Monthly Archives: May 2013

If I was a rich girl…

milk and eggs is better than gold and I know.

We like to talk about how we are rich. Hey, one more positive thing right? While we don’t get insane amounts of milk and eggs, not enough to really sell, barter or trade for things, we get enough that we are rich. We are rich in ice cream. We are rich when we eat breakfast from our eggs and our pork. We are almost rich in cheese. I am still working on that. We are rich. One day this fall we will be rich in lamb. Maybe one day our chickens will decide to go broody and hatch us out some chicken. We are rich in each other. We are rich in lettuce and greens right now. The broccoli is heading out also. We are rich in grass, which is really making the animals happy right now. When you look at the world this way, things change. While I still wish in some ways we were rich in the money sense(it would be nice to have a root cellar and a few other things) I would rather be rich the way we are. Not that it didn’t take a decent amount of money and time and hard work to get rich like this. 

Right now we are so rich in grass that we are moving animals a lot. I know I have posted this a few times now. Something was confusing me though. Goats go into heat in the fall. That way they can have spring babies. A lot of our goats were showing signs of heat. I asked some goat experts and no one had any ideas. However, a few of them also said that their goats were going into heat. Why? 

Jack finally had the idea that they were being flushed. Usually goat owners will flush their goats right before breeding. It just means to give them extra high nutrition. It makes them go into a stronger heat, and just in general be REALLY healthy. Now, it totally makes sense why so many goats are going into heat around here. The grass is high, it is heading out(lots of grain seed) and the goats are eating like there is no tomorrow. They have been flushed by nature. This is where the geek in me shows through. I can’t believe that nature would bring animals into heat so they could give birth right before it gets cold again. Jack brought up the point that mid fall isn’t that much different than early spring. By a couple of weeks goats were pretty hardy and could weather winter well. I am curious to see if we have a late winter or a mild winter though. It is a theory that I am not sure if I want to test out by letting a goat get pregnant right now. Fiona though is showing signs and she never bred this year. She would be a goat to try. However, I have to say that a part of me doesn’t want to try this because that means milk through the winter. Uhhh, not fun. Though it would be nice to have hot chocolate every morning. Sigh, to be rich in hot chocolate…

We did take steps on Monday to make sure that no one got pregnant before their time. Paddy and Abe got moved in with the boys. It seems that they can still get out though. This morning we woke up to mostly cloudy skies after it raining, and hard, most of the night. I opened the window in our bedroom and Bridget was barking. It is funny how you get to hear the difference in animal sounds. With the dogs there is  a “Hey! Go away! You don’t belong here!” bark, a “Hey! I’m really scared because you didn’t listen to my other bark!” a “Danger! Danger! Something is not right here!!” What was odd was that it was just Bridget. I didn’t hear Conner at all. Conner is in the shelter with the babies who get put up at night. Bridget is really close though, less than 10 feet and she could see into the shelter. I got dressed quickly and went out. She calmed down as soon as she saw me walking out. I have to admit I was really worried about what I was going to find. Her bark was telling me that something was really truly wrong. In her eyes, as protector of all living things on the farm, there was something really wrong. Abe and Paddy were trying to get into the fence with all the rest of the babies. It was super cute. More cute because Abe had never been put in with the babies, he is angora so his mom never got milked. He just followed his new friend. Conner was totally quiet because he was playing with them. He felt he had things under control I am sure. I picked up Abe and Jack started to get Paddy. Whenever Paddy called out Abe answered. It was very sweet the bond they already shared. They are back in with the boys again. They seem to be doing alright but I am sure we are going to find them wandering the farm again. Hopefully Bridget lets us know.

There were a few pictures taken this last time we moved the animals. We did an even smaller area this time. Mostly because it is taking them longer than it feels like it should to go through the grass. No, it isn’t fun moving them every couple of days, or maybe it is, but it is still a lot of work. Oh to be rich in fences…

The grass here up against the tent was up to the bottom of the windows, almost as high as the fence. There is still a decent amount of woody stems from the grass, but all grass is gone. 

