21 November

The Hay Feeder Departs

by Jon Katz

Darryl and Maria loading his truck

   November 21, 2009 –  Darryl Kuehne came from Vermont to take the last of the hay feeders. The sheep and donkeys are at his farm. Darryl is a good man and hard-working farmer. He came for some gates, buckets, three hay feeders, a tail docker and something he wanted for Christmas – a hay fork. It was a pleasure to see these things go to a working farm, and back to the animals who used them and shaped much of my life for some years. Today, I missed them, and remembered the many moments of donkey-communing, sheep-herding, and the mournful clucking of the hens. I also missed Winston, my charismatic and officious rooster.
  I am not big on looking back. I think nostalgia is an indulgence. But I felt a pang of sadness today. I am so eager to move ahead with my new work,my fiction, photography and children’s books, but neither do I want to forget those remarkable years on Bedlam Farm, Rose and I plowing through blizzards, storms, coyote assaults to feed and care for sheep, donkeys, cows and goats. It was madness, for sure, but creative and productive madness. Time to live more sanely and creatively, but Darryl’s visit opened a vein of remembrance, and it was good to mourn the passing of that part of my life, even as I look ahead to the shining city on the hill.

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