On Fridays I work at a farmers’ market in Ithaca. The alarm went off at 4:30 and I showered and headed down to the kitchen to scrub more potatoes to be sold, and finished loading the car. It is a good market for me, though I’m sold out of lamb and it seems everyone is asking for it. Next week….
After market closed up I stopped at the bank and for those couple of minutes that I filled out my slip, the air conditioning was an amazing relief. Then I drove home, tired. The first thing I noticed when I pulled into our driveway was a green egg sitting on the asphalt. Our Americana, who does lay the prettiest eggs has strange habits and sometimes I think she may not be the brightest bulb.
I unpacked the car and ate leftovers standing at the kitchen counter before Billy and I headed out to work. First he showed me the rusty corn planter and old bathtub, made in Baltimore, that he cleared out of the woods which were once upon a time used as the farm dump. We walked out further to see the bull calf, just born today. He looked good in his silky black coat, still damp from his mother’s tongue. We gave him an ear tag and then they walked off together up the hill toward the other cows. I told Billy that at market today I heard another vendor talking to a customer about how wild Angus cows are and he said he has heard the same thing from everyone in New York. Strange. It hasn’t been our experience at all. Then I walked down the hill, through a bad patch of thistles which the yellow finches love at least, very carefully, and brought all the sheep into the barn yard. We ran them through the chute which is the only way we can check on them individually to see how they are doing. We found a ram lamb that we somehow missed last time and is getting big enough now that he needed to be separated from the ewes; we found a ewe with a nice bag which means she still has a lamb but she is having trouble with parasites, so she and her lamb were put together in the barn where we can treat her for a few days. We also counted wethers and picked a couple of ewes lambs to cull. There are some genetic traits that we don’t want to see continue in our flock. It was getting to be late afternoon but it was hot work. I was stung by a bee, and scraped my leg on a the fence as I swung it open and it bled which attracted flies that I had to keep swatting away. We wiped the sweat out of our eyes with our shirts. The sheep were sorted, everyone watered, eggs collected, and supper picked from the garden before we headed inside. In the kitchen I drank three glasses of ice tea and Billy said, “That isn’t decaf.” (“Oh.”) I have a good book if I need it later tonight.