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Where they went next, the other side of the tent. Again the grass covers most of them when they first get in there.

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They trample a lot of grass but that still helps. The grass will break down and become organic material. Still fertilizes the ground. It is all good.

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Here you can see our small greenhouse. They are fenced out of it, but it is close. So close that it is currently hard to get into the greenhouse. 

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All the babies!!! Knonsu is doing so much better. More often than not all of his legs are down. That makes me so happy. All of Luna’s babies are small compared to the singles we had, but they all seem great. 

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Want to talk about richness? I was driving Joan home from the farmer’s market last week and I asked her what all the flowering trees were. I will learn eventually what everything is, it just takes time. She told me that they were the black locusts and the flowers were edible. SO! We went out to see how edible they were. A lot of edible things may be edible but ummm not good. That is probably the nicest thing to say. Anyway we tried some and yes, good. Sweet and kind of pea like. After some looking around I found that they are slightly medicinal also. So now we are rich in black locust flowers. I made two tinctures, a honey and a syrup. I also made some pancakes. I am going to try an oil next. The smell of these flowers is so amazing. Turns out we have a small grove of black locusts that we didn’t know about last year.

Being very serious about the amazing flowers. 

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Eating them right off the stem.

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So things are good here. I can see the grass heading out on the areas that the animals were in just last week. They may take it down to very little left but it recovers faster than anything. We are seeing insane amounts of worms all over also. I feel really good about improving the soil around here. It is great. I feel very happy that my animals are thriving, even though it has been very wet out there.  Oh and one other thing of note. Megan is now at Shagbark. Shagbark has higher fences and more adults to help with a crazy milking doe. Natalie was good with it, Megan was her favorite. I think she felt, and I totally understand this, that while she may not want to deal with Megan anymore, she didn’t feel good about giving her to someone who she didn’t know. She would rather have her here than off to some unknown where the people may get real sick of her and just eat her. So when Joan offered to take Megan I could almost see Natalie breath easy. Megan was not a good fit over here. Shagbark seems to be able to handle her a little better. Though she has already gotten out once. Still, I think it worked out best for all of us. 

So take a little time today to think of how you are rich and feel lots of gratitude. There is richness all about us and I think we would all be happier if we would just see it ❤

I’m a farmer and I know it…

I asked Jack what song I could turn into a blog title and as the sentence was just partly out of my mouth he started playing “I’m sexy and I know it” So I took it as a sign. One to start the day off with a smile and a good dance song in my head and two well, there is something in the title box now. 

So this is late. Things have been busy here lately. My sink is full of dishes. I actually had coffee this morning and had to stir it with a fork. Getting the sugar out with a fork isn’t easy. Oh well though 🙂 Jack took this past week off because his parents are here. The biggest thing going on right now is BARN!!!!

But before I get to that, I should start with where I ended last week… To not confuse my poor farming self.

This weekend we partly celebrated Layla’s birth. We went to Fairfield on Saturday. It is always an awesome trip with farmer’s markets and Indian food.  We dream about going to the farmer’s market in Fairfield.  Even more so after the people we talked to asked us if we would come to sell lamb.  It is hard to justify the drive.  It is always great up there though and it makes me sad that we really only go up there for birthdays.  

We have had to move the stock about every three days lately. Except for this last move. The grass was tall, up to my waist in places.

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Just an example…

We got a lot of pictures of animals while we were moving them this last time that I will share now. Layla was in charge of the camera. The girls do help, no matter how much you see Natalie beating a post with a stick, she does help. I keep telling myself this. This is where we just took the animals from, the front yard. You can see the difference in the grass on the two sides.

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This is looking out the front door to the tent. The tent WILL come down. Do you know anyone who wants a tent??? 

