proof of learning.

the day started early when a kind soul stopped to knock on our door to let us know that our herd of cattle had taken a bit of a prance into the yard and along the road. I awoke to hurried voices and the closing of our back door. I looked outside to see dozens of very large animals along the ditch, chomping on grass. I was sure it was the bulls. the dear helper shooed the animals in P.’s direction on the road (and then drove off to get to work). the animals all came rushing up the drive. I knew P. wouldn’t be sending the bulls that way and I caught glimpse of the heart-shaped spot, mid brow, of one of the heifers. these were not the bulls. small sigh of relief.


(here she is, last fall)

the day before, I had yelled at hens to « get out of the garden!! », away from my tender seedlings and here, these heavy-hooved creatures all bolted through the garden, stomping on some brassica, licking up the yet-to-be-planted full seedling trays, destroying the bale of straw.

in these moments, I take such solace in not being solo on the farm. I feel the rush of adrenaline and anxiety, but this morning I noticed that I also see the puzzle. I see the direction in which P. runs, his knowing exactly when to run and the knowing when to confidently keep a slow pace. I see the dead ends, the unfenced safer zones, the getaways that need to be blocked. I admire how quick on his feet, in his wit he is. and I see that I’m learning.

I know that getting cattle back into fenced pasture is hard to do solo (because of those getaways, not having a blocker/redirecter), so I slipped on my boots. I managed to confidently assist without fearing for my life. I blocked some paths, opened some gates, went around the machinery shed, forcing them in P.’s direction, where they veered right and went through the open gate, back to pasture. I see that it’s an equation, basic geometry. like mini-putt maybe, but with higher stakes and unpredictability.


it was a beautifully crisp morning. it made me appreciate why people garden so early in the day. I knew the odds of a woken child wanting a parent were pretty high though so I went back in. I was right.

the garden is coming along. three of six sections are planted. and some evening rain is saving me the trip out with hoses and sprinkler.




the new fruit trees are growing leaves, the two neglected old-faithful apple trees are in full bloom, and the dandelions are as sunny as ever. onward we go.


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