It was winter, the last time I wrote, and now summer’s in full swing. It was 91° today. Yesterday morning I had to fill 5-gallon buckets with water and lug them out to the gardens for some of the more tender plants I’m growing. We don’t have irrigation yet in my gardens, but it’s coming. I’ll be glad once it arrives.
I haven’t much felt like writing here, to be honest. I’ve been working on some fiction, which is my true writing love, or rather I was working on some fiction right up until the point that our dear dog Lily died. She was hit by a car. It was very quick, though its effects have lingered long in our hearts. It was one of those most likely preventable, totally unforeseen accidents, and we cried time and time again thinking that if we had changed just one thing that day, she would still be with us. I’m told that’s the way it goes with all accidents where you lose a loved one. We’re still feeling the aftershocks, though of course it’s much easier a few months on. And really this blog post is not about Lily, good girl that she was.
Summer living on a community farm is much different than summer just working on a farm. There are lots of people around all the time: workers, volunteers, kids making projects, CSA members with questions and vegetables. Usually all in one day. I like it. It makes me think about Memere and how her brothers and sisters were always dropping in. But we have quiet days too, and there are quiet spots on the farm even on busy days. It makes for a nice change from living in the tiny house, when every visitor carried a risk of bringing the building inspector down on us.
I hang out a lot with the goats. I read about them and spend time thinking about how to make their living situations more comfortable. I bought a book on herbal medicine for farm animals and that’s always in the back of my mind too. One of Seth’s workers tells me that my band name is “Christine and the Goats” because I’m always talking about them or walking with them, giving them a stretch of the legs and a run on some tasty weeds. Well! There are certainly weirder band names.
Addie is in the stage where she wants to help with everything. She helps with the dishes, with animal feeding, with laundry folding, with flushing the toilet. My mom taught her to say “Bye, pee-pees!” the last time we visited. So I hear that regularly. And I had to fish a roll of toilet paper out of the toilet one day last week because Addie’s all about the toilet too. It’s such an endearing, aggravating, adorable stage, this helping thing. And when I’m not tripping over the unfolded clean clothes on the floor again, I’m thanking my lucky stars that I’m home with this baby. Yes, I’d guess that my days are half sighing in frustration, half laughing in thanks. Some days one more than the other.
There’s been a bit of crafting tucked in between everything else. I finished up a knitted wool cowl for my mom, and gave it to her on the hottest day of the year. As you do. And one of my friends just got back from a trip to Iceland with four skeins of Lopi yarn tucked in their suitcase for me, so that’s next on my plate.
It’s funny how even after all these words, this blog post doesn’t manage to touch the depth of what I’m doing. It doesn’t convey the evenings spent weeding with the dirt splashing over my wrists and the sweat dripping down under my hatband. Or the flush of pleasure from hearing someone talk about their chickens with a slightly apologetic look on their face, only for them to realize that I’m a chicken and goat lady too. Or the gut punch of losing one of the farm’s animals during the heat wave last week in another most likely preventable, unforeseen accident. Or the joy of connecting with herb folks at a conference, and setting up my own herb classes later this summer. These are just words. And I’m happy to write them, but I’m even happier to live them (except for the death. I could do without more of that this year).
It’s this: The words here are not enough. Or conversely, maybe the words here are just enough. Maybe they are the finishing touch on what is turning out to be a full season, so rich that it overflows the boundaries and spills onto the virtual page. I wish I could share with you the thrilled, exhausted feeling I feel at dusk when I stand up straight, stretching my back. The air is balmy and my skin is gritty. There’s time for a handful of blackberries before coming in to wash the dust off my feet. But all I have are these words, and the occasional picture of the goats.