Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dichotomies

Living on a farm, even a small one like ours, is a life filled with dichotomies. There's the joy of catching fireflies each evening. Monkey runs across the lawn squealing with joy as she captures floating balls of light. She is allowed to keep the jar overnight. It sits on a shelf in her room, nature's nightlight. When she wakes up, she runs outside barefoot on the dew-soaked lawn and opens the lid to free her source of joy. It's a summer cycle that starts over each evening as the sun drops behind the mountain and edges of the forest grow dark.

There's joy in harvest; in finding the first tomato of summer - a small round Stupice - a perfect little fruit.

Then there's heartache. Lots of heartache. Two freezes in spring destroyed the fruit crops. Drought has hindered the blackberry and raspberry crop (although the smaller fruits that are ripening are quite sweet). Losing an animal is the roughest. We've lost so many this spring - over 20, to predators. There's the financial loss, the promise of eggs and meat lost and the loss of hours of care put into raising them. Anyone who's raised chicks from hatch or day-old chicks will know what I mean.

So, I should feel joy when I catch the predators, right? For an instant yesterday morning there was elation when I saw the two live traps had caught a full-grown racoon and a juvenile possum and then this morning an adult possum. But then there's the need to "dispose" of those wild creatures and it's heartache time again. I know the necessity of the action, but it still doesn't stop me from regretting the act. I cried yesterday morning and today. Tonight the poultry will be locked up safe and tight, but the traps will not be set. My soul needs a break.

3 comments:

  1. I guess it's all about the balance, and you're just trying to keep things even. But I do understand how hard it must be - I find it hard enough when Small Cat presents me with semi-living offerings...

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  2. Boy, do I know how you feel, Maggie. It's been a rough one for us, too. We lost a young chicken to a weasel, and then the Red Star boys started picking/cannibalizing the other chickens--resulting in several deaths--and I had to slaughter every single one of the RSes. I am sick of all the carnage.

    There is so much here that is beautiful and life-affirming and funny...but the lows can be very low!

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  3. Thanks for sharing. We're trying to become partners with the farmers in West Tennessee so we can be closer to the highs and lows. I appreciate your candid post and enjoy the blog.

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