So many reminders like this lately, so many juxtapositions growing more distinctly -well- juxtaposed. At the feed mill today I spent time chatting with an employee and learned about an organization that lends a voice to farmers and ranchers (FARFA) during legislative sessions (and all the time). We exchanged cards, and I drove the old farm truck home down the potholed roads that cut straight through rolling prairie. With my policy background, maybe I could get involved in this stuff - just a little at first - but who knows what it could lead to. Can I chisel my way into work that finally, actually, completely aligns with my life? It's a big dream, I guess. But so was the farm. And this place started with just a little box of chickens. I arrived home, sat down at the computer, and worked on public education stuff. Then I went outside briefly for some impromptu lead training with the darling Rodeo Queen (Yes, there's grain in my pocket again). Came back inside to answer emails related to, again, public education stuff. Farm hat. Work hat. Farm hat. Work hat.
|First feta from Bee Tree Farm milk|
I don't know.
Since we acquired Madaline and her calf, the responsibility and work around here has almost doubled. This change coincided with the addition of Atlas, the little buckling, who now lives in the cow pasture with Boss. The transition has been difficult for all of us. The guard puppies are only recently overcoming their confusion over the loss of herd mates, and they've finally stopped breaking into Boss's pasture to make sure he's ok. This morning I spent a better part of one hour patching areas of the fence that Boss had slipped under to return to his herd, Atlas screaming and kicking along the fenceline each time Boss escaped back in to be with the girls and puppies. Meanwhile, the cows must be separated in order for an afternoon milking which means more animals to maintain with clean water and fresh hay. I cried a few times this weekend in those moments where it seemed many choices were a big mistake (namely - the bucks) and wished desperately to speak their language to explain why it must be so. It also struck me how absolutely tethered I have become to this place now. 2 months ago, I was still more of my old self than new. But over the past few weeks it's clear I've crossed some invisible line that delineates Then and Now. Or the Before and After of these lifestyle changes.
|A pile of bucklings. A pile of trouble.|