Fallen off the edge of the earth?

January 17, 2013

I’ll bet many of you think that’s what happened to me…but actually, I’ve been here. Just so busy and reeling with all the stresses around here and all the extra stuff to do that I’ve just not had time to post anything.  But this morning, I looked out just after it got light, the morning after a snow (not a big one, but four inches or so) and saw all the snow on the trees, and how beautiful it looked and I had to share some photos. Let’s see if it works!



Took a while. They’ve changed the way things happen here at WordPress and the new system confuses me no end.  Anyway, this was the view I saw from the upstairs window as I looked out toward Ascutney, which is hidden behind the trees.


This is our house from the driveway with my special favorite tree.  I had a couple more of chickens and sheep, but now I can’t get them to this place.  And I really don’t have the patience to deal with it, so you’ll just have to trust me that it’s a beautiful morning here on the farm.

Our son continues to work on his house, currently on roof rafters. It is our sincere hope that within a month he will have enough done so they can move into the basement while he finishes the upper floors.  It is getting very old having such cramped and cluttered quarters.  He is working today, always a good thing!  So, I’m on childcare duty, which was upposed to mean home at 3, but Peter is sick, so it’s home all day instead.  I have knitting to do.  I’m on sock duty. The 30 pairs of socks I made last winter for Sue’s store are gone, so I need to restock the sock shelf.

I’ve had a lot of inquiries about lambs, so hopefully, I will be able to sell a lot of them this year.  It would be lovely to sell some breeding stock. Hay is very expensive.  And with sonJohn building on the lower meadow, I have much less pasture to use. I am trying to wrap my mind around reducing the flock considerably.  So far, I’m not doing very well.

Happy Winter.  I think the January thaw is finally over and we’ll now see some real weather.  Good!




Finally, ready for winter…almost…

November 25, 2012

It seems like the minute you think you’re all ready for winter, something else you should do pops into your mind. This year has been difficult, keeping up with chores, because with son and grands living here, there is so much more to do, seemingly waiting on them, keeping track of them, riding herd on them to keep their rooms clean, their beds made, their laundry done, and John has been working with sonJohn on the house, neglecting his own chores, and hopefully not working himself into a heart attack, trying to keep up with a 43 year old.

So, yesterday, I went to Marlboro, 1-1/4 hours away, to pick up Hazel Goatie-Girl, who was being bred.  Ew, she smells awful.  Buck smell is terrible.  I got some on my hands, and even after three washings with various soaps, they still smelled.  Then I remembered FELS NAPTHA, and the smell is gone.  Great stuff.  I’ve been making laundry detergent out of it, with washing soda and borax; makes great laundry detergent and is way cheaper and probably ecologically better, and gets the clothes very clean without a bunch of perfumy smells.  Works for me.

Today I am going to Cami and LIsa’s to look at a buck. If I should decide to buy him, I will keep him at Kassy’s. She would feed him in exchange for using him, and I would bring my girls there to be serviced.  Sounds like a deal to me.  She has other bucks so it wouldn’t be adding any smell to her place.  He will have to be spectacular, however, for me to sink money into a buck.  At $50 a pop to be serviced, I could do a lot of breeding without having to deal with a buck.

The sheep are all well and happy, moving into cold and winter, as their fleeces get longer and longer.  The layers are beginning to lay well (the ones who were new in June) so eggs are starting to stack up in the frig. Time to take them to church and sell them again.

John and I, granddaughter, Laura, and her friend, Christina went to a square dance on Friday night at the Weathersfield Meeting House. It was fun. I hope they do it regularly.  SonJohn and Peter opted out: apparently it wasn’t cool enough to do or maybe it’s just because I wanted sonJohn to go that he didn’t. Never know with him.  He’s as contrary as I am, if not more so.

It snowed last night, just a bit. THere are patches of white stuff here and there on the meadow.  Nothing more than a squall, really, but exciting, nevertheless, when I took Lizzie out for her nighttime toilette to see snow coming down and some sticking.  The wind is nasty, though.  I look forward to real snow soon, though I’m somewhat conflicted, because it would be nice to have sunny, warmish weather for another month, so sonJohn can get his house framed in.

