Thursday, June 28:
Still hot (ninety-nine degrees). Still dry (an inch of rain in two months). Grass almost gone.
The experienced farmers assure us this has been before. They promise it will rain again. We aren’t sure. Maybe the Gubment should do something; just leaving the question to Time and Nature seems so inadequate.
While we wait for God and the Gubment to solve the water issues, we go on getting up before the sun to milk the cows, doing something or other all day long with only brief pauses for meals and unavoidable necessity, and falling into bed at least thirty minutes later than would really make for a good night’s sleep.
We water squash and pick off the bugs.
We put away all the things in the barnyard that have somehow migrated there from where they really belong, as: stock panels for making sliding broiler pens, railroad ties for keeping stock panels off the ground, large rocks for holding back the dirt on the side of the barn, tangles of baling twine, buckets that came down full of pig swill and didn’t get taken back up the hill again, a plastic bottle to fill with water for priming the jet pump, a shovel for scooping straw out of the pigs’ trough and for batting them on the head when they get in the way of the shovel, etc.
Two vehicles are being rebuilt in the garage and barn, ever a source of activity.
We bake. And make cheese. And cook breakfast, and lunch, and dinner. We wash mounds of stinky jeans. We mow the high grass for the sisters at the monastery.
We chase escaped steers across half creation because there is no perimeter fence at the monastery.
We dig compost and prep the gardens for the next planting of beans, or squash, or lettuce, yes, lettuce, because in the shade gardens it will still sprout so long as we water it, just a little, every day.
And we drive an hour north for the fun social event of the month, our Grazing Council pasture walk, two hours of standing out in a hot pasture with the sun in our eyes watching the flies on a cow’s back and hearing words of wisdom on grass, and rain, and forage, and fertility, stock minerals and water and fence and fescue and the danged seismic sensors the fracking people have draped all over God’s creation to trip people, tangle in rotary mowers, and poison inquisitive calves who will suck on anything. Two hours to listen to people smarter than we are and feel good that we understand what they have to say better than we did three years ago. Two hours to see where theory meets practice and learn that where a man puts his mind and his muscle he doesn’t necessarily have to put so much of his money.
And an hour at the end to drink a beer, eat a beef sandwich and an out-of-this-world raisin walnut bar, and forget our troubles in the joy of contemplating our neighbors’.
We are having a great time, but tomorrow we will still be half an hour short on sleep.