Thursday, April 9, 2009

it's always everything

Every night I do the same thing. Around 10pm, the final rounds go on around Cold Antler and I put the farm to bed. It's just me, the stars, a small lantern, and my ipod. While listening to some slower, end-of-day music I go about the night chores I now consider as common as washing my face and brushing my teeth.

I feed the sheep some grain, and check on every bird in the hen house. I walk in the garden, planning my big plans. I carry out all the animal's water. I turn out lights. I scratch under the chins of Marvin and Sal. Sometimes I sing. I do these things and let the music swallow me, and I let myself get lost in whatever is on my mind at the time. Tonight I was grateful for the temperance of the music, and the full moon. Good company, them.

Tonight I was listening to a live concert Iron and Wine recorded for NPR's All Songs Considered. When He Lays in the Reins came on, I was particularly pensive. That song, even in all it's intensity, has the ability to consistently haunt me.

I was singing along tonight, checking on the flock when something fairly magical happened. From between the two wethers Maude walked right up to the gate. She was inspecting me, considering me. I kept singing along. "One more tired thing. A gray moon on the rise..." I carefully, slowly, put my hand out, still singing to the leery sheep. "When you’re all tuckered out and tame..." I stood there softly singing, my hand extended.

She touched it with her nose.

I nearly fainted. Then, recovering mid-stride, smiled like an idiot. What a win. What a perfect ending to a beautiful day. And the big lesson learned: Farming is infinitely more beautiful with a soundtrack. Burn the Louvre to the ground. Throw every book in the goddamn sea. But please, please leave me music. It's always everything.

sheep shearer booked!

I made an appointment with a sheep shearer to trim down the flock in the next few weeks. Calling about getting your sheep shorn on your lunch break at the office is kind of a surreal experience. Or maybe not surreal—more of a conflict of whimsical interests. Like watching TV in a lawn chair outside or sticking a couch in an elevator to hang out. But call I did, and soon Maude, Marvin, and Sal will hand over their three bags of wool. I think they'll be grateful too—as the days grow slowly warmer I can tell their lapping up a lot more water and spending their time in the shade. You'll have this.

P.S. Does that sheep engraving look like the rabbit in Donnie Darko to anyone else?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

the worst month

This is why I hate April. This fickle bitch of a month always keeps you guessing... Last night, Cold Antler got an inch of snow and just a few days ago I was outside in my garden, tilling the soil in a t-shirt!. You'll have this with April—but that doesn't mean I have to like it. She's ruthless, and keeps me so far away from October, my favorite month of the year.

As for the rabbit in the photo; that's Bean Blossom, my little angora doe. I had her bred recently but it didn't take, so I'll (well, I won't try. My Angora buck Ben will..) to breed her again this week. Hopefully there will be some spring bunnies here soon.