Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Born For It

It's only three in the afternoon but it feels much later. The past few days of revelry and fuss were wonderful, and I'm grateful for the blessing of the company, but I am tuckered. The last event of the holiday was this morning. Brett and I headed back over to Livingston Brook Farm to meet up with folks from last night for a farm breakfast and wagon ride with Steele. We ate fresh eggs, toast, and bacon from Dick Cheney (the pig was named such) cut farmer style, a quarter-inch thick. After waking up in the forty-degree farmhouse at Cold Antler, eating a meal like this next to a fire was pure joy. There is no happiness like the happiness fostered from voluntary depravity. Or so I tell myself at 3AM when the fires go out!

After the warm meal and copious amounts of hot coffee we bundled up and headed out into the sharp morning. Both the light and weather were harsh. We stuck close together, the four of us who were going on the wagon ride. Four of us helped harnessed the horse. Joanna, a new and dear friend of mine, was learning how to drive in anticipation of getting her first horse this coming summer. She already takes a weekly riding lesson, but is also interested in working with her horse and her up-and-coming farm. So everything was done step-by-step and I listened as Brett and Patty explained things to her. I was quiet, listening and hoping to learn a thing or two. (I learned quite a bit!) It was around 14 degrees and the wind had a bite to it, but all of us were in high spirits. We were well-fueled and well rested and smiling under the winter sun. We were on the road in a matter of minutes, Brett and I in the read of the wagon watching the sky and listening for traffic.

At one point a cardinal flew by the wagon and both Joanna and Patty, who were up on the buckboard, exclaimed in happy praises of it. Patty remarked how beautiful it was and Joanna said she thought such bright colors in a cold, gray, time of year were a true blessing. THey said this with such genuine gratitude and wonder I was instantly touched folks who shine at a passing bird are in my life.

Joanna drove the wagon, learning from the two experienced horse folk in the cart and I sunk into myself a bit. In tights, kilt, heavy wool sweater and knit hat I was a little ball of introspective wool. I watched the world from the back of the horse cart, thinking about much and uncertain of all of it. As good as my holiday season has been a lot of it is hard on me. I have been thinking about a few people who aren't a part of my life anymore. Friend you lose through entropy, people you tell to go away, and the people you wish would call your name. I watched the trees sharpened to comic-like points from the beavers that live by the roadside wetlands and decided I wasn't listening to enough new music. Music heals, and new music that touches or excites you is a quest worth undertaking equal to searching for love or meaning.

Music is love and meaning.

After the breakfast and cart ride I spent the afternoon prepping for the coming snow storm. I ran errands to the bank and feed store, stocking up on provision for myself and over fifty animals. I had big tasks ahead like making sure all the stock was comfortable. But also little tasks. Things like tightening the screws on the roof rake and setting it up near the woodpile for the several dates we'll have with it during the blizzard. I am ready. I have hay stacked, wood stacked, feed in the truck and a crock pot loaded up with a pork shoulder that can be transferred to a dutch oven on the Bun Baker when the power goes out. It's already starting to flicker… We're supposed to get around ten wet and icy inches. This means I'll be outside a few times during the night to pull snow off the kitchen and barn roofs. And it means more night rounds than usual on the flocks and horses. I'm looking forward to facing this storm. It is weekday snowstorms like this that drove me to follow a creative life in the first place. You want motivation to quit your day job? Raise lambs on a mountainside during a blizzard on a Tuesday morning and just try to leave it for an office. You can't. At least I couldn't.

I'll check in during the storm best I can. If you don't hear from me here or on Facebook, it means I'm reading by the fire with a Border Collie trying to crawl inside me to fall asleep. Don't worry about us. We were born for it.

15 Comments:

Blogger Poet in Motion said...

Voluntary depravity?!

December 26, 2012 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger Alicia-Marie said...

Based on your posts, it sounded as though you had a great holiday, spent with friends and animals alike.

Music is very healing. Whether hitting play on my iPad or picking up an instrument, it is a big part of my day.

Did you get the card and wolf picture in the mail?

December 26, 2012 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Alicia-Marie said...

Based on your posts, it sounded as though you had a great holiday, spent with friends and animals alike.

Music is very healing. Whether hitting play on my iPad or picking up an instrument, it is a big part of my day.

Did you get the card and wolf picture in the mail?

December 26, 2012 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Yes! When you choose to milk a goat for a quart of dairy, heat with wood you brought in by horses, and spend all your life raising food and hope you are choosing a life of "deprivation" by society standards. nothing I do is necessary in a modern world. All of it is necessary for me to be happy in one.

I am in love with the simple joy of avoiding the easiest routes to pleasure and working hard as a dog for them. Raising chickens for an egg, writing a book for your name on a spine, glanced in the corner of your eye, doing chores all day to eat off the land... this is a choice for a harder life that means more to me because the work makes sense. My effort gets a tangible, physical, and emotional return I found in no other life. I have tried many.

December 26, 2012 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Crisy said...

Bravo!

December 26, 2012 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

Jenna ~ A snowstorm is exciting but it can be dangerous ~ please be careful shoveling off your roofs. Take care, friend.

December 26, 2012 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

I think Poet thought you meant depravity between you and Brett...

December 26, 2012 at 6:21 PM  
Blogger Paul Molnar said...

I think that Poet in Motion's query and possible confusion is that the context indicated that you meant deprivation (as you used in your explanation) or even austerity where as depravity made me immediately think debauchery. I do get where you were going though. I do think that it could be very satisfying to choose to "live deliberately" as you have and as many of us long to do.

December 26, 2012 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

No, I did not mean debauchery. It doesn't suit me.

I just meant what I explained.

December 26, 2012 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Paul Molnar said...

Debauchery just seems like SO much work....

December 26, 2012 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

It's always a pleasure to visit here, and read about your days. I finished A Meeting in Corvallis last night, & reading of you in your kilt made me smile. I do hope you and your farm are faring well in the storm.

December 26, 2012 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

I hear ya with the storm. We are -9F tonight and have been for a few days. Wouldn't ya know it, lambing started!

December 26, 2012 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger MIB said...

Jenna, on the "new music" front, I recommend you get the latest album from First Aid Kit, if you don't have it already--sisters from Sweden, but every time I listen to them, I can't believe they weren't born in bluegrass country.

December 27, 2012 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Big Sky Chicken Ranch and Victory Garden said...

You are so lucky to have friends who appreciate the beauty of a colorful bird on a grey winter day. You are running with the right crowd, lady!

December 27, 2012 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger WillowBrookFarm said...

I 2nd that! Love First Aid Kit, there song Emmylou was our 1st dance at our wedding.

December 27, 2012 at 9:49 PM  

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