Carving With Spoons
Wake up at 6AM after a night with 2 hours of sleep
Farm chores: feeding pigs, chickens, geese, horse, flock of sheep, dairy goats and prep for slaughter truck.
Lay under truck and fix a rusted pipe connection with duct tape and baling twine. Spare money already spent on vet visit for puppy 2 days ago.
Help slaughter 2 pigs.
Drag 100 pounds of guts, bones, heads, and such a half mile away into the woods to a giant pile for the locals.
Go into town. Load hay and feed bags.
Come home. Get invited to a movie. Get excited about hope of Leonardo Dicaprio and popcorn.
Do a last minute run around farm to check all for water and feed. Realize your best ewe, Brick, has a tear on her lip hanging off like an Elvis impersonator.
Cancel any plans of a social life. Call friend and tell her I can't do the mobies. Call farm neighbor who is better than most vets when it comes to sheep and goats. She is coming with her med kit and 10 years experience with goats and sheep.
She is here in 10 minutes. Together we wrestle (she falls over onto the mud and I am stuck almost inverted holding the ewe with my head down).
Together we clean up, medicate, mend, evaluate the otherwise healthy and pregnant sheep right there on the muddy hillside. We high five. Her knee hurts and I have a headache from panting upside down.
My best ewe gets up and walks away, much better off. She was purchased in 2010. I am praying for a daughter out of her this year.
It is 3PM and I have not showered or even started freelance work yet. Clients can only wait so long. My night is going to be graphic design here in the farmhouse.
I still have a headache. But I also have a hard cider.
So what is all this? This is one day on a farm that lives and breathes animal life and husbandry. It is sorrow and sacrifice. It is time and sweat and a rush of blood to the head. But it is also amazing friendships that transcend the everyday. It is baby lambs in your arms, and pulled pork dinners at Game Night, and it is the promise of more life and wealth ahead if you can keep your head in the fight.
None of this list was a complaint. It's just a postcard from one farm, on one hillside, and one life being carved out of an Ash tree with a spoon. Not easy, but possible if you're stubborn enough.
I am nothing if not stubborn.