Hope and Fake Hope

Hello Farm Friends!

Life is full of unexpected pleasures. As I write this newsletter, from my window, I can see birds building a nest to the left, lambs chasing a chicken to the right, and over it all, a robin taking in the view. It is moments like this which give us hope for the future.

almost close enough to touch — except for the window!
boxes of saplings in a row
saplings recovering from the journey

Speaking of the future, this week was spent planting some of the saplings which arrived, somewhat shaken and stirred after two weeks en route from Edmonton. While planting, I could not help wondering if future generations will walk in the shade of these trees, and wonder about the people who planted them. Will the trees bring the kind of delight that I have from my window, or will they be simply “resources”, at so many dollars per foot? This assumes, of course, that these baby trees can and will survive. In other words, planting is an act of hope.

Hope was a topic of discussion here this week. After a string of healthy, sturdy lambs, the last two were maybe premature. They were small and sickly. The mother rejected one of them, and here is the challenge we always face when working with nature: who is correct? We humans had hope; hope that some hand feeding and warmth would make the difference. The mother sheep felt that we were indulging in fake hope; becoming attached to a sickly lamb bound to die soon.

After a week of regular hand feeding and nests of old woollen sweaters, the smallest lamb passed away, no larger or better off than the day she was born. Hope is a tricky thing. In hindsight, some things we thought were fake hope, turned out to be real, and vice versa. Too much fake hope can be as dangerous as no hope, in both cases leading to apathy and depression. Therefore, being realistic for the majority of our hopes is important to our health, long term.

lambs chasing a chicken, in a pasture
healthy lambs chasing a chicken in the spring sunshine, the view from my window as I write

Time will tell whether planting these trees is an act of hope, or fake hope. All of our ewes are proving to be excellent mothers, and in planting these saplings, we have not only the good wishes of ourselves, the help of some wonderful volunteers, but also the assistance of nature herself. It is said that for much of history, a squirrel could travel from here, north or south as far as the tip of Florida, without touching the ground once. This is another way of saying that nature wants to have trees here. It is keeping the lawns that is hard work! Can history prove a guide to separating fake hope from real hope? May I say, I hope so?

Coming up in May: We are planting saplings, and after them, seeds, and working on the layout for the maze / labyrinth, which is to say, that we walk into May with hope. Like all virtues, hope needs moderation; no crazy, fake hope, just the solid satisfaction of looking at newly planted trees and feeling hope for a better future. . . Ciao, for now!

Robin on a cold day, through a window
the blur in the upper left is a bird in flight