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{the grass is seemingly greener}

01.26.13

Afton Field Farm

Let’s be honest.  I’ve been struggling a little bit; and I’m assuming that you faithful readers have picked up on that the past 3, 6, 9 months.  This blog is a place that is an outlet for me- both creatively and mentally.  It is a place where I share about my experiences in this farm life.

Just as with the delicate balance between mixing the ingredients of dough just enough to blend them but not too much as to have a tough, flat end product; I have had trouble with balancing how much of the farm reality I share here.

winter sheep 2

I have chewed on these thoughts and contemplated what exactly to share or not share.  I am not a fake person.  I don’t hide my feelings very well {whether excessively happy or weighed down by burdens}  and I have found it incredibly challenging to know how real is too real here.

Then I realized one day, I have been overworking the dough.  I have vaguely eluded to the fact that I am having a hard time right now, but I haven’t just come out and said it.  I just keep working the ingredients, mentioning certain areas that have been overwhelming to me or explaining a certain encouraging moment I’ve recently had {which underneath says, ‘I’m going through a rough time right now, so that’s why this little encouragement was so huge to me’}

Afton Field Farm

So the end product I am trying to make {aka: the content I am producing on this blog} is turning out to be tough and hard, like a hockey puck.  Completely unappetizing and if you do choke it down, you are left feeling unsatiated and still hungry, wanting more.

This is a place for me to share the real farm life and how I am experiencing it.  I first have to be real with myself and my feelings before I start sharing here.  I’ve got to identify if I am making biscuits, pancakes, bread, or pizza dough.  If I’m just assuming what you want to eat, instead of figuring out what I’m fixing, it’s going to be unappetizing and frustrating to all people at the table.

 

winter sheep 1

Ok, so maybe I’m going too far with the analogy; and maybe I’m not making any sense at all {I’m long winded and my grammar may make it challenging to understand me :) }

Here is the point: I love farming. And I am really really really struggling with the farm business.  The details, the financial stress, the management, the cleaning, the organizing, the necessities, the marketing, the constant never ending demands & requirements of making a small business survive and thrive in the 21st century.  It’s all incredibly overwhelming and daunting and tiring to me.  It makes me emotional.  It makes me feel crazy.  It makes me look at others lives {via the “evil” social media scenes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Blogs} and long to be living differently and to be inherently different than I am.  It makes it hard for me to see the positive & beautiful things around me; even in the midst of the reality.

Afton Field Farm

And one day, recently, I realized that I have some choice in the matter.  I don’t have choice in a lot of my life, but I do have choice about my attitude and outlook.  I haven’t wanted to take pictures other than with my phone.  I was allowing the details of picture taking {the time to get my nice camera, go take the pictures, edit & organize the bagillion photos, post the photos, and to positively share about the photos and our life on the farm} to weigh me down and to just not take them.  Taking photos is something that soothes my soul like nothing else {except for dance, I love to dance} so it was sad that I wasn’t allowing myself to nourish my soul in that way.

I say that on this blog I am sharing “the good, the bad, and the cow-pies of this journey in the farm life”.  Well people, right now there are a lot of cow-pies.  And if my worst nightmares come true- I make people mad, people are bored, I lose followers, people say not-the-nicest comments {which hasn’t happened} or whatever else, all because I share more often than not how I’m really feeling, or because I’m not sharing “good enough farm material”, then that is totally fine.

I promise not to always have a mushy sob-story and I also promise to not make it seem like everything is super awesome for Afton Field Farm all the time.  I do promise to be real.  And right now the real is that we have a lot of land {that we don’t own fully yet} we have {farm related} financial struggle, we have huge demand for our products, time, and lives, all of which we don’t have enough of.  We are weighed down, but we are not defeated.  We are weary, but we will regain our strength.  We are overwhelmed, but we will not let that steal our youth.

You may look at our life through the lens of my camera and the words I write, and think, “Wow, they have got THE life!” Trust me, the grass is always seemingly greener and more appetizing and better and all that you don’t have, when looking at someone else’s pasture.   I’m on a journey of choosing to see that my pasture is wonderful and of worth- no matter the state of it.  May this encourage you to choose to open your eyes to the beauty in your own.

