Friday, May 13, 2011

on that day

Sorry folks, Blogger (the Google program I use to run this site) crashed for a 36-hour period. There was no way to upload new blogs or see comments. But it's back again, and hopefully nothing was lost. Here's what I wrote last night but couldn't post. I hope all of you are doing well. I missed checking in and your daily comments; let's me know someone out there is reading.

Thursday, May 12th
So this is how it goes: after work I pull into the farm's driveway and let Gibson out. He pees, stares at chickens, and noodles around and when his series of dog tasks are over with, I send him inside and turn to my pasture. I unplug the electric and hop the fence. The sheep all bleat and carry on, expecting grain and attention. Sal struts right up like he belongs on the top of some 4-H trophy, coated in gold. I tell them the newest gossip from the office as we walk up the hill together. "Roger got a promotion!" I beam, "We got a brand new coffee machine, and I think it's top shelf." and so on. When we get to the gate Jasper stand on the other side. I open it and call my pony to my side, and he walks over to me. I throw an arm around his neck and tell him in a soft voice, "Hold still, son, we'll get them together"

As the sheep dart and run into the big gated pasture I look at Jasper and say at a shout, "Let's Get 'Em!" and I run at a sprint towards the grazing sheep. Jasper rears up and runs beside me. Together we're a brace of border collies off on an outrun to gather a flock. But the pony and I don't gather anything, we just chase the sheep a little and watch the lambs fly. They are so damn fast I think some of them can teleport. Within a few laps we're both beat and I tell my horse he's a superhero and then go fetch him his hay and fresh water. By the time I am outside the fence his neck is down and grazing too. He is not on a mission of sheep torture, just joshing. I laugh and grab the metal scoop.

By the time farm chores are done it is nearly dark. I had a solo cook out tonight, just a few burgers and iced tea. While they simmered in the little charcoal grill I ran the push mower around the front long. I love it. Even in the dark grass I watched the blades whip through the grass like a a hot knife in butter. I have a gas-mower but don't really feel the need to use it yet. Using the push mower means a little more effort and slower pace: but it is so pleasing to use I just do one part of the lawn a night. I am over the need for a lawn that looks like a golf course. I'm going for more of something along the lines of a one-cow afternoon pass.

This is how I get it all done: the farm, the job, the writing career. I combine my nervous nature with constant work. There is very little down time here. Even at an end-of-day cook out rabbits are fed between flipping burgers and water buckets are filled and carried to sheep and pony troughs. I do not sleep in on weekends. I do not stay out late on Friday nights. From the minute I get home till 9 PM I am a constant tornado of tasks and beasts. I slop buckets of water, race with ponies, collect eggs, check on mated rabbits, and plan a quick dinner from whatever I think is in the fridge or larder. I manage things in small spurts, keeping a log in my head of how the farm is working and what needs what. Then I throw a load of laundry in, turn on the dishwasher, and know that clothes won't be thrown in the dryer or dishes put away until morning. It's all done in stages, in order of importance. The ship runs tight enough that if I wanted to skip out a few hours no one would go hungry or thirsty or wither away: but I certainly can't leave the farm for a weekend jaunt to New York City. Someday, maybe. It's just a matter of planning and finding a sucker who wants to share this little world with me, but till then I say no thank you to Dairy animals and bottle-fed babes.

Mostly, running a farm alone is love. You put it first, and you learn to make due when the ghosts of perfection run off, and you sleep less. Along the way you make good friends, miss your mom and dad, and wake up with a border collie nuzzled into your chest. You dream about love, and take notes on turkey diseases, and you split your mind wide open to let in all the experiences and folks who hike on by.

Enough word magics. I'm going outside to play my fiddle on the porch. Some time soon fireflies will join me. On that day I'll sing.


Blogger Kira said...

Thanks, Jenna! I feel a little of that blog was intended just for me!

May 13, 2011 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

Beautiful post! Keep fiddling girl! Have you checked out The Session? More Celtic than bluegrass, but you can get the tunes in note form! Check it out!
Another fiddler,

May 13, 2011 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...

Yes, reading!

May 13, 2011 at 6:58 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Love you :)

May 13, 2011 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

You are teaching the pony to chase the sheep? Bad idea.
I can just see the pony in harness chase them and get you tangled up in the lines ( I drive) and dragged around and into a steel fence post.
Stop that now. Teach your pony to stand still while the sheep run by.