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This is Paddy, remember how small he used to be? He really should be in the buck yard now, but he can slip out. It is currently being worked on to baby-proof the buck yard, it just isn’t quite done yet…

 Image Abe playing on the mineral feeder in the background, it really is a popular play space for the youngins and older animals alike. In the front in the shetland ram. He is adorable.  Though I have to admit that I am partial to the the shetland girl. She has some white spots along with some light brown. The girls named her Alice, her mother is Alais. I think it might be a little close, but hell, I am just the farm wench, I don’t get a lot of say here.

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Sheep happily grazing. You might be wondering how Melisande is doing… She is hanging in there. The day that we moved them out of the front yard there was no grass and she was kind of freaking out. She started circling again and making a lot of noise. She also was pawing the air. I think with grass around her she feels safe and secure. As soon as we moved them she did better. By the way, herding a blind sheep, interesting. We will just leave it at that. Image

A whole bunch of babies disappeared into the grass. Or at least I think that those are babies. The grass did cover most of them.

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Not Ruby or Jewel though. Ruby went into a long standing heat this week. It is always interesting when the cows go into heat. I feel bad for them. Blackie seemed slightly interested this month. We don’t really want Ruby to get pregnant for the next two months. Maybe Blackie will be interested enough to do his duty by then. And in a year we will be in milk!

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Isn’t she a beautiful cow?  I love her so much. I am also so loving all our green. I see green and it just makes me so happy that we can feed our animals without getting hay.

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A Ruby butt with a tail swish. I kind of love this picture too.

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Is there a baby goat in there??? This is actually Lucina, one of Luna’s triplets. So much for goats not being able to handle three babies, eh?

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Jack’s sexy legs…I guess Layla was trying to get pictures of how to put in the fence. It is a bit hard, especially when the ground is dry. Oh but so much fun. I do love Jack’s fashion statement with the socks too. 

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Carrying the battery(which is fricken heavy) and the solar charger. See? Natalie does help. I had just carried over the grounding rod and fence charger.

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But this is what I mean about Natalie and beating posts with sticks. There was a lot of hitting going around that day and a lot of pictures of it…

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Getting the grounding rod in and sheep butts!!!! Also a lot of clothes on the line 🙂

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Natalie’s warrior face. I think it would scare off most.

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Nancy wondering why we fenced out the garden. Oh and if you are wondering, the hoops went up. The plastic never made it though. 

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More babies! Oh not really. This is Cora, Freya’s baby. Freya is right next to her. I am super happy about how well the goat and sheep mommies have done this year. Even if they weren’t thrilled about their babies to begin with, they now are happy with them. 

This was just an hour or so. Lots of pictures though, eh? This is their third day in this paddock and I think they still have at least two more days here. When the grass covers you, well it takes a little more time to go through it. 

There is a flurry of activity going on in the garden also. We have planted out herbs, weeded, mulched. Beans went out this week along with cucumbers and melons. It is exciting. We also just harvested our first meal out of the garden. We got some black seeded simpson, a lettuce and some radishes. It made a nice salad. There is just something so satisfying going outside to get your food. It is almost as satisfying to go to the freezer to get meat you processed.  Like I said, Jack’s parents are here and I have heard a couple of times now, “This is so nicely seasoned” I have to say it feels good to know that we made good food. 

Another big thing that has happened here.  We have been putting off a dock to our pond for a good long time. When Phil and Judy came out they mentioned again that it would bee a quick thing. It also helped that Layla’s birthday party was going to be a pond party… Anyway, a day and a half of work and what did we have????Image

The dock  from standing on it. Looking at the benches that the girls and Roman made. They made two benches and started a swimming tube shed. Image 

Natalie, Layla and Roman showing the structural soundness of their bench.

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Gwendy supervised by watching from the cart.

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Layla was super proud of the benches. They actually made them on her birthday. 

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The dock. Isn’t the view beautiful?

