goats in may

Goats seem prone to discontent. Maybe it’s an adaptation strategy developed over thousands of years of hanging out with humans. Sometimes their capriciousness is a little too familiar. They pull at their ropes, always focusing on something just beyond their reach. They kick their back legs, both in the joy of freedom and in the devil-may-care moments of frustration. They are not afraid to butt something or someone, out of their way. They usually avoid eye contact.

pepper and annie

That’s why it is so pleasing to us, their caretakers, when they are contented.

That’s why we, their caretakers, are so pleased to see the calendar turning to the month of May. The fields have finally grown UP big enough to please the goats. In March and April, our caprine friends were hungry, and eager each morning to go to the field, but never satisfied.

pepper

Now that it is May, they graze quietly all day, resting in turns, and rolling in a patch of bare earth when it suits them. They return to their pens in the evening with round fat bellies full of mature dock stalks, thistle leaf tips, clover flowers, and grass seed heads. They are contented to be scratched along their bumpy backs and down their long necks. When we take our first peek at them in the morning, they are still chewing.

Thanks May. We are all so glad you’re here.

annie

spring cleaning

old gardenComing up on 12 years ago, we mudded in our first garden in this hollow. To our surprise, it grew well. With a little help from our friends, we had some fresh food all winter and were ready to keep growing when Spring came. Year after year, our garden grew. We grew for ourselves, for our friends and family, and then for “our people”, the share-holders in our small CSA, starting with just about ten folks. The CSA grew to forty families at its peak, then we backed off. And backed off some more. Last year, we were back to just about ten families, right here in our home county.

But this year, we are letting go.

It is not easy to let go.pretty garden

I am one of those people who wants to do everything.

I want to be involved with my children’s education, here at home. I want to grow all our food and cook great meals from scratch. I want to be a good partner to my Fellow Man, a helpful daughter, a supportive sister, a loving friend, an involved member of my community. I want to pitch in twenty bucks to protect elephants, wolves, and endangered soil micro-fauna. I want to drive people to the polls. I want to say YES to every request to teach yoga in the surrounding communities. I want to knit a sweater and crochet baby blankets. I want to stir BD preps. I want to sing in the church choir, and some rock n roll songs too. I want to share and write out what is meaningful, enjoyable, and true for whoever wants to read it. I want to live and love and enjoy this excellent opportunity at LIFE.

And, this year, we are on the brink of some big changes. We intend to build a new home on our new land and get moved. In order for that big piece of work to happen, we (I) have to let some things go, and our little CSA is one of them.

We will still grow our own food, and probably too much of it. Old habits die hard. Anyone who comes to help me weed or hoe or harvest will be sent home with plenty. But we won’t be selling baskets. My heart breaks a little bit at this reality, but like so many heartbreaks, there’s an opportunity underneath it.splash

As Spring unfurls its green fronds, this is my exploration – how to move forward in a new way. How to keep what is truly necessary and good, let go of what may also be wonderful but not so necessary right now, making room for what is on the horizon. It is not easy, but it is good work for the inside of my head and heart.  It is work best done with a pack of seeds in my pocket (just not too BIG a packet) and a hoe in my hands.

However Spring comes in your neck of the woods – I hope you have good work, too.first daffodil

oh seed

“Though I do not believe
that a plant will spring up
where no seed has been,
I have great faith in a seed.
Convince me that you have a seed there,
and I am prepared to expect wonders.”
~Henry D. Thoreau

seed 2“Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”    ~Mr. Weasley, from Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Seeds are sprouting. They’re sprouting where we planted them, and hundreds of thousands more are sprouting absolutely everywhere. I have great faith in seeds. Trusting ourselves is a little harder.

Each year I go through some changes about it. We saved that new pepper seed. We didn’t order new seed. That pea seed was a completely impromptu experiment, then the peas got back-ordered. What if it doesn’t sprout?seed 1

(The answer is easy: we plant again.)

Did we order new parsley seed? Sometimes we have excess seed at the end of the season and we don’t seem to need it, but we also can’t keep ALL of our seeds in the freezer, either, so its not ideal storage conditions…

which leads to weak germination. (Lesson learned. We plant again.)

It wasn’t the seed’s fault.

But what is there to trust in the seed? Mr. Weasley’s question makes me smile each time I think of it. Where is the seed’s brain?

I think the seed’s brain is in the whole earth, and in the whole earth there is reflected the influence of the whole cosmos. That smart little seed, rolling around in my fingers, dropping into the wet ground, hiding in the dark, playing with the sun and air and water. It’s brain is so much bigger than mine.

Lucky we, to have such strong and wise companionship in these seeds. It is a relationship worth investing in.seed 3