17 September 2012

The Meaning Of Fences

The Meaning Of Fences

Robert Frost wrote poignantly about the meaning of fences in rural life, but fences have other significance for me. On a farm with animals on a trafficked road, they are critical, they set the tone and dimensions of life. On Bedlam Farm, where I have had sheep, goats, cows and donkeys, my fences have stood the test. No animal ever got out (except a few of the old sheep who crawled under the upper pasture fence where the dirt had eroded from rains) no predator – cept for the fox – ever got in. The last thing in the world you want to see is a sheep or donkey or cow in the road. Not only can the animals and people get hurt or killed, it is a continuing source of tension and difficulty.

And you sleep a lot better on a farm with good fences.

Todd Mason is a worker, like Ben, and he runs his driller like a maestro. Someone pointed out that Red is like Waldo in that he seems to be everywhere and that is true. Red is at ease everywhere, and never gets in the way. He is always around me, keeping an eye on things. Hard to imagine life before him. Todd is a like like Ben. He comes to work, not to play or shoot the breeze. He listens and makes sure the customer is getting what he wants. And he is also honest. I asked him if he loved his work, and he said, sure, otherwise he wouldn't be doing it.

When the fence is done, the farm will feel like ours, and I will trust it be able to plan life here. This is the pasture where Red will herd the sheep. The donkeys can come in to graze, but I suspect they will have great donkey fun eating the brush and scrub in the back of the farmhouse. I am not thinking of money, books, anything but getting the farm in shape this week. We need to be there. It is our place, or chapter, our destiny. I feel it.

Posted in Farm Journal, General

Ben At Barn’s End

Ben At The Barn

Ben and I have a meeting every morning when I get to the new farm, and things change so rapidly the meetings are outdated by lunch. He is finishing up the side walls of the Pole Barn.  Ben is as easy going as he is efficient. I is always fun to talk to him. The barn will be enclosed on three sides, open on one. The south side upper section, where Ben is standing, will be encased in corrugated plastic so the sun and light can come through, but not the snow or rain. Ben should finish the barn by tomorrow or two and then we will figure out how to do the Studio Barn were Maria will work. We discovered a broken roof beam in the attic today which either broke recently or wasn't noticed during our inspections.

The beam will have to be sistered – stabilized –  by winter before snow piles up on the roof. Todd Mason thinks he will have the fences up in a week and I'm considering bringing the sheep over to their pasture. We might build a small tin shelter for them, out of the sun and rain. I have the book tour coming up in late September, and early October and that will run through the middle of October, after which we plan to move. Since Bedlam Farm has not yet sold, we can move gradually, take our time. Workers from Common Sense Farm are coming to help clear away the debris from the old barn. And the electrician is putting 200 amp service into the house and wiring Maria's studio.

This is a big step, a big deal for the next chapter in our lives. I'll keep updating.

Posted in Farm Journal, General

Sheep Pasture.Taking Shape

Sheep Pasture

We will have a sheep pasture by the end of the day I think. Todd Mason is the man. We are so lucky to have these great people working on the farm. Laws of attraction?

Posted in General

Here Comes The Fence Man

Here Comes The Fence Man

Todd Mason started work on the new farm fences this morning, and if I ever think I am working too hard, I'll just think of Todd digging holes and pounding poles. He's great and he will have the sheep pasture mostly fenced in by this afternoon. I'll be posting updates here and you can also follow his work on his website. Todd says he loves what he does and works outside every day of the year, 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a few days off here and there. I believe it. Vermont people are unlike any other people in the honesty, hard work and diligence.

Posted in Farm Journal, General

Making Time For Stillness. For Life. Farm Hell.

Making Time For Stillness

All kinds of farm hell broke loose this morning, after I posted my first blog. Tess, one of Maria's sheep was in so much pain walking that she just sat down. I had a computer crisis and trouble with my photo program. An interview I forgot about was scheduled for 9 a.m. and I had to shift into book tour mode, walking around the pasture on my cell phone.  The waterer didn't work and the sheep wouldn't move, since Tess couldn't move. Red almost lost it. My Google ad program go messed up and had to be fix and I need to get to the new house to deal with fences, restorations, barns, and Rocky. Maria and I look at each other and had the same thought. Let's meditate for a few minutes, and so we did. We sat down with the dogs at our feet and took some deep breaths. At first we thought we were just too busy to meditate.

Then we realized we were too busy not to mediate. I need to make time for stillness for peace, to shed all the detritus life surrounds us with – anger, alarm, conflict, technology, the "crises" of life. And take time for us. For stillness. For peace. Off to the new house.

 

 

Posted in General