Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Normal?

Is it normal, when you have a farm, to wear the same clothes all day long that you wore to bed last night? And if so, is it normal to do this three days in a row? Every morning, after I get all the animals fed, my children fed, do the dishes from the night before, set out the seedlings, start laundry and homeschool, it's something that gets moved to the bottom of the list. And then, before I know it, it's time for lunch, and then, why bother to change clothes? These ones are already dirty, and a change of clothes would just mean more laundry. Please tell me if I am the only one.

Also, I have discovered some very distinct pros and cons of running a farm:

Pro: I love the scent of hay mixed with maple syrup in the garage.

Con: The garage is now a barn.

Pro: I could watch sleeping ducklings for hours.

Con: 22 Ducklings eat a lot of food.

Pro: We have a refrigerator full of Maple Syrup

Con: Hauling five gallon buckets of sap by myself is a lot of work.

Pro: The goats call to me when I am walking away from them, or if they see me across the yard. So
        softly and gently, it sounds mournful.

Con: Will I always question whether I am caring for them properly?

Pro: Watching our children love and interact with the animals.

Con: It's all we want to do all day.

Pro: I know where our organic vegetables come from.

Con: I have a lot of work to do. That might not ever end.

That last one is not really a con, just sometimes it feels like a lot. But, it's what I have wanted for a very long time. And I couldn't be happier.


* Also, my house now always looks as if a bomb went off inside, and the inside of my car more often than not resembles a compost pile.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Butterflies.

I have been excited to get these goats...dreaming of the fiber they will bring, and perhaps allowing myself to believe, just a little, that I wouldn't get very attached. After all, I never had any great aspirations of running a farm, let alone owning goats. My memory of goats as being smelly creatures hailed from my visits to the home of a childhood friend, whose mother so dearly loved her males that she would kiss them on the mouth. Now that alone may not be so bad, but male goats who are "intact" like to pee on themselves, as I recall. I leave the rest of that story to your imagination.

But, as soon as we arrived to pick them up, I felt the butterflies in my stomach. When I saw them standing and watching us quietly, their beautiful faces curious about every move we made, I felt sick. As we loaded the truck with their food and luggage, they disappeared without a sound, and I realized I had not given them credit for being as intelligent as they really are. They knew something was up, and I don't blame them for running away. Part of me wanted to do the same.



My father loaded them in the back of the truck, one by one, as I held on to them and tried my best in broken goat language to reassure them that everything was okay. By the time we arrived home with them, I realized why I was sick to my stomach and scared. I had started to really care for these sweet, gentle creatures, and I am terrified that I won't do a good job. I am afraid of letting them down as I did the five ducklings that arrived dead in the mail with their 10 siblings. I am afraid that I won't know how to meet their needs...and they are much, much bigger and more complex than chickens and ducks.

These lovely beings, Dharma, Loki, and Undecided have already become part of the family, and are very well loved. I only hope I am ready for this new adventure!


And, as a side note...what's not to love about that fiber?!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter

What a lovely time it was, with lots of little surprises and a sweet slowness to the day that was both welcome and unexpected. There were no grandparents present for this Holiday, which meant that we had no schedule, no plans...just a day for walks, playing, building a greenhouse/chicken tractor/season extender (Yes! More on that later...), boiling sap, cat wrangling, egg decorating, and preparing for the arrival of new babies. (No, not my own. The furry kind, silly people.)


Cora modeling her new Spring sweater (a sort-of tradition) and dress...

Above is the fairy garden and house that Doug and I stayed up so late finishing...it truly is beautiful, and it has already become the stage for many a story acted out by the smallest in our household. And maybe me too after everyone else goes to bed...I have always had a thing for miniatures :)


Monday, April 6, 2015

Grace.

There are a lot of things I could have written about this day...the day the children believe revolves around a giant bunny delivering colorful eggs to our house. I could talk about the fairy house and garden we stayed up until 11:30pm completing for the table the next morning, or the sweater I finished in the nick of time for my sweet daughter...but I will save those for another post. What I will always remember about this day, is that it snowed. Little, soft flakes that seemed more to float than to fall. The light was magical, and it was so very quiet and still out in our field behind the house that I felt as if I were in a dream.

Those things, for me, were a confirmation. It was a grand yes from the Universe to what we are doing, and where we are. Some days, most days, I question whether I am doing what is right for our family, for the children.

A moment of grace.











Sunday, March 29, 2015

Surprises

I love surprises. I always have. Packages in the mail, birthday parties, little gifts, etc. I also love surprising others, and with the arrival of Spring I decided that a few surprises were in order for my little ones. There are a few in the works, but I had a quiet house for several hours yesterday and took advantage of that time to work on a little dress for my sweet girl.


The pattern is Polkadots & Summer, and I can't remember the fabric. But, it was quick and easy, and there will definitely be more of these in the future! Now, finding the right button...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Worth the Wait.

Happy first day of Spring! ...and Spring could not seem more far away. I am not going to lie...I have had a hard time today. Another gray, overcast morning sent me into an internal tantrum, and may have even brought out a few tears. How many times a day can I go check on the seedlings? (Where I sometimes stick my nose down into the little green onion stems, close my eyes, and inhale...just so I can pretend for a split second that I am in the garden.) How many times can I clean the basement, telling myself that "soon, there won't be time"? How much more time can I spend pouring over books "planning" the garden layout? Making lists about what I'm going to plant? Learning about what parasites goats are prone to? I am restless, as I am sure most of you out there are who live in the Northeast, and who live your life with the seasons, and yet it's still so cold outside that I have to give myself a pep talk every time I need to get out there.

So, today, I dutifully got out the boiling supplies for the first round of syrup making. I usually love this process, but this year it is seeming like a bit of a slog, at least right now.

And then, while it's boiling, the scent of sap fills the air, and I remember that Spring really is here, it's just not obvious yet. It's a Moment of Grace, as my mother says. A moment that seems to pull us a little bit further out of our sleepy hibernation. The sweet, almost nutty flavor of the syrup this year might just be the best we've ever made...although I am fairly certain we say that every year.

I suppose it was worth the wait...