Sunday, a day of rest and contemplation, a pause for reflection and refreshment. Not around this place. Not for the last month. The garden is in after many hours of digging beds, manuring, seeding, putting up pea fences and bean teepees, tomato trellises for the seedlings on the window sills. Then the two nights of late frost and Susan and I in the fields after putting the kids to bed scything off the grass and carrying arm-fulls of rich green sappy grass stalks, summer riches, up to the potato beds to cover up the frost tender plants. And then of course lacrosse and track seasons coming to an end and nothing could take the place of cheering your son on in the last lap of his 1600 meter race at the Connecticut Valley League Middle School championships in Lebanon yesterday. And watching his face strain with concentration as he sprinted down the runway and leaped 12.5 feet in the long jump. Never mind what you could have been doing with that day. The girls and I steal time together when we can. This morning it took me two hours to get the flooded mower started while Susan took a turn at a lacrosse game, and in between that and taking calls from prospective tenants on the rental cottage, Grace, Eve and I played Billalufa tag, which is where the monster Billalufa played by me tries to tag you. Billalufa always runs out of gas too soon. It will plague his memory to the girl's old age, I fear.
The garlic is two feet high now and we're eating salads from the greens, but then the sheep need shearing and hoof trimming and deworming and one of them, Snow White, the best mother of the bunch and one of the original six bought from the farm in Gilmanton Iron Works, is limping and we need to figure out if it's hoof rot or something incurred while shearing, some mysterious sheep lameness. They say things run in waves, and there does seem to be a pattern to the entropy that quickens with the longer sunlight hours. One of the kittens, Prancer, got hit by a car one evening a week ago and dragged herself to the front door with a broken leg. The vet, a kind guy building a house in the Mink Hills, and now I know how, manipulated the shattered femur bones back together for $500. Money well spent if you could see the excitement in the girl's eyes as we carried the cat carrier back to the car after Prancer's two days away from home. And he is sitting on my lap as I write this and slipping away between my legs with his useless leg, poor thing.
Somebody asked me what all keeps you so busy and it's difficult to enumerate the many chores that go into keeping the farm running. The deeper underlying question, implicit it seems to me sometimes in the ignorance, is: Why do you do it? The cost benefit analysis would have to include the health of the larger organism, the farm, the family, the land, maybe even some planetary mojo of which we remain ignorant but necessarily bound up with. Man does not live by bread alone but by the Word of God, here taken to mean those values which go beyond the purely economic and neoliberal. Oh yes, and I've got work tomorrow again.