i steal myself
This daylight is creeping back into New England, and the lack of snow here makes us think it's almost spring. I was looking at seed packets and nest boxes on my lunch break. I am trying not to make any plans, but am thinking about pastured broilers and magpie ducks if I land the farm. I want to start raising my own meat, and get back into that old life. Oh, and the lack of snow means I can drive the truck to and from the office! It makes me so happy. I love hopping into that big orange rig, the color of fall. I love cranking up the Be Good Tanyas and singing as I roll down the mountain to work.
I'm feeling optimistic about this house. It's a long way from a sealed deal but I am moving forward with the rituals and circumstances that go into home owning. The offer contract is in the lawyer's hands. The home inspection is Monday. My mortgage broker thinks he has a back-up FHA loan in case the USDA falls through (cross your fingers it doesn't). I am closer today, right now at this very minute, than I ever have been to owning my own farm. That in itself feels amazing to this girl sitting in a tiny cabin. The hope itself is big enough to move into.
When this blog started, Cold Antler was a rented backyard in Idaho with a hive of bees, a few raised beds, some rabbits, and a small flock of chickens. Now it's on its way to becoming something substantial. A place of sheep and dogs and goats and geese. The bees are already ordered. Hell, who knows what's in store? I constantly find myself getting lost in the idea of the Jackson farm. I steal myself.
More than one person has recently asked me why I named this place Cold Antler. Cold Antler, darling, is a combination of things. The first part is actually a name. The famous Chinese Zen poet, Han San, was a wise mountain recluse. The English translation of his name is literally Cold Mountain. His poems make me laugh, and smile, and think for long gallops about my own place in the world. The second part, Antler, comes from the old pre-christian belief that antlers were a sign of man. The Celts put antlers on some male deities, a symbol of both the gender and of fertility itself. For me, the antlers (and I am some what embarrassed to share this) stand for someday falling in love. Cold Antler Farm is the hope that this crazy zen recluse will find her antlers. It is hopelessly romantic, foolish, and the complete opposite of the sensible and pragmatic work of living off the land. Cold Antler = hope for love. I don't need it, but that doesn't mean I don't want it. I'm certainly in no rush, and not even mildly interested in 98% of the men I meet, but I am always on the look out. Most men I meet are kind, and sweet, but not correct. But every now and then someone comes along with antlers, and the hope and excitement makes me feel rich.
It'll happen eventually. It's just not my time.
So that's what this place really is. One woman's work. My entire life goal is based on a hopelessly romantic notion of true love, sheep, good dogs, strong coffee, mountains, autumn and home-grown food. I don't want anything else but these things. The details mean little to me. Vermont, Tennessee, New York, Idaho... These are names. These are lines on maps we made up to make sense of the world. But dirt is dirt. A lamb is a lamb. A border collie flanking a flock in a windstorm is just as much pure poetry in suburban New Jersey as it is the hills of Scotland. Maybe even better.
I can't get hung up on details. Truthfully, I abhor them
Anyway, now isn't the time for romance or over thinking. Now is the time for big change, long sighs, and not looking down. I have a farm to buy, and then when I finally get in the door, the real work starts...
P.S. Snow tonight and tomorrow. We are due.