Tag Archives: moon

Day 18 – The Moon Coffined in Clouds

“We love the night and its quiet; and there is no night that we love so well as that on which the moon is coffined in clouds.”  ― Fitz-James O'Brien

“We love the night and its quiet; and there is no night that we love so well as that on which the moon is coffined in clouds.”
― Fitz-James O’Brien

When we first moved the horses here a dozen or so years ago it was a very strange sensation to make my way down to the barn in the pitch darkness. There were dips in the land I had never noticed in daylight and the short trip seemed to take three times as long after the lights were out. Strange crackles and sighs came from the trees and, particularlywhen the weather was awful, I thought of farmers in prairie blizzards who had to tie a rope from the house to the barn so they wouldn’t get blown off course and disappear forever.

Deer, who had not yet figured out that their regular highway was about to be interrupted by fences and horses and outbuildings and dogs and strange activities at all hours of the day and night would occasionally crash away through the brush, panicked by the sudden appearance of a human. I rushed, nervous at being out there in the dark all alone. I remembered childhood stories of wolves and bears and shapeless creatures who sucked souls and left young girls for dead and thought more than once of the statistic that Vancouver Island boasts the greatest number of cougar attacks in the world.

I always carried a flashlight, which morphed into a headlamp (much better to have one’s hands free while dealing with hay and gates and feeding the cat) and was happy to reach the barn where I could turn on the light.

These days, the tree spirits feel more like they are protecting me, rather than trying to eat me.

These days, the tree spirits feel more like they are protecting me, rather than trying to eat me.

Gradually, things changed. Over time the batteries in the headlamp faded and I forgot to replace them. I found myself in the dark, strolling down the hill as if I could see. Which, it turned out I could do perfectly well when the moon was high and the skies clear. I found I knew where we were in the moon phase without referring to a calendar. And somewhere along the way the nervousness completely disappeared.

Instead, the nightly walk down the hill became one of highlights of my daily routine. One night I reached up to stroke the cat on the gatepost only to discover it was a cat-sized barn owl. His heart-shaped face looked into mine as if to ask, “Were you seriously just about to touch me?” We stood like that for several long seconds before he lifted off and floated up to the roof of the goat barn, where he resumed his silent observation of my comings and goings.

I have sat in the orchard at midnight and sunk my teeth into a ripe pear sending a sticky sweet dribble of juice down my chin. With my back against a hay bale, I have listened to the patter of rain on the roof while the cat hopped into my lap for a snuggle. To my amazement, I discovered I could identify which of my three bay horses was which, even on a moonless night when I could barely make out my hand as it reached for the chain on the gate. I have paused to listen to the owls calling back and forth, the first frogs in spring, the goats munching their hay. The night is a different place for me now, one of calm and quiet where I don’t see all the many jobs that need to be done but instead savour a few moments of simple satisfaction as I find myself still here at the end of another day.

Interested in learning who else is participating in the 30 days agriculture blog-a-thon or the five things Holly Spangler will be talking about this month? Head over to Prairie Farmer to find out!

Day 14 – Dawn ’til Dusk – Just Another Day on the Farm

What happens on a sunny morning after a night of rain.

What happens on a sunny morning after a night of rain.

Mid-November around here is generally pretty wet, so what a delight it was yesterday to head out to a dripping landscape being warmed beneath a brilliant winter sun! When I started on the morning rounds the whole world seemed to be either steaming or glistening.

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By the time I was making my way back up the hill when I was done, the special effects show was over.

At dusk I was treated to a show of a different type.

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The rising moon kept getting tangled in the tree branches! It was so bright and clear that the moon shadows were black and distinct, so heavy on the ground I wanted to step over them – an odd effect, though not really photographable…

In between the showy dawn and dusk, it was a pretty typical Wednesday with stops at the feed store, farm stand, and coffee shop. During the afternoon worked on the new book (about different types of housing around the world – another in the Orca Footprints series, co-authored with Dani) and then continued with the job of cleaning out the vegetable beds. Wimpy always materializes when I pick up a trowel and he worked alongside me, snatching up grubs and worms as I made my way along the bed where, earlier in the season, squash had filled one end and a gorgeous yellow/orange/gold calendula party had been going on all summer. The turkeys, chickens, ducks, and hogs eagerly consumed all the weeds and bits of leftover veggie plants Wimpy and I dug up, so the whole process felt extremely satisfying and made a whole lot of creatures (including me) quite happy.

After that, made a delicious tomato vegetable and venison soup. Roasted more beets, parsnips, and carrots for good measure because really, is it possible to eat too many roast veggies? Gobbled that up with hunks of tasty olive bread before heading back out one last time to feed the night hay and check on all the creatures.

Ordinary day. Extraordinary day. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Interested in learning who else is participating in the 30 days agriculture blog-a-thon or the five things Holly Spangler will be talking about this month? Head over to Prairie Farmer to find out!