Today is the Feast of Christ the King, which means next Sunday, Advent starts, the road to Christmas.  I guess I should start to think about shopping, though I’ll do none until after Advent starts.  Bit of a purist, that way.  I hope your Thanksgiving was a blessed and happy time.  Stay warm.


Post Sandy

November 1, 2012

Well, though Sandy wreaked havoc on the Jersey shore and the coast of Connecticut, and gave New York City a thorough power washing, it was pretty much a non event in this corner of Vermont, at least.  There were some gusts that sounded brisk, and about an inch of rain, or possibly a bit less, but not so much as a branch down around here. There was an old tree fallen on lines about 10 miles from here, and my internet and phone were down for several hours, so there must have been some issues to the west, where the phone company is located.

Halloween was also, as usual, pretty much a non event, other than a few kids going with my son, John, and his kids to the roller rink in Enfield for a Halloween party and not getting in til 10, when they proceeded to eat dinner.  Being an old, traditional lady, feeding 10 year olds dinner at 10 p.m. on a school night horrifies me, but every day I am made aware that we live in different times.  Many of today’s 40 year olds, even having been brought up “civilized” just don’t seem to enjoy civilization, as in reasonable bedtimes for kids, changing beds, cleaning, keeping cat boxes attended to, picking up, and taking care of possessions.  We old biddies sitting around spinning group often bemoan the fact that we don’t really know where our children came from or where the disconnect is…In my case, it certainly was NOT a reaction to cleaning police sort of bringing up.  Maybe they just absorbed that I did it though I didn’t enjoy doing it, and decided life’s too short to do stuff you don’t enjoy…no idea.  In any case, enforcing house rules around here is sometimes difficult.  But I just can’t get used to dirty clothes and wet towels in a pile molding and rooms that smell like cat boxes and dinners at 10 p.m. on schoolnights!  So, the challenge is when to keep one’s mouth shut and when to assert oneself!  Geez, I sound like an old lady, don’t I?  I think it’s better to move on and talk about sheep! And chickens…

The turkeys were done in a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving, so I thawed one out and it was the best tasting and tenderest ever.  I think it has made an enormous difference to raise them organically.  They were bigger at 4 months, so I didn’t wait to have them butchered til later.  16-18 pounds is plenty big for turkeys for me.  And I didn’t lose even one, unheard of around here in years past.  I don’t know if it was a fluke or the organic food, but you can be sure I’m sticking with the new regimen to see!

The meat birds seem huge to me this year. Again, organic food?  They have apparently eaten a lot less, since organic food is $25 a bag and regular is closer to $14 a bag, and so far, at 11 weeks, it has cost me less to raise these boys organically than with normal food in the past. AND, again, no losses since the few lost in the first few days after arrival, which I can’t be sure had anything to do with food or here.  There are 64 of them, and Mark and Company come on Monday to do them in.  It’s a good deal: I don’t mind raising them, and have the time to do so, but I’m not keen on killing anything…except flies.  Mark has the kind of life where he’s away on business trips often enough to make raising them next to impossible and certainly very inconvenient, but he is good with the killing and processing.  So, I raise, he processes. We spend one whole day together a year, with my preparing soups for lunch for his crew and us, and both cone away with chickens for the freezer for the year.  It’s a good plan.  AGain, I am so pleased with the organic food.  I know there have been recent studies suggesting there’s no more nutrition in organic than non organic…so I’m not sure why with my sheep, goats, chickens and turkeys, they grow better on less. Maybe it’s that there’s some elusive element in organic food that makes what nutrients there are in it more available to the “eater” which element is not in non-organic food.  Whatever it is, it is now true that for my sheep, goats, chickens and turkeys, it is cheaper to feed them organic grain than non-organic, despite the scary price tag on the bags!  And, being lazy, I really don’t mind hefting half the bags of feed!

