Monday, June 18, 2012

Make Hay While the Sun Shines!

Well, I'm behind on blogging, so I'll give you the summary rather than the play-by-play!  The last week and a half have flown by.  I was struggling a bit with the learning curve with the horses and feeling a little intimidated, so Donn and I came up with a plan to do some focused work with the same reliable team for a few days, which worked beautifully.  I've got a lot more practice and some more confidence now, and I'm mostly driving my own team for mowing, raking, and tedding, which is really fun.  I love working with the horses!  The weather has been nice and hot and sunny, and we've been making a lot of hay.  Haymaking might be my new favorite thing.  It's like a little bit of magic, making all the pieces fit together, judging the weather, and turning a field of grass into bales of hay in about 3 days.  It's hard work at the end - the baling and unloading and stacking is physically demanding, and it's usually really hot outside when we do it - but it's the kind of work that makes you tired and sore in a good way.  It's really satisfying to see the end results, and we always celebrate all that hard work with some cold beer and dinner out at the Three Bears Inn in Marathon.

I started milking the sheep last week, and now I'm milking on my own once a day.  The sheep are wonderful, and milking is really relaxing and fun.  Maryrose milks in the morning, and I milk in the evening, and whoever isn't milking is doing sheep chores.  My days are slipping into a routine because of the sheep, which I really like.  We still change our middle of the day plans around based on the weather, Donn's work schedule, and what needs to get done, but that's fine - gives me some variety, but I still know how and when the day will start and end.

Yesterday, we hosted a field day here at the farm sponsored by NOFA-NY.  The first half of the day was a workshop on how to work with horses in general, and how to get to know and start to train a new horse.  The afternoon was a hands-on hay-making workshop, where we demonstrated clipping, mowing, tedding, raking, and baling, and the participants got to ride along on the carts, try driving the horses, and help bale and stack the hay.  I was in heaven.  It was a big farm party where Donn really got to shine as a teamster and educator, and I got to help out a lot, demonstrating what I've learned so far and even teaching a little bit about driving and using certain implements.  My favorite part was the end of the workshop, where we loaded 5 women on the hay wagon at once and had a baling-stacking-haywagon-dance party!  (pictures below)  It was the most socially-stimulating scene I've been at since at got up here - I really enjoy workshops (both learning and teaching), and you guys know I love a good party!  We finished off the day with a farmer potluck, some live music, and Maryrose's homemade paella.  That was the first time I've gotten to play music with someone else since I got here, and it was great.  Eric, the intern at our friends' farm, and I played instrument swap with a guitar, mandolin, and a banjo, and we managed to cobble together quite a few songs.  He even gave me a little lesson in clawhammer banjo playing, so now I'm daydreaming about buying a banjo.  They sound so sweet!  I was ready to burst by the end of the day, my heart was so happy.  Luckily, it's a little bit of a quiet, chill, cloudy day today, and everyone else is tired too, because I'm exhausted.  It was so worth it though.

Finally, I'm starting to feel a little more connected socially.  I have a few friends that I can call or go out to do something with in the evening if I feel like it, and now I'm working on balancing my need for social time with my need for rest :)  It's a good problem to have, I suppose.  Miss you all, and hope you are well.


1 comment:

Sandra Morris said...

Thanks so much for posting the pictures, Aura. What a beautiful place you are in! I really enjoy your blog. Think about what would be a good time for me to drive my Westy out for a visit.