Thursday, January 22, 2009

quiet time

Things are quiet. Things are calm. Winter on a small farm isn't exciting. Most days are a logistical breakdown of chores and routines. Morning feeding is cold. Nightime feeding is colder. Everything is stagnant in the way winter is. Nothing is being born, no plants are asking for water, the farm is pateintly waiting to come back to life. To get stirred up with young chicks and seedlings. But I can barely remember that life now in the heart of Vermont's bitchiest season. Seems forever ago I used the push mower.

There are hints that spring will come back. Seed catalogs are starting to show up, as are hatfchery and bee booklets. The short days are starting to feel slightly longer. I can sense it when I come home and there's a little more light in West Sandgate. But besides slightly (ever so slightly) warmer weather and a little more daylight —the farm is in its winter lull.

Sorry guys, nothing riveting to report.

I've been staying late at work to focus on some personal illustration work, and when I finally do get home I'm tired. A full office day doesn't wind me up, but it does make for a sharp transition when I go from high-tech office land to the homestead. But that's what the drive home is for. I crank up my music, I clear my head, I focus on the night's chores. Who needs fresh water? Everyone. Who is due for fresh straw this weekend? Everyone. The checklist goes on and on in my head. Human like a House, a Finches Album is what I've been listening to recently in the car as I roll home up into the mountains. It's lovely music. And the last track is called Leviathan's Home! Which, quiet frankly, is fantastic to me. Any sweet song about riding a biblical sea-beast gets a nod from this gal. We need some whimsy in our lives when the most intense thing going on in our evening involves feeding sheep dead grass.

But with music, all work becomes scenes to a soundtrack. I have a hat I knit out of icelandic wool that I put a pocket on that perfectly fits my little ipod nano. I do my chores around the yard with tunes in my head (literally) and sing along. Some I just get lost in, like Sigur Ros. Others I meditate on, like the Trapeze Swinger, which may always be my favorite song. I'll never forget hearing it live (which is where I heard it the first time). That was years ago. My goodness.

This weekend will see some book tour events. If you live around Troy or Albany check the dates in the right sidebar. I hope some of you can make it out to say hello, hear some fiddling, buy some books. You know, the works. Sunday my plans aren't half as exciting. All I want to do is listen to old records I've collected over the summer and bake bagels. That's right. Just me, some dusty vinyl I foraged from garage sales, and high gluten flour. I think a Hipster in Flushing just got his wings.

Tonight's Farm Chore Playlist
Step Outside - The Finches
White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes
California Stars - Billy Bragg and Wilco
Flume - Bon Iver
Track 4 off ( ) - Sigur Ros
Trapeze Swinger - Iron and Wine


Blogger Andrea said...

R u ever gonna book tour in Toronto, Jenna?I We Canadians would love to see ya!!! :)

January 22, 2009 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

i don't know? I don't even know how the book is selling, but i'm only a 6 hour drive from montreal I think?

January 22, 2009 at 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Emilee said...

Yeah, come to Canada...don't forget Ottawa! :)

January 22, 2009 at 10:19 PM  
Anonymous the french mule rider said...

It is already time to start onion and pepper seed Jena ;)

January 22, 2009 at 10:23 PM  
Blogger kate said...


I mentioned in another post that I have a tiny cabin north of yours (in our Taconic Moutains). I went to my place yesterday and I could not get in. It was hilarious. I did not mind the deep snow. I hike in the Adirondacks in the winter and love the outdoors.

I just could not get my door open. It had frozen rock hard shut.

The place is not heated in the winter (I've only owned it for a year and might change that.) I just heat it when I'm there. Last year I didn't have any problems like this....Came and went all the time.

Your post made me smile, about things being kind of routine and boring in the winter -- except of course when they aren't.

So I headed back to Albany, after running around for a bit in the deep snow with my pup.

I hope to get to your book tour tomorrow -- if I don't go back and try another way into my cabin.

I don't understand people who move to Florida and miss all this fun.


January 23, 2009 at 7:07 AM  
Anonymous cathy said...

I love winter precisely because everything is quiet, and resting, and I feel that I can get more done because there's nothing else to do. I can do all the sewing and knitting projects it's too hot to do in the summer, and I can also bake all day without sweltering.

January 23, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

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