28 January 2014

Hard Ground to Fall On

Winter never leaves a dull moment.  Everyone's been wondering what is going on with the weather.  These very cold spells sandwiching a very warm few days have taught me that you really can't predict the weather.  It seems the earth we depend on is sending us a reminder of who is really in control.  Some people don't seem to understand as they continue to try to carry on their normal routines as if the below zero temperatures don't change a thing.

Power was out around Christmas time in Maine due to a pretty heavy ice storm weighing branches down and tearing down power lines.  Fortunately for Kate and I, we were in New York visiting my family.  Meanwhile, her family and our housemates were dealing with no running water or cook stove.  Many people in Maine were dealing with the same issues.  At least with a wood stove or furnace for heat, you can still keep your house and pipes warm.  It is a nice excuse to sit inside, stay warm, and read a nice book.

We are glad we have a nice wood stove and plenty of wood at our house here on the farm.  We could always melt some snow for water.  However, this can be arduous in terms of also maintaining water for the horses.  The frost-free hydrant in the barn froze while I was gone and when I tried to turn it on, I broke something inside it.  I plan on repairing it once there is another thaw, but who knows when that will happen.  In the meantime, we've had to bucket water up; a task eased by snow and a sled.

However, I haven't been doing most of the chores as was our normal routine.  The Monday after Kate and I got back from NY, we wanted to take the horses out for a ride to get everyone some exercise.  We should have know better given the circumstances: the horses had extra energy from not being used or handled for a couple weeks, it was snowy, Kate and I's muscles and joints were a bit stiff from being sedentary New Yorkers for a week.  All these factors added up to Jess bucking me off twice and spraining my right MCL.

The culprit.

What. A. Bummer.  I have been very inactive since, squashing my hopes for logging in these pretty good conditions, doing some carpentry, and doing some cross country skiing and ice skating.  I've noticed that besides getting a bit flabby, my mood is down.  I believe my body and mind are so used to being engaged by chores and moving around that the contrast in how I feel is remarkable.

My knee injury, as most ligament injuries do, will take a while to recover and repair itself, another 2-4 weeks of rest, ice, and strengthening exercises punctuated by hay visits with the horses in their pasture.  They do seem to be bored just standing around in their pasture, but Kate and I have at the very least been taking them on an hour ride on the forecart every week.  Nonetheless their muscles have atrophied a little as well.

Exhibit A: Bored Horse

The injury has been a blessing in disguise as it has forced me to focus on "inside work" like business planning, crop planning, and acquiring a place to farm.  It is satisfying and empowering to figure out cash flows and what our overall farm vision looks like leading up to the coming season.  We feel like we're in an overall good spot and are setting the stage for marketing and income in the future.

In regards to our land search, we are close to finding a place to farm and plan to move out of the house we're in now by March.  We won't make any announcements til we sign a lease, but we feel pretty good about the location we might be heading to. In the meantime, I'll be reading some Wendell Berry.