This weekend is the New England Fiber Festival at the Big E in W. Springfield, Mass.  It is my least favorite show.  There seem to be very few vendors there that actually HAVE sheep, and a superfluity of people who buy in tons of wool/yarn from somewhere and hand paint it, etc.  Some of it is very beautiful, bt the venue is hence, more a commercial one than an agricultural one. They do try to have some sheep and goats there, and the alpaca people, marketers to the core, are out in numbers. At least they are people who OWN the animals they are peddling the fiber from.  I’ll give them that.  Though I personally would rather not knit than knit with alpaca.  I find it greasy and unpleasant feeling, dull, and lifeless, and has no body, doesn’t hold it’s shape.  Not to mention I”m allergic to alpacas and llamas, both of which can give me a bad headache in a very short time, so I avoid them like the plague.  Besides, I have a problem with animals that spit on me if they’re unhappy.  I also have a problem with males who pee on their beards to make themselves attractive to females, finding it repulsive, so I won’t be keeping any goat bucks on campus any time soon.  The girls go out to be bred and generally come back needing a long shower with sonething like Murphy’s Oil Soap…, which I’m not about to give them, so I just hope they get caught in the rain soon after getting back…which is difficult, since goats don’t like rain or water in any form.  They tend to stay in the shed if it’s raining or if their feet will get wet to go out for hay in the morning.  Sheep, on the other hand, come out in rain, snow, sleet, or hail for food, and prefer sleeping out to sleeping in, unless it’s sleeting or hailing.

So, anyway, the agricultural busy tine is winding down. After the meat birds go in the freezer and I pick up our beef next week, there will just be the ruminants (sheep and goats) and the layer hens for the winter. Time to catch up on spinning, knitting, and reading.  By the way, I’m reading a spiritual autobiography, for lack of a better term, by Phyllis Tickle, very enjoyable and thought provoking.  She has a marvelous turn of phrase, I’m guessing partly from having been brought up in the deep south in the 40’s and 50’s and partly because of her extensive education in the classics and a lifetime practically of being religion editor of Publishers’ Weekly.  One line I loved was that Pollyanna was the saint of annoying compliance.

Okay, time to go feed the sheep and all the other critters. How do I know that? Because Lizzie, my loyal companion and resident high energy border collie, is whining that I’m not on schedule.  We are SUPPOSED to go out at 7:10, and it’s 7:19…how dare I!!! Her sheep need feeding!

Okay, so it’s been forever…

October 23, 2012

What a crazy couple of months it’s been.  First, my son and grandkids moved in temporarily, while he builds his house, which hasn’t really started yet.  I can see that it’s not going to be three months, but rather til the end of the school year, at least.  It means we are living in three rooms instead of six, have boxes of stuff piled all over the place, for there’s no room for them, have lost some boxes…like the one full of computer paper, paraphernalia, etc…somewhere in the house or barn, and there’s not much in the way of privacy, since the way to their part of the house is through ours.  Then, there was the coyote attack.  In early September, or was it the last days of August, it’s all a blur at this point, responsible coyote parents, teaching their young the skills they would need when they went out on their own (as in, how to hunt) attacked my sheep. I lost 11 of the 15 ewes I had.  It was a shock…we never heard them, despite being up with all the windows open.  They and the sheep they were chasing all over 4 acres of pasture were totally quiet.  The silence of the lambs extends toward mature sheep, it seems.  So, I’ve been restocking, slowly and carefully, and locking them in the shed each night.  Then there were the turkeys to raise,  (in the freezer this week), and the meat birds (hopefully in the freezer nwxt week), the pigs to harvest and take stuff to smoker for smoking and curing…and all the extra stuff required when you have children living in your house who have soccer practice, games, forget their trumpets, need clothes for a funeral, etc.  And there were/are the winter shows, and preparing for them.  Finally, I am down to one show left, first week in Nov.(New England Fiber Fest or whatever they call it at the Big E, in Springfield, Mass.) and then I can settle down to a winter of spinning and knitting without the need to hurry up and get so many pairs of mittens done or so many pairs of socks, etc.  I am thinking of making myself a grey aran sweater.

