First Market

Things on the farm have been busy, on Sunday we had a new calf born, a little male. This now makes the count 13 total, seven boys, six girls. I helped my father with chores yesterday, it was good to do it again. Since I started farm markets I haven’t had much hands on involvement with the animals, but it’s good to go back to your roots every now and again.

Saturday was the first market of the year in Woodstock IL, and I’ll have to admit, at first I was a little concerned. My previous first day didn’t go too well, but not this year. This year the sun was shining perfectly with only a few clouds in the sky. I brought nearly 90 dozen eggs with me and returned with only 9. It was a fantastic day, not only for me, but for all the vendors on the square.

Our family is still burning our woodstove on the farm, my mother not being fond of the cold. So it is my brother and my chore on Sunday afternoons to cut or split wood. There is a great deal of wood we have already cut, but splitting has never been a favorite chore of ours, the noise of the splitter and the monotonous moving of logs and split wood. However, this week we decided to do it the old fashioned way, by hand. There is almost no more deeply manly experience than splitting wood by hand with an maul. We took turns, I would line up a log and split with one or two strokes, my brother would then take the maul from me and do the same. After doing it for more than fifteen minutes our competitive natures emerged; “I bet I can split that piece in two strokes.” I’d say, “Really,” he would reply, then hand me the maul. I’d line up, and of course it was the piece that took me five or six strokes. Then he would take the maul again and I’d challenge him to do better. We went at it this way until my father came out to help. He took the maul from us and split one log in four pieces with four strokes, it was beautiful sight to behold.

I think the reason I like splitting wood is how basic it is, man, maul, and wood. It is my opportunity to make a physical contribution to keeping my family provided for, the most basic desire in a man, to provide fire to his hearth.

Tomorrow we hope to get vegetables out into the field, hopefully the rain holds off long enough to get that done.



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