Thursday, June 24, 2010

specks in the distance

When's the last time you ran around your yard in the dark with a jar with holes poked in the top? Tonight I was outside in the humidity, catching fireflies for an hour. My skills have slipped. At a certain age you stop catching and start watching and it's enough. But tonight I wanted to remember what a glowing jar felt like in hot hands.

I can't help but believe the farm is teaching me how to become the person I hope to be. I want to find some sort of very rusted old grace and obtain it, hold its reins, and know it. A way to understand things without having to comment, or to react to things without a reaction. I'm tired of filling up silence and space. I want to be so comfortable with myself and my life I would grow roots if I sat still too long.

It took a weekend in pure misery of bacterial poisoning to teach me the intense lesson of careful work around animal processing and raw meat. It forced me to make the place cleaner, more orderly, and to take better care of myself and what I consume. It drove me to get my well water tested (the test came out fine) and to slow down. I take more care in preparation of not only food, but in my own day. I wake up early enough to have time to sit, drink coffee, and stretch. And understand the luxury of a life that has time to sit, drink coffee, and stretch. I am grateful for it.

The fox too, has helped me. As angry as I was when the deaths were occurring, today I realized that five eggs a day, one rooster, a half dozen new layers and meat birds—is what I can reasonably handle. It also got me in touch with new people and friends: trappers and trackers who know how to deal with and prevent fox attacks. Because of that blasted animal I now have a more manageable home and the farm has met new faces. He's also made me walk the entire property line, looking for dens and signs. Being outside on a June sunrise and staring across my land, seeing the sheep just specks in the distance: is a gift from a fox I hate. Sometimes a farm takes the world and tilts it. Same place, just slightly different and with new things to understand.

When the weather report says there's no chance of thunderstorms. I still hope for one. Slim chances never did a damn thing o stop chumps from hoping. It's impossible to become jaded, because every now and then one still surprises you. And you can't help but get excited when clouds come and the wind picks up. It's hardwired like that in some of us, hope I mean.

When I was a kid, holding the flashing jar in my hands was the best part. Now it's letting them go.


Blogger finsandfeathers said...

Another beautiful entry for your, "Chicken Soup for The CAF Soul," book soon to be published ;>)

June 24, 2010 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger HotFlashHomestead said...


June 24, 2010 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

fyi Jenna & readers,

Don't poke holes in the lids for fireflies. The entemologist (insect researcher) that studies fireflies here in IN said that was not a good practice as it allows the moisture to leave the jar and the fireflies dessicate, as most homes have much lower humidity than outdoors. He said there is more than enough air in a jar for the insects to breathe easy till morning!

June 24, 2010 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Thanks Jenna....this post was exactly what I needed today!

June 24, 2010 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Mustard Moon Farm said...

We caught fireflies tonight, too!!! They were all over our farm...what a grand time. :o)

June 24, 2010 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

"very rusted old grace" - I can only wish that more people were driven to find such things.

June 24, 2010 at 11:19 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I don't know if it's your particular gift for writing, or if it's your own way of understanding what goes on around you because you see it for what it is- or because of the way you interpret what it all means, but more than your farm or your escape to the better life, I have finally figured out that what I envy you is your very old soul....

June 24, 2010 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Floridagirl said...

I think there's an Aesop's fable in there somewhere between you and the fox.

June 24, 2010 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Did I just spot a gray hair on your head, Jenna? Sounds like you are getting older and wiser. Keep looking for the good things that come through these life lessons and you will be a very wise old woman.

June 24, 2010 at 11:59 PM  
Blogger smilingcat said...

Sounds like you are finding peace with your farm and nature.

To be content and to be happy, you can't really ask much more than that in life. And tonight was one of those rare moments when sweet memories are made.

Thank you for giving us an opportunity to share such wonderful moments.

June 25, 2010 at 12:28 AM  
Blogger E said...

Well said, especially the part about growing long roots - an under-appreciated skill in modern society.

Surprised you could get loans etc without testing drinking water.

June 25, 2010 at 1:44 AM  
Blogger Don said...

I know you are so busy with the farm these day's. But what every happen to Fiddler's Summer? I first started to read your blog's in the fall, last October and because of your writings I purchased an old fiddle and have fallen in love with old time music and my fiddle. I play an hour or more each day, 5 to 6 days a week and at the age of 59 began a new adventure in my life. Even my 3-year-old granddaughter loves to dance with my wife when I play. Thanks, you were the inspiration!

June 25, 2010 at 7:41 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

That was a blog challenge from last year, like the snap pea thing and such. I still owe books to people!!!

June 25, 2010 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

I have to say that your observations and insights are so beautifully expressed. I feel like I've learned from you and I'm old enough to be your mother! You have a beautiful soul, Jenna. I'm happy you know enough to not become jaded by what you've accomplished and that you still find wonder and excitement in the really important things in life.

June 25, 2010 at 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When was the last time I ran around catching fireflies? Earlier this year, actually.

I love your posts and listening to you growing into your farm. As a keeper of chickens and a veggie garden (your post on when we qualify as a "real" farm really struck me as well) myself I enjoy seeing the same lessons and the same kindred spirit in your posts. Although I've managed to avoid the food poisoning, so far anyway...

June 25, 2010 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Another blog that makes me sit back, contemplate my life and make changes....the changes are small, but over time, my whole way of thinking has changed.

Thank you!

June 25, 2010 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Kris Mo said...

Thanks for another beautiful, inspirational post, Jenna. We would all be better to take pause in appreciation of the fireflies, the coffee, and the luxury of comfort.

June 25, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

What a lovely post Jenna! I too have learned the habit of hurry is simply not worth it. Lately I've really focused on slowing down every aspect of my life, from farm chores to driving to eating. I'm also right there with ya on the thunderstorms. There are few things I love more than watching one blow in :)

June 25, 2010 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...

Gonna do a "HEADS UP" today on
my Website & encourage my "Special
Visitors' to visit your blog "COLD ANTLER FARM" for an unbelieveable
read today..."SPECKS IN THE DISTANCE"!!! Absolutely (as you've been told many times) great stuff!!!
CHEERS wih a health drink!!!

June 25, 2010 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

this post and i are kindred spirits. you and i have many different views, but once the surface has been scratched, what is exposed is the same.

June 25, 2010 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Conny said...

Glad you're finding some peace and comfort on the new farm.

Even just watching the fireflies is comforting. We don't have them here in Calif, but I remember catching a few in Indiana on a visit many years ago.

June 25, 2010 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger Damn The Broccoli said...

The UK doesn't have fireflies. :0(
They look so pretty.

There is a very Buddhist theme to that last post about realising it's what we draw from a situation that makes it what it is.

The fox isn't good or evil. It is a fox living as a fox. the fox is equally entitled to the view you are in it's land but as humans we rarely think like this.

It's great to see someone who can think outside basic humanity and see the good that happens!

Love reading your blog as in a few years I want to be walking the boundaries looking for dens. Won't be catching fireflies though.

June 25, 2010 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

you should not have had the well retested. Usually when you purchase everything must meet specs

June 25, 2010 at 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember catching fireflies as a girl. Awesome post.

July 3, 2010 at 5:22 PM  

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