Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday on the farm

I love Sunday mornings, it’s the one day I allow myself to sleep uninterrupted by the alarm. I might wake up at 6am or it might be 7am and I’ll lay in bed listening to the morning sounds until the calls coming from the milk goats finally gets me out of bed.

Sometimes (like this Sunday) I just go ahead and milk in my pajamas. I bring my first steaming cup of french press out and enjoy the cool, quiet morning in the milk parlor with some of my favorite beings. Today I felt totally spoiled when I came in from milking and Linda was making biscuits Sunday breakfast is something to look forward to.

Sundays I feel so at peace, I don’t allow myself to rush to do anything and I make a special point to do very little work other than just taking care of the animals and watering the fields if necessary. I use this day to enjoy the farm and the fruits of its labor.

Linda is off to a full day at church and I have set aside some time to clean out my office which has become rather unsightly. Even though this is indeed work I’m going at it in a zen way of clearing out. That way I’m not breaking with tradition but…… Here’s the deal. I let things stack up. Un- opened mail, un-answered e-mails, paper work in piles of sorts etc. until finally it gets so bad that it takes a day of this so called “clearing out”. Who else does that?
I’m not sure how long it will take me today to put my life back in order but I’ll definitely set some time aside for a long walk and a nap. I love Sundays, maybe I’ll go for a swim down at the lake. Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I've received several e-mails today regarding the farm coming up for sale. All this has just come up so fast. We haven't discussed the details in detail but I'll be putting something together and will post very soon.
So far I'm really excited about the new change and the new opportunities ahead but scared of change at the same time.
I had a lunch group out today and I had such fun. They enjoyed the fam so much and the food. When they left I had a deep sadness but it kept getting displaced by the joy of knowing Living kitchen has just received the oportunity of a lifetime.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What does an answered prayer look like?

OK so here’s what happened: I had been struggling emotionally and financially with how I was going to keep the farm. The original agreement between the Ex and me is I would buy it from her this summer. I planned to have enough money for a down payment by Spring but as luck would have it my money making scheme of selling plants was a complete and utter failure.
I desperately wanted to stay at the farm but how was it going to be with the ex as my Land lord? or even if she would be willing to let me stay? I soon came to the sad conclusion it was time to let it go. Carissa and Carsten jumped in and offered for me to move the yurt and stay on their land. We thought this might work, there is plenty of room for my animals and it would be nice to have the support of each other. This felt great having an option. So great I was able to really consider that I would actually survive the loss of the farm I had lived and worked on for the past 6 years.

Admittedly I felt it might be more of a challenge to live in the yurt than it was when I first moved here six years ago. I lived in it for one year, it was a wonderful life changing experience but it was physically demanding. I’m walking up to my 44th year of life and things are creakier than they were when I was 39. But I was willing to give it a try. Linda and I decided that the move to the yurt would be a good time for her and I to merge our lives so……the possibilities seemed interesting. Not quite convinced this would be the right move, being at Carissa and Carsten's beautiful place seemed an amazing blessing.

So last week a realtor came to the farm to see what we may be able to ask for it. She was impressed and thought we would start at a higher asking price than I would have imagined. Enough to help me get settled somewhere else. But…….. I still wasn’t convinced I was willing to give up the farm……..

Thursday afternoon Heather Oakly, someone I greatly admire (global gardens) called and left a message that she wanted to talk to me. I thought it might be about a car (I’m shopping) I called her the next morning. She started out by saying…”you might think this is really weird but”……..”You know my family has this farm, its 400 acres”. Uh hu…..go on. “ the caretaker has left and my dad thought of you“. Knowing nothing of what I had been going through this came as quite a surprise. He knew I was settled in my own farmed but thought I might know someone like myself who could live and work on their farm

which right now wasn’t being used in the way they felt needed to be.
So I took a few minutes and explained my situation and thought maybe this would be an ideal place for me. Both of us very excited she gave me directions. Linda and I would go and take a look at it see if it was something we would be interested in. We would meet with the Family Saturday after market if we were.

