Friday I thinned the carrots. Many seeds were sown (Gary admits that perhaps too many were sown), but each carrot needs a radius of about three-quarters-of-an-inch around it in order to develop a straight, full root. So I was set at the task of creating a tiny “orchard” of carrot seedlings out of a “field” of green sprouts.
Chuck’s description of this task as a “very complicated math problem” is accurate, which is probably why it appealed to me. Nearby was a thick bed of feathery carrot tops about midpoint on their way to maturity. As the breeze ruffled their green stems, I admired the fact that someone had done what I was doing for them when they were tiny. Now they were a thick forest of feathery growth. Here was one more example of the multitude of events that take place between the sowing and the harvest.
It takes a certain type of person – or more accurately certain types of persons – to operate a farm, even a small farm like ours. I love the little weeding and thinning jobs. I guess they suit my nature. Appreciating each little plant and marveling at the beauty of the patterns they make when planted in a bed.
Chuck loves the larger tasks – He likes the feel and smell of fresh dirt mixed with healthy amounts of compost. So tilling and turning planting beds and digging holes for trees and shrubs is exciting for him. He likes the feel of machinery in his strong hands, so cutting down weeds with the metal blades of a weed-eater and using a chain saw to cut wood are appealing to him. He also enjoys the satisfaction of creating clean-split wood with a heavy maul or with the help of wedges. He has discovered the best tools for each of these activities and is always delighted to learn about some new invention that works better.
John loves the quick things. Although everyone enjoys our new-born filly when she nuzzles them, John delights in her strength and in her desire to break loose from his grasp and scamper away. She alternates between docile submission and pressure to escape. In small doses, she is learning to love human contact in all of its forms.
Every day brings opportunities to try something new. I've been working with our yearling colt. He whinnys eagerly when he sees me in the morning. He has learned that he will get a crisp radish when he performs his paces well. He is the adventure in my life, and thinning carrots is the stillness.
Every evening offers the opportunity to be satisfied with what I have been able to accomplish. It is tempting to be overwhelmed by the mountain of things that might have been done, but weren't. It has been a discipline for me to learn to recognize the little pockets of improvement and watch as they increase to reveal a charming whole. Our work with the young horses this year has been an example of that. Never before do I recall such non-contentious relationships developing among the horses and the humans. The filly and her dam are greeted and handled each morning and evening. And the same goes for our colt. The young ones particularly are eager for this interaction and are learning good manners that will serve them well throughout their lives.