COLUMN: The conditions we live under | Columnists


It’s been quite the season so far. I spend a lot of time trying to manage, feed and milk my spoiled goats, and we have ended up with a lot of rounds of aging cheese, thanks to Maggie’s hard work after work.

On Thursday we had storm warnings, so I wanted to get the milking all done by about 5. It was raining when I milked the last goat. That was probably Hazel.

The problem was two of the girls who are not milking really wanted to come out of the goat yard and go on the stand. I do that every day, but we were supposed to get severe storms, so I wanted everyone tucked away for the evening.

Moon is nursing baby Pluto and Felicity is dry. The two were clamoring at the gate so much I was afraid they would push it all the way open and incite a stampede right out of the yard.

I had to chastise and yell at them because, according to the radio, things might get serious weather-wise.

I was here alone. Otherwise I could have easily managed the situation. Two is always better than one.

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I guess I did what I had to do, but I felt guilty for the rest of the evening and even now, still. Moon and Felicity have always been my pets. I’m sure they thought nothing of it, but still. I always want to manage my animals, and all of my affairs, with kindness.

I never want to lose my temper, even if I’m in the right, so to speak.

Occasionally I do, though. And the part that bugs me the most about that is when I do, whether it be with animals or humans, things always straighten out immediately.

That is a horrible state of affairs, as far as I’m concerned, but it is perhaps part of the conditions we live under on this Earth.

Speaking of conditions, our wet days, followed by warm or hot sunny days have been causing the garden to start looking like one rather than a plant nursery.

We have broccoli and lettuce, spinach and chard, and also the free greens I leave during hoeing, goosefoot, amaranth, the milkweed whose buds I cut off to sauté, and a few more.

It seems as though we might have a nice season.

A lot of people don’t like the heat, but if it is interspersed with rain, I’m pretty happy about it.

I wouldn’t want to be in Texas or the central Southern states right now, though.

Humid days at 100 degrees just seem totally unreasonable. I remember as a younger person before air conditioning was the norm, being in Arkansas, Alabama and Florida during the summer and watching people just wilting on their porches during the heat of the day. It was stifling.

I’m sure a lot of people would just pass away because of those conditions.

Back up here, the Earth is not baking like that, even when it’s around 90.

I do have to keep up with the little gems that keep popping up in our fertile garden soil, but I’ll take that, as long as conditions for growing remain so favorable.

Forrest Hartley lives in Hadley, N.Y. Leave a message at new_americangothic@yahoo.com.


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