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The pond, standing on the dock

I love our pond. It is the best pond ever. We did have a snapping turtle incident this week though…We had seriously just the day before had someone ask if we had ever seen a snapping turtle or leeches in our pond. I said no. We hadn’t. The next day I hear screaming coming from the pond. I wasn’t too worried since most of the grownups were over there also.  I did go over though to see a HUGE snapping turtle. Jack did kill it. And it did have leeches on it. So, we don’t have mermaids in our pond either. Maybe one of those will magically appear tomorrow now.

Layla’s party was a huge hit. She wanted to have a farm themed party. So we played games that were very loosely related to farm chores, like shearing sheep(cutting out a sheep on a piece of paper), gathering eggs with spoons, an egg toss and herding animals(balloons that kept popping) on the grass. Even though it was cold and overcast, it even sprinkled a few times, the kids and a few adults got into the pond. It was a little cold for me though. A fun time was had by all though. I made my famous cheesecake and well, it was great. The weather could have been better, but hey you can’t have it all.

And I have to say that I totally love when Jack’s parents come to visit, even if it does make writing this blog that much harder. Next week I will have more pictures of the barn(aka the junkyard contained) up. But a little sneak preview…

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Looking toward the north, you can see the house and the tent in the background

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Looking south, you can see the little teal shed that is being replaced. It might end up being a tool shed near the house.Image

Natalie took these pictures for me while I have been writing this. So great to have little photographers running around eager to document our farm. 

Image And sometimes, maybe it is the camera? Maybe it is the insane, intense sky we have, the pictures they take are stunning.

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A lot of this happened yesterday while I was at farmer’s market. Yes! I went to farmer’s market for the first time. We don’t have a up and going garden just yet, but I brought all my yarn that I had spun. I did sell two skeins, which was really nice. I am hopeful that we will have a lot more to bring next week. Oh the amount of business on the farm lately. It has been hard and long writing this, so I hope you enjoy. I must get to washing some dishes now and making food to feed the peoples who are working hard to contain our junk. 

It is wonderful over here, even if it is cooler than usual, hey maybe we will get peas this year, the weather has been great for a lot of things. It is good working weather. The black locusts are blooming and there is just something amazingly graceful about the flowers. The grass is growing faster than animals can eat it. Life is good, even if crazy. 

And really, if you know anyone who wants a tent send them our way. I want it gone so I can put a garden there! 🙂

It’s May! It’s May! It finally feels like May!!!

Not that I think many of you know that song, well I improvised the last line. It is from Camelot. It is so weird to see spring! It seems like we have mostly just had two seasons, winter and summer and it goes drastically between them.  The grass is growing, the animals are eating it. It isn’t too hot to do work, the pond still feels shockingly cold. Things are growing. However, we did get two frosts. It may have killed all of our tomatoes. We are hoping they recover somehow. 

 

Talking about planting…I planted a ton of trees. Okay, I really don’t feel like I can say that after last year, but still. On Friday I planted 100, sycamores and black locusts. They are all in the bottoms. While down there we saw lots of dock going to seed. We might go and try and harvest some seed to make a flour. Never a bad idea to see how your wild edibles work and taste.  Mmmmm, dock biscuits 🙂  I also planted about 50 aronia berries and 25 hazelnuts. I couldn’t use the dibble bar(a tool you use to plant trees) to do the hazelnuts. I had to use a shovel. It was crazy. The roots on those things!!! Almost all the willows and poplars were planted out also. Hopefully by this time next year we will have a nice privacy screen by the pond. 

 

There was also some transplanting done and mulching and weeding. Some of the drudgery of gardening. I have issues with garden drudgery. I know some people like it, but really the only thing I like about gardening is harvesting. Still, we are trying to get things done.  Our garden is about 10 times bigger than last year. It is so crazy.  I am curious to see how long it feeds us though.

