Tuesday, February 4, 2014

There is observing and then there is OBSERVING

In my last post I shared my observations in terms of understanding how systems work within my homestead and I thought before I continue with an understanding of the interdependence of these systems I would take another stab at observation. The observations of the last post were what I see with my eyes; observations I've gleaned from working with this land over several years now. But this doesn't get to the soul of the issue. And it is in the soul that I connect most viscerally with this lifestyle.

In the chicken coop the ladies sit perched on the piece of birch we have wedged in a back corner for their roost. At one end of the chicken row sits Fluffernutter the Rooster. A small guy, he is still master of these harem. I love to watch the little ladies as they venture out of the coop in the morning. At first their steps are hesitant and then assured as the strut around their yard I imagine hearing that song " Walk Like and Egyptian.' If I am in the yard when one of the girls announces the laying of an egg I will venture into the coop to gather the freshly laid, still warm treasure.

The compost bin is a gathering place of life. Inside the pile there are beetles, microorganisms, worms. On top of the pile a couple of red squirrels will fight over choice bits from the kitchen scraps. Often there is a sweet girl dog chasing the squirrels away. A form of sport for both critters I imagine. I have heard raccoons argue over the compost pile. The turning always brings to mind Yeats great Gyre for me. It is a marking of the passage of time. Bits  and pieces of past gardens, past meals, past seasons all layered with so much intention to be returned to soil. Turning turning…

I trod along the paths in the garden and love the feel of the hay under my bare feet. In the morning the eastern light will kiss the dew. I will pick whatever herbs or produce needs to be harvested that day and bring it inside to be put up or eaten later in the day. It is here that my mind wanders while I plant one small carrot seed after another or pull a weed or envision the garden in full bloom even though it is just spring. More often than not it is the infestation of cucumber beetles, the black flies swarming on those first really warm days of late spring, the dog trotting through a just planted row that will pull me from my reverie. But just for a little while and never with any great headache.It is part of the natural push and pull of this endeavor. Regardless it is that sense of accomplishment, of satisfying work, of a body tired from honest labor, of a reckoning at the end of the day where the tally is always positive that keeps me coming spring after spring to this spot of earth.

At night, in the summer, I lie awake in the dark. The moon cast shadows of the pine across the yard. In the woods around me I hear the coyotes yipping on a hunt and the barn owls share there moonlight serenade.  I will account for all that I got done during the day and all that I hope to finish in the morning. And I will know that It was a good day.

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