I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Friday, 16 February 2007

farm life, sort of

Looking ahead ...

... to the mornings when instead of drafts coming in the windows, I will awaken to birdsong and the sweet breeze coming across the fields.

... to the mornings when the trip to the chicken coop does not require bundling up and hoping to get there before the eggs freeze, then returning to the coop so the hens have water that's not frozen solid. I think the chickens are literally feeling cooped up and will themselves be happy to get out in their run again.

... to the mornings when I stop on the way back from the coop to pause by the garden, sneak a few fresh beans, and marvel at how much grows from tiny seeds.

... to days when all the windows are open and the clothes come in from the line smelling like a piece of heaven.

... to the mornings when I'm awakened by the sun on my face and the mooing of the cows that board here in the summer. Well, sometimes the mooing. At 5:30, it's not always appreciated, especially since then I wonder if they've escaped and are themselves sneaking a taste of my veggies.

... to the delight on the girls' faces as they explore and learn about nature at the creek.

Simple pleasures. Ones that make all the work here worthwhile.

But here we are in February, so we make the best of it. The temp is supposed to be better this weekend for being outside so we plan to get the new snow off the creek and do some skating.

And for a bit of farm life ...
... yesterday Sam (5 year-old German shepherd and not the brightest thing on four legs, typically) became 'Sam the Mighty Hunter'. I was outside and saw him pouncing in the snow and sticking his nose in, then pouncing again. So we figure, the 7 brain cells must be running amok today. Turns out he tracked down and fished a mouse (or vole?) out of the snow - the little critters stay awake in this cold weather, and stay insulated under the snow and make little tunnels through it (this is, of course, when they're not coming into my house and making holes in bags of food and leaving little 'calling cards' in my cupboards.) He found it and kept hunting it as it ran through the powdery stuff, then caught it and flung it up in the air and caught it in his mouth. By the time I got there the little thing was past helping. When I returned a few minutes later, it was gone. Much as I'm sorry for the mousie I was mildly amused at the look on Sam's face. He was rather pleased with himself and got a snack to boot.

It's interesting that while life here has taught us to appreciate growth and life, it's also shown us the other side of things. Like dogs preying on small rodents. Like realizing that when we see a heron stalking by the creek, or a hawk circling lazily over the fields, or hear the coyotes yipping and howling at night, there are predators going about their business of finding lunch. And learning that sometimes farm animals get themselves into scrapes and don't make it. Last summer we boarded 21 cows, each with a calf. Late in the summer I found one calf just standing all alone, not moving, the rest of the herd nowhere around. Odd. I went into the field and he didn't move, not even when I got close. They're usually very leery of us. I got right up and even patted him but still nothing. So I called their owner who came over and realized the calf had likely gotten into something and, as a result, was standing there blinded. End of the story was, this calf and two others died from lead poisoning. It wasn't until December that Derek found the old car battery that someone years ago had thrown into the edge of the field; the calves had been licking it in their kid-like curiosity, not knowing any better.

Three years ago we still lived in a huge, modern house in a nice neighborhood. The drafty farmhouse has been a place of healing, growing together, learning about life, and gaining new appreciation for simplicity. It's worth it.


sue said...

The cold, dark days of February are what make the things of birdsong, fresh veggies, and clothes off the line that much more special and appreciated.

I repeat what I wrote in your book... you really are a farm girl at heart. This life suits you.

barb said...

It's sort of funny, considering we grew up in the city. Without even the stereotypical 'aunt so-and-so's farm' to visit in the summer. It's been interesting that since moving here my mom has told me farm stories about her own childhood that I'd never heard before. She was telling R about how she used to go and gather eggs, and the cows, and all that.

Jennifer said...

add more descriptions...write a book....