 

Animals are doing well. We have been moving them often, about every three days. It is a lot of work but they are eating the grass about as fast as it grows. They are up behind the house now. It is really nice because they also cut down the tick population.  We did have a scare a few days ago. Melisande was in her little pen, or at least she was the night before. When the girls went out in the morning, they noticed her gone. Jack hadn’t left for work yet so the four of us when out looking for a half sheared blind sheep. Let me tell ya, it was fun. She is also really small and we have some TALL grass. Jack walked right by her. I went back over where he looked after we had no luck and just happened to see a brown speck moving. Her eyes are not really doing much better. However we thought we would see how she does being put back in stock.  It has been a few days now and she is actually doing well. 

 

Another great thing is that I made up my own herbal wormer!! Or dewomer more specifically. I ordered a bunch of herbs and mixed it all together with some things. We noticed that the animals were having some worm pressure, their eyelids were pale. After three days of good dosing we have red eyelids again! Not only that but our milk production has almost doubled. I am so happy about this and wish I had done it sooner. Hindsight is 20/20. 

 

I also almost forgot.  Jack also got our amaranth and flax planted out on Monday. This is a fiber flax so hopefully it goes well and I will be making flax come winter!  It is very exciting for me. 

 

As for non-farm related things.  Or as non-farm related as it gets here… Thursday we got to go to pizza night for the first time!!! It is hard to arrange our schedules to go out like that throughout the week. All chores had to be done before we left, which was about when Jack got home. It was kind of crazy but it worked. The Milkweed Mercantile over at Dancing Rabbit has pizza night every Thursday. They will make a gluten free pizza if you order ahead. It tasted SO GOOD!!!! Oh my goddess so good. It was a nice break. 

 

Saturday was also a busy day for us. We were barely home. We did the cook shack for the community building. There were some electric issues in the morning, so we didn’t open when we wanted to. I think that really affected our total sales. We still did much better than last month. After the cook shack we had to hurry and get ready for May Day at Sandhill. This is a huge celebration with a May Pole and sweat lodge, potluck. It is really a great time. It was also VERY cold. There wasn’t as much jumping in the pond this year. It was a fun day, if a little overfull. 

 

Things are going though. We think that maybe we will be able to put away our winter clothes. Not quite sure though yet. The days are flying past. Our list of things to do is growing even as things are being taken off. Crazy but good. 

Ch-Ch-Changes

So I have decided to move over to wordpress. A lot of comments have been missing on blogger and I am just not happy about it. It is a big pain in the butt sometimes working with blogger. Oh well. So onto farm life…

You know, sometimes I look back on my week and feel a few things. Most of the time I feel like the week went by too quickly. I hear this all the time, you know the whole saying of as you get older time flies. You blink and all of a sudden your 80 and sitting on your porch drinking sweet tea. Okay I might have added that last bit. Jack and I have been talking about being 80 recently, sitting on the front porch drinking sweet tea. Anyway, I almost always feel like my week flew. I also feel like it was full to the brim of crazy exciting things. Except, it also feels like nothing really happened. I am not going to try and explain that. It just is.

This week has been odd. This is a flurry of activity with moments of absolute nothing. In some ways it feels a lot like hurry up and wait. We have to wait for certain things. It is like walking along and getting your toe stuck on something, you have to keep moving forward though, so part of you keep going, until you get stuck on something else, still parts of you are still moving forward getting stuck little by little. There is forward movement, it just keeps getting slower. And that is what it feels like. Really where we get stuck most often is Jack having to work.  It is all good though, without him working we would be even more stuck without having any income.

