This incarnation of Pairodox Farm is its second, the first having been established in the Hoosier state of Indiana. I was about to say that, together these places have been a large part of our lives for nearly a quarter century … but that would have been untrue … together these places have been our entire lives for nearly a quarter century. Surely we did raise two talented young women and Joanna and I have always held real jobs. [I digress to point out that I do not mean to imply that parenting, farming, or being a fiber artist aren’t real jobs and do not represent real work. They most certainly are and do. What I meant by saying that we both held real jobs was that we were both paid by other people for providing services for them; and this is what pays the bills … a reality that many who have lived this sort of life will understand.] These places, these farms, have been the nuclei around which our lives have revolved and crystalized. Living these places (note the construction) has encouraged us to learn, work, improve, and to care – they have defined us as individuals, as a married couple, and as a family. The Australian aboriginals say that We don’t own the land, the land owns us. That thought notwithstanding, this life we have led has resulted in a feeling of accomplishment and of ownership of the ground we have worked. This land is alive and we have been and are responsible for keeping it healthy. Joanna refers to the trees as hers. What she means, with a tip of her hat to the Australians, is that she is concerned for the well-being of the trees on this property. [When a crew subcontracted by the electric company came up the drive to announce that they were going to bring the trees back from the power lines Joanna announced, in no uncertain terms, that no one was going to top her trees. When, in support of a road-widening project, the folks from the highway department spray-painted a line just inches from mature and productive Sugar Maples Joanna stood firm (literally) with her bare toes on that line while very large backhoes dug along it (and not a millimeter beyond).] The birds, the deer, the wildflowers, and yes … even the views of the stars … are ours. They are our responsibility.  Not everyone feels this way about environmental stewardship. Hopefully those who follow us here will.


10 thoughts on “Stewardship

  1. Haha I love the Austen reference. The longer I am alive, the more I realize that she has a quote or observation for the majority of situations in life. Beautiful post.

  2. Sister! She sounds just like my daughters and me. We are still holding a grudge against our neighbors that chose to remove two gorgeous and ancient maples, just in case their branches should fall and hurt their property. Sadly, we owned the property which they are on and sold it to them about 5 years ago. We actually used to pay a tree service to come in and regularly prune and fertilize the trees, they meant that much to us and we felt strongly about keeping them strong for the ages. So when the tree-cutters were sawing them down, the girls and I cried. But also, our tree-hugging goes even farther back. Char was quoted in the local paper when she took a stand against the town at a town meeting in which she fought back when they wanted to trim the canopy/push back our road a few years ago. They removed a lot of trees when they did that, and in the preliminary meetings, we were outmatched for our arguments against it. Char was so discouraged with bureaucracy after that (as were many of our neighbors.)

    So yes, we need to take care of our gift of paradise, no matter how small or large, whether it is the neighbors’ or our own. If I find a piece of litter, I tend to make a point of picking it up. My neighbors down the road also walk every day and clean the sides of the road – such wonderful models.

    Glad to hear that your philosophy follows you, wherever your two feet land!

    • Thanks for your extended and thoughtful comments concerning stewardship. Joanna and I are both very happy to know that there are other tree huggers out there (real ones that is … not simply the type that wear the t-shirts). I don’t know why many people feel the way they do about trees … they are as living as you and I and, when it comes right down to it, they were here first! Perhaps folks do what they do because they believe that the trees can’t fight back … I guess they don’t know about the Ents! Sounds like your Char is a chip-off-the-old-block … good for her … tell her she’s got a tough row to hoe … but it’ll be worth it.

      You should be getting a notification of the sheep-to-shawl post if I can get my act together this evening. We came in fourth out of eight teams. Joanna was just very glad to finish in the time allowed. And Martha (the ewe lamb) is really happy to be back on the farm. Joanna and I are played-out today … she’s going on a walk with a friend and I’m seriously thinking of taking a nap! Don’t tell anyone!

      We’ve got clear, blue, sky today but they’re threatening freezing rain for tomorrow. January thaw is being promised for next week.


      • Looking forward to the post and I’m sure you all deserved your R & R when you got back, no matter how you chose to take it! Our January thaw is quite a whopper of a thaw – all the snow on the barn roof has been slipping and sliding off, creating massive amounts of puddling in the runouts, of course, and I’ve opened up one of my chicken coops to air it out/purge it while it’s thawed. Feels great to work outside with out the extra layers, but I know this is just a tiny part of our long Vermont winters, so I’m slightly anxious about what’s in store next week 🙂 Off to read about the Sheep-to-Shawl – (4th place is nothing to sneeze at! Happy for your ewe to have gotten home, as well!) – T

    • Joanna says that I’m only allowed one ‘beautiful and very moving’ post every once in a while. It reminds me of a line from Persuasion in which Ann Elliot is talking to Captain Benwick (who is mourning the loss of his Fanny … and he’s reading lots of depressing poetry) and Ann says to him, “May I venture to recommend a larger allowance of prose in your daily study?” As if to suggest that steady diet of the ‘Beautiful and Moving’ isn’t very good for a person. D

  3. I, too, hold out some hope. That said, it’s been my experience that actions such as those you described are sometimes required. Yes, we can effect many of the changes quietly, logically, but from time to time blind greed or selfishness comes into play and a bit more is required. It’s a fine line, isn’t it … deciding what issues to stand up for?

    • Well said … and you are, of course, correct. Our biggest concern here now is hydraulic fracturing and the Marcellus Shale Gas Industry. That’s one dog we’re not going to be able to turn back. Time to move! Thanks for your thoughtful comment … much appreciated Maurice. D

  4. Well put! I can just imagine all 5′ of Joanna standing her ground against the heavy machinery. I wouldn’t challenge her! 🙂

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