Saturday, April 14:
We are praying for rain. This spring the weather is altogether outside of our experience. In the garden the soil is dry enough to become airborne in a good breeze, and in the pasture areas which are usually sodden are showing cracks through the clumps of forage. No doubt this will all work to good in the end but we are pensive. One temporary advantage to the dry conditions, at any rate, is that we can turn the cows onto pasture without fear they will tear up and compact the soil – what we graziers call “pugging”. I’m not sure where that word comes from, but it is used in ceramics as well, where its meaning is clearer: a pug mill is a powerful screw that compacts and extrudes clay, forcing the air out of it. That’s what twelve-hundred pounds of cow will do on less than a square foot of contact point – her hooves – if she is turned onto wet, mucky soil.
Twelve hours have passed and there is a soft rain falling. May it last all night.