On the Farm- July 19th
It is really summer on the farm now, the field has an entirely different feel and make up. Many of the early spring crops are finishing up, their beds being turned in and replanted or rested. Instead of single rows of various veggies, I walk past swaths of each crop, tomatoes and peppers jutting up from a sea of straw, winter squash in a tangle of its own searching vines.
Most of my time now is spent weeding and harvesting, tending the vegetables as they mature into full roots and swollen fruits. However, my first and last task of each day remains then same. Spring or summer, I began my day letting the chickens out of their coop.
The egg layers, housed in the barn, startle at the squeak of the door as I roll it open. They recover quickly and run out into the yard, looking for a morning treat. Others realize I have the best morning treat of all, and follow me back into their coop for some fresh, sweet grain.
Next I head into the field with a bucket of water and a bucket of grain, the weight balanced so I can take this load to the meat birds. The birds rush out of their coop in their unique flapping, running way. They rush clumsily into fresh grass, hunting for grains and bugs then rush back for a sip of fresh water.
As I work through the day, I hear the ruckus of the chickens up in the barn, the crow of the proud rooster. I smile as the chickens kick through the compost, turning it, helping it break down into black gold. They join me as I wash the CSA harvest, snatching at beet greens, tearing lettuces. I shoo them off, but send leftovers over the side of the porch for their enjoyment the next day.
The chickens give us eggs. Much appreciated eggs which are purchased as fast as I can steal them out from under the hens. They chickens give us meat, which according to one eater- tastes like the chicken was eating something delicious. Their antics, their boldness give me joy. As the graze around the farm, they bring a different kind of life to the land. They bring a vibrancy that sustains me through the loss of birds to hawks, foxes, and other unknowns. They also give me my ritual, and at the end of the day, I usher them back into their coop, to safety. And we all sleep knowing that no matter what happens in the cycle of a day, it will begin and end in the same way.