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37 Comments leave one →
  1. Carrie Fairchild permalink
    01.26.13 12:37 PM

    Thank you for sharing and being so honest. I think I may have mentioned this before, but I think there is some truth in it, maybe- at least it makes me feel better when I think about it…. I read once that if you had the chance to trade your problems with another, you would want yours back after you find out what the other person is dealing with. They say ‘the grass is always greener’ but I think the grass just ‘seems’ greener. Reminding myself of this seems to always put my problems and life in perspective. I also make an effort everyday to actively be grateful for what I have at this moment- really SAY it to myself- and not to focus on what I don’t have or what I think I should have. Sometime I write it down, if I am having a particularly bad day. Focusing on the things I am grateful for truly makes me feel more confident, lucky, and energized about my life. Truly. I don’t know if this is helpful at all for you, but I know it is for me and I am happy to share in hopes that it does help somehow.

    Have you thought about taking a training or business class? Maybe it would help with the feelings of being overwhelmed?

    • 01.26.13 4:27 PM

      Thank you, Carrie. All that you said is so true. I actually have started to implement some of the things you mentioned. It has helped and that makes me very grateful. There are actually a ton of classes that I would like to take, and all of them would probably help me feel better. Just sharing my feelings here has really helped. Thanks for sharing with me! :)

  2. Carrie Fairchild permalink
    01.26.13 12:40 PM

    P.S.- I’m still waiting for pictures of those weaner pigs! ;)
    Or shall we come out to the farm and see in person?

  3. Jessica permalink
    01.26.13 2:10 PM

    You are not alone. You are struggling the same struggle with me and countless other people. Keep struggling, keep reaching out, keep truth telling. It is good.

    • 01.26.13 4:30 PM

      Your comment made me smile, Jessica. Thank you for stopping by and saying hi & that you struggling with similar things. I am glad to hear that my truth telling is helpful and good. All the best to you on your journey.

  4. 01.26.13 2:35 PM

    I don’t even know you, but I follow your blog off and on–caught at first by the wonderful photos and gradually more and more interested to see what you write about the life that goes with the photos. It’s interesting to read that you see others’ lives on Facebook and think maybe that would have been a better life. I’ve been reading about your life and thinking, oh, being on a farm would be more beautiful and more genuine than my life with all the time in the office or traveling for work.. And here I read how overwhelmed you feel by the endless demands–which is exactly what I would say about my life. It’s a good reminder that we all face those challenges. Maybe also that we need to be really gentle and compassionate with each other, because we are all struggling.

    Hang in there. Many people are cheering for you, including people you don’t know, and we’re very sympathetic to your struggles. (And don’t forget that Facebook provides a very narrow glimpse into people’s real lives!)

    • 01.26.13 4:35 PM

      Theresa, you are so kind and so right! Thank you for taking the time to say something to me. Sharing my own struggles with others and them sharing with me, really does allow me to see the importance of being kind & patient with others because we are all struggling- like you said. It is important to remember just how narrow the glimpses are of other people’s lives when we are looking at their life through our own eyes {whether through social media or even in real life} Truly, thank you for your time and kind words. All the best to you!

  5. 01.26.13 3:34 PM

    Ummm, is it possible that we could be twins separated at birth?

    Here is a running ticker tape of the thoughts that cruise through my brain a million times a day: I’m a farmer(!!!), I’m a farmer (???), I love it, now I hate it, it is so hard, sometimes it totally sucks, I never get a paycheck, the hours are crazy, I’m always dirty, my nails have to be short, I work in the sun, I hate doing chores in the cold, I never get a day off, I love the fresh air and sunshine, I can’t work in a cubicle, I never get to dress up, I love all my animals, I hate people who criticize my wine (sometimes I wish they were dead, and that makes me feel guilty), I spend too much time farming and not enough time with my kids, I spend too much time with my kids and not enough time farming, how am I going to pay for this, when are my customers going to pay me, what was I thinking, oh my gosh this is SO AWESOME!

    And that last thought is what keeps me coming back for more, even when it defies logic to do so.

    It is so important for you to know that you are not alone in all these feelings. The things you say are the reasons that there are so few family farms left in America today. It’s hard work with tight margins and small returns. Nobody ever shares the hard stuff. I can’t stand it when people act like life is flowers growing and birds chirping all the time. It isn’t. I think we are more grounded for admitting that sometimes it is just plain hard! And we write about it! It makes me feel better to get it out there…like purging those feelings and just getting them out of my head.

    You are amazing, your farm is amazing. I have so much respect for what you are doing.

