bits and pieces

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The green grass practically glows against the still barren trees. Every time we go up into the pastures, we cheer it’s growth along. Eric fed out the last of the square bales of hay this evening, and we have one round bale left. When the cows and sheep are moved into a fresh paddock (currently three times a day!), they now choose to graze on the fresh green grass over the hay offerings. But the grass is still young and watery compared to the dry hay that they are used to eating. Inevitably, they are getting a good internal cleanse if you know what I mean. Yesterday, Lilly’s tail (my milk cow) was completely saturated in runny manure. I’ll say, I was very alert about which way that tail was switching while I was milking her lest I wind up with streaks of shit across my cheeks and forehead. Only my wrist got one good slap. Most days, she doesn’t even move her tail at all while I am milking, unless I make too sudden of a movement. That morning, she was toying with me… slightly flicking her tail almost constantly. Cows are such sensitive creatures, she knew good and well what she was doing.

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I inadvertently killed a chicken the other day. Somehow, the odds were in my favor as it wound up being a rooster. Pretty remarkable odds, too, as we have about five roosters and somewhere in the range of 150 hens. The poor fellow. His head got wedged in the trough of the feeder as I was filling it. When I poured the grain in the top of the feeder (the trough that the birds eat from isn’t visible from here) he basically got suffocated by wheat. Kind of the same scenario as creepy horror films when some poor innocent soul finds their way into an empty silo and, well, you know how the story goes. When I finished filling the feeder, I looked down under the roof of the trough to make sure the grain was feeding properly and saw the lifeless feathered lump. It took a bit of prying to get him extricated from his unfortunate predicament, but I did, and I took him down to the house and butchered him for soup.

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We planted our potatoes yesterday. I’m simultaneously saying Hooray and Boohoo. I’m thrilled they are in the ground and the weather was so pleasant during planting and we were not in a wild rush to beat a storm or something. But, for the first time ever, we planted our own saved potatoes as seed. We planted all that remained from our winter stores. That means we don’t get to enjoy any more meals of potatoes until roughly July. It’s quite possible I’ll be sneaking up to the garden after dark and digging up our seed pieces just to have a little snack.

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My pasty white winter skin is beginning to have some color return to it. Shoulders and cheeks slightly pink. Feet dirty. It feels so good to not have to wear so many layers of clothes. I don’t feel like I need a hoist to get my legs up and over our net livestock fences. When I get overcome with the desire to lay down and waller in the green grass, I can feel the coolness on my skin. Divine. We are just at the beginning of the onslaught of bugs, so laying down in the grass is still appealing. Soon, that would be considered an act of sheer carelessness. Chiggers would have a feast.

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A few years ago, my sister-in-law and her partner gifted us an amazing corn broom made from broom corn that they grew on their farm and then had a local artisan turn into brooms. I love that broom. I would have to say it is my most-used tool that I possess, except for maybe a dish sponge. That broom is so tough and still in remarkably good condition for the amount that I use it. Over the course of the winter, with my handy-dandy broom at my side, I developed a very new and exciting and extremely satisfying way to clean up the house… When the five of us were spending the better portion of our days throughout the winter in our incredibly small house, messes were a sure result of all the busy-ness that accompanied my family. After giving the children multiple chances to “clean up your stuff, please“, I would give the warning that I was getting out the broom. I would then proceed to sweep everything that was left discarded on the floor into a big pile. Then the kids had one more chance to fetch anything that they still wanted from my pile before it all went into the trash. Maybe I was going a little bit Griswold, but boy was that ever satisfying… you really ought to give it a try.

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I warm breeze blew all through the night last night. This morning there was no dew. The overnight low was 60 degrees. Rain is coming today or tonight followed by much cooler temperatures, possibly even in the teens. Portions of the garden are ready for action right now, the tiny windows farmers so often face when it comes to soil preparation. We did our chores early this morning, came back to the house for breakfast, and Eric just left to go and do some plowing. I will go up just as soon as I’m done here. We will spend the day spreading compost. I hope my shoulders can take it. Spring conditioning time. I know it will feel good and tonight I will sleep hard and deep.

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All of these little bits and pieces are what give life its character. Inflating the days like a balloon. Connecting all of the big moments with the thread of existence… like slowly patching together a beautiful quilt from the moments of life.

3 thoughts on “bits and pieces

  1. Oh my goodness, I really enjoyed your post, and pictures are incredible. Thank you so much for writing this down. I liked the chicken story, poor guy, that is what you get for greed… Good luck with the compost, and the shoulders, so good to feel those muscles moving, I am jealous! 🙂

  2. Loved your comments . I used to do that with my kids but never actually threw away the stuff .. One was sneaky and would just stuff things in drawers and closet (clean and dirty)to give the appearance that the room was clean .
    we don’t get chiggers here till mid summer but I have welts from atick who bit in 5 places before getting into my armpit .. I also experience that sprng tune up in my 67 year old body as I move compost prune plant weed ect . It feels good and I sleep so much better.
    I enjoy your writings

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