Strawberry Fields Forever!!

Living is easy with eyes closed

misunderstanding all you see

It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out

A couple days ago Jack and I were out in the garden planting strawberries.  I started singing this song.  I think after you plant 500 some strawberries on a cloudy windy day you need something to brighten it.  The sun is out currently.  Which is nice.  I was worried that once again I wouldn’t be able to write this week.  I am happy for the rain.  Our pond is still insanely low.  The dreary days get to me though.  Luckily our house has been doing well in keeping us warm.  We have only had a couple of fires.  Of course I also think that part of it is that we are acclimating to 60s inside. Jack’s hypothesis is that since we are all getting up and immediately going outside once we get inside it feels warm.  Then the house warms up and it is all good.  In any way, we rarely feel the need to have a fire and I am glad.  Another part of the reason I did not write last week was because I was madly sewing halloween costumes.  One day I will realize that it is not mandatory for me to start costumes ten days before halloween.  One day I will learn this.  One day.

So what has been going on???  We are getting the garden in order.  The girls were mulching like fools the day Jack and I did the strawberries.  Jack went through and measured and marked all the rows.  So hopefully we don’t start go outside and making our rows wider than is manageable.  We still haven’t gotten out our garlic, but I have hope.  Really, I have to have hope.  Jack and I also went through our seeds and figured out what we will have to order this year.  I am just through canning and preserving all of this harvest and already we are thinking to next year.  It makes sense to me sometimes but it is also hard because damn, vacation?  Slow time?  I know better, this life doesn’t have that.  We also got all the chard and some kale and collards into the greenhouse.  Yea for year round greens!!!  At our last potluck someone brought fresh greens really we should still have tons of greens if it weren’t for the chickens.  They tasted so good.  I went back for seconds.

So gardens are going better.  We did catch most of the poultry.  They are in their portable poultry palace.  There was another P in there somewhere but I can’t remember the full name Jack gave it.  They are kind of loving it.  And who wouldn’t?  I have to admit before it housed all of our poultry I was contemplating taking it for myself and as a get away house 🙂

The animals are doing well also.  Well all of them now…  We did take in the two sows and four lambs in to the butcher. Loading the pigs went well.  I so wish I had video of  us cathing the four lambs.  Jack is amazing.  How many times can I say that?  He really is.  The girls and I worked on herding the sheep and Jack would try to hook them with the shepards hook.  Sounds easy.  Hey if you feel like seeing how easy it is come visit and we will try to catch lambs with you 🙂   I will say that never again should we ever let Imriel breed our sheep, or at least no sheep but our shetlands.  All of them were insanely small.  We kept back a bigger ram who isn’t related to anyone but his mother and hopefully he will be busy this year.  Jack is threatening to castrate Imriel.  Which would be sad.  I mean I think he lives for breeding time.  Well, he is a ram, he does live for breeding time.  That is silly of me to think otherwise.  So since we have taken those animals to the butcher we are trying to clean out the freezer.  So I have been canning all the meat that was left over from the last pigs.  I will also can up the roosters in there.  It is just easy to have canned meat around.  Quick easy meals.  We also have to butcher about 7 more roosters.  I am finding that as I empty canning jars I fill them again.  There is nothing wrong with this, in fact it is good.  Just damn it takes so much time!

And time is not something I have.  I have four sheepskins out there for me to tan.  We got them back from the butcher.  Today would be a great day to go out there and flesh them out but I am watching the canner.  I won’t be done canning until the sun goes down either.  Hopefully I can get my act together and get almost everything I need to get done done.

Fence isn’t going so well.  There is a lot of things that need to get done.  I thought I would try and help and get a quote from a local person to put the fence up for us.  Turns out it is about 3 times what we can afford.  Even though a good portion of it is already done.  Crazy that we got pretty much the same quote for the fence as last time, when nothing was done.  Makes me angry.  There is not much to be done about it though.  Well except to build the fence ourselves sometime you know when we aren’t busy anymore…

Hmmm, what else?

Moving animals is going well.  We have planned out winter pasture.  Though we are avoiding using it until we think we will have regular freezing weather/too much snow to move the portable fences.  And I will just make the mention now that our fall so far is much more mild that what it has been.  My weather prediction is holding true.  Oh we have had freezes but not as many as we normally have by this time in the year.  I am slightly hopeful for a winter like two years ago.  There was snow, there was cold but we had a lot of warmth in between.  I can hope but I am not going to hold my breath.

There is exciting news that we will be taking a vacation this winter.  Vacation.  Okay not really.  We will be going to at least one farm conference.  We figure that it is during a time that all the goats should be dry, no one will be due to kid and well, it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone to watch the farm for us.  The girls have been excited since we made the decision.  They are already planning what they will need to take.  This is months away yet they are still this excited.  Really they have always loved going to farm conferences.  When I read them the schedule they started planning which talks they wanted to go to and what questions they were going to ask.  It is at times like these that I am so amazingly proud of my daughters.  They are so intelligent and wonderful.  Love them dearly.  Oh don’t get me wrong they are also really excited about indoor hotel pools and the possibility of a shower 🙂

It is the little things that matter to us.  One day we might even have a shower.

We did have some more sadness last week also.  At a family meeting we decided that it would be best to euthanize Huck.  Huck had been with us for over thirteen years.  He really was the best dog ever.  I don’t say that lightly. It was a hard decision to make.  One that I cried about for many weeks.  After it was done though I realized that it really was for the best.  He was in so much pain.  He still had happy moments but I see now that waiting for his life to be all bad moments was not the way to go.  He got some extra special love in his last days.  I am glad that he is in a place where there is no more pain.

I do realize though that the life my daughters are living is so much different from my life.  Yes, we live in the same house and we do the same work.  They have lived this farm life for awhile now.  They are much closer to life and death.  They see it and understand it in a way that I am just beginning to.  Gwendy asked Jack why she wasn’t crying like I was.  He asked her if she was sad.  She said she was but Huck was old and in pain, she saw it as a natural thing for him to die.  These girls in some ways mystify me.

That about sums up the past couple of weeks.  Tomorrow is Jack’s birthday.  He is getting the day off work, supposedly at least.  He plans on building fence.  He built fence on his birthday last year also.  He plans on building fence next year too.  Oh dear.  One day all the fence will be built, the gardens established and I will be canning and making cheese every day.  Sigh, the good farm life.

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