Meanwhile, John and I are beginning to think about our trip to England in June, hoping to find at least one sheep show to attend.  And hoping to be able to afford to see “Billy Elliiot” in London.

I’ve not done anything else with goat cheese making since  the goat milk from the alpines or whatever kind of goats they were was just too goaty for any of us to be willing to eat.  None of us like that smell.  This weekend, I take the two goatie girls (Nigerian Dwarf) to be bred. Hopefully, it will be true that their milk, which I’ve tasted twice, and find non goaty, comparatively) will make cheese that doesn’t have that aftertaste that reminds me of goat smell.  There are and never will be, any bucks on campus, which I know cuts down on the nasty aftertaste/smell that others find appealing and not nasty.  We shall see…

Son and grandkids speak occasionally (used to be a lot before they moved up here) of farming and learning about animals, but so far, they’ve had zero interest in anything but their own chickens.  We shall see about that as well.  Two of the little goatie girls I bought for them, but if they aren’t going to learn how to care for them, provide some housing and have a plan to ;buy food and other necessities, they aren’t getting the goats. I’d rather someone had them who would take care of them.

The Long Hot Summer

July 17, 2012

Okay, you’re right.  I’ve been absent from the blog for weeks.  It’s been a very busy summer.  With the addition fo the goatie girls, there are more animals to feed this summer. Putting up fencing and moving animals around takes a bit of time.  The pigs, bless their pea picking little hearts, have pulled apart their long term waterer, so we’ve been hauling water to them several times a day. We finally got a new “pig nipple” and have repaired the waterer, which will help enormously.  And I’ve been busily making cheese and taking an oil painting class which takes up every SAturday morning into the afternoon.  And this year, we have a seasonal site at Island Pond, so sometimes, it’s “side out, rotate” as farm sitters move in and we head up morth.  It is marvelous up there, where it is 10 degrees cooler and there’s always a breeze off the lake.  I wish we could go up more often, but between obligations, appointments, activities, and animals, we don’t make it up as often as we otherwise would.

I love the oil painting, even though it’s outside, often in the hot sun.  I am learning a lot, though it is a bit frustrating, as my “style” isn’t the same as the teacher’s style.  I am trying to learn his way of doing the paintings, even though I don’t like the result as much as I like the result when I do it the way I want to.  I’m not giving up on the way I do it, but think it is a good discipline to learn another way to do something, and it will make my style, when I return to it, better in some way.  Meanwhile, I struggle with representing trees with smears of color.  It seems to me that he oil paints the way many water color paint…and I mostly don’t like water color paintings.  However, I know I’ve already learned a lot about color and balance and value and composition and a great process to arrive at a composition, one of my weaknesses, so it’s been a worthwhile venture.

As to the cheesmaking, I took a course, while we were up at Island Pond at a local historical venue, Old Stone Village, in Brownington.  It was an all day workshop, we made four kinds of cheeses, and it gave me confidence to try it on my own at home.  So, I’ve made some mozzarella, some queso blanco, and out of some goat milk, more queso blanco and chevre.  I really don’t like goat milk or goat milk cheese, though I am looking forward to trying it with MY goats.  I have tasted the milk from Nigerian Dwarf goats, and it doesn’t taste goatie, as other goat milk does.  THe chevre was good except after swallowing it, there was a nasty taste in my mouth the way goats smell. And this goat milk was from Alpines and not very strong.  Hoopefully, once I get the hang of milking mine and using it, the cheese will not have that aftertaste…and if it does, the goats will still support themselves by my selling their kids, and the milk can be used to feed the piglets.  Or not…if I choose not to milk after trying it.

It has been a very hot and dry summer. THe grass and pastures, for the first time since we’re in Vermont, look like N.J., all brown.  It rained a little Sunday night, but not enough.  I am worried that I will run out of grass for the animals to eat.  HOpefully, it will rain a lot more this afternoon.  Thunderstorms are predicted, which are supposed to break this hot spell.  We can only hope.

Spinning today.  It will be good to sit among friends and spin or knit, whichever I decide to bring with me.  Probably knitting, simply because, if it’s raining when we leave, carrying the wheel out in the rain, and up Elizabeth’s long driveway to the car, doesn’t appeal. I guess I’m getting old and lazy.

