Wednesday, May 18, 2016

November Hill farm journal, 6

They (the ancients) knew, as all honest people know in their bones, that in any true sense there is no such thing as ownership of the earth and that the shadow of any man is but for a time cast upon the grass of any field. What remains is the earth, the mother of life as the ancients personified the mystery, the ancient mother in her robes of green or harvest gold and the sickle in her hand.
-Henry Beston, Northern Farm

Today I worked in the back field, under the cloudy damp sky, wet but not raining. I mucked and set up the jumps the donkeys knock down on a regular basis, wondering when it might be that anyone actually sails over these poles and barrels again. But I like the possibility and so I set them back as they should be. On occasion I see a horse or a pony or even sometimes a little donkey free jumping these obstacles and my heart leaps with joy. It's worth it for that alone.

Today I had to clear branches from the fences where they were tangled in the tape. All the while I was working I heard a tiny bleating sound which I wondered about, cupping my ears to hear it better, never sure exactly what it was. My guess is a young animal in a nest. 

The area behind the back field is quickly becoming jungle-like again, as it does in the late spring and on into summer and fall. It's too late to do the work I wanted to do behind the fence line but fall and winter will roll back around again and I'll have another chance. Meanwhile the muscadines are growing like wildfire and carry my mind to fall when the grapes will be ready to eat.

It was satisfying to get things tidy: manure picked, fallen branches raked, chairs uprighted. The donkeys love tipping things over - jumps, chairs, dressage markers. If I am ever bored with nothing to do I will teach them how to set them right again.

I looked for tracks but found none. The horses and pony and donkeys were up in the barn, happy to get into stalls and eat hay even though it's cool today and they don't need the fans.

Mostly I enjoyed the physical work and the sense of completion of a task well done. The back field is private and quiet and when I'm there I feel as if I'm on the edge of things, a mysterious between-place where elves and trolls and November Hill deer live. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

I always like working in the fields too. It seems so peaceful and I have no company other than the horses. Who are definitely very nosy whenever work is in progress. We have a resident tip over artist by the name of Nate. If there's something to get into he will. We often find brushes or other small items from the barn in the top arena. Our friendly foxes find it amusing to play with these things and then strew them around the property. I wish they could learn to put back what they take but that's not going to happen.

I love the pieces from Northern Farm. I'm going to have to get that book.

billie said...

Thank you!!

I love hearing about Nate and his tipping things over, and the foxes! This past winter I found a high-end woman's running shoe in our back woods and was told it was likely a fox taking it to a den for kits to play with!