Monday, December 21, 2015

It's Been A Long December...

I have that Counting Crows song in my head "it's been a long December and there's reason to believe, that maybe this year will be better than the last."  It's capturing my mood perfectly these days because I tell you what, it's been a long December around these parts.

When we first decided to do Christmas Lights, I had misgivings (see previous blog post), mostly about the amount of time it was going to take to get it up and I didn't want to miss out on family time around the holiday.  Had I known how much blood, sweat, and tears it was going to take I'd have definitely put my foot down and no amount of persuasion would have been able to talk me into it.  It was hard, really hard.  The weather wasn't awesome on the weekends in November, we were trying to keep overhead as low as possible in case this wasn't a hit, and we ended up doing an insane mad dash scramble just to get the props up...and then since we've opened we've had light problems, wiring problems, generator problems, radio problems (if I never see another radio it will be too soon), weather problems (remember that rogue windstorm last week?  It blew down half our props and now it's going to rain most of this week)'s just been one thing after another every week.  Then factor in the customers...maybe that's our fault.  We decided to do it too late and weren't able to get the word out.  Maybe people don't really understand what we're trying to do out here.  Maybe they don't want to walk (it's not far I swear!).  Maybe it's just too busy of a season for us to try to do anything.  Maybe we're just burned out from the fall and the craziness that entails.  Maybe our heart's just not in it (more about that in the ensuing paragraphs), I'm not sure.  We've had some steady nights and we know it's going to take time for us to build up a customer base, but it's not been busy.  So if you're looking a light display show without a wait, come see us (of course, it looks like tonight might be our last night open, since the forecast is for rain the rest of the week)!

Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
It's amazing how much Christmas lights will do in a cornfield.
Even the tractor got a little bling!
Another tough pill to swallow this year, we will not have a 2016 strawberry crop.  I know, I know, I hate it more than you know (even though I like to gripe about how much work they are).  It's like a part of our farm is missing.  I can't tell you how sad I am about it.  We tried to plant, we went and got all the materials, and then it rained, and rained, and rained, and so by the time it dried out enough to plant, we were almost a month behind planting (not to mention in the middle of the corn maze season and slam busy) and then The Husband got busy traveling around handling claims with his job (he works a lot in SC, where they had 30 inches of rain in a weekend) and when he wasn't busy, it rained again.  So we were a month and a half behind and every forecast I saw said it was going to be cold and wet.  We could push the plants if it was going to be a warmer winter, but if it's going to be cold, we found out last year, there's not any pushing you can do.  So instead of starting the season already behind and trying to run and play catch-up all winter and spring, we decided to lay out a year and plant again next fall.  We might be down, but don't count us out.  We will have a crop in 2017.

As if the business issues weren't enough, we've been through the ringer in our own family too.  I don't like to talk a lot about our personal lives here, because I feel like you're reading to learn about the farm not my life, but just this once, indulge me.  The first full week of December we were all sick with different things, viruses, colds, diverticulitis flare ups.  Then my 92 year old grandfather got sick and ended up in the hospital.  Three days later, last Sunday the 13th, he passed away.

I cannot quantify how much that man meant to me.  He was the rock of our family, the sun we all orbited around, and for me especially (I think maybe I didn't even realize how much until he was gone).  My parents were divorced and I have never been close to my father, something that has only grown worse since I've gotten older and had my own children (I like to live a drama-free life as much as humanly possible, and with my step-mother in the picture that's impossible).  I have a step-dad I love and who loves me, but he's not been the constant figure my granddaddy was.  Donald Herring was the person I measured all others by.  After my mama, he was the one who's opinion mattered the most, the one who loved me completely and unconditionally.  He was my role model and the best man I know or ever will know I think, though my Uncle Pat is a close second.  Now that he is gone, everything will change.  My grandmother has gone to live at Brookdale (what used to be The Pines) because she is unable to live alone (though so far she's doing well, a small blessing), when I have questions about things I can't ask my granddaddy anymore, my kids will never appreciate what an amazing person he was (I know I can tell them, but I've learned with trying to explain my sister to them that there are things they'll just never know.  The Boy will somewhat, but The Girl will not remember him much if at all).  Change is scary.  I know from losing my sister that our family will heal (as best you can) and it will not always be this way, but for right now we're hurting.
My grandparents taken the day before their 71st wedding anniversary last month
The Girl and her Grandpapa taken summer before last.
The Boy and Grandpapa, taken in 2010
So now that I've got you good and thoroughly depressed...

I can't end on a bad note.  Someone told me at the funeral my grandparents were strong people, both 'pull themselves up by their bootstraps' kind of people.  I agreed, and I hope that I've inherited some of that mentality.  I've had some pretty dark times in my life, and I have to say even though I'm sad and life will be harder for a time, this is not the darkest time I've ever experienced.  I have two beautiful healthy kids and a job I love and a family and community who is amazing, my cup runneth over.  Tomorrow is another day, 2016 is another year, the CSA sign ups are approaching and I'm excited to see what this spring will hold for our farm without strawberries.  We're exploring field trip and weekend event ideas, and it's going to be great.  So from my family to yours, please accept our heartfelt Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and lets celebrate being here to celebrate it!

1 comment:

  1. So very sorry to hear about your Grandpa! Our thoughts and prayers are with you. As far as the Christmas display goes... you guys did a great job! I know it was a lot of work but we really really appreciate it. It was just enough, not too little, not too big. Just the right amount of walking to where the kids didn't get cranky, but actually enjoyed it! The tractor ride back and the s'mores were a HUGE hit with my daughter and nephew! We appreciate everything that you do, from Christmas light displays to corn mazes to pumpkins to CSAs to educational field trips. Odom Farms is OUR farm and we hope to continue to support you for as long as we live here! Merry Christmas! The Murdock family