Nick Zigelbaum and Kate MacLean together with their young son run at small diversified Animal Welfare Approved farm on 120 acres in Chelsea, Vermont. Nick raises Milking Devon cows and Kate raises Icelandic sheep and Ossabaw pigs. The farm carries with it many chickens, dogs, a few goats, and a Jersey milking cow too.

11.07.2013

The southern wind. The warm rain.


We woke up this morning to a wind coming in from the South. You can nearly taste the ocean air when it does. It is a warmer wind. And this morning it came with buckets of rain.

It caught me while I moved the animal fencing. In their dwindling days on grass, I give the sheep and goats bigger swaths of pasture at a time. Instead of moving them every three days, as I do in the summer, I move them every other week; walking the little flock in at night for hay and safety from the coyotes.

Last night the coyotes were loud, and near. I stood out on the dark of the porch in my undies and a down jacket barking back at them.  They sound manic, as though they've already found a ewe and are devouring her. One of the men working on the barn, asked me if I wanted them gone. No.  I do not want them shot. I don't even want them to move on to another farm. I love their eerie yips. They electrify the mid-night farm. I do want them to stay the hell away from my sheep. A friend down in the southern part of the state once told me of coyotes taking down a full sized horse on her hill. When they get hungry...

As I worked the heavens began to empty and what had started out as a warm mist became a veritable shower within minutes. I deliberately set each stake of the sheep fence neither hastening nor slowing my pace. I relished the rain, the mud that grew to cover my hands and legs and undoubtedly my brow. Since Leland's birth it isn't often that I am allowed the humble honor of a working man in a storm.

I love the rain. I love when we haven't seen a drop in weeks and then it arrives with fury. The porosity of the soil can't keep pace.  I love existing in it.

I was counting on the downpour continuing for my return to the house. Brave New Mother Returns Home from Farm-work Amidst Downpour to Feed Infant Son. But the rain had stopped by the time I got to our porch, and neither was my son at home, but with Nick talking to the electrician at the barn.

So I came inside, stripped off my wet layers and basked in the racing heart, the red cheeks, the wet hair of a woman who works outdoors.

In the never-ending battle of posting in a timely manner, this was written LAST Thursday. Coincidentally, we have rain again this Thursday, but it is a cold rain, the kind that makes your fingers burn. The above photo was taken today.

10 comments:

  1. I just discovered your blog about a month ago, and now that I am all caught up--yes, I read it from the first post to the current--I check your blog way too often for new posts. So happy to see a post from you. Great picture! Keep your eye out for those coyotes!

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  2. i love hearing about your hard work. i envy your need to labor to survive in the life you've made. I could sit on the couch for a week if I needed to, tending to my babies, but still - and my life wouldn't really change much. You make me dream of a different life than my own.

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  3. beautiful kate.
    raining here, as well. instead of moving livestock, i am herding children, to and from, back and forth. a visit to the vet in an hour after martha ate my beloved stash of whole foods chocolate chip cookies and is now in GI distress. big bag of poop by my side and a snoring, chubby dog on the couch. will remember to tilt my head back to catch the fat droplets from the sky, instead of withdrawing under my hood. hoping we are being soaked by the same, much needed rain. xoxo susie

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  4. Your blog is one of my favorites! What a great upbringing for your little boy! Our dream is to one day be farmers too.

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  5. i love your description for the coyotes. i grew up with the sounds of them bewitching the night and where i live now, i hear them often too.

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  6. We have foxes round here which worry me enough, not sure I could handle coyotes! i like the idea of howling back though!

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  7. always lovely when you have time to post. as a student, I envy your outdoor, body-moving kind of work- I'm coming to realise that that is what I want and need to strive towards, not something in an office!

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  8. I love the picture. It's perfect.

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