Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Good food, good friends... and another sleepless night

Last night our friends Hillary and Sarah joined us for dinner, we were cooking a rabbit so that both James and Hillary could try it out. James has been considering adding rabbits to his future settling down 'to-do' list, and we wanted to be sure he got every aspect of the world of rabbits while he stayed with us. He participated in the butchering process a few days prior to our meal, and has been doing much of the day to day care-taking. Hillary has been collaborating with us on selling meat-CSA shares, and had yet to try out this product yet, so it was one of my favorite types of dinners- the rabbit convert dinner.

We've given many their first taste of rabbit, and everyone we've cooked it for has fallen in love with it. And last night was no exception. One sturdy slow braised rabbit fed 4 hungry farming adults with some sides including fresh greens from the veggie patch. A peasant supper fit for kings.

One of the greatest things about having friends who are also farmers is that they understand that bed time is early, don't mind walking though a pasture in drenching rain, and don't mind hearing the specifics of tanning a rabbit skin while eating cookies. After eating our fill, we all went to go check on the piglet's fencing in the wind and rain, and to be sure that the chicken tractors were still stable and protected.

Rain is a magical thing, it can bring life to a field or seed, help set fruit, and keep animals on four legs and two hydrated and clean. But lately, we've been getting a bit much of the good stuff. We hesitate to complain after the drought last summer, the dry earth cracked and parched but for our sweat. The ground is spongy now, heavy with water and we're suddenly grateful for the gravelly soil holding some moisture but diverting much from soggy roots.

Last night, after the dishes were stacked, we trudged up stairs after one more round of checking on the animals in a freight train wind. But sleep was not really to be had by either farmer. When the wind gets going, I feel like I catch naps in between screaming gusts- waiting for my worry to overwhelm me enough to trudge back out doors. Every few hours, we hurl ourselves out of bed and through the weather to make sure the livestock are still secure and protected. With pasture pens that move daily and are built of light materials, you need to be sure. If we didn't check, it would surely lead to finding some kind of mayhem in the morning.

Around 2 this morning, there was a brief pause in the blowing, and around 5 it started again. The alarm went off, more mocking then waking, and we rolled out of bed, again, this time to start the day. The livestock did alright in the weather, one meat chicken succumbing to something in the inclement air- or maybe fright.

It's nights like this that remind me that the weather is King of this and all farms- and we do nothing but work around it. But that humbling is good, keeps me from getting to bold or taking on more than we should handle. Sleep, we can catch up on- and are grateful that the morning didn't bring more havoc.

I expected more rain today, but it's thick and overcast instead. James is wading through the peas soup air to continue hilling muddy potato plants. I hope to join him out in the field soon after I finish up some much needed office work. I planned to spend a rainy morning inside, but had put off this work for so long that despite the rain fading, I stayed in front of the screen to sort out weeks of back log.

But now I'm just caught up enough where the lure of checking in on corn seedlings can override the data entry, and hopefully the rain will hold off too.

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