    Sending positive thoughts and lots of good energy your way. Keep it up, girl. XOXOXOX

    • 01.26.13 4:40 PM

      Hilary, I think we are twins separated at birth!! Your list of thoughts are exactly the same as mine! {minus the kid part, but someday that will definitely be there!} Girl, seriously, just reading your thoughts helped me not feel alone. Thank you for being so honest. You totally encouraged me and gave me strength to keep going with the direction that I have been with the blog. More often than not, life is on one side of the fence or the other- things are going great and loving life or things are not going great and life is hard to like. It all needs to be shared in honesty. To not have an opinion leads to a boring person. I don’t have a boring life. I love my life, and I want others to learn & gain from the life that I share. Thanks for saying something, sister ;)

  6. Lael Willingham permalink
    01.26.13 3:46 PM

    I appreciate the reality, I don’t want all sunny stories, yes farming and animals are WORK and life is a lot of uncertainty. If it helps any, for you and your hubby to know that you are appreciated, A LOT, then please know that. You are swimming against a current in many ways, and I admire both of you tremendously. So tape that on your wall Alicia, you are both special, and long live honest blogging!!!

    • 01.26.13 4:41 PM

      I love your kind words and true support from both you and George! Thank you, Lael! You and George and people like you are the reason we are both able to keep going, even when we are exhausted by the many currents we are swimming against. Thank you, friend. :)

  7. Robbin permalink
    01.26.13 4:38 PM

    Thank you! Well-said as I am struggling with MY life as we transition… and I battle with my spouse the whole way about it… and then accepting my family for what they are and owning them and then deciding what role I need to be playing in that (if any).

    Life is a constant tug of war and knowing that I have inherited you, Ella, Kyle, Tyler, Heather, Brad, Karen, Ron, Jim, Linda, Alex, Nick, Craig, Carol, Rick, Cynthia, and Maggie as my family has been such a wonderful blessing!

    • Cynthia Stevenson permalink
      01.31.13 9:08 AM

      Robbin,you are treasure!

  8. Melissa permalink
    01.26.13 5:04 PM

    I can understand all too well what you are feeling. Starting and growing any small business has a lot of stresses and add to that the unpredictability of raising animals and responsibilities to your animals and customers, and no wonder you (and we) are overwhelmed. It seems so pastoral and real to start a farming business, but the details can keep you from doing what you love. I’m going to set aside an hour a week to do something that soothes my soul–maybe you could set aside one hour a week to endulge in photography? It will get easier some day, I’m sure (or at least hope) but until them finding a happy outlet is vital. Thank you for your post–it is helping me assess and improve my situation too!

    • 01.28.13 10:17 AM

      Melissa, I am starting to set aside time to indulge myself in something that soothes my soul. It is so important. I’m glad my this post help you ;)

  9. 01.26.13 5:41 PM

    Sing it Sista! I feel ya! :) I think when we first got into farming, I looked at it more “romantically” than “realistically”… But now, having farmed for a few years, the rose colored glasses have been removed and those romantic notions have faded! :) I too love the farm life and it’s simplicity, but farming as a business has shown to be a bit more complex (and I have a 20 year family biz background!!) That being said, I too have chosen to choose my attitude (lets hope its a positive one!) and am committed to this… I am excited for what the future holds! Take care sweet farm friend!
    xoxo Jen – FarmMama – Inspiration Plantation

    • 01.28.13 10:20 AM

      It is encouraging to hear, Jen, that you still have found yourself overwhelmed even with your background in business! I put high expectations on myself, and I know it is important for me to learn how to loosen up- for me and those around me ;) Take care fellow farmer! ;)

  10. ashley permalink
    01.26.13 8:54 PM

    I don’t know you personally, but visit your booth at the farmers market,and I enjoy your blog. What you describe in your post is real emotions about real life! It is not always a day at the spa,getting our nails done and driving off into the sunset in a Porsche! Take some pictures, nurture your soul, relish the cow poop on your boots,things will get better. take care

  11. Pamela permalink
    01.26.13 8:59 PM

    I gotta tell you Alisha – I feel a little weird about loving your blog so much, especially posts like this. Since we’ve met a couple times but only very briefly, and since I don’t blog myself and therefore return the openness, it feels a little unfair to get to see your beautiful rawness as it comes out here – but I don’t stop reading because that’s the stuff I really love (as well as your lovely pictures). It’s so refreshing to hear someone’s honest life experience, and also to hear how it really is managing that big place. You guys have taken on so much! I think it’s really good for all the Wendell Berry reading, rural living dreaming, totally over-idealizing potential farmer/homesteaders to get to see that. (Michael and I were just talking last night about how we are glad that he didn’t decide to go for farming precisely because of all that business/marketing side of it, which it seems like could really kill the joy of what draws him to that work – loving the land and what you are growing on it. He even in that conversation attributed much of Afton’s success to you, by the way, and recognized that he would have needed something of the amazing marketing skills you obviously have, and he and I both knew he doesn’t have it and it wasn’t gonna come from me.)
    But even beyond that, it’s just lovely stuff and I feel blessed by reading posts like this. I’ll shoot up some prayers for you guys.

