Not Burning Daylight

Thursday, July 1, 2010

There is a cool late afternoon breeze outside our little farmhouse as I type. It’s a welcome change compared to just a few short days ago, when the days were warm and summer seemed to break out into its normal weather patterns. Days are longer too. It’s light enough to work until almost 8:30PM.

After work I took time out to play with the dogs, water the garden, let the chickens out to run around and check the progress of Brianne’s market lambs. This has been an ambitious year for our little homestead. Between the garden, the animals, the shows, job, school…all of it feeling more intense than years past, more intense than I ever imagined when I first started this blog.

I had no idea my life would lead me to a homestead in suburbia, to raising sheep, rabbits, and chickens… Yet here I am, writing you fresh from a short nap on my back lawn. I fell asleep because I stopped moving. I have found this to be a common side effect of what are suppose to be the lazy days of summer.

I love our little farm, but this month has taught me a new kind of tired. I have never been this consistently sore and exhausted in my life. It’s the kind of work that leaves you aching, reeling, and hopeful at the end of every day. It is a lucky place to find yourself. To know you’re alive and healthy enough to take care of others, and make dinner rise out of the ground like Lazarus himself.

We use up every minute of daylight at the end of the day. There is so much to be done – plant, feed, water, tend. We’ve been doing battle with ground squirrels, rabbits and gophers that have wrecked havoc on our garden. Sometimes I feel that with the fairs coming up quickly it may be fruitless to replant. Literally. Fortunately we have a long growing season so there is still time to plant beds of root crops for winter canning. Over a long weekend I can replant squash and beans and maybe even a short harvest pumpkin patch. I do this all for the October that I love dearly.

Brianne’s show sheep are doing well and in just a few short weeks we’ll be off to the state fair. The chicks we hatched in March are getting bigger by the day and we finally identified the young roosters. Their adolescent crowing is a dead give away, a contorted combination of crooning and gagging. They’ll be taken to the feed store and given away. We’ve already made a winter’s batch of blueberry jam and we have a date with friends to make salsa and pickles next week. All is well here on our little homestead, and I know in my heart that all this work is not wasted. You pay it forward in this world, and I’m happy to shell out. Come fall we’ll be eaten like kings in spite of the four-legged varmints that mock our efforts.

Music seeps through the open windows, the dogs roll in the cool grass, there’s still a glint of daylight as I finally put dinner on the table. Fall is not far off, folks. Not far off at all.

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