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Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Vǫlva on the Farm

The sun is rising brightly in the East this morning, and though I forgot to drain the hose that I use to water the critters, I know it will thaw shortly. A metaphor for life today? Perhaps.

I do know that is it uncharacteristically quiet out there in the barnyard today. Hoping it is, as well, where you are. I know, though, that once the critters hear me moving about, removing waste food from its packaging, scooping up grain, and especially
 once I open the door to pour kibble into the LGD (livestock guardian dog) bowl, the cacophony will begin! I'll be met by ducks, wadding back and forth, sometimes (accidentally?) becoming self-aligning, quacking impatiently and the turkeys will call and run about like mad fools this way and that. I have no idea why, but they do this several times a day. And the goats...
oh man! The goats, Nubians, yell more loudly that an tantrum-throwing-toddler as they run to the gate, expecting to be put on their tether and walked out to eat in the field. This won't be a patch on what I will hear, though, once winter sets in. They REALLY don't like change in their routine and also REALLY don't like precipitation! A snowflake -- I am convinced it was a single one by the rate with when I saw them falling when I went to investigate-- must have landed on ONE of their backs a few days ago and you would have thought they were hollering about Armageddon!

Funny how I can tolerate this behavior better in the "dumb animals" than in my fellow humans.

As the human in all this chaos, though, I proceed through my morning chores in a calm and routine manner, typically. Unless something is actually amiss to the extent that someone is in danger, the goats get secured to the "goat rope" and walked to fresh grazing. They do know the routine, and when they are in position, they fall to eating and allow me to let go of their tether and haul the pallet that we use as a goat anchor into position to secure them. Then back to the house for the waste food and grain for the fowl. First turkeys, then chicken and lastly ducks get their share. This time of year I may have to break the ice in their water tubs and today I will be carrying a clean tub out to swap for a dirty one, this weeks extra critter project.

I still have beets and carrots in the ground, too... more than we will use through the winter, so while I am feeding the critters, I'll be thinking about those I know who could use, and would like, a share. I used to do farmers markets, trying to offset seed costs and the gas to get to market, by "sharing my extra" for a bit of cash. That really didn't work so well. Folks who attend farmers markets, it seems, are not really in touch with the world in which I live (I call it "the real world" but who knows what they would see!) where vegetables vary in size and, though not all in the row are beautiful, they all DO taste good and pack a load of nutrients. They don't understand "real" growing seasons, either. "Well, Hannaford's have it!" does not a seasonal veggie make it.
I got tired of eating ONLY the ungly and misshapen food, so now I share it -- free -- to folks I know who can and will use vegetables as they come from the ground. "Straight run" I call them. Not sure who will get my next shares this time, though.

I do know that, with winter knocking at the door (remember, I said the hose would need to thaw to water the critters) that there is stuff to do, yet, besides digging the last roots before the ground freezes solid. And a bit of this "doings" will be my "work with Intent" ritual for the day. Yesterday I cut down the grasses and weeds that had grown up around some lavender plants, and as I mulch around them -- and the ornamental American bittersweet that I planted this year -- I will be actively strengthening some spiritual threads.

The spiritual symbolism of lavender resides in the realms of healing, easing of tension, higher consciousness and the release of energy blockages. As for the bittersweet, I hope this is a "bittersweet" moment in our history, when those who care about the earth and the creatures who live upon her are brought together in strength and power by the current turn of political events.  

By mulching these plants, giving them protection against the northern winter, I am helping them to be able to emerge earlier in the spring and with more vigor. May the threads they represent on this plane be so helped as well.