A Healthy Farm is Home for Many Creatures
by Kim Roe
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each.” —Henry David Thoreau
It seems as though it’s been raining forever. These seemingly endless gray, wet and windy Northwest winters make me a little crazy. I find myself longing for something else – like a life working at a desk or a home in the desert.
But then I head out to the barn or go for a walk along the creek that runs through my farm, and I’m struck with joy and gratitude that I get to live in such a place. A farm becomes part of you and you are part of it. Like a marriage, it isn’t always easy, but it can be very good. The farm and I support each other, and it fulfills me in many ways.
What I love most about my place isn’t the barn or my house, but the trees, the arc of the pastures and fields, the wide-open sky, and the green mountains that rise from the valley floor. And it’s the animals that live here – both domestic and wild.
In winter, trumpeter swans, ducks, and Canada geese graze in my hayfield. Chickadees, sparrows, juncos and owls enjoy the shelter of my trees, barn, and sheds. In spring, frogs announce the change of season and the songs of mourning doves fill me with peace. They announce the good weather – long warm days and an end to the dreary grey.
Thousands of swallows return here each summer to gorge on bugs and raise their young.
Then there are the mammals: foxes, coyotes, and bobcats have all been observed hunting voles on my place. Elk move through in the summer and fall, and the occasional deer grazes my roses. Beaver and muskrat make their homes in the creek. All of us live together here on this piece of land I call home.
It’s my job to protect all the creatures and plants that make this place tick. Owning a farm is a practice in husbandry and stewardship—finding a balance between reaping and sowing, taking and giving.
Keeping a farm full of horses healthy and happy in winter weather can be challenging, but it is fulfilling work. The seasons change, and each revolution of the sun brings renewal. Being the caretaker of my farm isn’t just about growing hay and looking after horses, but keeping a good place for all of us to live.
Enjoy this month’s Barn & Farm issue. We have some great articles to help make your farm (or barn) a healthier, happier place. firstname.lastname@example.org