tough times make us thankful

Sunshine? Sometimes you have to make your own. Thanks girls...
Sunshine? Sometimes you have to make your own. Thanks girls…


Aaarrrrgggghhh! That’s right, I’ll say it again – AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!

It’s been some week, filled with high highs and low lows.

So, this isn’t the usual Thanksgiving post, filled with cozy recipes and turkey tips. I resisted the factory turkey shaming too. This year, my thoughts are more about how, in the midst of even our most grumbly, hum buggy, mundane days, it’s good work to step back and reflect on the lessons of our daily grind.

Can we meet our individual challenges with grace,  temperance and yes, thankfulness? 

In the high-highs department, I was very excited about the new roof on the barn. Which fast tracks us to the low-lows department where my new roof blows off in our super-heavy windstorms.

But guess what?  The roof just neatly flipped over to a safe, open spot protected from wind and animals and no one was hurt. Sure it’s a bit rumpled, and I’ll have to work around it until it can be repaired, and it will cost more money that I don’t really have.

Sum total: Grateful

In suburban/urban life, it’s easy to ignore the unimaginable fact that things are not as buttoned-down as we believe. But farmers are reminded daily that life is filled with variables we simply cannot control. You can act in ways that influence the outcome, but you will never have complete control.

And, the true significance of events can never be understood as they are occurring, for in every event there are elements of both good and bad. Exactly the opposite of our American culture of constant commentary, instant summation and on-the-spot analysis.

The parable of the Taoist farmer is the perfect example:

There was once a Taoist farmer. One day the Taoist farmer’s only horse broke out of the corral and ran away. The farmer’s neighbors, all hearing of the horse running away, came to the Taoist farmer’s house to view the corral. As they stood there, the neighbors all said, “Oh what bad luck!” The Taoist farmer replied, “Maybe.”

About a week later, the horse returned bringing with it a whole herd of wild horses, which the Taoist farmer and his son quickly corralled. The neighbors, hearing of the corralling of the horses, came to see for themselves. As they stood there looking at the corral filled with horses, the neighbors said, “Oh what good luck!” The Taoist farmer replied, “Maybe.”

At that same time in China, there was a war going on between two rival warlords. The warlord of the Taoist farmer’s village was involved in this war. In need of more soldiers, he sent one of his captains to the village to conscript young men to fight in the war. When the captain came to take the Taoist farmer’s son he found a young man with a broken leg who was delirious with fever. Knowing there was no way the son could fight, the captain left him there. A few days later, the son’s fever broke. The neighbors, hearing of the son’s not being taken to fight in the war and of his return to good health, all came to see him. As they stood there, each one said, “Oh what good luck!” The Taoist farmer replied, “Maybe.”

My roof event was just one happening in an eventful week. There was other juicy stuff too: sudden & wicked cold, frozen tractor engine, frozen hay, car wouldn’t start, fencing blew down, cows escaping, pigs nearly busting loose, but know what?  I managed, and for that, I’m thankful.


What doesn’t break you makes you stronger, right?  May be. What hard-to-love things are you thankful for this year?

6 thoughts on “tough times make us thankful

  1. What a week! I recall those weeks. Sometimes there are several in a row before the light begins to shine again. For the last two years I have been working my career instead of working the land. I miss my five acres of cows, piggies, turkeys, goats and chickens. The work was physical, mental and emotional. Seems like for every success there were plenty of fails, but being able to fight through the tough times made me feel alive.
    Happy Thanksgiving! Happy pie day!

  2. we had a really difficult year- why do we keep pushing so hard hoping -this year, yes this is the last really hard one. My answer to your question right now would be my husband!

    1. Sorry to hear things are rough. Starting a business of any kind is like that. No more going home and forgetting about it ’till Monday… it’s a constant pressure, struggle and worry. Hard to know when it’s just the dark before the dawn and when it simply ain’t working.

      And, hard on a marriage, hence my divorce. Hope you get is all sorted out Khati.

  3. This morning I have been going backwards catching up and enjoying your posts. It’s funny, I’ve heard this Taoist parable before and have been looking for it. WALA!

    Also, I must say, hoping not to sound all wispy washy, you, your blog, your ladies and gents of the farm are such a life’s inspiration. To do what you do with so many ups and downs, taking the life that you have chosen in stride is something I am working towards in my own life.

    Stay warm,

    1. Thanks Bonnie,
      What timing for your kind words. I was just thinking about opening up all the doors & gates, cashing out my last few dollars, getting in my car and driving to anywhere. It sounded extremely logical… but the car wouldn’t start, lol.

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