Last night the wind was howling around the house the way it tends to do here. We slept with the bedroom window open. The cool, dampness of my pillow and the gusts blowing the long curtain sideways into the room reminded me of sleeping next to the ocean which I haven’t done since I was a child and shared a room in the summer with my grandmother. During the day we have been outside and working. In May I need the heavy-down-pour excuse to get me inside, sitting at my table and writing or at the very least, the pitch-black-outside excuse. After supper two nights ago I had a strong cup of coffee, to help me stay awake and have uninterrupted quiet to write and think; instead I was the first in the house to fall asleep. Last night as I wrote, I realized I was closing my eyes for long stretches as I typed. We have had warnings of rain all week. The clouds darken repeatedly and the leaves turn over to show the white side. Then it passes.
On this hill Memorial Day is the date when we can assume it is safe to plant the garden and we decided this week before was close enough. If the buckwheat is growing, it must be warm enough. Our place is looking somewhat civilized- yard and areas around the barns having been mowed. The old asparagus bed has been picked daily and a new asparagus bed was planted, garden beds were weeded and planted (still not done), eight acres of corn went in on Monday, lots of sheep fence moved, sheep were brought in and given tetanus shots if they hadn’t had them before, the older ram lambs were penned up away from the ewes (they are getting to be that age…) Laundry is never done but the bulk of it was washed and hung out to dry which is usually a sure way to bring on the rain. I finally introduced the young pullets to the older hens this week and it went smoothly with no pecking. The bull calf is still sweet and our bottle lamb is getting weaned from milk (her bottles are gradually becoming more watery) and after one noisy night is now taking it in stride and eating more grass. Elisa’s new Finn ewe is putting on weight and beginning to get used to us. I still have her in quarantine, away from the other sheep so we have her grazing around the house where we walk past her and can talk to her hundreds of times every day. Her lamb is growing well and looks good. We think we may use him this winter to breed our yearlings ewes who will benefit from having smaller lambs the first time around. And the pigs are eating and growing, as they do. They have access to a green barnyard all day, every day, but nothing beats their excitement when they see me arrive with an armful of weeds or scraps from the kitchen. It won’t be long before they are getting daily baths. Two of our pigs will go to the fair with Harriet and Elisa and they get the royal treatment. On Wednesday there was a second time at the market which went better than the first. After long days on this hill, much of it alone, which is my preference, I think I’m going to enjoy meeting and talking with other people who farm for a living. There is always so much risk involved in this work and it can’t be explained. It was a beautiful night and there was bluegrass music in a tent close to ours. We ate our first strawberries of the year and they were the best I’ve had for as long as I can remember and Elisa bought focaccia with roasted red peppers and onions and was given a free oatmeal cookie. On Thursday a large stack of books was waiting for me at the library including Peter Nadas’ A Book of Memories (the first chapter is called “The Beauty of My Anomalous Nature”) and two books by Terry Tempest Williams. I’m sure I’m forgetting something but it is time to be outside. Happy Friday!