Thursday, April 9, 2009

it's always everything

Every night I do the same thing. Around 10pm, the final rounds go on around Cold Antler and I put the farm to bed. It's just me, the stars, a small lantern, and my ipod. While listening to some slower, end-of-day music I go about the night chores I now consider as common as washing my face and brushing my teeth.

I feed the sheep some grain, and check on every bird in the hen house. I walk in the garden, planning my big plans. I carry out all the animal's water. I turn out lights. I scratch under the chins of Marvin and Sal. Sometimes I sing. I do these things and let the music swallow me, and I let myself get lost in whatever is on my mind at the time. Tonight I was grateful for the temperance of the music, and the full moon. Good company, them.

Tonight I was listening to a live concert Iron and Wine recorded for NPR's All Songs Considered. When He Lays in the Reins came on, I was particularly pensive. That song, even in all it's intensity, has the ability to consistently haunt me.

I was singing along tonight, checking on the flock when something fairly magical happened. From between the two wethers Maude walked right up to the gate. She was inspecting me, considering me. I kept singing along. "One more tired thing. A gray moon on the rise..." I carefully, slowly, put my hand out, still singing to the leery sheep. "When you’re all tuckered out and tame..." I stood there softly singing, my hand extended.

She touched it with her nose.

I nearly fainted. Then, recovering mid-stride, smiled like an idiot. What a win. What a perfect ending to a beautiful day. And the big lesson learned: Farming is infinitely more beautiful with a soundtrack. Burn the Louvre to the ground. Throw every book in the goddamn sea. But please, please leave me music. It's always everything.


Blogger rhonda jean said...

what a lovely night routine. It's clear that there is mutual love at your farm.

I am an iPod girl too. I'm curently looking for some free downloads of authentic Bluegrass, but for the life of me I can't find any. I might look up your choice.

April 9, 2009 at 11:39 PM  
Anonymous AmyKortuem said...

Life is nothing without a soundtrack. My soundtrack changes by season, but a soundtrack there always is.

Congratulations on making a connection with Maude. Must be the full moon. My usually ornery, Maude-like kitty sat RIGHT NEXT TO ME tonight for a few minutes.

Beauty and music, in the small moments that make up a big life.

April 9, 2009 at 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely and even better sharing a moment with Maude;)

April 10, 2009 at 12:07 AM  
Blogger spinyurchin said...

Well, throw every book but your book, What would we do without it? :)

April 10, 2009 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Melonie said...

spinyurchin makes a great point. LOL

i'm not a big music fan myself - i like it now and then but books are my thing.

i would be willing to trade a few books for awesome moments like that one with maude though. wonder if she'll be doubly cranky another day to make up for The Moment. ;-)

April 10, 2009 at 2:25 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

All the animals here make their own music. I could never drown it out with anything human made. One of the things that brings me the most joy when I'm doing my farm chores is listening to the animals. The tiny birds in the morning, the hawks at midday, the coyotes at dusk and the frogs at night. It really might be my favorite part.

Looks like you might be making progress with Maude! :)

April 10, 2009 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger bellananda said...

ah, magic. :)

April 10, 2009 at 10:32 AM  
Anonymous dogear6 said...

You caught two big topics here - the comfort and joy of our routines and the unexpected pleasures of life that come to us without warning.

Thanks for taking time to share and help heighten our awareness of relaxing into our daily life.

April 10, 2009 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Heck yes!! I married a professional musician, so he certainly understands my need for music. :-) I fully plan on making him wire the barn for sound someday.

April 10, 2009 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

What a truth. The most magical things happen with a song in your head or heart. It can forge connections with soothing tones. I'm so happy to hear that you're winning over your ewe.

April 10, 2009 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Jenna!

Maybe Maude is a Weresheep, and she is friendly on full moons. It's a possibility that needs further investigation. I suggest setting up a team for research and development.

April 10, 2009 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Mare said...

Awww! I knew in there somewhere that Maude had a soft spot! ;)

April 10, 2009 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Your evenings sound wonderful to me. I've wanted to homestead my whole life and have little successes from time to time. Now that I'm graduating from university and have a little boy to raise, I think I can now take a lot more of those little steps you talk about toward homesteading. Thanks for your article in MEN. It was very inspiring, honest, and just what I needed.

April 11, 2009 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger White Feather said...

My throat closed up from the emotion in your post. I feel the same way about iPod is one of my most precious possessions. You know, when my generation (and yours) hits the nursing homes (I'm 58)there's going to be a problem if they don't let us have our iPods, or whatever type of music player we have at the time!

And's such a tiny thing she did and with any other animal it wouldn't be such a big deal, but Maude! I love it!

April 11, 2009 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger hairdo girl said...

I just read your book, and loved it. It reminds me of time spent on my grandfathers farm. And because of your book and blog i have rediscoverd my love of bakinmg fresh bread for my family and friends. Thank you, you will never know how much i needed the kick in the pants that your blog and book gave me.

April 11, 2009 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger Melonie said...

You've won another award - hope it gives you a chuckle.

April 12, 2009 at 7:53 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...


I'm with you on this. I love books more than anything, but they are not essential, and music is. Human cultures thrived long before we recorded our stories and histories, but no culture has ever thrived when its music died.

Uni Verse = One Song

This was a very luminous post!
Thank you.

April 17, 2009 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

btw, You have seen this Iron & Wine video, yes? You must. It is breathtaking:

April 17, 2009 at 8:47 AM  

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