It’s a hot one, folks! Temps rising into the 90s with high humidity and a storm looming in the evening. Can’t think of a more classic combination for the official start of summer! It’s Litha, The Solstice, the longest day of the year! This is what high summer is all about.
When I walked outside the stillness and shade of the farmhouse into the daylight for morning chores - it was amazing how much moisture was everywhere. A light rain came before dawn, and it was just enough extra water to make everything look like it was coated in the heaviest dew. It was beautiful, and heavy, and every breath felt like you were inhaling mist instead of oxygen - but the lushness is well worth it. It’s now the time of year where you can’t mow or weed wack your way out of the overgrowth. Life is thriving in a way we can’t thwart in the northeast. It’s been a hot and rainy spring and the hayfields are high, the corn is swaying, and our gardens are lush as all get out!
Our thoughts are set to the coordinates of the season: strawberry picking and preserving, the never-ending pile ups of weeds in our gardens, extra water to all the livestock, campfires and tents, storms and stars. But all of this county fun and chores also means an influx of pests, bugs, sweat, sore arms, sunburns, and my morning runs are sometimes so dogged and slow I swear a kid on a tricycle could ride circles around me. But hey, I’m still out there and not stopping. And you know what they call the last place person in a 5k race? A runner. I'm doing the best I can with the bod I have right now. That's enough for me.
Morning chores are done around 6:30 or 7 at the latest. We have the horses eating out of their hay nets, the pigs nuzzling their feed pans, the chickens foraging, and the gardens watered by the time we sit in our hammock chairs for coffee. It’s a nice ritual; to sit back and swing with that first cup of the morning watching our little farm go about the work and politics of their days.
We have one of our hens, Moon Pie, incubating some eggs and we have another set of meat birds to drive to be processed later in the week. Which means we’ll be losing over a dozen mouths to feed and possibly gaining replacements if Mother Nature abides. The horses are LOVING the areas of the woods below their pasture we opened up for them with step-in posts and some electrified poly rope as a fence. In the woods they have more shade and less bugs. Though mucking out their poop in an area just opened to them means trying to navigate all the weeds and undergrowth. It’s like trying to pick up a couple meatballs stuck below a pile of living spaghetti. You can do it. It takes a little... planning.
I am going to try and make as many sales as possible this week to get the June mortgage in before the month ends. Waiting on possible shares of pork to come through, or if I am lucky, some takers on the logo sale. Besides one soap sale this weekend it’s been luckless in that department. And I think people aren’t in the mindset to spend money at the end of a pandemic/high vacation season. But perhaps I’ll get some of that luck back. The farm depends on me earning half of what we need to run this place. Having it split in half has been a huge relief of burden, and why I am not months behind like in the past. But the fear is the same, the anxiety to always hustle and ask and scrap together the bills. And I have always done whatever I had to to keep this farm above water. I always will.
I can say that this farm has never been better than it is right now. The systems in place here now make more sense. Shannon has added her organization and logic to how things are done, paired with my energy and quick decision making; it’s a good combination. Right now she is working on a roadside stand for our eggs, since we are now getting over a dozen a day. I am working on weeding and mulching the kailyard after my run. We fit this in between our day jobs of design and illustration work. Her work is for a company in Boston and mine is scattershot from random clients and customers that find their way to me for art or soap.
I am waiting to hear from two different sources of new work, too. I applied to be a social media manager (remote position) and a copywriter for a local marketing group. Both are part-time but can really help tie in the loose ends so I am not in this position at the end of the month again. Wish me luck with that, as either gig could be a huge help!
Okay, time to run and then get to work in this blesses humidity and heat! Stay safe and comfortable out there and enjoy this holiday! It’s the last long day, and from here on out we are in a slow winding crawl towards autumn. Savor it now. Every drip of dew and every sweaty brow.