Lessons from the backyard farm.
Chris and I want to be farmers (actually, I’m already claiming us as farmers, we have three kids, three cats and seven rabbits, that’s a freaking farm). I’ve dreamed of having my own horses for as long as I can remember and I’ve always loved animals. The growing of all the plants, that’s going to need to be Chris, unless we want to eat dead lettuce.
Since acquiring these bunnies, I’ve obviously been spending a lot of time with them. I also spend as much time as I can at Grit & Grace Ranch.
I’ve learned a lot so far in my short career as a farmer (see, I just claim all kinds of ridiculous titles for myself prematurely, like “career farmer”).
Animals force you to be present in the moment.
When I’m doing bunny chores, my only focus is on the bunnies. No emails, no necklace orders, no dishes. I’m fully focused on their needs. Hay? Water? Saw dust on top of the waste pile? Pellets? Fresh greens?
When I’m at the ranch and I’m working with a horse, I can’t be thinking of anything else but my horse. If I get distracted, I could get killed. That sounds drastic, but it’s not, it’s 100% real. Horses are dangerous and you have to be aware of yourself, your horse and your surroundings for the safety of both of you.
Animals breed stillness.
When I’m working with the animals, it’s important that I have a calm demeanor. If I’m worked up, stressed out or on edge, my animal will become worked up, stressed out and on edge. It’s obvious why that’s important when working with large animals like horses, but little cute bunnies don’t seem that scary, even if they get spooked, right? Wrong! Those suckers have sharp ass teeth and when they bite you, it freaking hurts. Know how I know? I got bit.
I’ve learned to be calm and quiet when I enter that barn (it’s really a shed, I just pretend I have a barn). Three of the seven bunnies we have range from skittish to downright aggressive (hence the biting incident). I spend time twice a day, every day, opening their cages and trying to get my hands in without being attacked.
I bring my calmness into the barn each morning and evening, so they know I’m trustworthy and not going to hurt them. So they learn I’m safe and I bring treats like carrot tops and fresh romaine. My stillness for them, turns into stillness for me.
Animals make you gritty.
I did not want to wake up this morning, put on my coat, go outside in the cold rain and do bunny chores. I did it anyway. Jackie, Krystal and Haley don’t want to go out in the snow and ice to water and feed the horses at Grit and Grace. They do it anyway.
We cultivate grit by doing things when we don’t want to. Don’t want to scoop manure? Do it anyway. Don’t want to go out in the cold? Do it anyway. Don’t want to clean the smooshed poop off the grates? Do it anyway. Don’t want to....? Do it anyway.
Doing it anyway for your animals will bleed over into doing it anyway for the other things you put off in life.
Career farmer might be quite the exaggeration (more like aspiring hobbyist) but lessons from the backyard farm aren’t.
P.S. bunny noses are SO CUTE.