February. Everything but the cedars on our farms is brown. We’ve reached the fifth stage of loss and grief — acceptance. Defying rationality, we imagine we’ll never be able to produce food again on our farms. We’ll stay cold, damp, dark and barren in the land of our stewardship until the end of time. But as in every February in Middle Tennessee, just as acceptance seizes our soul, God gives us hope of spring, renewal and new life. This year it happened in a really, really big way on Glendale Farm.
First we started to hear the birds which I cannot name but are always heard in Middle Tennessee when there is no sign of Spring — but the birds know it is coming. Then on February 17, 2014, Sam and Rachel welcomed Margaret Berry Kennedy — six pounds, fifteen ounces of robust, screaming baby girl.
Then, the lambs started coming. The first morning we had one. A few more come each day. This morning we found four new baby lambs. We have thirty lambs now and expect a total of about two hundred within the next couple of weeks.
Then two new Akbash sheep dog puppies arrived from another Middle Tennessee farm. Their names are Read and Granville. These rascals are only twelve weeks old and weigh fifty pounds. They’ve begun their apprenticeship with their older colleagues, Caleb and Alex, and are learning well.
Yesterday, we heard a howl from the kitchen about 3 a.m. Becca the beagle (named for my niece-in-law, Becca Berry) had just delivered a single puppy. It was a little girl. We named her Larkin (for my cousin and goddaughter, Larkin Finney).
Now, with daffodils pushing up green shoots and spring peepers croaking in the evenings — we have a forecast of ice and snow tonight. Typical lion-of-March weather in Tennessee — snow on the daffodils.
So, new life, signs of Spring — hope and renewal are in the air even with brown all around us. Life on the farm is becoming a bustle again, reminding us what our upcoming Easter season is all about. As cousin John Mack Green would say: peace and blessings everyone.
Margaret Berry Kennedy with her great-grandmother, Betty Kennedy
Margaret Berry Kennedy with her great-grandmother, Melba Vest