I spent the working portion (a couple of hours) of yesterday back-filling the West knee-wall of the new cattle shed and then filling in a section of the cattle lot with the remainder of the excavated soil.

It was a bit chilly and my hands froze up. So I went to insulating the Milkhouse and getting things ready for winter. Lots of little things. I have been struggling a bit with the cold. I sleep a lot right now too, as the cancer is a lot more active than it has been for a long time. Suspect my body is fighting a hell of a battle right now… But that is not the concern right now. Right now, I have about seven days to have the Farm ready for winter.

My list is long, but the priorities are set, and I will be working on them the next couple of days. Relocating equipment is the tough one. Some can be stored outside I guess, much as I hate doing it. Some needs to be sold, so I have to make sure it is accessible should someone buy it. There are a few items that really need to be inside, and those are the challenging ones. There is only so much room.

I hope this afternoon to take the time to make up candy boards for the bees and get them in place tomorrow. I have not checked on them for a good three weeks now. They are better left undisturbed this time of year. I hope that the hives that struggled to gain strength might continue to be strong with a little help. It would be so cool to be able to split the hives this coming early summer and build the apiary up to six or seven! The honey we got this year from the one hive I took it from (leaving the honey in the other hives for winter food stores for the bees) is so good! My hope is that the three acres of pollinator habitat we invested in this year assists them throughout next year. In particular, early spring.

Over all, in spite of the challenges we faced this year, like having a building blow down, we did OK. The farm helped me maintain my health and provided me with a sense of purpose…and wonder! To see new trees appearing in the pastures, the fields full of native plants and, now, wildlife as a result. From field mice to pheasants to deer which move through and in some cases bed down. Insects that now flourish because they don’t get soaked by insecticide. Their numbers will wax and wane in various years, balancing themselves out, as will the rabbits, raccoons, possums, badgers(we have two dens!), coyotes, red tailed hawks, fox and ….quail! We had a nesting pair on the farm this year! Have not seen quail down here in a long, long time.

The Farm is resting, recuperating from years of what I now consider to be abuse. As I was moving soil the other day, I noticed a good number of night crawlers and earthworms, and that is a good sign that the soil might be recovering. In general, the Farm is a beautiful place, nothing fancy, but just very real. A place of centered-ness, where balance maintains itself and we are fortunate enough to allow that balancing act to play out. I don’t envy my neighbors who are looking for places to go with corn and beans that are worth more or less nothing on the market right now. The strain of that must be dis-heartening. I wish it were different for them…

But, it is what it is….and it is time to go do what I can today. Time to get out there and make something happen. Maybe even something good…who knows?