That’s How Simple I Am
April 17, 2014 § 5 Comments
I was up and out before sunrise, my path to the woodshed lit by the 4/5 moon. Cold, it was, no more than a dozen degrees, the ground a patchwork of snow and winter-dead grass. Hard to believe we’ll be grazing in only a month. I loaded the cookstove, then strolled back outside and down to the tomato house, where the chickens are stationed for the next few weeks, until we knock together a suitable summer coop (the old, cobbled-together hovel of the past few years was finally dismantled last fall, the hens cheering with each swing of the wrecking ball). I’d forgotten to close them in last night, and if they’re allowed to range in the morning hours they lay wherever they darn well please, which means that in six months or so the boys are going to stumble on a clutch of eggs and commence to shoot them with the .22 before we can put a stop to their antics and the whole place is gonna stink to high heaven. There you have it: Rural livin’ in a nutshell. Or eggshell, I guess. Heck, I’d rather have ‘em shooting rotten eggs than playing video games. I think.
This morning I frost-seeded the winter paddock, along with a couple areas we ran the pigs through last fall. I like frost seeding when there’s a little snow on the ground, so you can check coverage as you go. We’ve been using the pigs to clear for many years, and it’s remarkable what they’re capable of. Indeed, the longer I live with animals, the more remarkable they become, particularly as we refine our practices in ways that liberate them to express their true natures. The same is true of humans, of course, for the people who get to live remarkable lives are those who, due to simple circumstance, dogged hard work, or some combination of the two manage to walk a path illuminated by principles and passions. I’m thinking that’s something worth remembering, if only to remind myself from time-to-time.
Penny and I are jamming on the as-yet-untitled Chelsea Green book. Every morning, we gather at the computer for an hour or two, scrolling through her collection of 8,000-and-something photos, matching image to text. And right now, she’s reading the entire manuscript, all 100,000-words of it, and making what I’m sure are copious and insightful notes in the margins. Next week, I’ll incorporate her comments and we’ll finish selecting photos, and I’ll send the whole shootin’ match off to my exceptionally gracious, kind, and generous editor (Makenna, you’re reading this, right?). And then… well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?
As much fun as it’s been to write this book – and it’s been a lot of fun – I’m ready to reclaim a bit of balance to my days, which have been tilted steeply in the direction of desk-bound sloth. My body actually feels real good, thanks to my commitment to do something vaguely yoga-ish on a daily basis. But the litany of outdoor tasks is mounting, as evidenced by one of Penny’s infamous lists. She jots down those tasks so effortlessly – build layer coop, plant trees, finish clearing farm road woods, shore up small greenhouse, finish firewood, spread amendments, and on and on – and I look at her words and squint a bit and try to imagine them struck through by a blunt-tipped pencil. Every so often, I’ll add a task I’ve already completed, just so I can have the pleasure of crossing it out. You know, like wake up, start fire, eat breakfast.
It’s true, you know. That’s how simple I am.
Hey, I haven’t showed you this in a while!