    • 01.28.13 10:30 AM

      Pamela, I love all that you just shared with me! All that you said, is exactly why I love to share my heart so openly here. I have, and am continuing to, learn so much through the reality of farming and owning your own business. It is a delight to hear that it is helpful to others; because that is definitely my heart’s desires. Thank you for your prayers. All the best to you and Michael. And don’t feel weird “taking” from me when you can’t “give” in return in a similar manner. I honestly don’t spend that much time looking at other blogs {though I probably should}. You give to me by reading my blog and using the information here in your own life. :) Take care.

  12. 01.26.13 9:21 PM

    In the wise words of my far – The grass is always greener on the other side because there is far more manure.

    We need to get together for tea so that I can share my Facebook story with you.

    You’ve got this. xox

  13. 01.28.13 2:09 PM

    i love this blog- once I moved to PDX from the countryside and lost my farm friends, this makes me feel tied to that lifestyle. And it IS hard.

    What you’re trying to do is tie yourself into a community, and so I hope you’ll allow the community to give back- to contribute, like the gift of gravel:) Tell us more about what you need, and accept the offers of help.

    • 01.29.13 2:18 PM

      Amanda, you speak such truth! Your words are like water to my soul ;) I have realized that it is hard for me to say what I need- which makes it challenging for others to give and use their talents when I need them :) I am so glad to hear that it is a tie to the life of the countryside that you had to leave behind once you moved; and I appreciate you following along with my journey as a farm wife ;)

  14. 01.30.13 4:48 PM

    Any thing worth having is worth earning and you have earned it sister – you can do this!!!

    and to lighten your day a little joke .. a preacher drives by a beautiful farm and a man tilling his fields he stops and leans on the fence for a chat telling the farmer god sure blessed him with beautiful farm …. the farmer stood there a bit and said “it sure is but you should have seen it when god had it all to him self”

    and on a second note – when folks tell me I’m ‘living the dream’ my answer is ‘ you have no idea’ you can put what ever tone suits you on that one … or just add a wink… xxx big hugs – Clare

  15. 01.30.13 4:54 PM

    I think you, and your life, with ALL it’s cowpies, is beautiful. I simply adore your blog, your farm, that handsome husband of yours and those too cute for words dogs. Sending a big virtual hug your way. I truly hope one day we will meet!

    • 01.31.13 1:57 PM

      I so agree, Rachel!! I hope we will one day meet! I have been thinking of you a lot recently, and will have to send you a facebook message on of these days; so be looking for it ;) Thank you for the encouragement and the hug ;)

  16. Cynthia Stevenson permalink
    01.31.13 9:02 AM

    Alicia, I’ve sent you a private FB message. Love you, sweetie, Aunt Cynthia

  17. lori bell permalink
    02.01.13 3:31 PM

    Alicia, thank you for your honesty. I admire your dedication and your view. I’m not running a farm, but your comments hit home with me in my life as a mom. The struggle to keep up an ‘everything is perfect’ image is something many of us deal with . Thank you for your sincerity and for providing beauty, through your photos and your analogies, in times of cowpies. xo

    • 02.04.13 5:34 PM

      You are so welcome, Lori. Thank you for taking the time to share your encouraging words with me. I truly appreciate them. I hope that the community here will continue to be inspired and spurred on in each of our unique lives- farming or otherwise :)

  18. 02.02.13 12:52 PM

    When I start looking at the grass on the other side I know it’s time to turn off the computer, head to the barn, and get hands on time with the animals. Nothing like snuggling up to a warm goat while milking on a cold day to remind me why I spend too much of my life driving, delivering, talking on the phone/email, and looking at way too many red numbers in quickbooks. We have not chosen the easiest of paths but we have chosen the easiest path to a life filled with meaning, your pictures are proof plenty.

    • 02.04.13 5:33 PM

      I so agree, Brooke! I definitely have started to realize what my “triggers” are- and usually anything online is in that category. It’s just not worth looking at something in that moment, or for that day, and rather it is best to do something that generates positive thoughts :)

    • 02.04.13 5:37 PM

      So very true, Brooke. So true.

    • 02.04.13 7:23 PM

      Oh my gosh, Brooke, your comment rings true for me. Even the most mundane chores bring peace to my day and make me remember why we chose this life.

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