The goatie girls have arrived!

April 27, 2012

Wednesday morning, I took Annabelle Goatie-girl to be bred, thinking I had about a week and a half before Hazel had kids, and that would give her some peace and quiet.

Yesterday morning I went out to find Hazel and three doelings. Two were three pounds each and very healthy, all dried off and walking around; clearly they had been born the evening before. The third was hyperthermic (hypo? cold and weak and almost dead!). So, I brought her into the house, gave her a nice warm bath to raise her body temperature, and had to tube her, once she was warmed up, since she wouldn’t /couldn’t suck…which meant I had to go milk out mama!  During the course of the day, I milked and tubed three times.  After dinner, I started her on the bottle.  She took about a half ounce each time, but very reluctantly, unwilling or unable to nurse properly.  But she was up and around, walking, standing, and when sleeping, being a very good girl, all wrapped in a “receiving blanket”, bound tight, and quiet for a few hours until it was time for feeding, peeing, and exercise.

This morning I went out, gave all the lambs their first CDT’s, wormed everyone, and put the sheep out to pasture. Then, I got littlest goatie girl, and put her with mama, who heard her wailing on the way and called back, eager to have her little one back. Mama was very attentive, and baby found the fountain and had a big drink.  I guess she did know how to nurse, just didn’t want that nasty plastic nipple!  (Lizzie won’t drink from plastic water containers either!  She’s a very discerning and particular dog!)  Anyway,  I’ll check every couple of hours and make sure the little one is continuing to progress. Depending on what I find, I may bring her in for the night, since it’s supposed to be below freezing tonight and she was very compromised. She was two pounds yesterday. Today, she is a little plumper, but the other two look to have grown bigger, so she’s about half their size.

This is a too dark picture of the littlest girl inside early yesterday.  She is very sweet, but was quite weak at this point.

Later in the day, she was standing and walking and quite active.

Here are the other two, out with mama yesterday.  Later today or tomorrow, I’ll try to get better photos. It has been very gloomy out, not conducive to good photos.

So, here it is 9:30 in the a.m. and I’ve already done a day’s work and am ready for a nap!  Hah!  Not bloody likely…at least not this morning.  I’m thinking I should do some spinning, or finish up that pair of socks I’m working on.  Then there’s the sweater and the shawl.  The New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival isn’t all that far away. These things should ALL be finished by then.


It’s been awhile…

April 23, 2012

I was reminded by a friend this morning that it’s been awhile since I have posted anything.  It’s been a very busy couple of weeks.  Easter came and went, beginning with the birth of the last lambs, twins, born to Turtle, that morning. Luckily, she finished in time for me to get inside, get freed of birth slime, cleaned up, dressed and off to church.  The following week I was “on” so I spent a good deal of time during the week, continuing the reading on “resurrection” and writing a sermon.  Our son and two of the three grandkids came that weekend, and the kids served as acolyte while Granny served as priest.  It was neat.  Then, the following Wednesday, 12 for dinner, for a “Seekers” meeting, a group of people who gather for dinner and to discuss a pre-chosen topic.  This month, it was resurrection, and not all that exciting.  Next month, it is “end of life” decisions, which I suggested, based on having read an article about Dr. Ira Byock and his work in palliative care at DHMC, and about his new book, which I need to order and read.  He is a remarkable man who began his specialty in palliative care when, while in med school, his father fell ill. He and his wife took his father in and cared for him, while he slowly lived the last few months of his life, dying by bits.  That convinced Dr. Byock to specialize. He declares no one should have to die alone or in pain, and it is his life’s work to make sure that doesn’t happen. He developed an incredible end of life support network in the middle west, and for the past few years, has been at Dartmouth doing the same thing.    I’m hoping we get him to come to our church to speak, as well as talk about end of life stuff with the small group.