Boys were we! I can’t even explain the feeling I had when I walked through the caretakers cottage, stepped through the iron gate into the properties beyond, walk down trails through one series of ponds to the next, watched the cows grazing peacefully and set foot on the wraparound porch of the log cabin which was built by this family and their love for each other and their love and respect of the balance of nature. Overtaken by the immense beauty of this place from my toes to the top of my head I knew this is what an answered prayer looked like. I couldn’t wait to tell Heather how much we loved the place!

The next day we met the family and spend about four hours together talking very deeply and openly about what this all meant to us and the possibilities that could lie ahead. A place for the dairy and the prospect of getting a licensed on farm processing facility up and running, A beautiful space for farm table dinners and a big garden, room to grow, trails for horseback riding, fishing, writing, living and creating and continuing abundant life on these lands.
The farm is right off of route 66 between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. 7 miles or so from Okie wine country. Couldn’t be a better location for us.
The amazing coincidence seems so perfectly in balance so perfectly divine. I can’t think of anything else. We are so excited.
This means I will be putting my lovely farm up for sale.

I have a feeling it may also be what an answered prayer looks to someone else.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The thinking tub

On the edge of my sheep pasture, there is an old iron tub that sits abandoned amits some old iron objects that now lay unrecognizable in the tall grass. This area once was the previous occupants dump pile, their own personal land fill. When Lisa and I moved here we removed most of the debris; an old burned up microwave, a refrigerator, bed springs, gas cans (no doubt once used to douse these items with fuel for burning) Lots of smoked and charred tin cans and jars and just some other random things that I had no idea what they were.

While on our search for the perfect property we ran across a lot of these homemade trash incinerating sites, the thing is I never could understand how one could think one could burn away a refrigerator or glass jars or tin cans. I do understand that not too long ago there was no garbage service, and now that there is, it’s still hard for some to get used to or justify the $15.00 a month to have their trash taken off their property, when they could just dispose of it for free out on the back forty.

I see my neighbor across the street loading up his old pick up with trash cans and driving to the back of his property. And my neighbor to the north of me, I have never seen a garbage can on the curb side waiting to be picked up.

But this story isn’t about trash or maybe it is a little. The old tub is a white wash blue, weathered and antiqued from the many Oklahoma seasons it’s no doubt encountered. It sits at the highest point of the property, so if you sit in the tub or on the edge you have a wonderful view of the rolling hills and horizon beyond. It’s been nice to sit in it when there is snow on the ground or when the grass is high and you don’t want to just sit on the grass, so it serves as refuge from ticks, chiggers and the likes. It’s far enough away that I can’t see the house and however abandon it once was its now and has been for a number of years a peaceful quiet place for doing some hard core contemplation.

I’ve sat in the tub during thunderstorms, snow storms, beautiful spring and summer mornings and evenings and even three in the morning star gazing when I couldn’t sleep. I’ve contemplated life, death, success, failure, loss, dreams, ideas and fears and have been inspired. I’ve dissected the past, planned for the future. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried and I’ve been soaked to the bone by a sudden down pour. I’ve even been joined by baby goats and I’ve watched deer and coyotes cross the field right in front of me while I sit quietly.

So this morning I felt the call to the thinking tub. I wanted to think about my mom and how much I miss her. Every year since I’ve lived here I spend mother’s day alone. One year I made a huge flower bed, the next I added to it. But today it’s wet and rainy so I sit in the tub and allow myself to indulge in my mother’s memory, of the wonderful woman she was. I also allow myself to think of my sister who was also like a mother to me who I lost to cancer just last August and I remember the laughs we all had. I rarely let myself indulge in such things out of fear I will fall into a great un-yielding despair. But today I’ve given myself the freedom to feel and the place to do it.
So my cliché thought of the day…..turns out the thinking tub is quite a treasure, you know where I’m going with this.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What a beautiful Seattle morning it was today. As I headed to Tulsa this morning to peddle vegetable plants at the farmers market at 6:30 I was taken by the many memories I have of this very sight. A thick foggy mist filling the air like smoke hovering behind and around the rich dark greenness of pines, cedars, maples and the clean smell of sweet moss and rotting leaves and fungi.

