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.