Frieda and Lenore – morning kiss.
Lenore found some deer guts today and has been throwing stuff up. Lab heaven in hunting season. Cleaning it up tomorrow.
Well, I touched off quite an e-mail surge by writing about staying on the farm or selling it. Record messages. Got lots of advice, much of it interesting and useful. People other than me care about the farm and what happens to it, something I tend to forget in my self-absorption. Good to be reminded of it.
Moving to the farm was never a practical decision, and I never could really afford it. Writing six books here was pretty remarkable, and if I ever can really afford it, it will be a case of the farm paying for itself, and sending me its own message. Few writers ever get rich.
I’ve always seen the farm as a living thing. Bedlam Farm is, I see, an idea, and sometimes I am too close to it to see it.
It is not practical for me to lease the land, nor is the land useable for much besides sheep or organic farming. Maybe potatoes.
The farm requires a lot of serious upkeep and commitment of time, energy and money, animals or not. I am always dubious about people writing me that I am living the life they want. They are welcome to come up here in the winter and slide around the ice for a couple of months before I am convinced I am living their dreams.
I do, of course, love it here, and as many people have written, it is a question of the mind over the heart. I can always sell the farm, but I can’t always come back to it if I miss it. It has been a powerfully creative place for me, and I am well aware that that is due to the nature of the place and my intensely personal and evolutionary experiences here. Lambing, herding, trekking through the woods, writing, taking photos. Lots of other stuff. I came here as one man, and am now another, a truly stunning experience. I have always seen the farm as a living entity, and it speaks to me all of the time. Without animals, it is a bit strange, even eerie, but also beautiful and calm.
It is confusing for me. The farm got out of control, and I am still working to get it back. My life got out of control, and I am working on that. I don’t yet always trust my own decisions, so I make them carefully. Someone close to me said I was just not ready to leave the farm. I have to really think about that.
The way I make decisions is to write about them, take photos, talk them through, and they seem to make themselves clear that way. This is a tough one, I think.
It isn’t a great time to sell anything, and I am in no way unhappy here. I am committed to several children’s books, two more novels, and a book of short stories. That is a lot of writing, a lot of work, and I am wary of the disruptions of moving to another place.
If I do stay here, it makes no sense not to have some animals. I will not go back to the number and scope of animals I had before, but I have four barns, one full of hay, three fenced-in pastures. Seems silly not to have some animals here. Another thing to think about.
So this holiday weekend, I will think about this and write about it, and share the experience, as I have become accustomed to doing. Maria and I are talking about this a lot, and this must be a decision we share, not a decision I make.
Maria is honest and wise, and I trust her completely. She has good instincts and I get away with nothing.
I’ll be as open about it as I can.