Friday, October 26, 2012

It's All One Water

My favorite local arts venue, Crossings at Carnegie, currently has a terrific exhibition of photography and poetry focused on water, called "It's All One Water."  The show was organized in partnership with the Zumbro Watershed Project and is up through October. 

I was honored to have both this photograph, Thirsty Bees, and a poem accepted into the show. I do not fancy myself a poet, although I do like to play with words.  Since becoming a farmer  I have a whole new appreciation of the critical role water plays in every aspect of farming:
Farm Water Cycle

Six 40-pound, 5-gallon buckets, 2 times a day
Lugged through deep snow
Watering the cows
My nose dripping, face numb, elbows throbbing
Grateful cows, slurping thirstily, exhaling clouds that
swirl like the steaming coffee my husband is drinking                  inside the cozy house

The turkeys and chickens huddle next to the barn
Sad feathers plastered against their bodies
Miserable drizzle.
The goose and ducks chortle and splash through the puddles
Wings raised in joyous victory
After months cooped inside with smelly chickens
Rain streaming over them
Water off a duck’s back
Squawking appreciation to the sky
Glorious drizzle.

Oppressive, tropical afternoon
Cats flattening in the shade
Dogs melting into the dirt
Chickens sprawled under bushes, beaks parted, panting
Sows mired in a cool, soothing concoction
Of spilt drinking water, soil and pee.
Bovines, motionless but for tails swishing a pesky fly
Ankle-deep in cool water of the kiddie pool
A front hoof splashes water up onto a hot cow belly.
Farmers heavy in the hammock sipping ice water
Hoping evening will wring out the humidity.

Arriving home late Saturday night
Twisting faucet to brush teeth --
Nothing!  The well pump has quit! Panic!!
The chickens need 10 gallons of water tomorrow!
Each cow needs 15 gallons of water to wash down the hay!
Dogs and cats and ducks and geese and turkeys and pigs must drink!
Farmers need water for morning coffee!

Whew! Rural well drillers work Sundays so animals can drink
Thankful, farmers
Pockets empty, thirst quenched.
                                                            - Susan Waughtal 


Kathy said...


I saw your gorgeous Thirsty Bees photo in the It's All One Water book. I was showing this amazing picture to my daughter when I saw it was from YOU!!

Your photo is a beautiful and remarkable centerfold for this collection of photos and poem.

My aunt Carolyn's photo is on page 23. I wish I could have gone to the event and should have as I was close by in Mantorville with my mom.

Wishing you every best in your farming adventures!

Gardeningbren said...

I adored this photo..just so beautiful.

Mary Ann Johnson said...