So, Wednesday finished up, the tabletop put down in the basement again, (John made me a 4 x 8 tabletop that fits over are smaller kitchen table, so we can accommodate larger crowds for dinner!) life gets simpler for awhile.  It will still be a busy week. Yesterday, I gave a first knitting lesson to new friend, George, in exchange for some acupuncture treatments.  I was getting numb hands when knitting for long periods.  He gave me the first treatment and after knitting last night, that hand did NOT get numb. Yea for acupuncture!  Yea for George!  Who went home with an inch knitted and instructions to keep knitting until it was second nature. Next week we purl, and then do ribbing, and then, choose a pattern, and he’s off and running.  Friend, Candace, came with him. She is making a vest/shawl for her mom, and planned to begin it while here, but forgot the pattern. Nevertheless, she was kept busy, balling up all the skeins, made easier by my “tools” for doing so quickly…ball winder and skein unwinder (not sure what one calls it).  And then she did a swatch. So today, she can start knitting, after a review of casting on yesterday.

Today, I’m off to Sue’s for awhile this morning, antidote to the drearies. It has been raining for two days straight and is gloomy and damp out.  I’m not complaining, mind you, for we desperately need the rain. You can almost hear the blades of grass singing a “Te Deum” for being watered, and I swear, it’s grown two inches in the last 36 hours…which is good, since I only have five days of hay left!  Then, the sheep go out on pasture…so it would be nice to actually HAVE pasture.

Wednesday I take Annabelle Goatie girl to be bred, and that gives Hazel some peace and quiet to deliver her kids, somewhere around May 5.  And I have a couple of people coming for spiritual direction during the week.  I also have to arrange for someone to take our camper up to it’s summer location on Island Pond, as our son is now unable to do it.  Disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world.

The lambs continue to grow. Final count, 19 lambs, five of which are girls.  It WAS a ram-year!  Fortunately, I’ve got orders for six of them already.  And I”ve sold one ewe and her unregisterable lamb to a friend who just wants them as pets.

The piglets are starting to be a little more calm when I go into their pen to give them their morning egg and milk and pig food and water.  Hopefully, they’ll calm down even more in the next couple of weeks. I need to get the electronetting in their pen to train them to it, in the next week or so, and then, once trained, get them out in the woods, while they’re still light enough to carry!  It’s a busy time of year, the farm waking up to the summer system. There is a hen setting on some eggs. I have more eggs to collect for Lucas to hatch out…so I have to move THAT setting hen, for the others keep moving into her box and layig their eggs in it with hers, which is confusing for everyone, including me, who then doesn’t know which eggs are being hatched and which are fresh and need to be removed.  So, I’ll move her and that should end that problem.

Okay, enough for now.  I hope all is well with all of you out there in blogland and spring is springing forth where you live as well.

Is there life after lambing?

March 30, 2012

Because, for sure, there isn’t much DURING lambing.  It’s the second week out of three, and with so few ewes bred (12) there isn’t much excitement. Nevertheless, I feel the need to stay close most of the time. Ah, you say, a good time to get that spring cleaning done, read those three books on Resurrection to prepare for the sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter, finish plying all that yarn I spun…the list goes on and on…but for some reason, perhaps related to the crappy weather, I am uninspired.  So I play entirely too much solitaire on the computer, spend entirely too many minutes checking email, and on the whole, am wasting the time I could use profitably. Part of the reason, I tell myself, that I haven’t, for example, attacked the perennial garden in front of the house, which desperately needs raking and sprucing up, preparatory to the new plant growth due any minute, is that somehow, I hurt my shoulder and it doesn’t want to rake or lift things higher than my head.  Probably, I pulled something lifting “green gates” (fence panels) while rearranging the shed for lambing or in trying to catch Cordelia Coopworth, who is a very large ewe, to worm her, having forgotten to do it while she was still in the lambing jug, and seeing evidence that it might be a good idea. (There is a worm bloom, often, with lambing.  The pellets are replaced by globs–more information than you want to know, I’m sure!) In any case, the final result of all this crappy, damp, windy (not fun for asthmatic stuff), cold, nasty weather, and the shoulder, and just plain boredom (How can one be bored with six books waiting to be read, and tons of chores?  Well, let me tell you…I know, I know, boredom is a state of mind we create ourselves. There’s no reason to be bored…oh, and did I mention allergies?  Tree season is upon us, so I’m groggy and tired from allergies or from the antihistimines, whatever…now I’m boring YOU!) is that I’m not accomplishing very much at all, and I look forward to not having to be here so much, and resuming my usual flitting around life.  The balance of chores, reading and “flitting” (going to Sue’s store to sit and knit, going to spinning group each Tuesday, visiting friends for tea and to check out other folks’ lambs and lives…) works for me.  Take away any of them and I am not all that thrilled.  On top of everything else, it’s the season for walking…as soon as the nasty wind and snow/rain goes away!

