November 12, 2015

Life on the Farm: A Morning Walk


The old drive leading from our farmyard to my mother-in-law’s house.

This morning I went on a walk. I wasn’t planning to, but I was all caffeinated up and ready to get going in my day, but I had 40 more minutes before I actually needed to get in my car and drive off to my first appointment. I could have caught up on emails, but then I looked outside and the sky was blue and cloudless. In England, especially in the autumn, this is rare. Even if there are not clouds, there is usually fog in the mornings this time of year. And so I was compelled to go outside. I have a busy day – lots of errands locally and then I’m headed up to London later – and as soon as I got outside I felt grateful for the few extra moments to do something purely pleasurable before the obligations that lay ahead.


The sun lighting up the yellow trees behind the garden shed as I headed out of the house.


Gingy joining me to set off on our walk.



Getting towards the last of the apples on trees. Many are still on the ground.


Our new wood burning hot tub in the orchard. It may be the best home investment we every made. That little shed used to be the chicken house but the fox kept chewing through the wood siding to eat them, thus the patches. Eventually we gave up keeping the chickens there even though it was so nice to have them so close to the house.


We love our autumn raspberries. They cheer is up when all the other fruit is dying.


Jimmy and PackerMoose enjoying the warm sun.

Of course I had Ginger with me, and we started in the orchard. I wanted to see if there were any autumn raspberries left. There were. I stared at the new wood-burning hot tub for a minute or two. It’s our favourite new toy, but the wood is still that orange-y new teak color and I will be grateful when it fades to grey. I looked up into the only remaining tree that has apples on it. They have a lovely red hue that makes them visible from all over the farm yard. I don’t know why this particular tree drops its fruit so much later than the others, but I am grateful for it.  Gingy and I then walked past the gate to the horse pasture nearest to our house. There won’t be any horses in it until winter really sets in (it leads into the barn where they are feed in the coldest months) but I like to look out across it towards the craggly Scot’s Pine trees anyway. Then we walked up to the old driveway along one side of that field and onto the next one to where the foals are. We still call them foals but they are actually yearlings. Jimmy and PackerMoose (what happens when kids name horses!). They are just hanging out and eating until they are big enough to start training to be racehorses. We raised PackerMoose at home since she was only a week old so she is quite tame. Jimmy not so much, and he’s a thoroughbred so he’s naturally more skittish anyway.


The circle of trees Christopher’s father planted the year he died.

In that field is a circle of trees that Christopher’s father Robert planted the year he died, nearly 40 years ago. I think of Robert every time I walk by that field. I’m always filled with regret that I and especially my kids never met him. I imagine he would be so proud of Christopher and the life he has created for himself.


Looking out on the farm from Ginger’s point of view, just above the water trough.

We pass by other family members’ houses at the top of our loop and say hello to the flock of black sheep. I held them all when they were born, but once they go out in the field at not-even-a-week old that’s where the personal connection ends. Besides, we eat them so I feel its best not to bond with them. And they don’t have nearly as much personality as the pigs.


Gingy and the giant tail.


Jimmy waiting for me as I circled around to the other side of his field.


An old bird’s nest I found in the hedge along my walk. It’s the second one I’ve picked up this year.

Circling back on the new driveway passing the same fields but on the other side, the foals cross over to say hello again. Gingy who has not been seen for a while (she likes to do a round of the woods before catching back up to me), suddenly reappears, her ridiculous tail rotating like a chopper in large rotations behind her.

We take a little short cut across the grass cutting out the last section of the drive, aware that time is getting short.

Twenty minutes though. That was the length of my walk. That was the time it took to make sure I had a great day, no matter what else happens. I know better than to think that if I did this every day, it would maintain the same effect. It wouldn’t. I have to need it, and the weather has to be right – not perfect, but inviting. Sometimes the dramatic, heavy fog is as compelling as the glorious sunshine. And speaking of sunshine, as I am writing this my office has darkened and the sky is now covered entirely in grey, the wind has picked up and the temperature has dropped. But I don’t care. Because I will hold those few moments of shining, autumn warmth with me as I carry on with my day.


Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest
4 years 8 months ago

I agree with you entirely. Those special days would not be cherished the same if we made them a daily routine. I took a little detour a couple of days ago to enjoy one of my favorite parks on a rare breezy day in Miami. Your post brought back again this sweet memory. Life’s greatest pleasures are really so simple yet special.


Elizabeth Daniels
4 years 8 months ago

I read this at just the right time. It’s a perfectly cloudless, sunny and brisk day outside and I know I should take advantage and walk – your post will get me out there. This is my first fall in Vermont and the locals keep advising it has been unseasonably beautiful thus far.

Your ending reminds me of the significance of the lantern walks we’ve done through Waldorf schools. How it’s time to shore up and prepare to carry the world through our own light in the coming winter. Thank you for the inspiration.

Tina, NYC
Tina, NYC
4 years 8 months ago

The picture oft he circle of trees planted by Christopher’s dad brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful living monument to a father’s love for his son.
Thank you for sharing your life with us!! I so enjoy reading your blog and your pictures are breathtaking.

4 years 8 months ago

Oh I do so hope a book about your life in England is in the works. This little jaunt along with you has been heavenly this morning.

4 years 8 months ago

Lovely. Truly lovely.