Wednesday, June 27:
We are awake at seventeen minutes past midnight.
We are up keeping a close eye on a kiln we started at just before noon; we will probably be up until at least four in the morning. When you are pushing something to 2,300 degrees you can’t just go to bed and forget about it. This kiln has a lot of market pottery in it, and some bowls we made to pay our friend Dan of Windsong Farm for coming out and telling us how to set up the power to run the kiln, and we are anxious that the work should be a success.
No rain. The pastures are going dormant, the cool-season grasses and warm season alike turning brown and ceasing to grow. There are about six more paddocks we can make before we have to put the animals in the barnyard and give them hay, keeping them off the forage which their overgrazing would set back. They will not like to be shut up, even as poor as the forage is at present, but taking care of our pasture now will mean the best chance for it to make up when the rain does come. The second cutting hay in the meadows is coming on, and although it is still short its quality looks pretty good, so we still hope to have enough for winter without buying any in.
The two remaining pigs on milk are getting very large and will be ready to go to the butcher almost immediately. This leaves us with a problem to solve: we have to have a new set of piglets ready as soon as we truck these off, to utilize all our extra milk, buttermilk, and whey. Our usual provider of feeder pigs will be at the farmers’ market tomorrow, and we will ask him if he has any young pigs coming on. In addition, we are sending out letters of inquiry to all heritage pig breeders we can locate within a couple-three hours of us. The Tamworth breed looks like a good homestead pig, and we need a sow and a boar from different bloodlines. This is liable to run into some money, even buying young animals, as we must. Still, the next step to food security, it seems to us, is to raise our own animals from birth. The feeder piglets will go in the pen in the big barn, while the breeding stock can have its own quarters in the calf barn, to avoid any unnecessary sharing of germs among them.
The girls took four chicks from under the latest broody hen; a rat got two others, and one more had an incompletely-absorbed yolk sac and only lived a couple of days. Some tears; mortality is a regular event on the farm, but always pathetic when it is small and fluffy. Small people want to know if animals go to Heaven, and why God makes them if they don’t. We hug the small person and assure him that since God is Love, and we love the animals, there must be in them something of God which is immortal.
Hope that’s not heresy, but to tell a child that his love is gone forever is to tell him the Universe is a place of hopeless sorrow. Better to tell him of the love of God and straighten out fine points of theology when he is older . . . the perfectibility of Man is tied up with the fate of the Universe.