Sometimes, it seems to me as if Maria and Rocky are sharing secrets, telling stories to one another, exchanging images about the mystery of life. They talk to each other all the time, I see it in the photos. They share a frequency.
Ben can build big barns and smaller ones too. The skidbarn is one of the oldest kinds of barns, built for many years by farmers who moved animals from pasture to pasture. Sunday we are moving the sheep to the new farm, suddenly and ahead of schedule because there is footrot, a viral disease in the soil that leaves sheep and their feet infected and in pain, at Bedlam Farm. I didn't want to put them into the pole barn with Rocky and we didn't have shelter for them in their pasture.
It can take years to eradicate footrot – they keep reinfecting themselves – so we are treating the sheep in the barn and moving them out tomorrow without touching our soil again. I have spent a few years studying animal management on a farm and living it, and I know life is much easier of sheep are separated from equines like donkeys and ponies. Sheep are impulsive and flighty, they go mad around food and we are also trying to deal with a blind pony who can't navigate confidently and has never been near sheep. In that kind of scrum, people and animals can get hurt.
So the sheep, for now, are going into the new sheep pasture and Todd Mason suggested we built a skidbarn – a small and moveable barn – to give them a temporary, possibly permanent home. Ben jumped on it this morning, got the lumber and by early afternoon he had it all together but the sides. It will have a tin roof and three sides to provide shape, shelter from wind, rain and snow. It can be pulled from pasture to pasture – there are wooden skis underneath – as the need arises. I think the sheep may just stay here permanently, the skidbarn will go on a slight rise and have good drainage and lots of shade from some big maple trees.
It is right next to the dog area so that might raise some issues with Frieda and Red, who will probably go nuts for awhile right next to them (they may not like it either) but it is the best solution for now, near to water and the farmhouse. Given the chance, they will adapt. I love the idea of the skidbarn, it is resourceful and efficient and relatively inexpensive compared to a fixed barn structure. It will be ready by this evening. Ben is a miracle.
When Red is working, he personifies the idea of the moment, the rest of the world disappears, he is within himself with every muscle, every cell, every part of his conscious mind.
Maria's spools, on her windowsill, speak to me of the moment, still, timeless, beautiful and speaking for themselves.
This week has been exhausting, exhilarating, frightening, challenging, unnerving. So many decisions, so much money, time moving forward, books coming out. This morning Maria and I agreed to stay in the moment all day, I am learning what this oft-repeated phrase really means. A beautiful windy day. Heading to the new farm to see Ben finish the small skidbarn for the sheep who are going there tomorrow, a landmark for the new farm. Staying in the moment, and so I grabbed the camera and though of this moment, the moment.