There was a lot of gardening work done this week. All 1000 sweet potatoes were planted. We lined our road with sunflowers. A lot of the privacy plantings of willows and poplars were planted. These are big things. Things that need to be established. Things we tried to do last year but failed because of the drought. We aren’t having that problem so far this year. Things are starting to bud and live. It is great! A whole bunch of stuff got transplanted out. Something like 50 tomatoes. Don’t quote me on that, it was a lot though. Some kale and broccoli and I am sure I am missing things. Jack also got some 200 bales of straw delivered. Of course it was a rainy cold day…He came in soaking wet after stacking and tarping the bunch. Not all the straw is ours. That is the really nice thing about living in community like we do.  We can order an ass whack(Jack term) of things like straw and save some money because we are almost acting like big farmer. We have been putting a lot of that straw to use though. There has been lots of mulching of gardens going on.  The potatoes were also mulched. In some ways I am so excited to think about the harvest of yummy food that will come out of our garden this year. In other ways I am terrified because we do not yet have a root cellar. They are expensive and it is going to be interesting trying to work that in.  Oh well though, we seem to figure things out and I have faith.

 

Some more exciting things are medicinals!!! It is that time of year again. The girls went out and harvested a bunch of violets. I tinctured some in brandy and the rest we made pesto with. There is SO MUCH out there right now though. We were at someone’s house and I noticed they had almost literally a ton of violets. It started a violet picking party. I came home with enough to fill a quart jar and a half. Some of it went to tincture also. But I am also going to make violet syrup with the girls. Sounds yummy, right? The girls also went out today and harvested a lot of dandelion tops. We will maybe tincture some, infuse some oil and maybe make a jelly or syrup also. They also brought me cleavers and reported on the state of our wild hops. It is really easy at this time of year to feel rich with things.  Right now I feel very rich in milk and eggs and wild herbs. I made over two gallons of chocolate ice cream last week. It felt amazing to have it at our potluck and tell people to eat, eat as much as they wanted!  Honestly, I think it is because we have gone without often enough to really appreciate what we have.  The miracle of the amazing bounty.  Our yarrow is starting to set blooms too. It fills me with such joy.  Maybe that just means I am a lazy gardener. I would rather search over our acres looking for herbs and plants and collect them than try to plant a seedling and take care of it. Give me wild plants any day!

 

On to animals. We have had a really rough time with them lately. I wrote about Melisande’s eyes. Well, they aren’t looking that great. Not great at all. We think that at least one ruptured.  I am hopeful that the other eye will make it. She started out having not good days. She would run in circles. I actually gave her some vervain and borrowed some valerian tincture from Joan. We drenched her with them. It did seem to calm her down a lot. So much so in fact that while I was just sitting with her she let me shear half of her. I think we might try dosing with vervain before shearing from now on. So there is still hope, but this is really not a situation that I really wanted to be in.

Dancer also got really bad. We knew she had milk fever.  She was being treated with extra calcium and we were taking it easy on her.   I had thought she was getting better. All the way until she got really bad. She went down Friday. She wasn’t getting up.  We went through everything we could think of. It was also cold that day. I ended up talking Jack into bringing her inside. There was actually a fire going, if that tells you how cold it was. It wasn’t like this is May or anything… Anyway, everything we could think of. And then we just made her as comfortable as we could.  There was nothing else. She died in the night. I think we all knew it was going to happen when Jack had to carry her up and into the house. It is heartbreaking. I didn’t want to post about it on facebook. I even told Jack that. He told me to just leave it. But I couldn’t I feel like I have made a commitment to you my readers. I may not give detailed information on being a homestead but if nothing else I am going to be honest about all the crappy things that happen. It is the same as my parenting philosophy. If I make it look all sunshine and rainbows I have failed you.  The rewards are great, do not get me wrong, but the lows are awful and heart-wrenching.  If you were to read my blog and think that it was all sunshine and rainbows and went about to start your own homestead and found out about all these lows then. Well, I know I would feel I had failed so I imagine you would too. This blog is not just about all the great things that happen. This blog is about life. And life isn’t always great. Sorry if I am the first to tell you this.

So yeah, tell me what you think about the new blog if you feel like it.  In some ways I think this is much easier to work with and just to see if that is true I am going to try and add a picture, something I could never do on blogger…Picture 807

did it work????

