Monday, April 11, 2011

just a regular weeknight

All I wanted to do was go for a jog.

It was an unusually warm day for April here in Veryork; 70 degrees and intoxicatingly summery. I had a grand day at work enjoying the design department's move to the first floor from the third. Now I was working literally thirty feet away from my truck, Gibson, and the big-glass back doors that overlooked acres of yard with a pond and woods. I could now step away from my desk and sit on a small porch and watch crows fly or dogs play. This is quite the gift for an office employee. Prime location for a girl with Barnheart and a black dog.

So I was happy. And it wasn't just this downstairs office gig either. It was the fact that this April I had managed to pay my truck loan and my mortgage entirely on my farm's income. This is quite unusual, but between the 2012 CSA and some writing gigs I pulled it off. I was feeling like celebrating. So when the office day was over I decided I would end this fine warm day with a long run, and some pizza and booze.

This was my plan: after work stop at Wayside for a 22oz hard cider, come home, walk the dogs, do farm chores, and then go for a warm dusk run along the dirt roads. I would end my night with a homemade slice of pizza and my ice-cold cider after a shower that was long and well-deserved. I looked forward to this like my mother looks forward to the opening day of the Palmerton Pool.

I pulled into the driveway, cider bottles clinking, and singing along with Josh Ritter on the truck stereo. I let Gibson out of the cab and we went inside to take care of evening chores. Jazz and Annie were by the front door waiting. Patient as saints, they hold it in all day while Gibson and I are at work. I put Gibson in the crate with his dinner, and leashed up the Sibes for a nice constitutional.

We stepped outside to the side yard for their initial relief and before Jazz could so much as lift a leg I froze and backed up. Not ten feet in front of my sub-par wolves was a Blackface ewe (number 15-06) escaped from the pasture fence. She was panting in the garden. She had slipped out from the wire and t-posts and was trying to get back to her lambs. If Jazz and Annie wanted to they could easily rile her up and run her off into the woods. I backed up slowly and rushed the dogs back inside the house. I had no idea if they got to so much as pee, but sometimes crisis is bigger than a husky bladder.

I grabbed some grain and walked up to the Blackface, who let me get close because she was worried about leaving her twins on the other side of the fence. We paced together. I had cut this section of the woven wire a few days earlier to move equipment in and wondered if she figured a way to slip out? As I worked with pliers to let her back in something in the distance went off, a shotgun or a blown tire and she bolted. I watched her crash right through the Heirloom Salad Green bed I had spent my Saturday constructing, tilling, planting, and creating a bird net around by hand. In seconds it was destroyed and the neatly mounded rows a scattering of mud and hoofprints. I realized my five varieties of greens were now all smooshed together. A baby green salad now pre-mixed by an errant ewe.

It took some more commotion but I got her back inside the fence. A long drink of water and some fresh hay and she seemed content to stay inside. I then walked the entire fence line looking for the hole she squirmed through and found none. She must have jumped clean over it. I'll never know why.

Later, tired, and now still faced with farm chores and two dogs with crossed legs. I went back inside and saw Jazz had left a dump the size of a small cat in the middle of the living room floor. I looked right at him and said I was sorry. I cleaned it up and didn't utter a word of admonishment to the old dog.

When the dogs were walked, fed, and the farm repaired and cared for I put on my sneakers and went for a run. Three blessed miles of alone time, music, and a short tour of my neighborhood. It had been a while since I could run a distance (humble as it is) like that outdoors and the fact that I had reunited a stray sheep and her lambs, fixed a broken raised bed, paid for my farm for another month, and still managed to sweat like a man—had me ridiculously happy. Not many days are like this. Few, honestly. I nearly sprinted the last mile home. If the run was exhausting, I didn't notice.

Just a regular weeknight. Just another step towards a feral dream.

So I'm calling it a night soon. Turn on the hot shower and crack open the cold cider: this day is done. And If you think I'm going to feel guilty about tha pizza, you better get to know me. I might even go for seconds.

17 Comments:

Blogger finsandfeathers said...

Another "normal" day? Great story telling once again.

I met someone that lives in Vermont this weekend that has never heard of you or Cold Antler. Seriously. I know it's hard to believe. :>) After I told him all about your story he was really happy you found your home up there.

April 11, 2011 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger daisy said...

Jenna, I don't know if there's any
"regular" in farming. But whatever happens, I'm confident you can handle it. Cheers!

April 11, 2011 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Rita said...

You crack me up. I live alone, too. And sometimes when I read your blog I laugh so loud it probably annoys the neighbors.

April 11, 2011 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

G;ad to see nothing put a damper on your sense of humor! Cheers indeed!

April 11, 2011 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Casie said...

Had to LOL at the pile left for you... sounds like a great night all in all.

April 11, 2011 at 9:08 PM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

You totally amaze me, once again. Some people would be defeated by the messed up garden bed and the huge pile of #### to clean up and that's what their day would be about. You found all the good stuff and hung right onto it, because you are you.

Wonderful story telling. I laughed out loud and found myself having to read another entire blog post to my husband. Hope you enjoyed your pizza and cider and have a nice long sleep.

April 11, 2011 at 9:19 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

And so it starts! I told you blackface were the sheep from NIMH! Let the escapes begin... Good thing they are so cool so you will forgive them.

April 11, 2011 at 9:35 PM  
OpenID innerpickle said...

LOVING getting to know you Jenna. You rock.

April 11, 2011 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Mama said...

I can only hope to one day face such a day with as much aplomb and humor as you. Bravo! and don't feel bad about a second slice of pizza. Surely you deserve it.

April 11, 2011 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

Must have been one of those days. I got to work this morning (25 miles one way) to realize that I had completely forgotten about the 8 chicks 'starving' in my basement. I pondered it for awhile, trying to decide if I should go back or if I thought they would be okay. I decided to go back. It was 8:30am and I would be teaching until 9:30 this evening. Glad I did too; those poor little meat birds had downed both their water and most of their food over night. It was the right thing to do. I'll not think that there went 100 miles on my car as gas prices continue to soar. These little peeps are worth it.

The rest of the day was just as crazy. I actually had to check to see if it was a full moon. It, of course, is not. Just one of those days...

April 11, 2011 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

sounds like a perfect day for homemade pizza to me!

April 12, 2011 at 12:33 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Pizza was totally earned. You go!

April 12, 2011 at 7:02 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Story of the future?

April 12, 2011 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger GirlSavorsLife said...

Ahhh-- I do the daily 3 mile jog too. Nothing like knowing your body can carry you through a day of work and a nice, mind-clearing jog. Sounds like a fully satisfying day.

April 12, 2011 at 10:25 AM  
OpenID urbanadaptation said...

Despite the unexpected stuff (literally and figuratively, I guess) it sounds like a remarkably good weeknight all the same. Well done in the taking care of things, and in the telling.

April 12, 2011 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger whitnjoey said...

Today's the day for escaping sheep. This morning as I was leaving for work I realized that one of the lambs had slipped from his own pasture and had gotten into the ram's pasture. After getting head-butted by the ram, I was finally able to catch the lamb when he thought he could get to his mom by going through the fence and got his head stuck. Then I had to figure out where he slipped through and found a small gap in the fence between the pastures. As I was already late for work, I covered it with brush and branches as a temporary fix. I arrived to work late and with a very sore backside from the ram's horns.

April 12, 2011 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger candisrrt said...

My family jumped and stared at me when I laughed OUT LOUD to "a dump the size of a small cat."

April 14, 2011 at 9:32 PM  

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