“I think it’s just as likely that someone could say this place, right here, is heaven, hell, and earth all at the same time. And we still wouldn’t know what to do differently. Everyone just muddles through, trying not to make too many mistakes.” Trudy, in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle- David Wroblewski 2008
For fours days, we have basked in Maine, unencumbered with the responsibilities of animals to care for and plants to water. When we arrived, the ocean was angry and unapproachable. Bradford tried anyway, and Kyle looked for wayward seabirds. I pretty much read books, walked a lot listening to the iPod, and cooked. By the end of our stay, the ocean was almost glass, and the hawks were migrating. We saw osprey, kestrel, sharp-shinned, broad-winged, merlin, red-tailed, skimming the ocean air currents on their way to breeding grounds. White-crowned sparrows sang “Poor Jo Jo missed his bus,” and yellow rumped warblers flitted after flies. We missed the “fall out,” where the shorebirds arrive, en masse. Probably just another couple of days away. Still, that we had weather fair enough to tan skin is a gift in April.
We ate lots of fresh seafood and lots of homemade candy- anis gummy lobsters, cappachino flavored jelly beans, and a square of candy made from caramel and marshmallow. Yum!
We biked and walked and drove looking at beautiful houses with manicured yards and spring flowers. The boys ate donuts almost every morning. I had rice crackers topped with cream cheese and smoked wild salmon. I really wish they’d make a gluten-free donut.
When it was time to leave, we had been offered an entire extra day to stay by Shannon, who has been taking care of everything in Vermont. Still, on the morning of our departure, we all three, readied the little house for departure, and by 11:00, we were eager to head home.
Whenever we would come home from vacation as a kid, the first thing my sister and I would do would be to leap out of the car and take head counts of the animals. Each chicken would be checked and kissed and cooed at. Today, I try hard to help Kyle unpack the car, but I am really taking mental stock of the chickens, cats, and dogs. Peggy is brooding her eggs. The two hens with chicks are safe. But where is Henry? I search the yard, I search the front of the house. Shannon is inside the barn doing chores, and the first thing that I say to her should not be Where Is Henry? It should be – the house looks emaculate- the planting that you’ve done looks great. The sheep pens are clean!
Finally, I get up courage to go inside the barn where she is feeding the animals. I call hello to her, and exclaim at how big the lambs have gotten since I ‘ve been away these six days. Then, hearing my voice, my giant rooster comes waddling out to me, waiting to be scooped up and cuddled.
Fat Rooster Farm is an anchor, a burden, a choice made long ago to nurture a piece of land and try in some small way to contribute to preserving a way of living that has fallen out of favor in our society as a whole- to farm.
The chores are done. No one has died. The weeds are still nascent. This clearly looks like heaven. Tomorrow I will go in search of morel mushrooms, after I have planted the bok choi and broccoli and harvested wild leeks.