Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

In The Beginning.

Posted on | March 4, 2014 | 1 Comment

In the beginning God said, “Let there be light.”  And from that day forward every gardener turned her face to the sun.  Waiting for winter’s gray skies to turn blue.

For the days to lengthen and the sun to fill the greenhouse with warmth and light.  So that she can fill it with seeds.

For the soil to warm in the raised beds.  While her hands itched to dig in that dirt.

For in the beginning there is always hope.  Seed packet after seed packet of hope.

Before the bugs.  Before the weeds.  Before the drought.  Or the blight.  Or whatever nibbles cucumbers right on the vine.

In the beginning there is excitement for the old reliable….

….and the so-old-that-it’s-new.

There is the joy of finding soft weed-free soil under the tarps placed or straw spread after pulling up the last of the fall harvest.

And the wonder of discovering entire beds that I forgot to cover or smother, running amok with mats of chickweed.  Why? Why?

When the blue skies appeared and the sun warmed the earth I was overcome with all that hope and excitement, joy and wonder.  So overcome that I went down to the garden just to plant the snow peas, kale, and swiss chard around the pea trellis.  I figured they could handle whatever chilly temperatures winter still had in store for us.

But after I turned that small section of ground, I started turning the rest of it.  Because hope is stronger than the risk of freezing temperatures.

I decided every row of the 2014 garden would be 3 pitchforks wide.  Because while all the shovels and hoes, stakes and string, for marking off rows were still up in the shed, the pitchfork was sitting right there in the garden.

Then when the first layer was turned over—the chickweed vanquished, the last of the spinach and mealy radishes set aside for the fat pony—

the joy of seeing that rich, crumbly soil was so powerful that I decided to spread a bit of the compost from last year’s pumpkin patch over the rows.

Since I was just going to spread a little bit, I used the pigs’ old water bucket.  Rather than walk all the way up to the house to get the shovels and the wheelbarrow.

And the sight of that row was so exciting….

….that I decided to keep spreading compost.  Just a little bit longer.  Just until the pumpkin patch was neatly divided from one large unworkable space into two nice neat rows.

And the neighbor’s puppy watched through the blackberry patch and wondered.  Wondered why a woman would use a bucket to spread yard after yard of compost.  Which is exactly what my shoulders were wondering.

But bucket after bucket, the garden revealed itself.

The hope embodied in the sections of rich dark soil.

The joy of finding last year’s plant markers.

The excitement of discovering that areas of impacted clay were slowly yielding to the annual amendments, pig tilling, and time.

The wonder of how many rocks a garden grows during the winter season.

Oh, yes.  The beginning is a beautiful, wonderful, magical place to start.  Four full raised beds of hope.

Plus, the excitement of pulling out every last blackberry bramble.  Because as much as I loved the blackberries, I hated getting my hair, my legs, my arms, and my clothes embedded with thorns anytime I passed within snagging distance of those brambles.

And now I had all that empty space to plant and espalier fruit trees this spring.

The joy of hauling the last of the stinky muck from the pig pen into the garden.  As my work partner says, “Pigs are the gift that keep on giving.”  But their poop keeps on giving stink much longer than any of the other critters.  With the pig manure out of the pond pasture and into the garden, it can rest, dry, and deodorize until it’s time to serve as this year’s pumpkin patch.

The wonder of setting up containers to grow the carrots.  Can this really work??

With the garden set for spring, there was nothing left to do.  Except go for ice cream at the local dairy, basking in the dying warmth of the setting sun….

….and then begin again.

Because we are full of beginnings around here.  And one of them was registering Big for high school.

Oh, the capacity for hope in a building so big, so grand, as a high school.

The joy of finding old friends in line during Information Night, the excitement of rooms full of new faces, the wonder of a cafeteria where you sit where you choose, with whomever you choose, and can talk the entire time if you want.

What hope one places in the oldest, the biggest, the first of one’s children to reach out into the world!

What a joy to watch him finding himself, even when he can’t find the floor (or even a cleared surface) in his room.

How exciting to see him try new things, explore new adventures, discover new worlds.  Whenever you can get him out of a book.

Now if we could just figure out the wonder of signing up for high school classes online.

Yes, beginnings are filled with sweetness.

Not that I am fooled.  I know there will be a sudden frost.

Or even sleet and ice.

There will be teenage angst and educational struggles and unreasonable outbursts.

And he and his friends will be too cool to be seen with us any more.

But it’s time, people.

Let it begin.

Comments

One Response to “In The Beginning.”

  1. Lin
    March 6th, 2014 @ 3:26 pm

    Hooray for new beginnings!!

    Don’t blink, for those high school years go waaaayyyy too fast. Then come college and both your baby AND your money go away even faster. Sigh.

    I miss the pigs. :(

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