I love snow. And I hate snow. It’s looks so darn good! And it gives a great many excuses for being lazy and watching various TV marathons. Snow can make for wonderful pictures and can reassure you, and your bulbs underground, that winter has, in fact, fully arrived. You can ski in snow. Sled in snow. You can also cover yourself in fleece blankets and sip hot toddies.
Snow can also produce ice. And ice is slippery and is trying to trip people constantly. Snow requires shoveling. It impedes daily work on the farm. Television can be great, but those hours spent in one’s underwear on the sofa drinking champagne will undoubtedly be reclaimed by the barn at a more convenient time. Snow also breeds mud. Mud that will be attracted to little (and big) dog paws. Mud that will leave tracks on wood floors and light-colored sofas a-like.
The snow will be gone in three months. And then there will be mud for a few months. Mud and rain. Then heat. Horrible, horrible heat. And we shall, inevitably, complain about it. Again lounging in front of the television, this time sipping spiked ice tea, but still in one’s underwear. And then we’ll face fall. Those sweet smells, the cooling night air, the pumpkins, the harvest – my favorite. Then the snow. Complaining will commence again, anew. It’s a vicious cycle, one that has turned since the world starting spinning. And next season, I’ll do the same. And that won’t stop as that world, with me at the center, keeps spinning.
A few weeks ago, Don and I were privileged enough to be the subjects of a photo shoot by Amy Parrish of the Atelier of Granville. Photo shoots are weird – we live our lives in a nature state, and suddenly, when someone puts a camera in front of you, we become unnatural. Wrinkled foreheads, scrunched shoulders and squinted eyes seem to become the normal.
It’s fortunate the trained photographers, 1) take lots of pictures, 2) know how to use light and 3) have incredible editing skills. Amy was a joy to work with and, if you’re in the area looking for a photographer, we would suggest you give her a call (http://www.amyparrish.com). Her studio is a wonderful old barn, no longer home to horses and cattle, but instead props and weird lighting tents. Sunlight seeps in through various holes in the old wooden walls. It’s an other-worldly location – a wonderful place for the normal to change shape.
Rarely, if ever, do I get sick. But I’m sick. Perhaps I’ve been poisoned. Maybe my arch-nemesis the mink is, in realty, trying to kill me just as I am trying to kill him. So far, he’s evaded capture. And taken to my sickbed, I cannot adequately hunt him. Smart animals. They’re rule the world one day.
It’s lucky that Don left for Washington, D.C. this week. I’m in charge of the homestead all alone. It’s like when Charles Ingalls would leave Caroline alone on the farm while he traveled to Mancato or the such to fetch some much needed medicine. So on my own, and sick, it took me until about 10:30 to feed the animals this morning. Luckily, this afternoon we have some help on the farm, and the animals will be fed by someone with a tad more gusto. And I can stay inside eating my pumpkin seeds (they’re healthy, aren’t they?) and drinking my black tea (that’s good for me, isn’t it?).
The past couple days have been miserable. The constant rain has meant flooded barns, mud pits a la Woodstock, and manure that has become unrakeable. And so, we’ve all been living as best we can. But nothing seems to deter the mink. We’ve lost another duck. So from a flock of 37 birds, we are down to 11. Maybe he’s sick too. That’s why he needs all the chickens. He’s got a mean old cauldron of soup bubbling somewhere under the farm. No doubt sharing it with foxes and the voles, all wearing English tweed and conversing ironically.
I will recover though. And then the party’s over. So sip your soup while you can, my predator friends. I will rise again. And then, like a soufflé in a pre-school oven, you will fall.
I’ve been away. Not really away away. But away from this blog. I’ve been working to start a new digital lifestyle magazine. And This bed and breakfast thing is still going. And there are those pesky animals. Oh, I do have to go antique shopping on occasion. And make the jam. I also have to do something about all the garden areas…winterize or something. Did I mention someone needs to go antique shopping.
But as Don reminded me this evening, you’ve been kind enough to read what I write, so the least I can do is actually write something. So I’m back on the wagon. Watch out word, sing out Louise, 525,600 minutes…and every other broadway exclamation ever sung on a stage. So don’t fret, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me in the days to follow. There’s always something exciting going on at the farm…just add some white wine and a family gathering…and just sit back and enjoy.
We’ve had a weasel attack in the chicken coop. Over the past 2 days, we’ve lost 16 to the beast. How do we know it was a weasel you ask? Because weasels attack from behind, chomping chicken heads off and then leaving the body to rot. They don’t eat the chicken. Just bite the head of and leave it. Serial killers of the animal world. Killing for fun.
Three roosters have survived. A once bustling coop stands empty. And will remain so. The remaining chickens are free to live high in the rafters of the barn. The coop became a containment cage, with no escape when danger arrived. Now they can escape. But I think, if they’ve survived these two attacks, they’re either too big or too frisky even for the weasel.
It’s weird to go outside now. The farm had been bustling with 19 chickens. Now they are gone. There’s a certain uncomfortable silence. And so it will remain for the season. In the spring, we’ll get some more chicks and try again. But for now, with winter quickly approaching, it would be too much to ask of the babies.
I raised every chicken we lost from day-old chicks. I had three of them for over 3 years. I can be stoic about all this. They’re just chickens. And I’ve gotten in the habit of not naming the birds of the farm because I know their existence can be precarious. But it’s still upsetting. To think about their final moments. And it wouldn’t be as horrible if they were actually eaten. But to be wasted for sport seems excessive – especially in the animal kingdom. All we can do it remember, and do better next time around.