• John Hogeland

3 AM, Worry Time

When I was little, sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night to realize that the light in the kitchen was on. Often, I would get up and find my father at the table with a glass of milk, a banana and a piece of toast with peanut butter on it. He never explained why he was up, usually he just said that he couldn't sleep and that this small meal, for whatever reason, helped.

@melissaparhm painted our cows munching away

Flash forward and it is 3:30 in the morning, the alarm is set for 5:30 and I am not sleeping. The stars shine brightly in the deep of the night - no hint yet of gloaming in the east. Lightning bugs, so prevalent in the early night are quiescent, with nary a spark to light the grasses. Only I am up.

This was not a problem I had when living in the city, but now I have followed my father to become a creature of the 2:30 to 4:30 worries. No matter how exhausted I am on going to bed, I awaken during this time, my mind running over all of the things to do, problems to solve and things that, in the middle of the night, it feels like I am failing at.


Tonight, it starts with water. We haven't had rain for almost 3 weeks and the creeks are drying up. Nearly two weeks of three t-shirt days, with 90 degree temperatures and 90 percent humidity, have taken a toll. Yesterday, I watched as the forecasted and eagerly awaited thunderstorms rolled across Iowa toward us and then parted like the red sea for Moses to leave us dry. I try not to take it personally, but I really needed that rain to make my grazing rotation work correctly.



Anjuli Deb (Instagram @anjulideb) painted three of our yealings

But the truth is, dry weather shouldn't have been a problem. I have a cost share program with the USDA ready to go to put in four new waterers fed by our ponds - except that I haven't gotten anyone hired to do the work yet. I have hesitated to spend the money, even though the government will pay for a large part of the bill. I have been through times in my life where I lived a paycheck away from being out on the streets, each new bill digging me a slightly deeper hole to climb out of. There are times when that experience freezes me in place, too afraid to spend the money that will solve a problem.


And so now, I have waited too long and am going to have to change my grazing plan to adjust to our lack of rain and my lack of confidence.


Then there is the house. It is livable, yes. Some parts are beginning to show how fantastic our home will be when it is finished - if it ever gets finished. Our contractor has fallen off the face of the earth, so I have stripped all of the siding and put on the house wrap myself (with the help of my sister and Beth). I have hung mirrors and put in lights and a fan, but our house needs to have the siding on before I can really consider getting much else done, and I have a lot to do. Too much to spend large amounts of time worrying and working on house siding that should be done. It should be someone else's problem, I just want to help, not drive the bus.


And the goats we are to buy in August, and the fencing, and the seeding, and the farm planning. All of it wakes me up in the night, like a roomful of angry picketers, all pushing their agendas in my face, asking to be next.


Oy. At least the blog post is done now. Where's the damn peanut butter?



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