My old stomping ground back in Seattle had large Magnolia trees. Their smooth wet red bark always beckoned me to touch them as I passed by on my morning walks. I’m not alone I’ve seen many fellow walkers be called to do the same thing. One day I observed a full stride walker suddenly veer off the path and go right to the tree and touch it and then carry on ahead like nothing ever happened (this is Washington).

My morning walks at Seward Park on the south side of Lake Washington were always peaceful and spectacular, hiking through the damp morning trails with my dog, walking on a path of sweet rotting soft leaves and pine needles. The bright green moss on the north side of the towering pines seemed to cast a bright shimmer in spite of the lack of sunshine. It was damp, green, lush and quiet.

Walks at the park were usually solitaire, just me and my dog. In spite of it being a very popular park, run- ins with other walkers were few and far between but when two walkers would cross paths or pass each other going opposite directions there was the polite nod and a silent recognition of the quite comfort of the morning.

I drove down hwy 33 taking in the view the now full leaved black jack oaks that serve precedence over these woods. The scenery I have been used to for the past five years of driving down this highway was nearly unrecognizable. Years ago I usually dreaded this constant wet mist but now it reminds me of home and for the first time I feel this deep appreciation of my damp Seattle past and of the paths and trails of rotting soft leaves and of the bright moss on the north side of the pines so I would never lose my direction.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Let sleeping goats.....alone

Ah, some peace and quiet as the little ones take their late morning nap. It’s a cool morning and the promise of a day without rain has everyone a little excited. The kids seemed unmoved by the drop temperature this weekend but were not thrilled about the many inches of rain that kept them in their little barn for the past several days. Mostly they are focused now primarily sleeping or eating and screaming. (not necessarily in that order) Fourteen kids is a lot to handle all at once. Yes they are cute as bugs and sweet and a thrill to watch but the other day at 1:38 am when they decided to get up and demand my attention, I made it my highest priority to get these sweet, cute adorable kids to their perspective homes.

After the 1:38 wake-up call from the kid barn, I did managed to go right back to sleep and at 5:30 when the alarm went off I was feeling pretty rested. I enjoyed journaling and coffee until 5:45 when I was reminded of my new commitment to get my kids homes and fast! By the sounds outside that had reached a high long scream that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I went out to make sure no one was hurt and the whole gang joined in unison on one long loud scream that sounded like HEYYYYY!!!!!!!! I threw down a flake of alfalfa which did quiet them down for a little bit long enough for me to finish my coffee and the point I was making in my journal which had something to do with the harmony of the farm being seriously out of tune.

This happens occasionally, when the farm and I are out of sync and fighting with each other. But the farm always wins because it’s always right, and at first I argue. The farm tells me it’s time to get the kids to their homes, or its time to slaughter a few roosters or its time to put the ram in with the ewes etc… when things start getting difficult around here it’s because certain things must be done in order for harmony to be restored. The thing is sometimes I don’t have time. The farm does not care! And I quickly find that the little time I have is being eaten up with reacting to things that I haven’t been managing.

It’s hard not to lose patience and become grouchy and when I do everyone notices and it just gets worse, the milk goats won’t cooperate the chickens are very uptight and the dogs just give me that gloomy look and then I feel as if the world is just about to come to an end. Catching the downward spiral quick is the key. Sometimes I will just stop what I am doing and go spend a few moments or as long as it takes meditating and coming to peace. Reminding myself that this is all just a state of mind, fully loaded with the buffet of emotions of my choice. I choose peace, serenity and happiness.

The farm has been one of the most sacred places I have ever lived. Every day I experience great gratitude and am thankful to have been given such a special opportunity. I’ve learned many things in the past five years here, the most important being the peaceful knowledge that this is what I want to do. Yes. I know I want to milk goats for many, many years to come, I want to farm and work in harmony with nature. This I know for certain if nothing else and I now know without a doubt I make a great farmer, that is my seat, I rest in that knowledge.

Later today a good friend will come and take five kids to their new home. They couldn't be going to a better place. They will be well taken care of and loved. I will miss them but harmony will be restored and my ear drums will be thankful, and the farm gets what it wants.