flax break

Newly constructed by my son on Sunday. It is used to remove fiber from flax (which you can see in the pile to the left). The fiber makes especially strong paper, which when overbeaten, rattles when held. Try it some time.


an oak shedding its garments

The two-lined chestnut borer attacks weakened oaks–in our case, burr oaks. It is one effect of climate change in Minnesota. The winters aren’t cold enough to kill the beetles and the springs are too wet. Of course, this can lead to oak wilt, the infamous destroyer of oaks, but this has not happened on the farm yet. It’s sad to see so many of these magnificent trees dying.

The Fox

Yesterday a fox scampered up the driveway and stopped at the snowbank in front of the house. It twisted its head slightly like a robin listening for worms and suddenly dove headfirst into the bank. It emerged with a mouse in its mouth which it ate in two gulps. For five minutes it kept moving and listening along the bank like a stalker in a Tarkovsky film until it realized its luck had run out and  trotted off.

Dead Fawn

A runt born late in the year who didn’t grow fast enough and died of starvation even though the winter has been relatively mild. It was out grazing with the others yesterday and now it’s dead. Makes me want to quote John Donne or see if it’s not really from a scene in a Renaissance painting.

It is a pietĂ  of sorts, not unlike the ones I’ve seen in Berlin, Rome, and Brugge. One stares at it with a heavy heart and can never forget. It was divine, born of a mother, and died for our sins. A moment that crystallizes into eternity.