It’s not just us.

Asian Pear blooms

Asian Pear Blooms

It’s not just us.

I don’t know if I mean existence as we know it, like the universe and beyond… I’m not that deep, what I’m talking about is on our farm, and in our community.

It is easy to get caught up in the me-me-me of things.

A few days ago I saw a car broken down on 525, in the left turn lane at our lone stoplight. His hood was up, his trunk was open.  The car behind him was the one you could see the steam rise from. The man behind the wheel had a face matching the brilliant shade of red that his car boasted. Steam poured from that driver’s side window. If looks could kill, the broken down car wouldn’t have been the only problem of the poor guy broken down in the turn lane.

I saw a car pull over to the side of the intersection and a man jump out to offer assistance. Knowing he was likely a much better candidate to assist with a broken car, I went on my way. But the guy in the red car, the one stuck in the turn lane, wasn’t to be dismissed from my thoughts so readily. I thought at the time. “Someday he will realize the guy in the broken down car in front of him was surely having a worse day than simply being stuck for a round or two of a red light rotation.”

For a seeming irrelevant reason, tonight it came to my mind again.

I was out enjoying some sunshine, puttering with my camera around our blossoming orchard. Watching the dogs frolic and sniff and roll in stinky things as dogs do. I was enjoying listening to all the different birds chirping and singing, even making pathetic attempts to call back to some. I was embracing some of the few precious moments of ‘down time’ I have this time of year.

Cherry blossoms


In the chorale of chirps and tweets and calls, I noted the sound of my personal favorite, the osprey that like to perch high on some dead firs on the neighboring property. They’re back. I miss them when they’re gone.

Osprey downdraft

Osprey downdraft

Osprey take off

Osprey take off

Last year there was a young osprey that was having a rough day. I was there and I was able to supervise until he had his wits about him and safely flew off again.

Young Osprey

Young Osprey

Young Osprey Recouping

Young Osprey Recouping

Today two ospreys alternately circled and perched… I wondered if one might be him. Then I saw an even larger bird. This bird dwarfed the large and refined ospreys. It was a juvenile bald eagle.  This bird was old enough to have its full stature but not to have its stately white hood. For now he isn’t our Nation’s emblem… he is just a neighborhood bully trying to knock the ospreys from their perch and claim it for his own.

The two ospreys took turns baiting and perching and a surprising thing happened. Smaller birds, some the size of crows some the size of wrens joined forces. They all ganged up on the young eagle and told him in no uncertain terms to buzz off. They chased, they taunted, the teased, the chased some more, until the neighborhood bully had no choice but to resign to other tree tops in a neighborhood that wasn’t quite so ‘occupied’.

The two stories playing in my mind brought me to the common thought. We aren’t alone. I know that and I try to practice that with our farm. Our farm has the ability to impact many things, our animals, our land, our water, our neighborhood, our community. As the stewards of this amazing resource, it is my goal to have it impact those things positively. We are all in this together. Sometimes the me-me’s settle in, and sometimes we have bad moments or bad days… but the next time you’re stuck behind some jackass that had the audacity to break down in front of you, take a chill pill, take a breath… then go and see if you can help. I guarantee his day is worse than yours, but you are the one with the control to improve both days.

The next time you see the neighborhood bully picking on someone, join with the finches and the ravens. Have their backs. Sometimes a bird can’t fight off a bigger, bad-er bird. But a flock of unlikely teammates (they don’t have to be birds of a feather, flocking together!) can triumph.

Osprey in flight

Osprey in flight

The next time someone is having a bad day, reach out. Love them. Unconditionally. You can do it in that moment and not be committed to loving them for life. Unconditional love for a moment is called compassion.

I’m going to try and remember the things my feathered friends taught me today. I hope you’ll pardon the indulgence of this post as I try to put the thoughts to paper before the moment fades.

Back to milkmaiding and cheesemaking…

Obligatory Kickstarter link: – because the clock is ticking and community without you is just cmmnit… and that doesn’t make any sense.


About Chief Milkmaid

A former executive, now goatmilker and cheesemaker, I am the Chief Milkmaid of the Little Brown Farm.
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