“Mark and I just came back from a walk through the sugarbush. The snow is soft and drifted in some places, and blown thin and hard in others. In the tracks you can read the late-winter hunger of the predators, the anxiety of the prey. There were lots of coyote paths, and the remains of a rabbit kill. Coyote had left only the fluffy brown-and-white tail and a little smudge of mess. We saw a medium-sized white raptor that I could not identify hunting the edge of a field, and then a bald eagle swooping out of a tall dead tree.
Back down the hill, we were checking the body condition on the ewes, not paying any attention to the dog, and a few minutes later noticed she was outside the fence, chewing on something that looked like a giant rat, except for its strange flattened tail and powerful curving claws. It turned out to be an unlucky muskrat who had come out of his den at the wrong moment. Mary must have killed him while we were busy with the ewes. He had the softest, thickest fur! Made me want to wear him whole as a muff or a mitten.
100 Tons of Corn
We paid for the year’s corn this week – 100 tons – and lightened the bank account considerably. When forking over large sums for grain it is comforting to remember that we get to make use of grain twice: once to feed the animals, and, if we do a good job with compost production and fertility management, we use it again to boost the fertility of our soil. Also, this organic corn is local – thank you, Mark Wrisley and Bob Perry – and keeping money in the neighborhood always feels better than sending it far away….” Continue reading this Essex Farm Note.