Stealing the Day
I feel like I have stolen this day. I took off from work, so instead of the usual morning routine I really took my time with farm chores this morning. Nothing grand, just a few extra moments to check over the animals, water the plants on the porch and brew a pot of fresh tea, which I just pulled off the stove burbling and gerking as I pour it into the teapot. Oh, it’s shear decadence for an office farmer to have a day off work.
Moments ago, when I walked outside, the grass was damp from the early morning fog. In spite of its sogginess, the sun was out; the sky was a clear blue and bounced off every tiny droplet. I breathed deep, taking it all in, savoring the taste. It’s hard to feel Zen though when sheep are baaing, hens are cackling, dogs are barking and a lone rabbit is racing around in his hutch. They all want breakfast and they all want it now. You can see how that moment wasn’t quite serene. But, it was to me.
Brianne and I started our morning chores like we always do, in the sheep pen. They are the most eager and can cause the most trouble if not fed promptly, so off she went to fill grain buckets, top off the water trough and throw a few handfuls of hay. I fed and checked on the dogs then moved towards the chicken coop to make sure we hadn’t lost anyone in the night. With the headcount complete I lifted the latch on the gate and let the hens out into the barn. From there they can make their way into the garden and around the yard.
Every day we let the hens out of their coop, and give them a chance to feel the warm sun, scratch in the dirt looking for bugs and peck at the green grass. They’re sneaky beasts though. Clever enough to fly over fences and too curious to stay out of the garden, so I keep them away from the lettuce just to give myself peace of mind.
A load of laundry I washed last night is ready to hang on the line. The sun was barely over the tree tops as I clipped each piece of clothing to the line. Laundry is an oddly calming job, almost therapeutic.
By the time we came inside I felt oddly refreshed from our slow morning of chores.
Our weekend mostly involved transporting sheep (Brianne was involved with a showmanship workshop) and June gardening.
I’ve come to the conclusion that “June gardening” is just a romantic way of saying weeding. I spent hours down on my hands and knees pulling intruders from between the rows. This year’s garden started out to be the most diverse we’ve ever attempted, and we have the weeds to show for it, but we haven’t been without our troubles. And, the only things that seem to be thriving in the garden are the rabbits and squirrels. Our verdant young peach tree that was loaded has now been stripped bare. Not one peach is left. Oh, a few pits clung to the branches, but nothing that’s edible for us. I don’t mind part of my crops going to the wildlife, but when they get greedy that’s another matter entirely.
This is a strange place to be a homesteader. I have never lived or worked with so many people that stand on both sides of the farming fence. Nearly half my neighbors grow their own, while the other half has no use for gardening at all. I’m sometimes a telephone farmer as well. Just yesterday, my neighbor Fran called to talk about the new chicks we had given her and how they were too timid to go inside the coop, so spent the night under the ramp that leads to the coop. Seems like everyone’s working for their supper these days.
As I type things are pretty quiet outside, which is a rare occurrence. Their mouths must be full. From the kitchen door I can see the roosters strut around the yard guarding his girls. I see the sheep frolicking and chasing each other in their fenced yard. I know the rabbit is content and the dogs are napping after their morning meal. And me—the Queen of all this majesty¬—am enjoying a cup of tea smooth enough to calm any savage beast.
Not a bad way to start a stolen day. Not bad at all.
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