Farm Day and a Sensitive Fern

Today was a farm day,
or at least that is how I think of it.
A day for chores, hard work for
no pay except that which builds
the body and frees the mind to wander.

Once a month we clean out the duck
house and put in fresh bedding.

Mr. Drake and the ladies fair.

We subscribe to the “deep litter”
method of bedding down the ducks.
Stir up the bedding, fork it over,
and put fresh dry straw on every night.
The bedding begins to compost in place
and provide a meager source of heat
for the ducks, whose only real worry is
their sensitive feet. This has worked for
us for three years now and we see no
reason to change it. But….once a month
clean out is alot of work, big surprise.

We start with this

A pile about 6 feet wide and 4 feet high
but with the help of this and my arms and back

It all gets brought up to the compost pile in the garden.

I never though I would enjoy simple outdoor chores so
much, but they have become a way to contemplate and
meditate and I get my best ideas when out their with
rake or hoe in hand.

One of my favorite poems about the garden was
written by Nancy Willard, a poet and children’s book
author(The Henry and Mudge series and many others).
CORRECTION 3/12/10: Nancy Willard wrote “The Mountains
of Quilt” and Cynthia Rylant wrote the “Henry and Mudge”
series.  Brain fog sets in….. 


Sacks crammed with light, layer on luminous layer,
an underworld calendar, the peeled pages faintly lined
but printed without month or measure
and pure as the damp kiss of a pearl

as if the rings in an old tree should suddenly separate
and bracelet the axe; I have stooped among onions all morning,
hunting these flightless birds as they perched among roots.
I have yanked them out by the tail

and dropped them into my bag like chickens
and pulled away the thin paper of their last days,
pale winegold, a silken globe, pungent
striped with the pale longitude of silence.

Now over my door they shimmer in knobby garlands,
gregarious in chains like a string of lights
on the boardwalks of heaven where an old man
who loved his garden understands everything.
Nature collage: the seeds of a sensitive ferns and it’s likeness.

Prehistoric looking, aren’t they…

3 Responses to “Farm Day and a Sensitive Fern”

  1. La Dolce Vita March 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    your nature collage is beautiful and as for the keeping the ducks warm I say bravo, what a noble job! I grew up in Mich so I am a true hayseed at heart, the organic life is truly a wonderful lifestyle! cheers to you!

  2. Kim Mailhot March 11, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    Simple pleasures and the reward of safety and security for hard work… what more could a sweet duckie ask for ?
    Missed ya ! Home again, sun-kissed and happy !
    Have a good Thursday evening and maybe that Drake of yours should be giving your shoulders are rub? 😉

  3. Lis March 12, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    your nature collage is so gorgeous … i am jealous of the non-snowscape in your pictures (we just had snow all day today!) … you must have very happy ducks 🙂 my little girl likes to waddle around the house quacking … i will have to show her your photos 🙂

    off to check out more of Nancy Willard's work!

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