grazing the long mile






Yesterday was the glorious morning that had the power to reconcile anybody with their fate, the white frost coating each leaf, the early sun, the vast sky with stylish cloud formations. Today is more like November but I have three gift carcasses of organic chickens simmering slowly since yesterday with a few scrapings of ginger, two coriander roots, a few cloves of garlic, a couple of carrots and the leaves of a celeriac with thwarted growth and slug impacts, so we will all be fine.

I carried the briars I cut for the goats on my head, which was more comfortable than my shoulder until I passed under a black-thorn tree and got everything entangled beautifully. I have scratches on my head I suppose, and today I also learned, again, that leather gloves will allow thorns through if they present themselves at a proper angle, and also that a wet leather glove will conduct electricity very well.

It being November and all, and cold too, I am tucking into the hay reserves, calmly, knowing that if and when the goats have eaten through the heap, I will be able to buy more as this has been such a good hay-making year. Last week we took the time to bring all the goats down the lane, to extend their choice of free-range vegetation and self-medicating opportunities. This is called grazing the long mile, the side of the road being in the commons, traditionally where members of the travelling community who would not own land would be able to graze their horses. It is a long mile indeed the mile that winds along every single road. Nowadays of course a tractor with an extendable arm with a pretty destructive claw at the end will be hired to trim this free source of winter food for the benefit of fast-driving cars. I don’t think hedges should necessarily be left to take over the road but I don’t like how it’s done from the comfort of a tractor seat behind glass by someone who may not care about plants or animals at all. I do.

There was a collection of quotes yesterday in the Mother Earth News newsletter,

 “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

Margaret Atwood

“Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.”

Karle Wilson Baker

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