Sunday, March 29, 2009

a short breather

I’ve been trying to post for about four days now and keep getting interrupted and when I come back to the post I was working on.... well, things have changed so much it’s no longer relative. So quick while everyone is taking naps I’ll sit here quietly and type away.

Where to start?

Sally had three baby boys two weeks ago Monday, they are strong and healthy and full of it! A few days later Racy had two more buckling's both very beautiful but had a lot of trouble staying warm. We ended up bringing them inside. It was dire for one who was not responding and the temps were dropping. We were able to get them warm with dry towels a heating pad and a krankin’ wood stove, they started eating well and were bouncing all over the place today so I just moved (threw, banished, got rid of) them outside a few hours ago where they seem very happy with Sally’s triplets.

Yesterday Sugar gave birth to two more buckling. She is a new freshener so she wasn’t really sure what she was supposed to do with these cold wet blobs, of course it was cold and snowy so again, in the house they went with the other two and we all cuddled up next to the wood stove. Racy didn’t seem to mind and appreciated the hay and water.

The big snow storm yesterday surprisingly dropped at least 6 inches and 8-10 in places where it drifted. Lost power which made feeding babies and cleaning a little difficult but we managed quite well. I had just started cooking chicken and dumplings on the wood stove at about 9pm when the lights finally came on. We had candles and lamp light, it was rather nice but with the extra company in the house (4 bucklings) it was nice to have power.

The dogs

were very happy to play in the snow.

Today is beautiful, warm and wet from the melting snow. All but one buckling is doing fine. The one is very week. He is eating but doesn’t seem to be able to get around too well. I’ll keep him in the house a few days longer until he is strong enough.
The last two evenings have been baby watch. The first night I slept on the couch feeding the new Born's every two hours. The next night (last night) Linda was on watch I slept happily in my bed and she fed every two hours or so. Both nights we were able to doze in between feeding usually with a buckling cuddled up on our chest sleeping soundly. Kasey was on watch most of the evening while I did chores and milked he was extremely happy to head out to the yurt last night away from all the noise.

So, there has been a lot of action around here and the cuteness is oozing out of this place like nobody’s business. So far three Does have kidded and 5 more to go. It feels good to milk again. An ewe had one female lamb also on Friday and both are doing well.
Today the new lamb was frolicking in the snow with the other
lambs with Paschal keeping a very close eye on them, He loves his lambs.
I’m looking forward to a quiet night, and a full night of sleep maybe. Until tomorrow. Until the next round comes due.
There I did it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

First Lambs

Upon doing morning chores, Linda discovered two bouncing baby lambs in the barn. They were probably born some time late last night because they are all cleaned and look well fed. Lady Left-Teat is the proud mother. The lambs are both male and look very strong and healthy. I have one more ewe to give birth any day now, hoping for females. And of course the anticipated arrival of Sally's kids on Monday.

Off to Conrad's to get onion plants, and to introduce Kasey to the local flavor!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Welcome Kasey!

Last Wednesday, Kasey, LK’s new intern came rolling in with his U-hall full of personal belongings, things he would need to make his life comfortable for the next however many months in the Yurt. The first night was a cold one. I offered him the spare room in the house but he was intent for his first night on the farm to be spent in the yurt. With piles of blankets he stayed warm.

The following morning we went over the tasks at hand and talked about the garden, the transplanting and the goats. I was afraid by the end of our discussion he would have a panicked what have I gotten myself into look, but search after search of his facial expressions revealed none, just a willingness to get started. So we did.

The east plot (#4) is in pretty good shape, this will be the first one we get planted. I introduced him to Little Suzy and they bonded right way. He tilled the rows beautifully and with the addition of compost they will be ready to plant with potatoes, onions, spinach and greens by very early next week. I’m hoping to come to the first market with a plethora of greens.

I gave him a special project of designing a permanent bed system in plot #1 next to the raspberries. Here he will design an aesthetically pleasing, functional garden that will be used for growing food specifically for Farm Table Dinners and also serve as a teaching garden. He came up with a beautiful design. Can’t wait to get started on it!

The next several days we’ll spend transplanting tomato seedlings, so far in spite of the cold evening temps everyone (the seedlings) is holding up fine in the greenhouse. I have a small heater just so I can sleep through the night. The greenhouse will be full mid next week wow! It’s really happening. Life is good!

By the way!
Sally is huge. She looks ready to burst, her bag is already full and tight, poor girl. Monday is the day she kids.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I take it back there is a slight chance for snow tonight

An Oklahoma winter/spring/winter/spring???

