June is crazy-fast. Just as January was all about the “Rest,” so June is all about the “Race” — the race against the weeds, the race against the sheep on the driveway that got out as you attempt to overtake them and drive them back, without inadvertently driving them forward and off your farm instead. A race to run after the children, now so happily out of school, as they adventure barefoot and feral through field and forest, with whoops of delight and occasional screams of mock-horror (upon finding the intact spine and skull of a raccoon in the woods, for example). A race to keep up with the rescue hens that have decided to up the ante and significantly increase egg production. These gals are older layers that had never been outside before coming to the farm last month. As they chase bugs, eat weeds and discover the joy of dust-baths, the chances are high that you’ll see an egg randomly dropping and rolling from them mid-strut in the grass, and then it’s a race to catch that, before the dog does.
June is a race to finally get the sheep shorn, now that lambing season is finished, before the sweltery, sweaty days of July and August. It’s a race to get planted what should have been planted in the garden three weeks ago but didn’t because … life/procrastination/fate. And so maybe those late-ripening tomatoes in October are fast becoming an actual, annual tradition on your farm. On the rare occasion that you finally feel out and ahead, or at least caught up on one thing, the smug and silly smile of satisfaction it produces will be wiped clean away just as soon as you turn your head to see that your 100 percent organic chickens have found and are devouring the non-organic dog food and now “dog-food eggs” are being created. Or that a wee lamb got separated from its mother and is suddenly baaa-ing loudly having successfully stuck its head in the garden fence. And your livestock guardian dog is right beside it, keeping it safe, but because he can’t help the lamb dislodge its head from the wire he is throwing his head back and howling loudly, right alongside the already loud lamb. The air is filled with an incredible cacophony of distinctly non-harmonious noise that wreaks havoc with your nerves yet simultaneously makes you giggle.
The thing about June is that the time will pass fast anyway. At the end of any given day in June, you can simply accept it won’t all get done, which for me entails falling back on my European roots by sipping on a gin and tonic or chilled dry glass of rose while sitting out on my lawn. I’ve found that if I angle my chair such that the tasks that aren’t yet accomplished are no longer in view, I can temporarily convince myself I have everything under control. Denial is an incredible thing. It doesn’t work for suppressed emotions, late tax returns or toxic people, but it works wonders if you’re a farmgirl recovering from a day at the June Farm-Chore-Races.
Etienne White lives where the land meets the sky on a farm in Iowa County where she raises grass-fed, Old English Babydoll sheep, as well as pastured chickens, a happy farm dog, a wily barn cat and her two spirited children. She runs a consulting business working at the intersection of sustainability and marketing, and is a sought-after speaker on sustainability in the United States and Europe.