Friday, June 10, 2011

a night in bedlam

I have a lot to update you on, but June on a farm (even one as small as mine) is a time of nonstop action. I have snap peas to pick, strawberries to can, potatoes to mulch and I just set six new turkey poults into the brooder. Four Bourbon Reds were planned, ordered weeks ago, but two were gifted to me today at the office. My coworker Matt ordered four Midget Whites and only wanted to raise two. Eight turkeys might make it here on Cold Antler Farm and come fall I can sell them and make enough off Thanksgiving to make a truck payment.

Last night was exciting, too. I was invited over to Jon Katz's farm for dinner and fiddling, and Gibson was invited to join his dog Rose and herd sheep. For those of you unfamiliar with the man, Jon is an author, photographer, and blogger just a few miles northwest of Cold Antler. His website,, has a blog as well and probably just as old (if not older) than CAF.

We started the visit with Gibson getting to work the sheep in his main pasture, and what a sight it was to behold! After Rose had them penned, Gibson had a chance to be let off leash and circle the pen. He seemed collected enough, and after a while the whole lot of ovines were were let out and off they sprinted. Gibson. Was Thrilled. He had never been set loose in a big open space with so many sheep before. Even in the heat, helped and sprinted and acted like, well, a year-old Border Collie, but I had never seen him so damn happy. But even in the fray he stopped and lied down 80% of the time. He and Rose had a calm time together in the field. Actually, I don't think either of them ever even looked at each other the whole time sheep were amongst them? A testament to their breeding, focus, and souls.

Afterwards Gibson gulped water and rested in his crate and I joined Jon, and his wife Maria, for dinner on their screened porch. We told stories, I played some fiddle tunes, and enjoyed the conversation greatly. It was wonderful to talk to another writer, specially one so accomplished. The shoptalk of promoting books, farm websites, facebook, blog videos, was a nice change of pace from my usual routine.

The view from his place is magical, and makes my little carved-into-a-mountain homestead look so very small in comparison to their 110 acres. (My whole farm is less land then their scrub pasture). But despite their great fields, summer flock, and Rose's ability to work sheep: Jon and Maria were humble and kind. Gibson and I were invited back to practice herding again, and next time I'll snap some photos of him with the big flock if I can remember to bring a camera.

I'm off to bed soon—getting up extra early drive to a herding clinic in Greenfield, Mass. There Gibson and I will watch novice sheepdog handlers go through the ropes of a faux trial. While we'll just be watching, it's always great to be around folks who love the sport, the breed, sheep, and share this crazy life. I'll enjoy being soaked in all that camaraderie.

photo of rose by jon katz


Blogger Unknown said...

Have fun tomorrow - it'll be a great group of people (many are friends of mine)!

June 10, 2011 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Even in the rain Carolyn?! Who's coming?

June 10, 2011 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...

i love john's books! Rose in a storm made me cry good tears. i envie your chance to see the farm and meat Rose.

June 10, 2011 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Toni aka irishlas said...

What a great way to spend an evening. Jon and Maria seem like such gentle souls.

June 11, 2011 at 5:47 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

An evening with Jon Katz at Bedlam is a true gem. You've got it all going on in your life.

June 11, 2011 at 6:28 AM  
Blogger Phiddy said...

How are you canning those strawberries? Which I had enough of ours to can.

June 11, 2011 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger daisy g said...

Have a wonderful time, Jenna. It's great to see all that good karma coming back to you. You deserve it!

June 11, 2011 at 7:28 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Wow - I'm envious! Rose in a Storm is one of the few books I have bought in years after reading a library copy. Lucky girl!

June 11, 2011 at 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Jon Katz' books. what a fun evening for you and Gibson.

June 11, 2011 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I hope you had fun (and rain is way better than hot, right?!)! My friend Deb was there with her Kelpie and called me on her way home. She thought it was a really great clinic and she learned a lot about how you lose points in runs.

June 11, 2011 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

Don't know how far you are from Cortland, NY but my husband is doing a clinic over here this weekend. It would have been nice to meet you.

June 12, 2011 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I'd like to meet you guys as well, but looks like 4 hours one way!

June 12, 2011 at 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Jon Katz! How cool that you know him. My border mix would love a herd of his own, but there's no room for sheep in the city.

I'm looking forward to reading more about your life on the farm.

June 16, 2011 at 7:29 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

I am a reader of Jon's books and blog. What a wonderful time for you and Jon & Maria all.

June 17, 2011 at 10:42 PM  

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