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  • Ian Thompson

A Weekend of New Beginnings

This was our first full weekend off of work since February. It started off ominously when our truck broke down on Friday evening, canceling our plans to fence another pasture for the buffalo over the long weekend. Thanks to friends, family, and the productive power of creation, the weekend ended up being a new beginning in more ways than we'd planned.

Saturday morning, Amy's parents came out, and we helped them begin loading up a large pile of rusty junk that we inherited when we bought the farm. It had been used to fill in an eroding gully, but to us, it represented a scar on the land, and a place for animals and people to get hurt tripping over stuff. Thanks to Amy's parents, it will now be scrapped and remade into new things.

Later in the day, Jerry ( ) came out to do an estimate on some cross fencing that will open up the remaining 3/4 of our farm to grazing by the buffalo and horses. With the temperature already in the triple digits, there is a good chance that the drought that has beset western Oklahoma will be headed our way soon. Opening up the extra grazing land and entering it into our rotational grazing pattern will help protect our herd from going hungry, even if the drought gets bad. It will also create conditions for the topsoil and ground cover to start healing.

Sunday, we took the final three photographs for the Choctaw foods book. We we won't give it away just yet, but the cover features our friend Josie Gilmore. It was bitter sweet finishing this chapter in our lives. It will be great to get information about Indigenous food out to our community, where it can hopefully help people to be healthier, but we've had so much fun working on the photography together that we hate to end it.

Monday, our good friend Ed came out and helped us weld up a gate in the corral that will make it possible for us take our first born calf (now a two-year-old bull) to the butcher in a couple of months. It's sad, because he was our first, and we're a little attached to him, but good, because he will bring healthy food to a household of our friends. This weekend, the circle of life continued, when our herd birthed its first calf of the season, a bounding, red, 50lb calf.

Amy's parents came back for a second load of scrap metal on Monday. Ian even chipped in his small part in the recycling effort. He chipped the point pictured above from a fragment of old TV screen glass that had been sitting in the pile waiting to cut someone's foot. He finished the notches using a tool made from a buffalo leg bone.

We'll post before and after pictures of the ravine a couple of years from now, after we get all of the trash out of it, put old hay bales in it, and see the new grass come to life in the deep, newly formed topsoil. Like so much else, it will be a new beginning.

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