Saturday, August 22, 2015

Catching up.

What a busy time it is here, and how the summer has slipped by! I have kept a mental list of all the things I wanted to post about, but haven't had the time, quite frankly. There has been the usual farm drama; a fisher cat snatching approximately all 10 of our chickens that like to roost in trees instead of the cozy little temporary space we have set up for them in the greenhouse (we still have the 24 remaining well-behaved chickens who do as they are told) and two ducks (one who very cruelly had her bill chewed off), a favorite cat gone missing, escaping goats, etc. But the difficulties are outweighed by all the lovely things we are surrounded by. I count my blessings every day that I am able to spend with my children, growing and raising the food we eat.









Friday, June 26, 2015

June in a box.

How do you bottle, or box, rather, June? My Brother and Sister-in-Law live in Hawaii, and we have not been able to visit them for as long as they have lived there. I miss them so very much, and so when I decide to send them a package, all I want is to send them our days, the scents of summer, Maine. How do you describe to someone thousands of miles away what it's like to brush up against a bunch of basil and for a moment, have it fill you up; satiate every longing you didn't know you'd had for an entire winter? How do you share with someone how the evening sunlight mixes with the scent of clover and goat and intoxicates you to the point of tears? How can you put in a box what it is to sit on the hill at night, with fireflies blinking all around you and the moon filling the sky with quiet light while the trees sway?

I can only send the essence of what June means in our family. I know that the fresh baked bread will bring comfort and memories of our childhood filled with images of our mother standing at the counter kneading dough. There is nothing quite like the welcoming aroma of bread in the oven.

I know that the no-bake cookies made from our grandmother's recipe will be like a hug. I know because that is why the two previous batches never made it out in the mail. Ahem.

I know that the scent of our hand-dipped beeswax candles will bring warmth and light to those we wish we could be near.

I know that the fresh sage and lavender will be the closest thing to sending them a day in the garden, and honestly, can those scents be any more amazing?

And all the canned goods. One of the most wonderful ways to express our love is with food, am I wrong? And so, in the boxes go some of the last of 2014's Dilly Beans, Pickled Beets, and Blueberry Jam, and this years Maple Syrup, Pickled Garlic Scapes, and Ginger Peach Jam.

Oh there will be more wonderful things to send as the summer goes on, but I think this may be a good start!



Saturday, June 6, 2015

June

We have been so busy with the garden and animals, that we neglected to even notice the months had changed. There is so much happening around here that I have felt as if my own children had not seen me for weeks. So today we took the day off together. Just the children and I. And what an amazing day it was...beautiful weather coupled with a trip to the Maine Fiber Frolic with friends. It could not have been a more perfect June day!

Here are some photos from the evening chore time.






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 :)