Sunday, March 27, 2011

smoke, cider, and a roasting chicken

It's Sunday night and the dishes are done, the floors are mopped, the brooders are cleaned, and the wood stove is lit. The dogs have been walked and are asleep in their favorite places. The sheep have been fed—the chickens have too. Saro is asleep on a pile of eggs so large she can barely cover them. (I am certain little goslings will be lumping around here soon). The rabbit doe from last year's litter (the lone rabbit for a few more weeks) is on a bed of fresh hay with clean water and pellets. Outside on the hill the newest member of Cold Antler is curled up in a ball next to her mother, who is chewing on her own flake of Nelson Greene's 5-star hay and sipping from her bucket of molasses water. My sheep have a good life, and they deserve it.

Outside little Knox is running around the pasture ahead of his mother, then turning back to make sure she's still there. I can see this from my window. It's almost dark and the heat lamp in the lambing shack looks like some safe haven from another time and place: like a place people walk all day to come to at dusk, and then go inside where their bellies are full, thirst is quenched, beds are soft and dry, and safety and exhaustion combine into the best sleep of their lives. It's the sheep version of a log cabin in the middle of the woods that welcomes weary travels with hot food and warm fireplaces. You know, before the world was scared of everything we made.

There's a chicken in the oven and the house is filling up with the crackling, warm smells and it is heavenly. I have hard cider waiting for me in the fridge and I can hear my banjo whispering to me from downstairs, asking me to play Old Molly Hare at least five more times before I sit down to eat. I think banjos sound better when you can smell wood smoke, cider, and roasting chicken. Scratch that "think". I'm certain of it.

I know that this school night will be interrupted with 12-degree hill checks after midnight and before dawn, but that's okay. For the next few hours this farm is at peace. I can rest and know that there is nothing out there my head, heart, or long rifle can't deal with.

Life is good.

photo by tim bronson, but cropped and colorized by me without his permission!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so happy to be the first commenter on this one, just so I can say bless you and your hillside family tonight. I can almost smell your chicken roasting.

March 27, 2011 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Mama said...

I agree with your first commenter--you paint a very vivid picture that is almost tangible. It's an even more lovely image knowing how much hard work goes into it.

I love the picture. Just beautiful.

March 27, 2011 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Funny, we had the same idea. This post sounds like a blessing.
I'll add mine, too.

March 27, 2011 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

i feel so grateful tonight, and blessed. I already set my alarm for midnight with a smile.

time for dinner!

March 27, 2011 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger ladybughomer said...

Lawsy mercy. Can a strong woman look more at peace with herself? And the baby is adorable, too.

March 27, 2011 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Gypsisoul1111 said...

You make it sound so comfy even I am willing to sleep on a bed of fresh hay!!!

March 27, 2011 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Congrats Jenna~ you have worked so hard and are so deserving of moments like this. Knox is beautiful. I wish I could hug him too. :)
I can practically taste that chicken, btw. And congrats- I read to magazines over the weekend and BOTH of them had excerpts from Chick Days in them. Your book and Ashley's chicken books were the only ones my Tractor Supply stocked. :) Awesome!

March 27, 2011 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger WeekendFarmer said...

What a great Sunday evening! Any left overs : ) ?

Enjoy the week!

March 27, 2011 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Casie said...

Sounds wonderful!! Want some company? lol

March 27, 2011 at 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your written words give me a picture in my mind. I can see your lil' lambing shed on the hill with the golden light streaming from it, a place of warmth and joy! Thank you!

March 27, 2011 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

And I will take that as my lullaby, bank the fire in the woodstove for the night, and turn in to the happy sound of three small chicks chirping to themselves in the brooder box.

March 27, 2011 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger From the Country Farm said...

"For the next few hours this farm is at peace. I can rest and know that there is nothing out there my head, heart, or long rifle can't deal with." Love that! Peaceful indeed!

March 27, 2011 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

So who is this Tim Bronson who keeps taking great pictures for you?

March 28, 2011 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

your writing is amazing. i love every word... feels like i'm living that life right along side of you. i just love it.

March 28, 2011 at 12:44 AM  
Blogger becky3086 said...

Very nicely done. Wish I was there.

March 28, 2011 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Rurality said...

Girl, you can write.

March 28, 2011 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Cold Antler Farm sounds like the place to be. All your hard work has paid off - I am so happy for you!
I am a bit jeleous, I must admit. A good woodstove roaring with fire is worth its weight in gold. Someday I will have one toasting up my kitchen on a chilly evening.

March 28, 2011 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger quiltaholic said...

Sounds like a great night! I was so excited yesterday - my husband had to go to Tractor Supply, so my daughter and I tagged along. We were over looking at the chicks and bunnies - and I look up and see 'Chick Days' on the shelf. I was like "Oh my God, that's Jenna's book! I know her!" - not really, but I feel like I do. Thanks for the glimpses into your life!

March 28, 2011 at 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*sigh* This is what I want in life. Need a room mate?

March 28, 2011 at 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like an amazingly comfortable night on your farm. Wish I could borrow it sometime.

March 28, 2011 at 1:42 PM  
Blogger miss lady*cakes said...

you are one lucky girl, jenna. take it all in.

March 28, 2011 at 5:47 PM  
Blogger Kimberlie Ott said...

You sound so happy and content..........loved this post :)

March 29, 2011 at 4:47 PM  

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