I'm at the farm. I promised myself I would not make any jokes because at this early hour I do not trust my filtration devices. I've been up since 5, which is not abnormal, but what is abnormal is to trudge out to the field at such an ungodly hour to shine my headlamp on sheep rear ends looking for signs of more lambs coming. I have a pretty strong aversion to birth, so this is not my favorite thing to get up for. In the afternoons here I take long walks with the dogs through our fields and through the woods. I look at them and am thankful they are unbred. Strong, tough, butch type bitches. Easily mistaken for males.
I jokingly refer to these as my meditation walks. It's a joke because it's actually where I get all my thinking done. Currently most of our land is locked in an glacial meltdown period. Field of streams. When I look at instagram at other farms in other places and I see them planting out healthy seedlings I am filled with a competitive hunger to make it go faster on the farm. But thats just another of the fucked up lessons for me here: we have to let time unfold nature for us, at its own pace. Zelda here starts training on sheep soon. She just went into heat. Christ, thats a lot of reproduction talk for one morning. Spring is in the AIR
In the city after my time in Jamaica (ancient history) much was accomplished, many beautiful things made, never to be seen. As it should be. For some reason I've not picked up my camera much these past months, and it's felt sad but also liberating. Ruffling through old things in the apartment last week I came across some old photos of myself and friends from a particular time, a particular occasion that I did not enjoy recalling. I dropped them in the trash. Just like that. Sentimentality has a way of blocking progression. I walked to Williamsburg after lunch with Nikki. I was getting sick but trying to ignore it. I never get sick. People love to say that, don't they? I walked all the way to blue bottle on berry street. I sat outside on the phone with Samin and watched people walk by. I had not been around there for a long time....
What I saw was a great mix of people and I noted that the current fashion seems to be centered around black metal these days? I start walking home, freezing, cataloging my now undeniable flu-like symptoms. I call Eric at the farm. I say, remember when we were 23 and living here? He is eating ice cream and taking a break from the sleeting weather outside in the field; categorically miserable. Spring felt so far away in that bleak moment. What do you see in Williamsburg? he asks. Black Doc Martens and baby strollers I tell him.
In the city though we get to fake spring with flowers, thats my job. The flower market is always at least one month ahead; as daffodils just barely start to break through the ground here they are old news on 28th Street. Nikki and I taught our infamous Dutch Masters Class at the Metropolitan Building. It was an indulgent afternoon of teaching. When I watch someone in class get so excited and lost in flowers it reminds me that I too can feel that way still sometimes. It's a happy thing for me... I admit, cautiously.
Last weekend was our third annual plant sale. Best one yet -- we sold $15,827 worth of plants thanks to Taryne who helped pull it all together and kept spreadsheets to track profitability (!!!)
If you came out to support us, please know that because of your plant purchase we are absolutely able to build our first hoop house this July at Worlds End. I am so thankful for your enthusiasm and support; you all really came through. Small things like keeping houseplants make a difference. What we're trying to do here at SAIPUA is build a community around flowers and plants and agriculture. Every plant, every flower arrangement, every thing we try to grow on the farm -- even the failures -- helps us to build those connections and foster an affinity for the natural world.
Now to present day; 5:54 am Wednesday April 8th. Here at Worlds End we're in the middle of lambing. We cross the stream which is running high from snowmelt on boards jerry-rigged on cinderblocks every two hours to look around and make sure there's not a ewe in distress or needing to be brought into the 'nursery' which is a series of cattle panels and covered areas with nice hay and supplies. Birth is unpredictable you can't control it. I like to control things. Last week when I got here from the city there was a ewe in distress and within 5 minutes of arriving I had my nails clipped to the quick and dish soap on my arm to the elbow as lube. I could not figure out what the hell was going on inside this ewe. Eric rolled up his sleeve and I watched him work locked elbows of the unborn lamb up over the pelvic bone of the sheep and pull out the limp dead body. I don't know if I've ever loved him as much as in that moment. The ewe stood up relieved and saw to her first born lamb. We watched them for a while in a sort of stunned silence and then threw the afterbirth to the dogs.
Yesterday I planted out all our sweet pea seedlings and as I stood in the field looking around at the overwhelming mess and work that needs to be done in the field I thought about the nature of struggle.
I tried to imagine a life of calm and clarity... a life of ease and fun. Overwhelmed, I took a break and sat in the hay watching baby lambs play with each other for a while. Lambs dance in this animatronic sort of way that is likely the cutest thing to ever occur on planet earth.
I caught myself smiling, which I don't do often. Onward.