What I’m Digging

I attended another farming conference this past weekend. The morning was a lecture and the afternoon was a workshop. It was fabulous.

Here’s my favorite photo from the workshop. This embodies the spirit of the farming community to me. Everyone working together. Many hands make light the work.

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This farming conference was filled with “groovy” people just like the last one I attended. I love that vibe. I had no idea that farmers were such a “hip” group of people. (note to self: become hipper) But they are. They dress hip; they talk hip.

Like, wow, Man, you see, I’m talking to this farmer guy and he used a term I hadn’t heard in awhile: “digging.”

“Digging” in the 70’s sense, not the garden sense. I asked him how he liked his new endeavor as a farmer, bread-baker, coffee roaster. He said that he was “digging” it.

And I made a mental note to myself to start using that word again: “dig”

So here goes.

I dig this weather we’re having. Warm and sunny one day, snow the next. We’re expecting several inches tonight. I have a feeling it will be the last hoorah in the white, fluffy, winter wonderland department.

Yes I dig winter, but I dig springtime too. The pasture is just starting to green up. People are starting to plow and till up their gardens and fields. We’re all thinking about planting. About seeds. About compost.

I dig hearing birds sing again. And seeing them flit joyously around. Earlier there was a flock of robin red-breast birds out in my front pasture. Hundreds of them. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

And yesterday I also saw a lone bluebird on my fence.

 

And when I walked down a path beside my very weedy hillside this morning, I guess I was too noisy. Two cardinals burst out of the weeds right in front of me and rushed to safety in a nearby Christmas tree (I live on a Christmas tree farm, btw.) I appreciate seeing and hearing the birds again. Winter was quiet. I missed them. I will try to be more quiet myself. So I don’t freak them out so early in the morning and early in the season.

I dig seeing the daffodils in bloom. They are just beginning to break out of their bulbs this year and push up out of the earth. They mean spring to me. Yes, they are springing forth!

Because we live at a 150 year old farm, we have no idea when or where or what flowers are going to pop up. Last week, this little pretty came up in the area around an old oak tree in the yard.

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I didn’t know this plant, so I looked it up. I believe it is Lenten Rose.

And something else I dig. A pond.

Ponds have always interested me because I like water. I like light reflected on water. I like movement on water. I like frozen water. I like frogs. I like lily pads. And cat tails on the bank. And weeping willows. I like those big gigantic gold fish, koi. But. Since I’m afraid of snakes and have always heard that ponds attract snakes, I never really considered having a pond on our farm.

But life happens. Lemons fall into our paths. Sometimes they hit us on the head. But we all know that when that happens we must make lemonade.

Our lemons and our lemonade is water.

We have an abundance of water on our farm. So much that it is a problem. Springs erupt from the earth and rush down the ridge behind our house. Sometimes water gets very close to the house. Creeks are numerous here. It makes it hard to navigate the paths we need to take.

And we were having a drainage problem.

So, a fellow who has a track-hoe and knows-how-to-use-it-like-you’ve-never-seen-before came to help us create a drainage system that would take the water away from the house area and the pasture area. Our pasture is in bottom land. That means wet. Soggy. We needed to divert the water elsewhere.

But. Every place he dug he hit underground water or an old drainage line. Every idea we  had to divert the water failed.

And then.

A thought.

Why don’t we create a pond with all this water? Capture it in one place. Enjoy it instead of fighting with it.

So we did.

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The day after he dug the pond, two Canada Geese showed up to enjoy it. And we all said, “Build it and they will come!”

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We’re hoping some ducks come. Maybe those little white ducks that showed up last year for a couple of days? Or some of the mallards I’ve seen on the nearby mountain stream.

I saved some frog eggs from a ditch a few days before we dug the pond. I knew the ditch would be drying up, so I gathered the eggs in one of those big plastic storage containers.

It was pretty funny. I had found the jelly batch of frog eggs in the small ditch and knew exactly what they were because of our experience last year with finding tadpoles in a ditch.

Anyway, I was so excited and showed the guy who was digging the pond what I had found. I proudly asked, “You know what those are? Those little jelly balls?” I couldn’t wait for him to say, “No. What in the world are they?!” Instead, he said, “Yeah, frog eggs. Tadpoles.” And I said, “Oh yeah, you’re from the country, of course you know.” Oh well! Maybe some of you haven’t ever seen them before?

That weird jelly looking thing in the corner of the large plastic container is a bunch of frog eggs.

 

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That’s a close-up. Some are already hatching into tadpoles.

I released them into their new home–the pond–and look forward to falling asleep this summer listening to their lullabies.

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It’s slowly filling up! I have a feeling I’ll be taking lots of photos of things reflecting in my pond. Like the house in this one.

Now, tell us. What are you DIGGING lately?!

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl in the Country, Rebekah

Leave a comment 7 Comments

  1. Kim Reeves says:

    Well, Rebekah!!! IDIG this post!!!! I love this time of year too! Pollen and all! I would dearly love to go to one of those seminars! Sounds like so much fun getting to meet so many like minded people! Happy Spring!

  2. Marian L says:

    Ooo, free Helleborus (genus of the species Lenten Rose)! They are so beautiful but be careful, many species are poisonous. As always I loved your post and can’t wait to hear about the menagerie you will acquire at the pond, it will be wonderful!

  3. Bonnie Ellis says:

    I do not know where you get the idea that ponds attract snakes, but they don’t. We have 9 28″ koi and I’ve never seen one here. We didn’t have them on the farm in Iowa either. Enjoy your pond and don’t let the fear of snakes spoil it. Remember, farmgirls can deal with that stuff.

  4. rene foust says:

    How awesome you have been very busy and the rewards are paying off. The pond is going to be so beautiful when it gets all filled in. I have a pond on my property as well. It was all dried up but we did a bit of work to it and it is filling back up too. Like you I worry about snakes (they are my nightmare) but the pond is going to be so beautiful. I need to find some farming classes in my area too thanks again for allowing us to live vicariously through you and your farm girl life come true.

  5. Dolly says:

    I’m so happy for you and absolutely love your new pond! That last photo took my breathe away!

  6. Sheree says:

    I too have recently left a city and moved to a 5 acre farm. So much to learn! but I’m digging it! I’ve been introducted to a farming ethic entitled “Permaculture”. It embrasses good land stewartship and in my opinion a very healthy dose of common sense. I’m so glad that the conclusion of your drainage problems was to work with it and not against it. Such serrendipity has left you with a beautiful oasis for you and wildlife in the very near future. Enjoy!

  7. Debbie says:

    I envy you, spring hasn’t arrived in my neck of the woods yet. (Central New York) So it was nice to live vicariously through your blog for a bit….thank you, as I sit here warming my hands on a cup of tea!

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