An Oklahoma Spring rears is magnificent head, handing out a string of warm days and evenings and then suddenly turning cold. Undoing the blossoms on the trees, stopping the greening of the grass and making the birds retreat back into their warm nests. The cold front that moved in yesterday behind the several days of warm 70 plus degree days reminds me I am in Oklahoma and since the spring of 2004 I have witnessed this occurrence every year since and every year been somewhat dumbfounded. Silly me.
This year I’m not going to fight it. I prepared well in advance. I’m not attached to harvesting plums even though since I’ve moved to the farm I have only done so once and I might add they were the best plums! Not attached. I’m also not attached to having peaches this summer form Don Chiartarno, even though his peaches have been the best I have tasted in all of my life. Not attached. I have accepted I will wake up throughout the night and check the temperature in the greenhouse. I have resigned to the fact that I will be bringing tender seedlings in and out of the house. And I have accepted that this is how my lower back is going to respond to all of this.

But really I’m not ready for spring, the real one at least. I need the grass in the garden to stay looking dead for at least another week until I can get out there with the chisel plow. I still need to get beds ready for my first planting of onions, potatoes, beets and turnips, scallions and spinach.(I’m not early I’m not exactly on time but I’m not late) Not ready. So a reminder that winter aint over yet brings me a slight sense of relief, if only a fleeting one. They’ve removed the forecast for snow.

This is the time of year in spite of the weather the farm explodes with life and activity. Everything needs to be done all at once. Tomatoes and peppers need transplanting , garden needs to be planted, signing up for plant festivals need to be done, and within days my does will be poppin’ out kids and I’ll have an extra 16 mouths to bottle feed three times a day and a waterfall of white gold (goat milk!). Absolutely crazy and out of control but beautiful and gratifying. Throughout the chaos there is a calmness that falls over the farm like a thick blanket, and the only way I can really enjoy it is if I don’t try to control it. I have finally learned this. The farm is a living breathing entity who has a creative nature, you know the type. It’s better to just be as supportive as I can and not try to dictate what I want and who I want it to be. It always rebels, always. I make my requests and most times they are gladly accommodated, I’ve learned to trust the farm because there are times its blatantly obvious it knows best.

I’m off to don my Carhartts and feed the Animals. There’s a big day ahead.
I transplanted some tomato seedlings the other day, they look good. Right now they’re in the greenhouse covered in a protective tent of extra greenhouse plastic with a little heater that’s keeping it a nice 70 degrees in there for them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Hope and a Prayer

If all goes well I’ll be transplanting my first round of tomato plants early next week. I get the strangest feeling that this process I’m experiencing is much like what new parents must feel like when their home with their new born baby. I mean every morning I wake up, I pray that my little seedlings are still alive, that their healthy, and truth is I’ve never been this scared. I’m no stranger to the seed, but I have a lot riding on this crop. This is the preverbal mortgage lifter. This is where after I sell all these babies I have a decent down payment to put down on the farm which on a little more than a hope and a prayer I am buying from “the ex”.

As I drove to work today I had fifty minutes to think about how utterly dependant I am on this seed sowing to be a success. My livelihood, my future and I must admit my dignity. After about 15 minutes in the car “freaking out” I realized I was what my sweetheart refers to as “catastrophizing”. (Sweet word isn’t it?) That’s what I was doing. I was worrying how the seedlings were going to do without me, their mama for over seven hours today. Yes they were in the green house and yes they were safe, but…..WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED…WHAT IF THEY NEEDED THE DOOR CRACKED OR SHUT OR OPEN???? I got home just over seven hours later and they looked wonderful. A hope and a prayer baby.

The thing is the last several years have been hard. (That’s an absurd understatement; I might be catastrophizing, but not much). Until now I’d come to expect failure as part of the normal routine. For several years I have felt un-anchored, tossed from one storm to the next. Until finally, yup….the perfect storm came along and piece by piece the existence I had once known broke apart and drifted out to sea. The good news is I’ve washed up on shore and with immense gratitude, happily wringing my undergarments out and roaming the sandy beaches of life naked, vulnerable, and slightly cautious with a splash of PTSS, but never the less grateful.

It might be worth explaining, the references I make to the sea is due to the fact that I’m a maritime gal, even though I now live happily in landlubber’s paradise I grew up next to the sea, my blood is mixed in part by the cold salty waters of the Pacific. So I’m accustomed to thinking in ocean like terms. Inlanders might refer to “getting back on the horse”? or “ Dusting oneself off”.

On another note:
A new intern moves to the farm tomorrow. Somehow I feel pressured (by myself) to appear un -bent, and gathered up. But I don’t know if that will be real. I’m on edge, on alert. I’m the seedling mama. I’m humbled and ready for anything. It’s not perfect around here; there will be lots of farm mending to do. It is what it is. And with a hope and prayer everything will turn out OK. It will be nice to have a new set of eyes and hands around here and there is no doubt this will be a learning experience for both of us.
Can’t wait to introduce you.
Keepin’ the dream alive baby!!!!