I’m excited for her…it’s just hard for me to let go. It makes me want to press “pause” so we can enjoy having her around just a little longer. I know lots of parents are in this same boat, wishing they could slow down time and stretch the month of August out into perpetuity. There are some good things you just can’t have too much of!