The farm is absolutely brimming with activity right now. I barely have time to take a break and my afternoon meditations in the quiet of the yurt have morphed into jogs between farm chores and deep steady mindful breathing. Six kids to count by the end of the day if the two does who are due happen to be on schedule, a few more will be added to the number come evening chore time or....three o'clock in the morning...I'm hoping not. We got a good rain early yesterday, one that got me out of bed at three in the morning to make sure the kids were snug in their barn, all was well and sleep came back easily and the five O'clock alarm to quickly. Been getting about six hours with a few wakings to check on things in between. So we're tired around here right now. this will be the story for a time.
All in all spirits are high even the grouchiest of sheep have a little pep in their step. How do you know if an animal is really happy? I mean really. Is there a way to really know? By comparing the emotions of my animals with my own is a mistake many make who have never had farm animals. Farm animals are not pets, they fit into a completely different culture and way of life. Their lives are calculated to profit the farm. Are they happy? I've seen a person so concerned of her chickens happiness she lead them right to their death. "but....they looked at me, and I could tell they wanted out of their run" she told me after we located the pile of feathers. "why didn't you move the fence", the coop and the fence both were mobile, the fence is protection not punishment. So what was more loving and compassionate. keeping them alive in their run and moving the fence or reacting to a perception of what would make them happy?
So, I judge happiness around here on conditions. Weather, plentiful grass and pasture, clean water, dry safe areas to nap and predators, fewer of them. This is happiness and the every animal on this farm reacts in a tell tale way to assure that conditions are right for happiness. They play. They still want too much grain and always want what they cant have, but that's me too, except I want too much wine. That's were I've learned the talent and instinct of the farmer comes into play. The real understanding of whats going on here, the awareness of conditions. I know when conditions are right, sometimes they are wrong like last year (the drought) but you do your best. Its walking a tight rope sometimes. Making calls right or wrong you do it from your gut instincts. Conditions are very right at the farm. Things are green and lush and grasses begging to be eaten. I am tired but happy.