Complain, complain, complain.  More lambs born: mostly all boys, too dark.  Not a great year for lambs, for some reason. I keep thinking, “Ah, there are have of them left to lamb out still…” and I can hope…but I”m thinking this is simply going to be the year of the meat, and that we’ll be eating a lot of lamb next fall…which is also fine, sine we both love lamb.

Okay, RESOLVED, I am NOT going to sit around for the rest of the day!  I am going to accomplish something. (This is kind of an empty resolve, as I know that at 3 p.m. we have to leave to drive to Chelsea to pick up the piglets! So I will accomplish something today!  The sheep will be on their own for 5 hours…and I won’t feel guilty because this is something that has to be done, not something I just feel like doing.)

At least the sun is out…that’s something.

More lambs

March 29, 2012

I went to the shed for the evening check. All had been well at 7 p.m. when I shut them inside for the night. On the way down the driveway, I heard blatting that seemed new, and sure enough, Octavia Coopworth had twins, a white boy and a light grey girl with some white spotting, unusual.  Each weighed 11 pounds, and they were very noisy. After weighing them and putting iodine on their cords, I got them to the teats, as they seemed VERY hungry, made sure each one had a good long drink.  I left them looking for more.

And, on the cousin scene, I found Cousin Billy, who hasn’t been called that in years. No surprise, there.  And have been having a delightful ongoing conversation with him.  He will forward my email to his sisters and perhaps when they return from their vacations, I’ll hear from them, as well.  It is rather exciting to renew a family relationship with someone you knew and played with as a child, and who then disappeared from your life.

John and I were talking earlier about our next trip in summer of 2013.  (If only it were this year!)  But this way we have time to plan and explore options, I guess.  I’ve started a list of places we might want to visit, all of which need to be researched a bit before making final decisions.  We’ll need to book the time and the places in the fall.

Spring is definitely more and more obvious.  There is a patch of grass behind the shed that is already 3 inches high.  The ground isn’t frozen anymore. The road is restored, no longer the mudflats it was for the last two weeks.  Buds on the trees are swelling, some of the bigger trees are in bloom.  Allergies are also in bloom. Good ol’ tree season.  Today I saw the first bud on a crocus.  It’s time to clear the perennial garden…assuming there is a pleasant day sometime soon.  The strawberry patch is greening up and the strange new blackberry bushes, which seem to be acting more like a ground cover, are also showing signs of renewal.  The cherry tree buds are swelling.  The apple trees are a bit behind that.  Hopefully, that means the sheep can go out on pasture a bit earlier than May 5 this year, especially since I will be down to the wire on hay.  They are all way too fat; I think I’m not the only one eating too much this winter.  I have resolved to start walking again the first day it isn’t raining, which hopefully will be tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday the Sugar River Spinners meet here for our monthly meeting.  I have gotten a bunch of stuff I usually don’t keep in the house, junk food and such.  And will make a pound cake tomorrow. I have a huge shepherd’s pie in the freezer, and Vicky will bring some macaroni and cheese. We are expecting maybe 18 people, so will need a lot of food.  I know we’re supposed to be gathered to spin, but we do seem to do a lot of eating as well. Once they leave, no more junk food!


March 26, 2012

The lull in lambing continues.  Four ram lambs from three ewes and nothing since Friday.  This is typical.  Some time in the next two days, I expect lots of lambs again.  Meanwhile, I stay around most of the time, check every couple of hours, and try to convince myself what I want to do is spring cleaning. NOT!