 

Almost forgot one more thing…Mac and Anya have been furiously working on their yurt platform. It is almost done!! The yurt is supposed to ship shortly and they will be moved in. It is all very exciting. There are definite changes happening around here.

 

Merry Beltane!!!

aka What it is like being a pagan farmer in a christian world. Not really, but kind of.

I only got one response about leaving out the pagan stuff on this blog, but considering how many people respond on my blog, that is significant. I have wondered what is it that makes people respond on blogs? I rarely do. Yet, in my reading of blogs I see some that have LOTS of comments. I had started to respond to my one comment but then thought, “Hey, my next blog post is on Beltane!!” I will just make it part of the blog. I was very impressed with my thought process here.

So it Beltane. A lot of people, even if they aren’t pagan, know this as May Day. They know about May poles and the merry making. Really, even if you don’t realize it, there is a lot of pagan everywhere. The easter bunny, pagan, your chirstmas tree, pagan. I believe that the reason this is is because there is something about the pagan beliefs that are natural to us. It is a way to celebrate and just be. I should preface all of this with being pagan means a lot of things to a lot of people. This is what pagan is to me. Please don’t assume that every pagan you meet is the same. I do not mean to offend, I just mean to explain myself. Anyway, to me paganism is not about trying to figure out what life means, it isn’t about trying to get other people to believe what I believe, it isn’t about right and wrong. There is no figuring out what a higher power said or didn’t say. Paganism to me is like breathing, my heart beating, the wind blowing, the rain falling, the grass growing. It IS. I do not make it. I express it. I feel it. This is about ME and the EARTH and what I feel comes from that.

How did I “become” pagan? I mean I wasn’t raised pagan, so this was a choice, or was it really? When I was a teen, like so many other teens, I started questioning everything. I was raised catholic and I found that it really didn’t answer my questions. I am not going to go into what didn’t make me happy about my religion because I feel that is attacking in some ways catholics. It wasn’t for me, and that is enough. I didn’t get right to paganism, I checked out about every book on religion I could get my hands on. Remember, this was before the internet. Or at least before I had ready access to it. Nothing really meshed with me though. I found little bits of many things I liked, but not enough. I even tried reading the bible. It just wasn’t getting me anywhere. Then I remembered a friend of my moms was a witch, but she wasn’t a witch, it was some sort of religion. And that sent me searching even more. I found Wicca. It wasn’t quite right either, but the basics behind it were right on. There were some parts I didn’t really like though. Oh well. Between Wicca, Hinduism and Buddhism I had found something. And it grew within me. That is the best way to describe it. I have done lots of reading the past twenty years. The funny thing is, it hasn’t really changed my beliefs or feelings on my spirituality. It is almost like I uncovered it within myself. And really that is how I believe it should be. Belief is in a person and it is up to them to find it. Which is what led me to not share my beliefs much, oh I do LOVE talking about religion and such, but I find that beliefs are very personal. Anyway, that is why, for the first years as a parent at least, I did not really talk about my beliefs much with the girls. Jack was not pagan, it was just me, and that was fine. Then I got a shock. A big shock. My girls were picking up chirstian beliefs even though they weren’t exposed to it in our home. What the hell? Jack pointed it out to me that if I wasn’t going to mention religion, other people were and that was how kids learn. So it was either, I teach them or others. It wasn’t how I wanted it, but how often are things the way you want them? So I started mentioning my feelings on things, when I pray, how I pray, who I pray to. Why it is important to say thank you to the plant when you harvest. Why you send energy into the earth when you plant things. Why it is important to say thank you when you kill an animal to feed yourself. It wasn’t good enough for me though and I do have a love for all things religion. So we also talked a lot about what other people believe and how everyone is right. There is no one way. So I follow them. I have been a solitary kitchen witch for almost 20 years. It is weird for me to even talk about what I do. It is breathing to me remember. The girls brought it out a bit though. We do a little bit more because of them. A few rituals here and there. For example we did an Imbolc ritual for the safe kidding of our goats. We blessed stones and sewed them on their collars. We set out mead and butter and bread for the fairies. To try and explain how we are pagan in our every day life though is hard. There is no church, no set worship. It is every day, every minute. Looking outside as the sun rises, milking the goats and nuzzling them after and saying thank you to them for what they give us(which is currently my first attempt at ice cream heating up on the stove right now), it is holding an animal that is sick and giving them my strength and energy and praying for help.

