Monday, June 15, 2009

a stolen monday

I feel like I stole this morning. I took a vacation day from the office, and so instead of the usual commute I really took my time with the farm chores this morning. Nothing crazy—just a little extra time to glance over all the animals, sweep the porch, and brew some fresh coffee. Which, Incidently, I just pulled off the stove as it gurgled and pumped from its percolating. Oh, the decadent verve of an office farmer with a day off.

Just a few moments ago I walked outside and the grass was damp from last night's rain. Despite its sogginess, the sky was blue and the sun was out and everything was saturated, like memories. So I just breathed in deep, trying to savor it. But it's hard to feel Zen when thirty animals are baaing, squawking, and howling for breakfast. You can imagine the moment wasn't that serene. But hell, it was to me.

I started the morning chores like I always do, on the porch. There I fed and checked on Benjamin (my breeding rabbit) and moved the pen with the two remaining Angora kits off the wooden planks and under the big oak by the hammock. There they could feel grass under their paws and enjoy the shade.

I carried a small armful of hay out to my two sheep, walking past Finn's pen (who bleated at me to let him out). Sal and Maude seem despondent. I know Marvin's back where he should be, back to a big farm that misses him and will treat him to a barn and pastures I could never offer here—but I miss him. I can't believe I miss a sheep. Two sheep seem incorrect. They are not animals that should live in small numbers. I hope Finn grows up fast so he can join them and even the score.

Every morning I let the goat kid out of his pen, and give him a spot in the pasture to chomp away at via a chain tie out. He's too clever to stay in a fence and too curious to stay out of the garden, so the tie out seems like a fair trade. He gets sun and green grass and I get some peace of mind knowing my lettuce is safe.

I came inside refreshed, and now I'm writing to you.

My weekend mostly involved rabbit trafficking (sold two buck kits) and June gardening. I have learned that "June gardening" is just a romantic way to say weeding. This year's garden is the largest I ever attempted, and the weeds seem just as verdent and thriving as the veggies. I was out there for hours in the sun pulling between the rows. Vermont's a good place to be in this situation. I have never lived and worked with so many people who also grow their own food. Nearly every neighbor, co-worker, and acquaintance I have sows their own. I tele-garden as well. Last night on the phone with my parents, we were talking about the new live trap they bought to catch the rabbits their manic-depressive cat won't scare away from their garden. Seems like everyone's working for their salads this year.

Right now as I type things are quiet outside; a rare occurrence. Everyone's silent because their mouths are busy eating. From the kitchen window I can see Finn on his tie-out landscaping the edge of the garden fence. I can see Tthe sheep are eating hay in their pen. I know the rabbits, birds, and dogs all had their morning meals as well. And I—the magistrate of this scrappy empire—am enjoying a cup of coffee strong enough to varnish a coffin.

Not a bad way to start a stolen Monday. Not bad at all.


Blogger Jim said...

Jealous. I'm at the office, but at least I can read about your stolen Monday. The weeding is on in our little garden as well. It's hard to decide sometimes which are the most urgent chores. I know the weeds are so much easier to tend when small, but the chickens are coming in 1 week and one whole side of the shed is laying on the ground pending renovations to install a door and some windows. Jenna, it's your fault we moved up getting chickens from next year to this year. Thanks!

June 15, 2009 at 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Serenity comes in many forms :). By the way, I am glad Annie is doing much better. Talk about scary.

June 15, 2009 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Heh! Mine are all clamoring for breakfast right now as I type this. On the farm, the human always eats last...

June 15, 2009 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Dawn Dutton said...

Enjoy your day off........

June 15, 2009 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Nire said...

Man that sounds like an awesome morning. I drove an hour this morning to where I used to live so I could drop my dog off to (finally) be neutered. I wish I had a low-cost clinic near me that would do it, and that I hadn't made the appointment months ago when I was living in the area. Now my day is going to be spent sitting at this here Panera, buying food I can't afford, because I can't afford the gas to drive back home and back here again this afternoon to pick him up.

my life; so hard ;_;

June 15, 2009 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Nire said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 15, 2009 at 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna!
I'm glad to hear Annie is doing better. I also wanted to tell you I love all your recipes in your book and on yor blog. I have tried almost all of them so far and would love to see more. You are so inspiring to me. And I can relate to the sled dogs we have our own team of 4 which my husband and daughter race here in NH. All your info in the book has helped us get by in these economic times and we are going to continue this way even when things do get better. Keep up the great work keep us all posted about any new books that may come out. And THANK YOU again for all your hard work that inspire so may of us!!!! Oh I almost forgot I've been going to an open mic night in my town for free and have been inspired to play the fiddle along with the summer challange althought it won't be here until today but I have read through the book which came last week. I hope I can do it! Thanks Steph

June 15, 2009 at 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best of luck with your meeting today! Stolen days are the best!!
Wendy A
in PA

June 15, 2009 at 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just thought of something. You have a farm store right but I don't see a T-shirt about the summer fiddle challange for cold antler farm. That might be something to think about doing. I'd get one. Thanks!

