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Mornings With George

Last week my blog drifted hard in to Adverse Childhood Experiences and subsequent negative impact on life spans, a pretty intense subject. Please read it it you missed out! But this week a "lighter" topic - a tribute to a former mentor and friend, George Kingsbury (1916-2008). George is a person who helped me build resilience, confidence in myself as a woman agriculturist and strength in the first two years of Dusty Dog's inception. I can hardly believe that I have been fortunate enough to live at Dusty Dog Farm for close to 15 years. Time flies and flies faster as we age. I'm pretty sure I have hit warp speed in time passing. With that said, it does not seem possible that 13 years have passed since I had mornings with George. I moved on to Dusty Dog Farm, 700 West Street in Keene NH, June 1, 2006. I was SO EXCITED. It meant beloved animals and long time friends, and clients now had a home. It also meant a TON OF WORK. Never had I dreamed that I would be learning about field and pasture management, the "feel" of land, the fields that produce great hay and those best used for paddock space. I had literally come from years of riding and teaching and I felt somewhat unprepared for the job at hand. New to managing a 100+ acre farm, and everything that entails, I also knew George had 50+ years under his belt of doing the same. Thus I had stuff to learn. Fortuitivly he had a connection to two barn cats who lived in the hay barn (now our indoor arena) and spent quality time visiting them every morning. So early on in my residence, I began to crash his party with the cats. It seemed the easiest way to introduce myself after I moved in. He lived next door and would walk around 7:30 every morning over the the hay barn. I would saunter in shortly after. We would both settle on hay bales and get to the business of petting cats. Petting cats can be a full time occupation, but in this case, these cats expected and were serious about their need for pats for around thirty minutes. As thirty minutes of decent human attention wrapped by Buddy and Chance would saunter off to curl up in the sun, generally on hay. This time frame gave me an awesome opportunity to pick George's mind. I wanted to know everything he knew about the land and he was eager to share. I found out the Pitcher Street Fields once produced up to 6 cuts of hay a year (usually if you are a great farmer and the weather is one your side 3 cuts is good)...then the MarketPlace development happened and the soil got SUPER wet. Now sometimes we cut onto standing water, even in the driest months. Two cuts on those fields now, I consider banner years. I found out that in the 1970s a gigantic barn with tons of old farm and horse equipment burned to the ground in what is now one of our pastures. Every time we get big rain or spring melting I walk across that pasture thinking SOME treasure is sure to find its way up. I learned that the wind ALWAYS blows at Dusty Dog Farm, and the willow tree takes a beating always. Loosing leaves, twigs, branches and sometimes limbs, amazingly the willow continues to stand. For me the willow tree is a symbol of resilience and a lesson from George. A lesson that wind blows at DDF and in our lives, light or strong, we and the willow may lose leaves, twigs, branches or even limbs but still stand, strong, leaning slightly away from the wind and toward the rising sun. With deep gratitude for my mornings with George,

Christina

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