Growing up, my father read to me, and had me memorize Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If”. I was nine years old when I first recited the entire poem without hesitation or mistakes. He was so proud of me! I was much, much older before I understood what it meant. One phrase of that poem has always stayed with me and guided my decisions;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
I seem to have spent the past week living through this phrase. My borehole malfunctioned! Again! Sometimes I have to wonder whether the universe is saying something, only it’s speaking in a language I am unable to understand or interpret. In the middle of 31degree (Celsius) heat, my borehole stopped producing water. I am so tired of this borehole I want to shoot it! So now all I have is the will which says “Hold on”. The borehole has been flushed, but the water production has not improved. So, I sent the engineers back to the drawing board to get me answers. After all, is that not what engineers do? Find solutions?
The engineers had shown up at the farm, together with a hydrogeologist. The thinking was we needed to be sure the borehole was correctly located, even as we flushed it and ensured it was devoid of silt.
The hydrogeologist showed up with dowsing rods. I could not believe that we were going to find underground water using what seemed to me to be high end sorcery sprinkled with science. Anyway, off we went, dowsing rods in hand, Mooshoo in tow and a very skeptical me leading the way around the farm. Apparently, the dowsing rods identify the spot where water should be found. I had to hold those rods and get a feel of how they point out water sources. I wanted to feel if this was real or it was contrived to squeeze money out of my pocket. It was surprisingly real!
Once the dowsing rods marked “X” on the ground, the underground penetrating radar is used to assess the geology to establish depth at which water can be found and the rock formations there-in. That information, found in a long hydrogeologists report, is what the borehole drillers use to get water. Apparently, my borehole was sunk in the wrong “X” spot.
One of the things I have going for me in this venture (misadventure?) is that I can laugh at myself. Its also the fact that I tend to see the glass as half full and even appreciate the existence of the glass! Few things get me down. So, the upside of this story is that; I have a borehole; I know where a borehole should be sunk; I have some water; the engineers are finding solutions and my farm is still sort of ok!
So, what else has been going on at the farm? Well, the chicks have been consistently hatching, so I guess Mother humans won this round. The goats are healthier than I have ever seen them. Then again, goats do really well in dry weather. The cows too are holding their own, and everything seems to be in its place. Except for one thing! Luna has been derelict in her duties! I bumped into a moth the other evening. In the house! None of those Apache Helicopter sized monsters, but a moth nonetheless! How could Luna do this to me? Has she forgotten her status as my best friend? We need to have a very serious conversation about her duties.
Mooshoo and Houdini (aka Nala) have become inseparable. Whenever I spend time at the farm, they sit in shaded corners together plotting who knows what. Mooshoo loves spending time at the farm. She thrives on walking about without a leash. The long walks to the borehole and the dam and the farm make her feel all grown up and important. She has a strut she does when on the farm! She does not walk, she struts.
Even as I write this, the fundamental question I ask myself is this – when does one know if they should keep going or stop going all together? Then again, if I stop going, what happens next? Farming is my life blood. Without it I will die. So, for now, I will keep going. And I live by the creed of a poem left to me by my father ages ago;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;