End of one season

A week ago one of the days came that eventually arrive in the farming year, and when they do I am always surprised by the relief I feel.  Our roasting chickens went to the butcher last Friday with my husband, and mid-afternoon we had a visit from our favorite livestock haulers who took the pigs to the butcher as well.  That night we did a little happy dance and got to toast the end of another season of work.  The meat in the freezer is such a great feeling and even though we love the animals that it comes from, when those chores are no longer front and center, it sure is a good feeling.

A1 Diner in Gardiner

On Saturday we went to pick up the roasting chickens at the butcher in West Gardiner (Weston’s Meat Cutting) and on the way we stopped at the renowned AI Diner in Gardiner to have some breakfast.  It was raining and I didn’t think of taking a photo until we were just about on our way out, but we enjoyed the morning immensely (the food is lovely, too!).  It’s nice to get in the truck and not be able to do anything but knit and chat and watch the seasonal changes in the area as we drive through.  I am so often caught on my little hamster-wheel of off to work in the dark to rush right home to chores and dinner, without taking a different route.  It’s certainly nice to turn left instead of right some days!

9/11 thoughts

View of the lower pasture

We have not really begun to catch our breath from the onset of the beginning of this school year.  Lots of things have changed for us in a relatively short time.  My job has shifted its focus, and I am now lucky enough to have the same schedule every day, which is quite a novelty, and on a less positive note, we are sorely missing a colleague who has moved into another district.  In spite of all the changes, the beginning of this year feels very positive, although it is leaving me a little breathless!

Even with all the changes in our lives, we spent an interesting weekend.  We are from the greater NY area originally and were living not far from NYC when the attacks on the Trade Center took place ten years ago.  We lived and worked in communities that gave up many.  Even as this country and the world have been changed so drastically by the events of that day, our lives have mirrored that as well.  The anniversary of 9/11 is always something which gives us pause and conjures up a lot of memories, but this year seemed to be different.  I spent most of the day down in the pasture moving sheep fence, and although that is always pretty demanding work, I really enjoyed the time.  The day was about as perfect as it could get: blue skies, a few wispy clouds, lively breeze, green grass and very clean and fluffy sheep.  (OK, Jingle the Donkey let rip with a few hoots when she thought I was taking too long, but that always adds to the pasturely ambiance).  As I unwound the fence and let the crickets fill my head with their late summer song, I had time to reflect on how different this day was in comparison to the same day 10 years ago.

We were not refugees from 9/11 New York as many people thought.  We had been planning a move to this spot in Maine for many years and already owned our property here.  A number of family issues precipitated the move when it happened in November of that year.  It was a difficult move, leaving many close friends and family, but I think that this anniversary Sunday really made me stop and reflect on how different things are for us now, and also how blessed we are.

The girls make their way in the pasture

In contrast to the quiet of the absence of jetliners overhead and the view of the burning towers from the bottom of our street ten years ago, I was able to sit in the grass on the edge of a simply gorgeous field and feel the quiet and non-artificial peace of the day.  It was a day of quiet not from the absence of the usual sounds, but a peaceful quiet full of sheep grazing, crickets in the grass and birds very busy in the trees.  The sounds of summer slowly giving up, but still hanging on.  We have made many changes in our lives in the last decade, and in the past few months I think I have been feeling very unsettled at possible job loss and having to pare back our animal operation to bare bones due to money issues, but I am hoping that I let all those feelings slide down the hill into the beaver pond the other day.  We are lucky to be here in this place, with at least one of our sons and our grandson, as well as many new and wonderful friends. And at least a few amazingly gorgeous sheep and goats to keep us company :*)

Looking up the hill

Seeing the images of the awesome memorial at the site of the World Trade Center on tv also gave me a feeling of release in the same way.  It’s the first time I have ever felt the desire to visit what was called “Ground Zero.”  Maybe I will have that chance one day, but until then we are here.

Summer is over

It really is.  The practical end of the summer came too fast, and back to work we went.  I am grateful in these crazy times to have a job.  It will be a new challenge and different for me this year, but I am looking forward to it.

Hurricane Irene hit us much more gently than we all thought.  My son in NJ got hammered much harder than we did.  He actually got evacuated from his apartment in Lodi.  Probably a good thing!  We lost power for part of a day, and lost a greenhouse cover, but some of the towns around us lost it for 2 or 3 days.  I really can’t complain.  I am trying to get into the school schedule which is always a tough thing to do.  Getting up at 4:30 and milking at 5:15 is a pretty big change from my summer schedule!

The chill is in the air at night, however, no matter how warm it gets during the day.  The girls down in the field are getting some extra feed and we are getting ready for breeding.  John is working hard on getting at least one of our greenhouses cleaned out.  We would like to get the whole thing moved before the winter if we can.  We shall see!  At least the compost piles are growing nicely.

Naked greenhouse gets unloaded