You know that moment when you think, oh well, it can't get worse than this?
We lost the remainder of the mature batch of meat birds last night, the ones due to go for processing tomorrow, the fifty we hoped might at least pay for the feed and incubation costs of the lost birds.
We think we're up against more than one wiley fox that's figured out the electric mesh fence, the tested and trusted fence which has kept all our birds safe for two and a half years so far. The shooter we hoped would come last night couldn't. We double-fenced, used the fox lights, and set the fox trap. I left very early to visit my Mum in hospital in Sydney, recovering from an operation (she's doing very well, thank you), and I checked in mid morning to find Adam pretty much sans sense of humour. There's just no words really. So that's not why I'm writing.
This happens to farmers all the time, all over the country. Whatever you're doing and on whatever scale, you find yourself down to small change and brass tacks. The difference is this.
I got to bring home the cavalry.
We tried to say no thank you, obviously stay with Mum who isn't being discharged for a number of days, but the combination of the two of them, my parents, when they've made their mind up, is formidable. And it's Dad. He's awesome in a crisis. And has a gun licence. And can find fox tracks in the grass like a magician and has all sorts of solutions we'd never think of.
He's home for the night and the shooter arrived as well (with extras) and the layers are locked down and everything's going to be OK. It really is.
Because the other major difference is that we're not doing this on our own. Many, many farmers feel like Robinson Crusoe. Like lonely solo worker bees, incredibly vulnerable to guilt and despair and a sense of failure. What you've given us, every one of you reading this, every comment here and across social media, is a feeling of community. Like this really does ultimately effect all of us, every dairy farmer who stands over a cow down with milk fever, every market gardener looking at a crop of cabbages that were perfect yesterday and lie shredded after last night's hailstorm, everything that effects the person trying to grow the food we eat effects all of us.
And that is the sound of the food revolution in motion.
We don't want to eat industrially produced food that suppresses animals into systemic misery and ultimately poisons us all. We don't want vegetables that have to be washed in bleach to remove the poisonous chemicals they've been doused in to reduce bugs and maximise shelf-life.
The change is here. People are growing food differently, on small and large scales, and people are connecting with it.
So over here we are held up by the wave of compassion you sent at us. Friends and strangers have offered help and advice. We're a tiny little farm. But it turns out people seriously care whether small farms fail or succeed and this can only be marvellous.
And when it comes down to brass tacks, we've got the cavalry here.
We won't be eating chicken for a bit but we've got veggies. We'll never be hungry. I hope you won't be either.
Just when you think the sweetness has gone out of it and your heart is a drone, how about that, you find oranges at the back of the coffee grove.
I am so, so thankful for oranges. You rock.