Grit Blogs > The Vermont Homesteader

After the Storm: Livestock Bring Peace

A photo of Melissa Brooks SenesacAs I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve been ready for spring for over a month now. We started some seeds, which are doing remakably well compared to previous attempts at seed-starting (don’t get too excited, mostly just herbs, some hot peppers, and some tomatos to grow in the house). The little snow we had was melting fast, and I would say that half of our land was grass or spotty snow. Just last week I saw the first of the spring flowers popping up through the ground. I was getting excited for the girls who must be really looking forward to some nice fresh grass after all these months of hay and grain.

But, alas, we suffered a major set-back in this department yesterday when I awoke to a foot of wet snow on the ground and plenty more falling. We donned our winter gear and headed out to see if we could get the snowblower going. After ten minutes of frustration in the realization that the auger wouldn’t be able to handle the heavy, wet snow, we gave in, and I called in to work.

Though I wasn’t exactly psyched to get such a significant snowfall, I have to admit it was truly beautiful. After giving up on the snowblower and its deafening noise as it choked through the snow back to its parking spot, we headed to the barn to feed everyone an early breakfast. The sun hadn’t yet come up, and we enjoyed some quiet time before the world awoke.

The girls happily munched away at their breakfast of grain and some nice second-cut hay that we found at Guys Farm and Yard over in Morrisville a few days ago. The chickens scratched away at the ground, finding grain and bits of stuff we unearthed after cleaning out half of the old straw this past weekend. The pigs, in their own shed, grunted and squeeked through their mix of grain and food scraps.

There is something just so pleasant about the sound of contently eating farm animals. I think it is partially due to the frantic moments before everyone is fed, while everyone is demanding their breakfast, that we come to really appreciate the quiet afterwards. We rush to feed the pigs before their squealing could bother the neighbors, and we quickly feed the goats before we’re covered in hoof prints, then finally cast out grain for the chickens before they start trying to steal from the pigs and the goats. Once its all said and done, and everyone has fresh, clean water, we can sit back and enjoy the peace.

Our life doesn’t seem to lend itself to too many moments of peace. There is always laundry to do, dishes to wash, dogs to exercise, animals to feed, pigs to move from the barn to their shed, water buckets to fill, eggs to collect, reading/studying to do, goats to check on, home renovations to tackle, not to mention our full-time jobs. So, during these quiet moments before the sun comes up and the sense of urgency to get to work (in one sense or another) arises, we find a second to stand still, hold hands, and breathe deep.