Friday, August 24, 2012


When we had a new fence built around our field last year, we placed it twenty feet inside the existing perimeter fence. This left a run -- for dogs and me or just me, some blueberry bushes and other edible landscaping, and maybe, some day, a donkey cart. That day is near.

A large horse trailer on a truck's flat bed passed us as we returned from Strasburg last night. An antique horse/donkey cart rested on our pickup. I almost wanted traffic to stop so we could take a picture of them and us. An hour later we parked outside Zynodoa, our favorite restaurant in Staunton, maybe anywhere, and when we finished eating, we were pleased to find the cart still there.

Wendell Berry suggests that when you find a new place to live, you don't rush out and change things. Don't build a barn, don't tear down a fence, don't dig a pond, until you've walked the property for a year or two and listened to what it has to say. We've been listening to our field. We're still listening. The fence suits us and we think the field, too. We also built a run-in shed for our mammoth donkeys. It suits us, as do the donkeys and, so far, the pigs who live a hundred yards north. So far, we think the field is happy, too.

Joel Salatin recommends temporary shelters and movable fences, except for perimeter fencing. We read this after we put in the donkey barn and the fence that divides the field in two. We don't regret the little shed or the median fence. He would also criticize the well we installed, rather than a retention pond. Perhaps we'll do a pond some day. We're also considering how to implement his rotational grazing. In the meantime, we'll follow his other advice: "It's okay to do something badly the first time."

"It's good you haven't built an expensive barn," says Virginia.

Yes. The field hasn't said anything about that, yet.

1 comment:

  1. It is wonderful listening to the fields, pastures, and woods. Also cool when you "see" the fences, animals, pond, rambling roses .... before they are "physically there. Stay in touch