Thursday, September 11, 2008

hay-lined revelations

Realizing you're becoming a farmer comes in tiny revelations. You'd think unloading a station wagon full of sheep or writing a check for 200-pounds of animal feed would snap that into place for you, but those grand gestures don't. Maybe because they're too obvious or your mind is so busy trying to figure out how to get them into pens or carry 200 pounds when you're 5'3"? No, It's the little things. Like realizing that you tracked goose crap all over the house because you're used to a life of lawns, not pastures. Or when you pull hay off your jeans when you sit down at your office's desk chair. Or watching movies with chickens running around period film sets and yelling at the screen "What!? Why would a Plymouth Rock Rooster be living in 16th Century Japan?!!" And then getting angry at the film crew for their obvious lack of poultry research. That's when you realize you've slipped into the dark side of the barn. That's when you understand you're becoming a farmer.

This morning at the office was one of those moments. A couple of co-workers were chatting about the colder-than-usual morning. One said to another "Weren't you surprised when you walked outside this morning?! Hello Winter." And I realize how completely unsurprised I was. But had this been a morning back in Knoxville three years ago, I would've been shocked. Back before I planned my life around a garden and livestock, I let the weather happen to me. I didn't live a reactionary life towards it (unless you consider putting on a sweater reactionary.) But now I stalk and haunt I have a garden full of corn and pumpkins and sunflowers to keep going into October. Between the fear of early frost, and planning how much work I want to do outside at 5AM, I check the weather report all the time.

I knew for over a week we were going to have a frost advisory last night. So after work I did all the morning chores in advance. I carried and refilled all the water stations. I loaded fresh feed into everyone's bowls and feeders. I forked straw. I set things up. I did it so I'd have an easier and more comfortable morning. So come the dark blue light of 5:34AM I would only need a few flakes of hay under my left arm and a lantern in my right hand. Which is all I did need.

This morning I walked outside in a heavy fleece coat, a ridiculous fur musher's hat, and my father's old red-and-black plaid hunting jacket. I looked silly, but I was warm (and the sheep could care less how I'm dressed.) Work went quick and by the time I was back inside with the dogs the coffee was ready. I was never surprised for a second. Which comes with my wooly new territory, I guess.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You provide us with a real sense of place in your writing. I can also sense a sense of season (fall) if there is such a thing and because I love fall I am enjoying your fall-it is still 80 degrees here at 10:30 in the morning. I have a friend who has learned to weave. She wants to have sheep and make her own yarn. I am gaining an appreciation of yarn and fibers from her. Hope you sell yarn eventually. I crochet and knit and would like to try some natural dyed yarn. Happy Day!!

September 11, 2008 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger angie said...

hello. I just found your blog. A few posts ago you referred to a corporate job in downtown Chicago. That's where I am. It made me laugh! I also aspire to be a farmer - already have the farm, just gotta save up some more $ to get outta this place!

I will definitely follow your progress.

September 11, 2008 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yes, so much of country living falls into the category of (forgotten) common sense - remove outdoor footwear before entering house, keep town/chore clothes separate etc.

For a great discussion on country survival (food storage, gardening, hygiene etc) see Sharon (who is doing it all!) at She has lots to teach us all!

September 11, 2008 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Hee! I have tracked hay and grassy bits (and who knows what else) into my fancy-pants marbled office building many times. It's a bit surreal every time.

September 11, 2008 at 10:59 PM  

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