27 September 2012

Coming Together: New Bedlam Farm

Coming Together

I love this photo. It doesn't need a lot of explanation.

The new farm is coming together in so many ways, inside and outside of the farmhouse. I've put the inside aside for now, as there is so much happening outside. Today was Rocky's first day inside the new sheep pasture, and as usual, Red guided his blind friend in and sat by him. He has never been in this pasture, it was not fenced before. Rocky grazed for a bit, got anxious and then returned to the pole barn.  Soon the donkeys and other dogs will join these animals and a part of our lives will have come full circle. The farm is coming to life.  It is a calm and deliberate process, it is falling into place naturally and comfortably and appropriately.

After Ben finishes Maria's studio, we will complete the electrical work in the house, order a new washer and dryer, paint my office, install our funky old wood stove and move in. I was joking to a friend that we'll have little money and lots of life, a good trade-off always. And this, of course, is why the term down-sizing, used to celebrate often brutal corporate cost-cutting, is not the one for my life or our lives. This place is filling up.

Posted in Farm Journal, General

Dust To Dust: Feeding Area

Dust To Dust

Todd Mason put up some split rails around the foundations of the old barn, which is now a feeding area for the donkeys and for Rocky. In wintry weather, the sheep can come out there too. It's a good use of the foundation, and it is functional as well. We can put a hay feeder right in the middle, the rails will keep Rocky from stumbling over the side and then we can shovel the manure out the other side and down the small rise. In the Spring, a tractor will come and shovel it all out and spread the manure around the pasture for fertilization.

This is my feeling about mourning things, a natural tendency: we give birth to ourselves again and again if we are alive. So do barns. Several people wrote me today suggesting the sheep escape was reminiscent of my early days on Bedlam Farm, and I smiled at these messages. On a farm, this is not a  crisis, not a drama. This is life. I told my neighbor – the sheep ended up on his farm – that I meant to introduce myself in a different way. Oh, Bob laughed, this is how I meet all of my neighbors.

Posted in Farm Journal, General

It’s Like I Married A Beautiful And Sensitive Man

It's Like I Married A Beautiful Man

Our good friend Bailey Guidon was with us this afternoon cleaning up the farmhouse (the old one) and we were talking about Maria. I was telling Bailey about the many things Maria can do – art, carpentry, painting, gardening. Today Maria and I were rolling around a neighbor's farmhouse dunking angry donkeys and curious cows (all coming after Red) and then she and Bed dragged the sheep into a truck and the two of them rode off in the cab down a busy highway hanging onto the sheep for dear life to keep them from leaping out onto the road. Maria does so many things, I said, it sometimes feels to me as if I married a beautiful man, a sensitive man who does all of the things men usually do – few of which I can do – but then is beautiful, sensitive, artistic, not to mention attractive in so many ways.

Bailey cracked up and said she never heard a man say that before, at least not a straight man. She told Maria and Maria frowned at first and said she wasn't sure how she felt about that description, but then when she thought about it, she laughed, and she said she was proud of that.

It's true, really, Maria combines the best traits of both genders. She is strong and competent and skilled, sensitive and loving and artistic. She shovels manure, hauls furniture around, scrapes paint, peels wallpaper. She learned this things early on in life, and didn't want to spend her life doing them – it didn't feel like a choice to her sometimes – but since no one is pressuring her to do them and it is her choice to do them, she enjoys it. Watching her sit in that truck and ride off to save the sheep, I just shook my head. Maria jumps right into life, although she doesn't always recognize that in her life, and her strength and skills enrich mine.

And she doesn't have the worst traits of men, she is not competitive, violent or convinced she can control the lives of other people. And she talks to animals. How many men do that?

So there it is, it feels  like I married a beautiful man in a beautiful women's body.

Posted in Farm Journal, General

Rocky’s Changing World

Rocky's Changing World

Rocky's world is changing every day in so many ways. Today I let the sheep out into his pasture (before they escaped for a bit because I didn't turn the fence on) and they grazed comfortably alongside of him. He looked at them curiously, but I had the sense he was glad they were there, and seemed at ease with them. This was his first and closest encounter with any other animals.

Posted in General

Ben At Work

Ben At The Saw

I like this photo of Ben doing his carpentry. Ben at the saw, cigarette dangling, oblivious to me and my camera. I've decided to get Ben a gift for all the work he is doing, I'm thinking of  a Kindle Fire. Ben doesn't want gifts and doesn't use new technology. His wife says it will never work. I think it will work. We'll see. He could use it in his work and he loves music.

Posted in Farm Journal, General