Monday, March 29, 2010


It is a curious thing. I keep expecting it to change each year as I grow older. But each year, as the snow melts and the frost leaves the earth, the old feeling is back. It is the welling up of a fierce kind of joy. I need less sleep. I must be out walking on the land and waiting for the next thing. It is as if I want to throw myself into the great awakening that surrounds me and push it forward. There are the seeds to buy or to clean and ready for planting. Each year there is something new to plant and hope for. The machines must be readied. The cattle lean longingly on the lot fence and gaze at the first faint blushes of green over the slopes. Piles of manure must be hauled out and spread for the benefit of the plantings. Ahead stretch long days getting the year started which will then blend into the heat and dust of haying as the sun reaches its zenith and seems to hang there for weeks, holding its breath while we race to catch up.

How is it that I was born so lucky?

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I could smell the wet cedar boards as I stepped out on the deck this morning to check the weather. Temp stayed above freezing last night and the entire world smelled like it was warming up. Two geese honked their way across the southern sky and everywhere I look I can see standing water. Nearly half of our pasture acres are covered as well as a goodly number of the cropping acres. The drainage is full and the river towns are worried. Most of the water visible from our house will leave as the water level goes down in the drainage, but the last of it will linger and soak in among the roots of the pasture sward. Staying for a while, it will find cracks and crevices plus earthworm holes and gopher tunnels to help make its way into the subsoil, where it will do the farm some good in the hot months to come as it becomes available to accelerate growth of the perennials that feed our cattle and sows each grazing season. The same water our farming system has kept out of homes in the towns down river will help us and our farm to prosper.

It is not often in life that one can do an unconflicted good. I am not much of a believer in the idea of win-win. But these days, as I stand on our slice of wet prairie sponge watching the water that is taking its time with leaving, I get a chance to feel good about something. That is something to savor.