Thursday, July 25, 2013

Boots Off

I just took of my boots. It’s (what time is it?) It’s 9:30. Those rubber numbers went on sometime around 6:30Am and just now my tired dogs have gone unshod. Under the calf-length black hunter Wellies was a green pair of home knit wool socks from my personal knitting hero, Meredith. Meredith has been my one sock provider for a whole year now, sending along around a dozen pairs as she knits them up. I can not tell you how grateful I am for those thick, chunky, amazing, sweat-wicking, foot protecting, warm as sin’s fire, wool socks. When I pulled those off my feet were printed with the rows of knitting she made by hand and I literally said out loud in this farmhouse, “I LOVE YOU MEREDITH” as I finally sat down. It is a holy moment, taking off those boots. The action itself an acceptance that this day is and its work is done.

So these boots, let me tell you their story. I woke up and went outside with Gibson to do the normal chores. Miracle of Miracles, the sheep were all inside the rickety fencing, not one escaped during the night. That made for a smug woman, and I handed out flakes of hay to the baaing masses with aplomb. When I headed over to call Jasper and Merlin for their breakfast rations, I did a double take. There were no horses. They weren’t in the pole barn, or on the hill, or behind the trees. They were gone. Humility restored I called out to Jasper, who rarely fails to come when called. I yelled his name and eventually a gray, dapple head popped out of the bushes. He was just beyond the fence they had trampled during the night. Possible because the electric charge had been diffused by a downed piece of wire. Great.

I grabbed some grain and calmly walked to the horses, who were happily munching on the forest just outside their paddock. I shook the sweet feed and both stepped over into their homeland. It took about half an hour to repair what was broken but I got it done. While I was tying fistfuls of baling twine and rewiring the broken connection my phone rang, it was Patty asking if I wanted to join her for a morning drive with Steele. Oh, did I ever. The weather was almost like early fall, in the high forties and a sweet respite from the heat wave the week before. But I had less then an hour to get chores done and be at Wood’s Automotive in town for a brake repair on the Dodge. I sadly declined the kind offer and went back to work. I was consoled by the fact my cart horses were present and accounted for.

The truck got repaired, nearly half a grand and a hard hit to the farm. But what can you do? Brakes are pretty important, and more important than an on-time truck payment. Chris down at Wood’s did a great job and sent me and my now totally inspected and legal vehicle out into the world for another year. Knock on wood brakes and new tires are all it needs replaced before fall.

I got home from the garage with just enough time to gather my things for work at the Falconry School in Manchester. I had three lessons today scheduled, folks from L.A, NY, and Delaware on vacation learned some instinctive shooting and were doing wonderful out on the range. The weather was lovely, the sky blue, Harris hawks behind us being held on the arms of happy students. By the time I left and finished errands in Arlington it was past dinnertime and I realized all I had to eat today was a slice of bread with jam on it at 6AM. My belly rumbled. I thought about dinner the whole ride home.

I came home to chores and a lot of writing to do. I am on a deadline to finish edits on this manuscript for Roost Books. I did my evening chores in sections, writing at the breaks. I got in stories about hay and baby lambs learning to chew grass between water bucket trips and more fence repairs. I got a text from Tom about delivering four pigs Sunday. I have two days to build a woodland pig pen. Whew…

I stopped writing for books a bit ago and now I’m writing to you. My boots are off, my dogs are fed, my farm animals contained, and I earned maybe fifty bucks out there shooting bows and arrows this afternoon. A few more days on the field and I can put a dent into those brake repairs. I feel like I should be tired, or despondent, but I’m not. I feel energized and excited. I may be in a scrappy place right now but I am doing it. I am living the life I want, at great cost, but still living it. The farm is keeping me well stocked in the grocery department. I haven’t been inside a grocery store in a month and a half now, and I wonder if I will go back? All my grain, cheese, and other needs can be picked up a the co-op in town and that monthly bill is something around forty bucks? So I may be working like a dog, but I am eating like a king. I think that was the last phrase in the Greenhorn’s Documentary. I like it. It’s an exchange that feels honest. Sore, sweaty, feet and all.

Tomorrow I’ll mail a horse payment and gather some new workshop support. I have a handful of folks interested in Indie Days and perhaps some of them will show up and share this world. I hope so. I do this less and less for myself and more and more to get other people excited about horses, gardens, chickens and homemade yarn. My life here is taking a lot out of me, but soaking up a lot of empty places. Like Meredith’s socks, those are some serious shoes to fill.

I’m ready for bed, but more importantly I am excited about tomorrow. I think that is what success really is, at least to me. To go to sleep happy and tired and excited about nothing in particular but the possibility ahead. Some folks never get to feel that, or gave it up long ago. I’m still on that horse. It’s worth it.

P.S. Anyone want to come build a pig pen? It's happening Saturday and entirely out of found items on this farm. Consider it a treasure hunt. I know I will.