Posted in Farm life

Finding Stress Relief

Life has been pretty stressful lately. Nothing is new there, life is always stressful, but this week it just all seemed to accumulate more than usual. Yesterday it boiled over and I just had an obscenely bad day. 

By the time I got home all I wanted to do was curl up in bed in the fetal position and forget the world. 

I fed the horses, poor mud covered and ignored souls, and happened to look over at the shelter. While many people tell me that their shelters remain empty even in the worst weather, my two prefer to remain out of the elements as much as possible. With all the rain we have received, they have spent hours upon hours inside staying dry. One look at the ground and I was appalled. Too much to apparently remember to snag a picture, but the ground was not only torn up but was also knee deep soupy mud. 

Something needed to be done, so instead of fading into the oblivion of an early bed time I dragged the boys to Home Depot to see what we could do. I really want to put pea gravel in, but we had neither the time to dig all the way down and set the stone properly or the money to get enough to cover the 200 sq ft shelter floor. 

Instead we settled for some sand. We bought 30 bags and covered the ground to help with drainage and hopefully keep there hooves and legs out of the worst of it. Poor Dusty hauled those bags and dumped them for me. This was halfway through.

Perfect solution? No, but I’m really hoping we eventually return to more normal rain fall amounts. Prior to the recent deluge the ground was remaining perfect in there. It’s hard to cope with the 5″ of rain we have had in the last 3 weeks. 

While the boys were playing in the mud and sand, I grabbed the riding mower. The pasture is going to seed in places and the horses are just not able to keep it all eaten down which is resulting in over grazed areas and tall regions where the grass has gotten too fibery for them to want to eat. It was time to mow. 

First time on the riding mower

I headed into the pasture and began to mow as the sun threatened to set. About 15 minutes and a few stripes later I came to a screeching halt. 

Look at how tall the grass has gotten! All the rain plus the two entire days they spent inside the shelter to avoid the rain really helped it grow

I had run out of gas. Ugh. 

I left the mower in the pasture, mush to Petes delight as he promptly went over to explore, and headed to the gas station. I wanted to mow dammit. 

Twenty minutes later I was back in my mower making my way up and down the pasture. 

It was a little slice of heaven. 

Watching the sun set behind one of the several ancient trees on the property

I sat on that mower as the sun set and stars peeked through the small breaks in the clouds. I listened to the songs of the birds that were loud enough to overcome the mower. I watched as Gem and Pete grazed. I breathed in the smells of freshly cut grass, clover and wild onion. 

All my stress melted away. All the emotions of the day were replaced by a deep inner peace. 

Gem and Pete grazing at the far end of the pasture while I mowed. They are equally grateful for some sun

The boys went to bed long before and it was just me and the pasture. Mowing is an intensely satisfying activity for those who need instant gratification. Watching the pasture go from unruly to even and well kept is nearly addictive. I didn’t want to stop.

As night fell, my world shrunk to the size of the headlight and any remaining concerns about my day, life and future were eliminated. All that mattered was lining up the tracks and mowing. 

Rhino keeping an eye on me

Unfortunately I needed to stop eventually. I got about half way through and it took 2 hours. I was worried about running out of gas again, there is no gas gauge, and having to push the mower all the way home which is a really long way to be pushing a dead mower. 

I’ll mow again tonight and finish it up if the rain holds off. 

I love living on the farm. It feeds my soul. It brings me peace. It helps settle the world. 

11 thoughts on “Finding Stress Relief

  1. I love this so much. I know exactly how you feel. I have had times like these and wanted to just crawl away. Then, it is like someone takes my hand and says you can and will do this because it needs to be done. Before you know it, the worries are gone and you are back at center again with peace. Able to see the beauty around you. The distraction. The purpose. Completion. Satisfaction. Being needed. One of the best parts of being a steward of animals and land! I am so glad you had this moment. Mowing is the same for me.

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      1. Yup. Do you remember the feeling when you turned it off? I love when you turn it off and the ‘silence’ and still comes in. So peaceful. Then you can really hear the sounds of nature.

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  2. Yes! This! I too had an obscenely bad day at work with all the stuff getting to be far too much. As soon as I start doing my chores it goes away.

    As for your shelter I would suggest drainage tile through the middle. I put it in along the side of the barn where their stalls are and it works very well to keep the mud manageable. Keeping the poop away helps too. another option are these soil stabilizers; https://www.systemfence.com/product/00/07-SS/Soil-Stabilization-13x13x30mm. I haven’t bought them because they are expensive but I’d love to put them in my gates

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    1. We don’t really want to sink a ton of money into property we don’t own or know how long we will live at. I will look into adding drainage tile. If it would just return to normal levels of rain we wouldn’t have any issue. Ugh

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  3. Simplicity. Sometimes it just takes a lawn mower to improve your day.

    As for the muck: we have a product here called MuckBuster. It is some sort of small wood chips. It sounds like sand is a good plan. But I mainly hope that it stops raining for you! Under my horse’s shelter we raised a section a bit with wood boards filled in with fill dirt, etc and mats. I like having a dry place for his feet he can stand out of the rain (since he thinks he melts.)

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  4. I love ride mowers! Sucks that it doesn’t have a gas gauge though, that would be a super far walk to push it back. I just listened to this NPR piece on how gut microbes can affect how we feel. I mean your a Dr so you might know more already .. but I guess lactobacilli cane help reduce how your body reacts to stress. I know I’ve felt elevated stress levels lately and plan to experiment with yogurt.

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  5. Oh for rain! We’re having a drought here in my part of Australia. No grass is growing and we’re hand feeding twice a day. The yards are dirt…

    But when we had a huge amount of rain last year I found woodchips in the shelters was a relatively cheap way to keep their hooves out of the mud.

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