Summertime @Twin Maples Farm

square balerOnce the sun breaks over the eastern ridgeline, the cacophony of a living barnyard begins its hectic and busy day. No sleeping in with roosters crowing, pigs grunting, cows mooing and even the quieter residents (rabbits for example) welcoming the day with their version of noise making (generally thumping their back feet). This morning ritual of noise making signals that It’s time for the farmer pair to spring into action. It’s hay season and that means chores are on a tight schedule. Cutting and bailing hay takes precedence in the minds and in the schedule of farm life from the end of May and into September. The workload is often tripled to make sure there’s enough food for the animals to overwinter. The meteorologist acquires a sort of renowned position, particularly at the start of the season. All ears tuned to their favorite source for constant updates. Will it rain? Will it rain for days? Can I cut the hay, chance the weather? If it doesn’t get cut it will never get into the barn. As the season progresses, the meteorologists loose their status, are basically ignored and hay is cut regardless of their soothsaying capabilities which normally have proven to be quite unreliable. While hay is in season, the weeds have a tendency to take over, the grass gets too tall in the yard so the cow is applied to knock it down, often attracting the attention of folks driving by startled by the unusual lawn ornament. The lawn is frequently decorated with cows and / or goats depending on the need. There’s no end to the work, no end to the unexpected on a farm. It’s a lifestyle that requires a Type A personality wound up in a tight coil and ready to change tasks whengoats necessary, resolve the day’s breakdowns, run to the vet in an emergency or monitor a newborn calf. But it’s not without the most wonderful rewards. These occur as frequently as the failures, problems, and out right disasters. One is the passing of the day. As dusk arrives, the barnyard becomes quiet, as still as a pond without the wind or an agitated frog to disturb it’s glassy surface. The Whip-poor-wills begin to call…a reminder that it’s time to plant corn (more work), but also to remind one of lazy childhood summers when the task of the day was to find a garter snake and watch it coil and uncoil in your hands; or collect tadpoles that in a matter of moments become frogs. A coolness settles in, often times the moisture forms a mist that takes over the hollows and moves up the ridge painting the farm in a soft light that is as relaxing as it is beautiful. As the shadows grow longer, the work disappears, the weeds become invisible, the fences that need tending are forgotten. The peace will be broken again come morning, but for that short moment, life is more than just good, it’s a blessing.

Annette Ericksen

Annette Ericksen, with her husband Barney Sigman, owns and operates Twin Maples Farm. An archaeologist by trade, she infuses her farm blog with a blending of anthropological observation, science and traditional lore. The farm specializes in heritage breeds and direct to consumer sales.

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About Annette Ericksen

Annette Ericksen, with her husband Barney Sigman, owns and operates Twin Maples Farm. An archaeologist by trade, she infuses her farm blog with a blending of anthropological observation, science and traditional lore. The farm specializes in heritage breeds and direct to consumer sales.
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