Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Flying the Coop
It's five in the morning. The roosters have been crowing for half an hour now, reminding me with urgent, combative dissonance that the world's agenda rarely matches mine.
These roosters should have been done in nine months ago. Initially their necks were saved by the burst plumbing in our old house. It's hard to butcher and process chickens without a lot of clean, hot water. Further months of intense house-building kept those birds alive as our energies were consumed by our own 30'x30' nest. I managed to do in a few of them between March, when we got our plumbing, and June, when the rains came. Last week I finally had a little bit of time, but no remaining freezer space to receive the processed birds. (It's all been taken up by our surprisingly meaty little bull, who arrived home from the butcher in eight big boxes of little white packages!) Now, as we near the end of our house-building--and the end of Maine's wettest Summer on record--the pre-dawn ungawdly chorus is enough to make me want to run far, far away.
So I'm gonna.
Later this morning, The Piper and I will leave the state. No fear-- we're not moving, as evidenced by the fact that we have a bank appointment to discuss refinancing on the way to the airport. It's an awkward time for a vacation, but--as those roosters keep reminding me, life's wake-up calls and urgent messages rarely meet us in a place of perfect readiness!
We are headed to the Northwest for a week with kith and kin. My older brother is going to be married this coming Saturday. Our presence and services have been lovingly requested: wedding music from The Piper and a wedding homily from me. (Good heavens. What does a farmer-preacher-poet say to her own incredibly hip urban brother and his smart, professional, no-nonsense wife-to-be, in front of such a cloud of witnesses?!? Guess I need to start writing on the plane!) In addition to the wedding and a series of long-awaited visits with Northwest friends, there will also be ripe blackberries to pick, plant nurseries to peruse, rambunctious new puppies to meet, and another farm to see: the burgeoning homestead of a childhood friend I haven't seen since sixth grade!
We are leaving our farm in the hands of an experienced farm hand, a young man who loves animals and will tend our creatures with joyful care. It feels wonderful to be able to step away with confidence. (Friends have been ribbing me all this past week with the ol' "farmers don't take vacations" line, and I confess that my stress level and general exhaustion caused me to reply a little more harshly than I'd have liked, but I promise to have a better sense of humour when I return.)
Oh, and WHEN we get back... those roosters better watch their backs, 'cause we aim to be rested and ready!
(P.S. I know that's not a very roostery-looking bird in the first picture-- it came in our broiler batch of chicks but turned out...um...well...less roostery than the rest.)