a new year, a fresh start
Tonight I farmed with a rifle by my side and a loaded clip in my pocket. As I mulched and weeded the garden I let the birds out of their confinement for some armed supervision. No sign of the fox in days, but I am ready when he comes. I have a baited Havahart trap set near the coop (which I rented from my neighbor's gas station for a dollar a day) and have been hunting every morning. I go outside at dawn with hot coffee and my .22 and wait. I have no pity for the fool. I'll hang his pelt on my wall.
There was this moment when I was walking out to the garden with a rifle over my right shoulder and two tomato plants in my left hand and I thought to myself: this perfectly sums me up as a woman.
I propped the gun by the garden fence and let Finn out to romp on his tie-out. I watched the birds scratch and hunt worms and salamanders all around me while I cleaned out their coop. It was a back-breaking few hours of pitchforking old crap-lined straw, but the hard work felt good. I've been stressed out all week, and tired as hell. Not getting enough sleep and over-thinking too much. It was good to just dive into grunt work. I am covered in chicken poo and sweat as I check in with you. I am the picture of disgusting. Happy Birthday to me.
This weekend will be packed with things I love. My farm will be front and center, (there is so much to do here) but I have taken off from work Monday for my own mental health and as another small gift to myself. Instead of the office, Finn and I are heading on a local trail for his first-ever pack hike. It'll be short, and his pack empty, but a beginning none the less. (He's already walking on lead up to a mile every day by my side, and has been borrowing Jazz's dog pack as draft-animal training wheels.) I think It'll be fun. I might make him carry a sandwich for me. We'll do lunch. Clearly, I am a very exciting young person. Lunch dates with ruminants...
Tomorrow morning I am getting up early and driving over the mountain to Merck Forest for the Annual NEBCA Open Sheepdog Trials. I am hoping to either help in the pen or by learning to keep score. (In case I end up in the shoot, loading four sheep at a time onto the trial fields...I'll wear my boots) That day will be wonderful, and probably stir up all sorts of longings for my own lamb and wool farm, a dream that keeps me up at night and makes my stomach turn when I think it might not happen... But maybe someday I'll get my farm, and a good border collie or two by my side. That is the hope. I am big on hope. You have no idea.
Anyway, I'm sure you'll hear all about that tomorrow.
Tonight however, I turn 27. I'm covered in mud, sweat, chicken shit and smell like death—but I am happy. Not blissful. It's been a crap week, but happy. Now, I am going to shower like I have never showered before, slice into the watermellon sitting on my counter, tune my fiddle and guitar and light up the porch with as many candles as I can manage. Tonight I will throw myself a birthday concert. The theme: a new year, a fresh start.