May 13, 2011 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger Sacha Joy said...

Have you seen 'The Back-Up Plan' starring Jennifer Lopez falling in love with a goat farmer? She lives in NYC and somehow goat-farmer-love-interest is always in the city, even though he runs a goat dairy?! It's worth killing a few brain cells on, if only for the love scene in the cheese barn. Yup. You heard it.

May 13, 2011 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Cousin Tiffany said...

Jenna, I think Blogger deleted your post of the little boy playing banjo, but I loved it!

May 13, 2011 at 7:29 PM  
Blogger karental said...

I am reading. Every day.

May 13, 2011 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Hi Jenna. I missed this last night. So glad you're back! I have been gone all day and first thing is animals. I don't even go inside. Feed cats, dogs, goats, chickens, turkeys, meat chicks. Gather eggs. THEN it's me time. Then it's do the same thing again in the morning except I milk the goats then. So I know how it is. But I love it.

My friend with the Suffolk sheep called today. She has been having lambs born the past few days and found a little ram lamb that no one is claiming. She wanted to know if I want him. I have a freezer full of goat milk so all it will cost me is $25 for him. I am still thinking.

May 13, 2011 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger daisy said...

We're here, Jenna. Behind you all the way...

May 13, 2011 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Hi! I'm Jenny said...

Beautifully written, Jenna...until the fireflies come.

May 13, 2011 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger karen said...

Jenna, the way you write makes my heart sing. Have a great weekend-Karen from CT

May 13, 2011 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Teresa H. @ Oak Tree Farm said...

Global Blog crash was interesting. Have no doubt, we readers of CAF are a faithful bunch! Wouldn't dream of missing a single post! We're all still here! :o)

May 13, 2011 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger scorpiogirl said...

Hi Jenna, Usually a lurker here, I just had to say after reading this post in makes me feel like I'm reading a prayer and my soul sighs and smiles and is thankful a million times over.

May 13, 2011 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Oxray Farm said...

Would you please repost the yeeehaaawww video? It seems to have been lost in the blogger debacle. I want to show my hubby and I'm not sure what the name of it was.

May 13, 2011 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger Sherrill said...

I know how much work goes into all that you do. Really, I do.

I just have to say, you do make it sound so magical, so romantic.

Thank you for having words that flow and bring images of farm life into our minds eye.

May 13, 2011 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Jenna, I understand your life. Folks don't always understand that the animals have to be cared for. Have you ever had someone look at you funny, when you tell them that you have a farm...and absolutely have to be home to care for everyone.

May 13, 2011 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

Here's to fireflies and hard cider!

May 14, 2011 at 12:10 AM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

Jenna I could keep reading your writings for hours girl. It does my heart good just knowing how one of your days go. Thanks

May 14, 2011 at 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna, if you ever become a mama, the farm is excellent training for you. How you work is exactly how I work at parenting and homeschooling my 6 and all the other things I do. Just a constant stream of activity. I never feel rushed, but I rarely sit down. Some things I do the slow way for the enjoyment of it. You gotta get those little pleasures in, and if it can be as part of the daily work, so much the better.

May 14, 2011 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger David said...

Jenna, if possible, could you please post that youtube of the boy playing the banjo or at least reference the name of the song so I can search for it? Thanks!

May 14, 2011 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger steak and eggs said...

When I was in high school we had our horses in with the calves. The horses would get frisky and start running. One day my sister's horse ran over one of my calves. He was a large horse, but so was the calf (about 500 lbs.) Anyway he nearly killed her, but she was injured so bad we had to get rid of her. When Kathleen wrote in about the pony chasing the sheep I agree. Not that it will happen, but why take the chance?

May 14, 2011 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger karental said...

All, I found the youtube video at:

You probably have to cut and paste.


May 14, 2011 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

That was my first experience reading your blog, and to be honest with you, your description of your life was expressed beautifully. I look forward to being one of the many who check in and see how you, your farm, and your border collie are doing.

May 14, 2011 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Oh Jenna, your writing and your love for the life you have chosen to lead are as beautiful as each other.

May 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM  

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