Wednesday, May 31, 2006

On Memorial Day I had picked up younger son from visiting with a friend. The route home took us past our small local airport so I pulled over to look at the vintage 1950's Sabre Jet on display out front. I had read about it in the local paper, seen it as I drove by, but had never stopped for a closer look:

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sunday afternoon I stopped by the flea market:

The market here is one of the larger in the area, with sellers who make a living at it, as well as folks simply flogging their junk on tarps in hopes of earning a few dollars. Walking the rows at a flea market is like beachcombing the ocean of our consumer culture. Here a pile of tools, there a box of eight-track tapes. Old vinyl lp's next to new Chinese plastic novelties. The odd rabbit or chicken. Fishing tackle, commemorative plates, a hand-cranked Victorola, t-shirts, a mobile tattoo parlour. If you want it, and have cash, it's here. I came to browse, not buy, but could not resist three cd's by jazz singer Karrin Allyson for fifty cents a piece. I don't know how they ended up next to the lots of used clothing and cheap sneakers from Singapore, but one man's trash, as they say, becomes another's treasure.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Morning sky, a chance of thunderstorms today.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

WARNING: The rare Orthodox Agrarian virus seems to be spreading. James at Paradosis has caught the bug. Fortunately it is in the early stages and may still be curable. Scroll down through the comments for this gem from Paige:

As a side note, I vividly remember being eight, watching a special on the news about a program to bring inner-city kids (I guess from Louisville) to my area to see cows and mountains and stuff. I kept thinking that was great, and wondering when the busses were going to come and take me and my friends to Louisville to see a real live mall, or a movie theater. Didn't happen.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

This past Saturday older and younger son and I, with the aid of a family friend, caught up on a number of farm chores that had been accumulating over the past few weeks. The rounding up of the flock went well with a single exception. When I got back from a quick run into town for supplies, friend and sons informed me that one particularly energetic lamb had split from the flock, jumped the cattleguard and headed down Browntown Road. The question put to me was whether we should chase the prodigal or just wait for his return while we worked with the rest of the flock. With visions of squealing brakes and crunching bumpers in my head, I led the crew out to search. We found the escapee about a quarter mile away, standing behind an old church which is now "The Freedom Club," an AA meeting house. The lamb had apparently taken the name to heart, because as soon as he saw us, he dashed into the woods behind the building, down a stream embankment and waded across Gooney Creek. We followed, splashing and sliding over slick stones. Two of us went left, two right and tried to surround him. The lamb, faced with imminent capture, surprised us all by bolting straight up the side of Buck Mountain and disappearing into the heavy underbrush.

At that point, tired, wet and with the day slipping away we returned to the rest of the flock. The next day, after hearing a report that the fugitive was back down by the creek, we headed out again. After the previous day's adventure I was ready to leave him be and let him grow into a local legend, "The Wild Sheep of Buck Mountain," but it was Sunday and the words of Matthew 18:12 were murmuring in the back of my mind: "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?" We set out , trying to track him by hoof prints and deposits thoughtfully left on the lawn of the vacation lodge on the other side of the creek. Again to no avail. We trudged back in defeat, ready to plan the next campaign when my mother-in-law came up and told us that, while we were trudging around, the lamb had come back across the creek and a neighbor had chased it back into our pasture. I decided then that I was not a Good Shepherd by any biblical standard, because at that moment I truly, truly could not "rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray."

The view from home this morning.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Over at Moonmeadow Farm they are digging garden beds and working with temporary fencing. We have used temporary electric fences with various degrees of success. Some sheep respond well, others never get it. We had one lamb who was the sort that give sheep their reputation for minimal gray matter. She never did comprehend that sticking her head through the plastic mesh would (a)get her head stuck and (b)shock her repeatedly until we could shut off the charger and get her out. Morning by morning we would step outside and hear "baah . . . baah . . . baah . . ." and know that Sue was at it again.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I occasionally read Washington Post columnist Jeanne Marie Laskas, another urban to rural transplant. She recounted her odyssey in her book Fifty Acres and a Poodle: A Story of Love, Livestock, and Finding Myself on a Farm . I had missed her piece in last Sunday's post until a friend printed it out and passed it on. Since our last few lambs are making their appearance, I thought I would link to it: Sweet Pea Had a Little Lamb.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mother and twins
Just when you thought the culture couldn't get any stranger, rock star Bono edits a special edition of the English paper the Independent and gets Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to name her ten favorite songs. Who knew that the diplomat, a classically trained pianist, rocks out to Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" when not brushing up on her Brahms concertos. I'm not even going to comment on Elton John's "Rocket Man" making her list.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My last post in April noted the wrap up of the "Crunchy Con" book blog. Author Rod Dreher has taken his title and favorite issues over to where the discussion continues.

Artist Makoto Fujimura, who was also mentioned below, has an exhibit opening at American University's new museum space this Saturday in the flatlands east of us.

I leave you this evening with a picture of twin lambs, also recent arrivals.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm back.

The day after my last entry, I took my wife for an MRI to find out why a pulled leg muscle was not healing. That was the beginning of three weeks in two hospitals with four different surgical procedures. After being told to expect cancer, we were relieved to find out she had osteomyelitis, a serious bone infection, but not life threatening. She is back home on the farm over at the in-law's house getting anti-biotic treatments three times daily. Her mobility is restricted and there is one more surgery planned for early summer. Older and younger son and I have been living between the two households for the last several weeks and will probably keep it up until Susan is off the antibiotics.

April all but vanished while I was sleeping on hospital couches and spending long hours on the road. I usually try and slow down and pay attention to the burst of life in Spring. This year I caught it in glimpses, while heading somewhere else. We have some late lambs in the field, like the fellow pictured above who showed up on Saturday. Coming in late at night the headlights would pick out the fox kits heading for the culvert they were denning in until the rains came. A pair of cottontail rabbits come out onto the lawn during the early morning and evening hours. They appear to have been as busy as the foxes, judging from the small rabbit who ran under the hillside shed Sunday as I walked down to the barn.

Over at the in-laws house the peacocks are strutting for the hens, and the hens are shrieking at the slightest disturbance as they pick out nest sites. I will leave you with a picture of one of the cocks in full display, trying to add color to an otherwise gray afternoon.