One of our most favorite times of year – the Fall hay cutting! With a crew of 10, in a 10-hour day, the team baled a farm record of 770 big, beautiful square bales!! Thank you, Mother Nature. And we are so grateful for the hardworking, wise people who led this charge and put up with us all along the way. Today our bodies are sore, but we are happy…and proud. Making hay is just so much fun. 😉 👨🌾👩🌾 🙂
Do you like to go barefoot in summertime? Turns out, it might be better for us than we think! Many believe that connecting with the Earth’s natural energy simply by planting our feet on the ground and walking around barefoot has many health benefits. Less stress, less pain, more energy. Here’s a book on the subject + a video. Let’s kick off our shoes and GO!
These afternoon thunderstorms have been good for our pastures, but they’ve also been great for the woods! And after a few rainy days…if you get lucky…you may just find the much-coveted chanterelle mushrooms. Our neighbors showed us how to hunt for them a couple of years back and last weekend the back woods were sprinkled with these golden beauties. Mike spotted them first, but I leaped out of the ATV to pick as many as I could before his patience wore out (which it did 😀 ). We shared the beautiful chanterelles with friends and sautéed some for burgers last night. Tonight they’ll go on a salad. Carol used hers for a pizza. Jay ate some raw, and Megan sent a link showing how to preserve them for the months ahead. It’s so fun sharing Nature’s gifts when you get the chance. See more recipe ideas here and here.
Writer Donald Hall, who served as Poet Laureate of the U.S. in 2006, passed away last Saturday at the age of 89.
The Poetry Foundation says his poetry “explores the longing for a more bucolic past and reflects [his] abiding reverence for nature.” A prolific creator, Mr. Hall also wrote works of fiction, essays, plays and children’s books including the Ox-Cart Man which won the Caldecott Medal in 1979. In 2010 he received the National Medal of Arts.
He retreated to his family land — Eagle Pond Farm — in a small New Hampshire town, where he spent over 40 decades living, writing, reflecting. The farmhouse was his “Muse,” said the New York Times in a 2006 profile.
In tribute to this giant among poets, here’s Mr. Hall’s masterpiece, Names of Horses.
Names of Horses
All winter your brute shoulders strained against collars, padding
and steerhide over the ash hames, to haul
sledges of cordwood for drying through spring and summer,
for the Glenwood stove next winter, and for the simmering range.
In April you pulled cartloads of manure to spread on the fields,
dark manure of Holsteins, and knobs of your own clustered with oats.
All summer you mowed the grass in meadow and hayfield, the mowing machine
clacketing beside you, while the sun walked high in the morning;
and after noon’s heat, you pulled a clawed rake through the same acres,
gathering stacks, and dragged the wagon from stack to stack,
and the built hayrack back, uphill to the chaffy barn,
three loads of hay a day from standing grass in the morning.
Sundays you trotted the two miles to church with the light load
a leather quartertop buggy, and grazed in the sound of hymns.
Generation on generation, your neck rubbed the windowsill
of the stall, smoothing the wood as the sea smooths glass.
When you were old and lame, when your shoulders hurt bending to graze,
one October the man, who fed you and kept you, and harnessed you every morning,
led you through corn stubble to sandy ground above Eagle Pond,
and dug a hole beside you where you stood shuddering in your skin,
and lay the shotgun’s muzzle in the boneless hollow behind your ear,
and fired the slug into your brain, and felled you into your grave,
shoveling sand to cover you, setting goldenrod upright above you,
where by next summer a dent in the ground made your monument.
For a hundred and fifty years, in the Pasture of dead horses,
roots of pine trees pushed through the pale curves of your ribs,
yellow blossoms flourished above you in autumn, and in winter
frost heaved your bones in the ground – old toilers, soil makers:
O Roger, Mackerel, Riley, Ned, Nellie, Chester, Lady Ghost.
by Donald Hall
“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.”
― David Foster Wallace
We’re celebrating the two-year anniversary of our honeybees in the most fabulous way — with a second harvest! Life with bees has been a magical mystery ride, that’s for sure. Just when you think you know a few things, they show how you really know so little. Kind of like horses. : ) Anyway, last weekend we felt like Winnie the Pooh…just couldn’t keep our hands out of the honeypot as we spun and bottled 2.5 gallons of the most gorgeous golden honey. A special shout-out to our neighbor Charlie, who has been the patient bee teacher, mentor and occasional swarm-catcher. Here are some *sweet* moments from those first two harvests. A limited supply is available now in the Mercantile. Thank you, bees!