13 March 2011

Round Here They Call It Mud Season

Today the clocks turn forward as we continue our steady march into spring.  Apparently the rooster didn’t get that memo as he still woke me up at the same time; formerly 5:30 am, now 6:30 am.  Despite the early rise, the sunrise was beautiful this morning after taking what my dad would call my “morning constitutional” while listening to birds this morning.  I wish I knew more about birds so I could identify them by calls and such.  Either way, my mouth, mind, and body yearn for the coming greens and asparagus.
The driveway is no longer icy or snowy, making for muddy walks up the driveway.  At least it’s easier on the knees.  Pretty soon we will be starting up allium seedlings which include onions, leeks, and shallots (we won’t be planting these though I don’t think).  Garlic is also an allium, but is usually planted in the fall to be grown over the winter and into spring in the northern climes.
On a very happy note, I had my first brave visitor to the farm.  Hailing from Washington D.C., originally from New York City, he will be a doctor of the academic variety in a few years and is and always be a dear friend of mine…introducing Nick “the Ox” Oxenhorn!  Here is a picture of him in action with an axe on one of the four days we logged this week. 

Nick was a trooper, braving the rainstorm on Sunday to come up here from New York while on spring break and roughing it in the yurt.  His report on the fold-out couch bed was that it was not very comfortable.  I promise to any future visitors that I will obtain a futon that will hopefully be more comfortable than said mattress.  I also give Nick kudos for maintaining vigilance against the cold, wet weather we had the two days he was here helping out on the farm.  Thanks for taking me out to House of Pizza in Waterville for that awesome beast of a buffalo chicken calzone.  It satiated my appetite the next day for lunch as well! 
Your contribution to working on the farm was invaluable to me on a personal level as well since it’s always nice to work with a friend to make the time pass a little more quickly.  Nick was also nice enough to be a photographer/cinematographer Tuesday morning to take pictures of me logging and getting the horses ready.  The photos and videos will be posted separately so that you guys can view them at your leisure.  Warning:  There are scenes of graphic violence against trees.  The following movies are rated I for immature audiences and E for educational.
Other things that happened on the farm this week: the sheep got out of their non-electrically charged enclosure Thursday and wandered down the road so that Jeff and I had to round them up by holding a bucket of grain out the car and calling “SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP” in a high-pitched voice.  We subsequently set up a new, actually charged fence so that they won’t escape again until they get put on pasture.  The ewes are mostly pregnant and will probably be giving birth to lambs soon.  Warm, tasty, delicious lambs (Nick was amused that they are so poofy and insulated by their wool as well as the fact that I punch the ram in the head when he tries to charge me).
After the sheep incident and many other delays, Jeff and I were able to pull out most of the sawlogs that we cut down the week and Tuesday previous with the horses.  I was extremely tired by Friday morning from the intensity of moving the logs.  Part of the process includes getting them into a relatively neat log pile for the sawyer.  This is no small feat considering the logs average 18 inches in diameter and are anywhere from 8 to 16 feet long.  An Olympic weight lifter, Conan the Barbarian, or the Hulk may have no problem moving these, but it is certainly tough work for two men weighing less than 200 pounds each.
Finally, on a much sadder note, Jeff had to have Mary put down by the veterinarian yesterday.  Mary was good old horse and Jeff’s first horse.  She hadn’t put much weight on this fall in preparation for winter for whatever reason and so had been kept separate from the other horses in order to try to feed her more hay and grain.  This Monday, she was limping around her enclosure due to some sort of injury to her left hind leg.  An X-ray and two vets later, it was thought that she perhaps had a dislocated patella (a.k.a. kneecap).  Come Saturday morning before market she was found by Jeff and I on the ground lying on her side, unable to get up on her own.  After much deliberating the whole week, the decision was made clear by her condition yesterday morning. 
Mary’s death was a sad event, but everyone took it well enough.  One of the many things that farm life helps a person learn is that death is a part of our existence no matter how valued a being’s life is.  However it is those moments that you experience and can recall with vivid detail that enrich your existence down to your very bones.
“Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness.”  - Lao Tzu