June 15, 2009 at 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope Storey goes well!

June 15, 2009 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

What a great pic.

June 15, 2009 at 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw this today and thought of Finn:

Good luck with Storey, can't wait to hear!

June 15, 2009 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I stole a Monday too. Unfortuantly mine's not so nice. My washing machine died on Friday and I having to pay a repair man an arm and a leg to get it fixed. But at least I'm not at work!!!! ;)

June 15, 2009 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger R said...

Hey Jenna, There's nothing better than an extended weekend, mostly when there is so much to do and so little time to get it done! We are trying mulch in between our rows to see if that will help reduce the weeds, but the jury is still out. Also, wanted to thank you for such a great blog! A couple Mother Earth News issues back, I read your article and it inspired me to create my own blog, albeit nothing compared to the quality of yours, but I'm still learning and trying! I tell everyone to check out Cold Antler Farm. If you get a chance, please check mine out at
Enjoy the remainder of your day off!
R Dean "Slowdog"

June 15, 2009 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Sounds heavenly :)

June 15, 2009 at 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

Incidently, I just got in from weeding in the garden. I shouldn't say weeds as the only foreign plant that seems to grow in my garden is THISTLES! Darned little buggers. They are the hardest to get rid of! In any case everything is sprouted, and off to a good start. The herb bed is in a bit of a precarious situation. It seems that a colony of ants has decided to make it their new home....not sure if I should call them friend of foe.....and if their foe, finding an organic way to control/get rid of them. Any ideas?

June 15, 2009 at 5:16 PM  
Blogger hendersonhoundsofga said...

You deserved a day off! Worry certainly takes its toll on you. Having the Georgia equivalent to huskies (we have coonhounds), I know how stressed I get every time one makes a dash for the great unknown, much less having one sick on top of that. I totally agree, I do not know how some people live their lives without the enriching quality of dogs.

I hope today renewed your energy and spirit.

Best of luck with your meeting. I ordered and am reading your book now. You did a great job.


June 15, 2009 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger Turtle said...

sounds like a perfect monday! lol at the june gardening weeds comment. I have opted for newspaper layered in the rows this year with a lil mulch (from the neighbors shredded trees they cut down) and have not had 3/4 of the weeding issues as in the past. i recommend this as by next year it will have broken down and composted itself.

June 15, 2009 at 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love stolen days!!! I try to take 1-2 a year!! This is my first year gardening and I put in a small 4x4 raised bed with weed-killer black cloth underneath. ( I know there's a more appropriate word, but I'm having a brain fart), so no weeding. I really wouldn't mind, I guess ( weeding), maybe next year!! Arwen

June 15, 2009 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger Bad Hippie said...

Sounds like the best Monday ever, Jenna!

My square foot garden project has really cut out the weeding. And my lettuce is FINALLY ready to eat. I'm so excited. Seems like with Ohio's damp and wet spring, everything has been growing slowly. But progress is on the horizon!

Hope your not-stolen Tuesday is just as peaceful as your Monday.

June 16, 2009 at 5:57 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Sounds like a perfect day to me. By the way, I gave up on finding a non-aluminum percolator in my neck of the woods (I hit every 2nd hand shop I could find) so I got one off ebay. It's on the way!

June 16, 2009 at 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Cindi and Matt said...

Your day sounded wonderful. :)

I hadn't been online for a couple of days, and couldn't believe it when I came back here and saw the news about Annie! You must be so relieved that she's ok! You won't believe this (well okay, maybe you will..), but we found a tick on our dog yesterday. We'll be keeping an eye out for any symptoms for sure...

Yesterday was a busy day for us as, on top of the tick business, we got a big jump on our homesteading-ness! We had planted our heirloom tomatoes a couple of weeks ago, but finally made the big plunge and brought our chickens home yesterday! :-))) So now we are home to a shepherd-husky cross, 3 cats, 4 partridge chanteclers and 3 dark brahmas (the chickens spent the night in our spare bedroom as we didn't get the coop finished before dark). Yay!!

I also took the liberty of starting our (as of yet) bare-bones homesteading blog. No pics yet, but later tonight there hopefully will be.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us all on your blog!!

June 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM  

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