Something about using our giant weed eater makes me feel competent. It is easy to use, really. I do not even need to wield it with my arms, since it rides on a harness-belt thing. I am sporting a safety-first helmet with attached face shield and ear covers. My right index finger holds the safety trigger while my thumb revs the motor. Grass flies, flecking my thin flannel pants. I am in my pajamas.
I am moving our sheep to fresh pasture. Rhubarb and Parsnip, our two ewes, announced their disdain for the current pasture by escaping and nearly joining the kids in the car on their way to school. Unable to secure the sheep long enough to change into jeans, I am wearing my softest clothes. The weed eater zips a line though tall grass for the electronet fence. I move the white netting, then drag their little shelter, freshen the water, rattle some grain to entice them inside. All this before coffee.
Later, folding laundry after coffee, I notice that my socks say Darn Tough, which seems reassuring. I am glad to have these on hand. There is no promise of each next day being the same as this one, with problems I can solve.
In the evening, I scoop chicken feed into a bucket, but on my way to feed the hens, I am arrested by the ducks. Their gabbling and waddling captivates me—holds me captive—for fifteen minutes, which I do not regret, against the orange-for-now trees and dry cornstalks.
The ducks never let me touch them, but the hens relish a good scratch. They croon and sidle up to me, then hunker down, lifting their shoulders and tapping their feet. It is their receiving-a-rooster posture, so I know it is not a display of specific affection for me. But I pretend it is.
After chores, after supper, Stella and I return outside in time for waves of wild geese to pass over our heads. Hundreds of geese fill us with their brassy calls, coming across our field, our house, towards our neighbor’s large pond and sloped field, where they will cover the ground tonight. Among the raucous noise, Stella is yelling, “Over there! On that side! So much geese. So so much!” Then only four geese fly quiet and close overhead. We echo their silence and hear the rhythmic squeak of their wings.
This one day does not make much of a story. There is no real plot, just characters and—when all goes well—mostly repetition of other days. Tomorrow morning, the kids will resist crawling out of bed. The animals will need to be fed. Some days, though, carry too many stories, and I need those Darn Tough socks.
Today I have the grass on my pajamas, the hen feathers under my fingers, my six-year-old’s arms spread to the sky in rapture—so much.