I’ve been plowing my way through the fourth volume of “Sparrowhawk”, a six volume series on the causes of the American Revolution. There’s a little too much Ayn Rand in them for my liking, and way too much political detail, but I’m learning stuff. And I’ve been slowly making my way through a bunch of books on the Resurrection, as I have to preach the Second Sunday of Easter, which is April 15th, also the anniversary of my ordination.  AND, the grandkids will be here this weekend, so I’ve arranged to have them be acolytes while I am presiding at Eucharist.  We’ve never had the opportunity to do this before, so that will be fun.  Meanwhile, bodily resuscitation or not?  What was the Resurrection, anyway?  I’m working on it.

AND, last night I woke up at 3:30 a.m., with my nose all stuffed up, on the verge of a sinus headache, so I got up to let the nose run a while and clear it out.  And to make it productive, I thought I’d do a little research. My younger sister and I have been emailing back and forth about our extended family, the result of my having sent her a DVD copy of a VHS tape of a bunch of home movies of us when we were children, mostly Christmas visits to the various greatgrandparents’ and grandparents’ homes.  Three of my great grandparents died about when I was in the sixth grade, which would have made her 3 or so.  So, she emailed me and asked me who the folks were in the first segment of the DVD. They were my grandfather’s mother and her husband, the only grandfather my mother ever knew, as Grandma’s first husband took off and left her with three young children. So, she married my great grandfather (the only one I ever knew, though not biological).  And had three more kids.  They lived down the block from my father’s grandparents, where he lived. He and my Uncle Henny were friends at one point, and that’s how he met my mother, when they were quite young, early high school, I’m guessing. Anyway, my sister wondered who the three kids were at that household: my three cousins: Billy, Lynn, and Donna.  I hadn’t seen them nor heard from them since they left Jamaica for the suburbs of Philadelphia when I was in about sixth grade.  So, here it is the middle of the night.  And I googled Billy, found a possible candidate, then googled Lynn, again found a possibility, then Donna, and found a link among the three of them. Now, there couldn’t possibly be more than one set of three siblings with those same names and what appear to be approximate ages, could there? The two female cousins are on Facebook, but I don’t do facebook. The only contact information was for my male cousin, so I’ve emailed him and asked him if indeed he WAS my cousin. That was at 4 a.m. this morning, and he lives on the other side of the continent, so I don’t expect to hear from him any time soon…maybe not at all. There was some bad blood between his father and my grandfather, (his half brother) about Uncle Henny’s move, taking Grandma with him, which meant she was virtually unaccessible to my grandfather. He wasn’t very happy about that.  So, to my knowledge, there was not much in the way of communication until Grandma died. And then, none afterward.  Or at least that was my take on it as an 11 year old who wasn’t included in the discussions, but overheard some. Unhappy situation.  Well, maybe Billy (I’m sure he’s no longer called that!) will write back and we can mend the rift in the family.  Or not, as he sees fit.  In any case, it was an interesting middle of the night adventure in family hunting.  I would love to tell these cousins how much it meant  to me that their mother bought me hard covered books, first I ever owned, for Christmas gifts.  I still have the first one, “Bomba, the Jungle Boy, Among the Slaves.”  A strange choice for a girl, you may be thinking.  Maybe it was a duplicate of one Billy had. No idea. Doesn’t matter. It was mine. A real book!  And it was a great and exciting adventure story!  Then there were others.  My parents weren’t all that thrilled since books weren’t high on their list. But I read and read and read…and still do, so books are a most precious gifts…and I’ll never forget Aunt Anna Mae’s obviously picking up on that with the first book, and continuing to give me books each year.

Okay, time for my every three hour check to see how the ewes are doing. It’s a nasty day here. Sun is out, but the wind is nasty and we’ve returned to winter/spring Vermont weather.  They are predicting rain and snow showers for later in the week.  Works for me…I was tired of the 88 degree days in March in Vermont. BLECH!