Last post for 2022! Reminder of Winter share pick-up this Friday December 30 2 – 6pm!
Each year, around winter solstice, we sing Christmas Carols to the cows and horses in our barn. It’s a small thing, not a production, or performance (our harmonies could only be loved by cows), but it holds a special place, a sacred place in my heart. I’ve been doing it every year since my apprentice days, whichever farm I was part of that time of year. It doesn’t have to be Christmas Carols, it could be a Hanukah celebration, or Dong Zhi, or Yalda Night, or any acknowledgement of the Sun’s lowest rise on the horizon, and the beginning of the longer days. The meaning of the simple practice has deepened over the years. It relates to the very special place manure holds in agriculture.
In the darkest time of year, all the plants are dormant in seed or cambium. The outer Sun offers not much warmth. But the cows have the warmth of the Sun inside them, held, cherished, by the metabolism, giving them warmth in their blood. Chewing their cud, resting on the bedding in the barn, the warmth they are nurturing is precious. They are masters of digestion, some of the only beings able to extract nourishment from cellulose. They give more than they take. If handled with care, the fertility they bring to the land provides for generations.
When we sing to them we are honoring their gift of giving more then they take.
We collect and protect that gift in the compost.
We spread that gift on the soil.
We tend that gift of fertility in our crops.
We sing to the cows in hopes that their gift is carried in the food we all receive from the land, that you can carry that inner warmth in all you bring to the world.
Thank you for all your support this past year, and wish you well for 2023!