The Farmer’s Wife

The Farmer’s Wife

When he slips from their bed
at a quarter past four
on a cold winter morning
he will find the coffee already made
his coveralls warm
straight from the dryer waiting
by his boots in the mud room.
At dark, he will come in to find her
by the wood stove
dinner on the table
waiting with a smile.

In the spring, she will plant his life
with children and love
She will balance his books
consorting with tax man and banker
to find money where there is none
for a tractor
for a planter
for the combine
that will steal her man
on all the best fall nights.

In the summer, she will be consummate with the cows
have command of the bull
be up with the chickens
control the farm dog with only a look
she will feed cake as well as bake it
salt the heifers along with the bread
she will mend fences
grease mowers
harvest blackberries for a cobbler.

In the fall, she will know how to drive
the things that needs driven
the feed truck
the grain truck
the rake
the baler
the bulldozer
and she will meet him, willing
at the edge of the field after
she has worked a day full of her own
climb into the cab and
steer all night if she needs to.

She will wait patient as a corn stalk
for the rain to talk to him
about the kids
about the money
about the part for the plow
about what she needs
that which she will express in a way
that will keep him in bed
long past dawn on the sweet dark morning
while the crops and the grass
take in life from a cloud
she will drink in his essence
refill her soul
replenish his being
letting the seasons and the coffee wait.

The Night Life of Guinea Fowl

The Night Life of Guinea Fowl

She’s just a little creepy scary, right?

Prehistoric. Primordial.

She is a Guinea hen.

Guineas are a favorite of mine — much to the chagrin of everyone who lives here. Guineas are all extroverts and this ranch is filled with introverts. Guineas LOVE to talk — loudly and often and especially when there is anything new, odd or intrusive going on around the farm. I can so identify with them! Nothing — I repeat NOTHING — gets past a Guinea.  They have a constant fascination with everything in their world. Again, I can so identify.

In addition to being the loud-mouths of the chicken house, they are comedians and they adore to play. They love to chase each other and the way they run is hilarious to watch because their legs go a hundred miles an hour while their bodies seem to float along. I’ve seen Guineas play for hours, one chasing another and then, within a fraction of a second, the chaser becomes the chasee and the game is on again in a different direction.

A little Guinea trivia for you: Guineas are members of the same family as Turkeys (chickens are in the pheasant family, btw). They come from North Africa where they range wild. They were domesticated by humans in the 1500s and came to our continent with the early settlers. They come in several flavors (no pun intended, although you can eat them)— but the Pearl Guinea is the most common. The hen in the photos is a Pearl. (at least I’m pretty sure that’s a hen Guinea – it’s hard to tell unless they’re talking).

So how did I end up with these photos? The other night when I went down to shut up the chicken house, I took the flashlight inside to check the baby chicks. I flashed it up at the Guineas, who in turn looked down on me in typical Guinea curiosity. The way they watched me was so interesting and the angles of their stares seemed so different from when I get to see them on the ground. Well, not being one to pass up a Kodak moment, I went inside, got the camera and made some Guinea portraits. These were shot with a flashlight as the only light source.

Now that I think about it, maybe I should rename this post to The Nightlife of Bored Country Girls with a Camera.

Click on a photo below to enlarge it.