Life and death are intertwined on the farm. Regularly I witness the natural miracle of birth and death over and over again. A duckling emerges from its shell and is killed in 2 days. The garden grows and is killed by frost in a night and seasonally the entire landscape appears to die in the winter darkness and cold.
Death is not bad. It does not have to be scary and is impossible to avoid in this life. The real tragedy is a life or death without dignity and honor.
In this season we honor all that has come before and our ancestors. We offer gratitude. In the process, we put our energy into our roots, transmuting the loss and storing for the birth that follows every season of death. Like the molting chickens, they look like they are sick, they stop laying and then regenerate for Spring egg abundance.
This year we lost one of our dear farm members, Martha Saches. You may remember Martha, our eldest member at 93, often sitting in the sun, conversing with the birds, washing eggs or snoozing in her chair on garden group and plork days. Much personal gratitude to Martha for her continued reassurance that I could run a farm as a single woman. As a fellow farmer from Maine until her 80s, Martha inspired all with every visit. Fly free Martha. You are in our hearts always.
This summer nine people from north and south county came together to share a meal on the farm auctioned off for the annual Mercy Mount Shasta Hospice Event.
The meal was served in sight of the flowing pasture, which was the primary offering on the table. The menu not only included raw garden “weeds” but also naturally processed perennial grasses in the form of meat, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and tea.
Using traditional Turkish techniques and recipes, chef, JT Beggs of Kin & Kitchen, visiting from New Mexico crafted a beautiful 4 course meal. Authentic touches like outdoor fire-pit roasted flat bread and chevron meat offered a special touch.
Huge gratitude for the visiting chef’s donation of time and craft to gift our local hospice program. The dinner was a great success and I don’t know if we will be able to top this donation. This next year the farm will offer a 2 night farm stay experience to the Mercy Mount Shasta Hospice Auction.
Yesterday night I heard the first peeps. Then today the duckling chirped its way into the garden. I scooped it up and brought it back to mom. See and listen to video below.
My experience has been that the first to hatch have it rough because there is no one around yet to play with and they roam while mom continues to sit on eggs. Misty, the cat, always wants to play but she does not play nice and is their biggest threat. We praise misty for getting mice and moles, but can’t teach her to avoid the little chicks and ducks born in nature.
The duckling will be strong if it makes it and we are thankful for the birth on the farm no matter how long it lives. I am hopeful and also surrender to nature.
The 4 mamas were born here so the duckling has good local genes and natural birth memory.
The papa drake lives down the road at the neighbors. Last month was a duck/drake love-fest over here with visits and sneakouts on both sides. Over the next couple of weeks we will see how many hatch. Ducks sit on their nest for 30 days. There are two nests with brooding ducks.