So that explains a little, right? Maybe I will remember to explain more as I go on. To share the magical details of our farm. I ask you to remember though that when I talk farming a lot of times I am talking to very christian farmers and I have a tendency to leave out those little details 🙂

Anyway, this week has been nice. I say that mostly because well, the past few days have been beautiful!!! It is crazy to think that some of our first nice days have been at the end of April. Tomorrow it is going to return to late winter early spring again though. We need the rain however, so I am not going to complain. Hell, after two summers of drought I am not sure if I will ever complain about rain again. We got a bit done this weekend and throughout. Jack has been getting every other weekend as a four day. He has been working 10 hours days on every day, but with the sun staying longer we still have been able to get some things done when he gets home anyway. One big thing that was fixed this weekend was my milking stanchion. It still is not quite how I want it, but it is functional now. It was way too big for the goats so the whole head part had to be taken apart. It was a huge pain. We also moved the dogs down into stock. They are still tied up. It is sad, all the animals that they grew up with are happy with them, but the couple of sheep we have gotten well, they aren’t happy with the dogs. So we are trying to slowly get them used to them. And today is actually the puppies birthday!!! They were born on Beltane last year! It is hard to believe that the little fluffballs that fit into our hands now weigh as much or more than me. We worked on Mac and Anya’s yurt platform. They should be moving onto the land sometime this month, yay!!!

Monday was actually a busy day for us as we moved stock. They are only sided on one side by high tencel now. That doesn’t make me happy, but they really needed to be moved. And hey, our grass has doubled in size since the sun came back. Anya came over that night also and weeded almost a whole row of the garden. I think these are 50 foot rows, so that is super impressive. And that just wasn’t enough. Jack got home and we sheared Phedre. Oh my goddess!!! She has some amazing wool. Really I am happy with all the wool we have gotten so far. Amazed really. I have gotten to wash and pick some of the wool from our sheep too. There is just something else about doing it with all your own stuff. I still have so much wool that isn’t ours though. Hopefully this summer I get caught up. Anya and I also planted witch hazel all around the pond. I still have sycamores to plant and Jack has a bunch of trees to plant also. In general though it is going smoothly. I wish Jack was home more so we could get more done but hey, you can’t have everything. Tonight there are big plans of planting sweet potatoes and flax and get holes dug for fence posts and putting in fence posts. Can I say it feels weird not having a birth this week?

We do have some sad news. Melisande is having eye issues. We are not sure if it was damage or pink eye. The treatment is about the same though. Now all we can do is wait and hope she doesn’t go blind. Depending on the severity of what happens she will either stay in stock, hopefully she gets her sight back or she ends up being tethered very close to water and food. I didn’t think Jack would come up with that option, but it is there. I can just hope that she does well being tethered if it comes to that. We are doing what we can with her though and will just have to see.

Oh and Ruby was once again in heat. We think that next time we might A.I. her. That would give her a March birthing. Crazy to think that in a year we will have cow milk! And sometimes I am surprised at how patient we are. Of course a lot of it has to do with money. There is no way we can afford a cow in milk. Oh and I started making my own herbal wormer. The animals are totally loving it. In fact we all ate one of the balls also and yep, they were pretty tasty. We should have started this before, but well, I didn’t. But I am now and that is what counts.

So in all busy week with lots of little things happening. I am going to enjoy my Beltane and enjoy that we actually have a spring this year and haven’t gone right into summer. The in between seasons really are my favorites. So much can happen now.