Here the cricket chorus is a thing you are a part of, not just something heard in the distance. They are unseen as ever, but they are all around and envelope you with their song all day, not just at dusk. There are chorus frogs too. What I know as “peepers” from the brief months I spend in Maine years ago. They scoot away into the garden rows, grateful to have not found your rake in a more violent way. The same is true of frightened field mice hidden under haystacks. You both heave a sigh of relief that your pitchfork didn’t find them the hard way. Many hands do make light work indeed, and there is a great sense of satisfaction when you see what appeared to be chaos turn orderly and purposeful in a short amount of time. And then there is no guilt when you all decide to play some cribbage, or a musical instrument. There is only gladness in finding good conversation about literature and writing, and places to go, and the joy of food from farm to table. A host so gracious and giving of his food and space, you almost feel as though you haven’t worked enough to earn your keep. But sometimes there is currency in companionship and you feel as though a trip to the river for an overnight campout is a fine way to close out your brief stay. Behind a barbed wire fence and over grassland dotted here and there with prickly pears and snakes, across mud flats covered in cockleburs and cow tracks, through hip high river plants and cottonwood seedlings from a fire years before and finally to and across the river itself to a beach of dried clay and pebbles. Packs laden with things not usually packed – a growler of beer, small watermelons from the farm, bowl of hummus – are gratefully set down and plundered to enjoy the spoils of a not-too-hard hike. Still, sometimes going to unnecessary lengths to picnic and sleep outside away from the rest of the world is just the thing. But for the porcupine quills in Misty’s sweet muzzle, a perfect packing trek was had by all. Heal well, pup. Be well, farmer friend.