Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Oh, What a Life!

Today the oats in the alfalfa field were baled. I guess it is a misnomer to call the oat field the "alfalfa field" but for many years it was the field where the alfalfa was planted and it is very hard to change a name.

Bentley has gone through many changes lately and it is nice for a name to maintain constancy. The field has a lot of history. Before the farm was even called Bentley we believe that the field was used by the Native Americans. How do we know? The arrowheads give a little clue. But the really neat thing is that in the spring, when the alfalfa field is recently plowed, you can climb the adjacent hill and spot some dark patches in the soil. Henry, our beloved and missed farmer, always used to hypothesize that the dark spots were indicative of the places where the Native Americans used to have their fires.

Today, however, was not a day for fires, but for baling. The oats and straw were not separated with a columbine. Everything was kept together for straw.

I have been in Philadelpia for a week, away from the farm. I was talking to other teachers at dinner about life on Bentley Farm. They all seemed to agree that there was something completely attractive about working with the land, being a part of the seasons and completing a hard day of work. I heartily agreed. Summer baling memories rank among the top ten best memories. It is hard to beat the heat, sweat, pin-pricking hay, upper arm exercise, adrenaline-producing flights of the heavy bale thrown by the kicker in the direction of your head, the satisfaction of a full wagon and then an empty one and the feeling of a job well done at the end of the day. What a life.