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  • Writer's pictureRyan & Ally Gerken

Cheers to Living

As of today, I am slowly getting hours back at an on and off again job that I have had here in Colorado since 2012, Ryan is back to work, we have three little ones at home, it's about to be planting season again for Gekren’s Organics, we have Nonprofit Gardens to tend to, a bank account that has suffered the wrath of Covid, we added 20 more chicks to the farm a few days ago bringing the total (we hope) to 56 hens and 4 roosters, we are expecting some baby sheep from our neighbor here soon, Petunia’s buddies should be arriving here end of March, and our taxes are due!


Our property is 40 acres, 7 or so of that is an adobe that runs down the middle where Ryan’s shop, our house, and driveway sit. The adobe splits our land in two halves, one of which we have offered our 70 something year old neighbor to farm on because we can’t afford to right now. It's a good trade, Ryan gets free tractor work and advice from him in return. The girls call him Tractor Ben, and holey moley he was born on February 17th (again that is my daughters and grandmother’s birthday). Those little coincidences are always signs that I am where I am supposed to be.

Ryan and I have now to focus on the other half of our farm, which is roughly 20 acres. This year we plan to certify organic and put up a deer fence, requiring us to scrap the barbed wire fence that we currently have. It will be a large investment, however, those pesky prairie dogs I shared about well they are back! In repairing our fence we will be able to let our dogs loose for the entire day and that will take care of that problem! Ryan wanted me to learn how to shoot his gun to manage the problem; but hell-to-the-no! As upset as those little guys make me for eating our crops, they are adorable. Plus it’s just not something that aligns with me.

Though I don’t completely know all the things that do or do not align with me - does anyone really? I think we are all always open to change and never-say-never, is an alright and mostly accurate motto. I actually do think people change, often in fact. I have never farmed before and I am brand new to being a “planet protector”, so lots of change to come my way I am sure. I thought I would never kill an animal, but as our baby chicks turn to roosters, roosters are mean. I can’t sell them or give them away because cock-fighting is an issue out here (and everywhere), I won't have that be the life for them. I am left to take care of them as they are and if they become even more aggressive, well who knows… I may need to ask Tractor Ben’s wife Darla, to show me how to “dress a chicken”. I just don’t know how it will play out but if the roosters have to go they are going here and I am going to do it myself, to me that is the only thing that feels right. Shooting a prairie dog doesn’t feel right!

As we continue to add more and more heart beats to this farm, my heart grows and so does my worry (something I am working on). I still can’t believe we have all 40 chickens from one year ago, that is truly unheard of, and knock-on-wood I don’t jinx it!!

Historically I would live life holding my breath waiting for the day that a dog would die, my child would get into a car accident texting and driving (BTW they are 2, 3, and 5 - WTF??) Ryan's plane crashes or more recently a deer takes him out on his way to or from work, and Lord knows whatever else. I am certain I adopted this trait from my grandmother. She always paced back and forth, up and down the living room at night worrying. I never understood, now that I have love in my life, I understand.

Worry will likely always be for me, but I can change how I respond to that worry so it doesn’t prevent me from living life and keep me holding my breath - I need to breathe to live. I am so freaking EVERY EMOTION about bringing all this new life on to our farm, and the life that will come after, and the life that is ALREADY here but that is living for me. When I had everything safely tucked away and perfectly organized and knew not just my next step but my next four steps - that was fear of life not living.

Cheers to living!

Be Kind. Be Positive.

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