Days go past in a steady course, rhythms repeating from year to year, nearly the same, but with, always, new twists. This year includes new members to the cast and crew with a new grand daughter seeing her four month old mark with a road trip to the beach for Easter, and the addition of Gracie, the diminutive new puppy here on the farm. Easter has come and gone again, and the drab grays and browns of what the calendar said was winter have given way to the thick lush greenery of another spring on the farm.
With the arrival in my life of this new puppy, my mornings have shifted to allowing play time for her first, before incarcerating her in her box, so that I can go ride the horses later, or garden, or do whatever on the farm that needs to get down, without the worry of “where is she now?” So we spend coffee time on the front porch and from this vantage point the news of the farm for the day unfolds.
In the earlier hours before the sun has established itself fully, the pond shimmers with the rising mist that floats and swirls from the warmer water into the cooler air above. First sounds that greet my morning ears are of Canadian Geese squawking about whatever geese find to squawk at, and the Purple Martin colony is a lyrical jumble of clicking noises, fussing and hissing, and also pure, sweet song. Gracie chews on leaves and anything that has found its way to the porch, tries to provoke the sleeping shepherd into play, unsuccessfully, and she wanders around her new world discovering and learning.
The air is also full of the annoying sounds of the buzzing hordes of Carpenter Bees, large bumble bee shaped flying miners of any wood structures that they can find. They fly the length of the porch searching for the right piece of wood trim to chew their way through, followed by the curiosity of a small dog who gives tentative and cautious chase to their buzzing.
When the first cup of coffee is done it is time to head to the barn, the morning ritual that really begins the day. The impatient horses who have spent the night in the stalls bang on the gates and whinny to me to hurry my self up.
We are now on official “foal watch” again. Joline, my ancient broodmare is once again closing in on another birthing, and hopefully another safe delivery of a wonderful foal. Last weekend Mark set up a camera that allows me to watch the mare via my cell phone or computer from the comfort of my bed, instead of the old way of up every hour to check on her. Technology and geekish husbands do have some pretty high values and uses on occasion. This is one of them. Joline really doesn’t care about that at this point and only glares at me and waddles her swollen belly from her stall to the paddock for the day’s outing, waiting.
This weekend we happened to have not been able to miss a particularly large yard arrangement laid down by the shepherd between the porch and the barn. On the way to feed the horses, this pile stood tall and ample in the morning dew, glistening with its freshness. We gave it wide berth as we walked by. It was on return to the house afterwards that we noticed a very strange thing. Parts of this pile had been scattered, and, one segment that was approximately an inch and a half in diameter by a good several inches long, was quite rapidly rolling towards us. This unexplained phenomenon had our rapt attention as we stopped to observe this rolling dung, and then stepped aside as it made its way past us heading towards the barn.
As this seemingly self motivated and mobile piece of dog dung came past we were able to see the source of the motion. Two jewel toned beetles were behind it pushing and rolling this monstrously huge part of the former pile, dwarfed in proportion to it and struggling, but pushing with speed non the less. These two bugs were seriously motivated and were taking their over sized prize with them.
Later we saw that once they had it near a small hole in the sand, they dismantled it and took the chunks down the hole with them.
Recycling here, in its purest form, one animal’s waste becoming another’s treasure. The thought gives me pause, and I am glad that I do not have their job and lot in life, but in reality, everybody and every creature is just trying to make a living and get by. Some just have weirder jobs than others.
My second cup of this morning’s coffee has cooled and it is time for me to try to get some work done on the tractor. I will do battle today with the pasture grasses and attempt to temporarily make the place tidy and also in doing so, try to scare some of the snakes, that I know stare at me from hidden places as I walk about the farm, into finding refuge anywhere else but here. Then there is weeding and planting in the veggie garden, re-bedding of stalls, followed by a continued cleaning up of the barn of the things that accumulate around them over the course of a year or decade or two. It is another spring and life is doing its thing just rolling along, and that, is a really good thing.