farming, Uncategorized

Plan? What plan?

I had a friend ask me what my “5 year plan” was. But sometimes, I don’t even know what the 5-day plan is. But I think in 5 years, my life will look a lot like it does today. And that doesn’t scare me one bit. There’s no such thing as boredom on the farm – I don’t feel trapped here, or tied down in any way. I mean sure, if I won an Alaskan cruise I would have to parcel out all these chores to different families, so they wouldn’t get overwhelmed or run away screaming..but I haven’t entered any contests lately, so I don’t think that will be a problem.

In 5 years, I hope we have a new chicken coop, and water piped up there so I can have ducks again. I’ve already drawn plans to build movable stalls in the horse barn, and we have the lumber to do it. I’d like to fertilize and sow seed in the pasture, then maybe get a few cows.. I plan on getting new siding for the house, gutters too. We need to replace the windows. We need to fix the bush-hog, and get a utility trailer for the 4-wheeler. Right now I have 2 brush piles waiting to be burned, but I’m sure there will be new ones to light then too.

We did burn some brush today, the enormous pile of limbs and leftover barn from the great Post-Christmas Work Day. A few friends came out to help me stack wood in the shed, and we tended the fire all day. It’s still burning now, low and slow, but I can see bright little flames from the window. My hair and my clothes smell of smoke, and there is black soot under my fingernails. I kept taking off my gloves and laying them down, and eventually gave up on wearing them at all. But it was a great day. I hope in 5 years from now, they will still come out and help me with those random projects that would take me ages to complete on my own. Things like cleaning fence rows, or clearing the creek bed, or finally going through all those boxes in the basement..

That’s part of farming though. I have been here almost 2 years and it’s a community project. There is always, always something that needs doing. Different seasons bring different responsibilities. And that’s part of what I love about it – every day is guaranteed to be different. You’re never really done. You just do what you can for the day with your own two hands, once every one is fed and watered and put up, you can fall into bed and dream about doing it the next day.

I have not ever loved anything as much as I love farming. And I don’t think it’s really something I can explain. It feels like this is what I was born to do. It’s inside of me, somehow, like this dirt and clay I call home runs through my own veins. Today flew by – we worked hard, got a few cuts and splinters, but there was laughter and water breaks too. Then that big sigh when you look at a shed full of wood for next winter, and you know that one more thing is done until then. Sadie made pea salad and spaghetti bake, and we all ate until we were stuffed.

In 5 years, I hope there are more meals and laughter. More gardening, canning, mowing, and feeding. More chickens and eggs, and more hay put up in the barn. More sunrises over the mountains, and watching the sunset from the porch. I want there to be more writing too – I don’t write as often as I should. There are always stories to tell, it’s just finding the time to stop living them, and start telling them. I am looking forward to these next 5 years of life, of farming, and everything in between.


A to Zoe

Just ate a cold chicken leg and it was probably the best thing that’s happened to me all night. Sadie knows what she’s doing, she could fry award-winning chicken in her sleep. Where did I leave off? Spring has sprung at the farm and it’s truly magical. Everything in sight is neon green, with a nice cool breeze and a clear blue sky.

The horses are certainly feeling their oats, they run across the field, over the creek and rush up the hill when it’s time for breakfast. Last night, I heard hooves going across the pasture. Even though I couldn’t seem them, I pictured all four of them bucking and kicking, running around each other like ballet dancers on a stage. And the donkey following along behind at her own pace, closing the curtain with a bray and a bow.

We decided to have a garden this year – with Nana in and out of the hospital, we debated taking the year off but Sadie and I both love it so much, we’re going for it. I need to get a load of sawdust to put the onion sets in, but the Explorer has a flat tire and our air compressor quit. Sadie picked up a new one Saturday, but I have yet to get it out of the box! It’s a work in progress.

Long story short, we fostered a goldie mix last fall, she was with us for almost two weeks and I fell in love. She belonged to a man who lived up the road and had been out of town that week, he took her back and I hated to see her go. She would get out from time to time and stop by the farm, she stayed with me one rainy afternoon when I was fixing fence, sometimes she would come by for a drink and a pat before heading on her way.

Last week, he drove by and told Sadie she had ran off again and he was going to get rid of her. I was in the barn, hard-brush in my hand and Tug dozing by the gate, when they came in to tell me the news. Scott took his ball cap off, scratched his head, and sighed. He said “I’m gettin’ rid uver, if yew wanner she’s yours.” I looked at Sadie and smiled, and that was it. “She’s dun run off, if yew finder yew can ‘ave er.”

Sadie walked him back to the road and I saddled up Tug and we went down to the red barn, I was grinning from ear to ear. We loped around in the fresh green grass, the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. After we were both out of breath, we cooled off and headed home. At the end of that stunning, rippling green field, I saw a gold flash. She was bounding across the grass, head and tail up. I whooped and she ran right over, we chased each other back to the house and Sadie let her in the front door.

She’s been home ever since. I re-named her Zoe, because let’s face it, she needs to be the last animal we get for a while. Although between Sadie and I, that’s probably unlikely.  She said “You can bring home anything you want, as long as it isn’t a snake.” Sadie has a thing for snakes, I have a things for wasps. We balance each other out.