Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The 'Winter on the Homestead' Myth

born a few days ago - a eweYou know those serene visions of a farm covered in a fresh sheet of snow that conjure warm feelings in the bellies of the viewer and make them hanker for the good life? Uh, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but - it's a lie. Winter is, in fact, a crazily busy time for us with regular slappings from Nature. This year, we actually deluded ourselves into believing that the lack of the 'serene days on the winterly sleeping farm' were simply due to our ignorance and disorganization. We deduced that this promised land of tranquility lay right beyond some imagined threshold that we were on the cusp of discovering the secret to. We believed! Oh, stop your clapping/laughing/heckling from the audience. Here, to quiet you - I give you our little ewe - first one from the team of merinoX ewes we added to the farm last year. She's stubborn, active, cute, funny, and all the qualities (except stubborn) that I lack and thereby steal your enjoyment of the blog.wet behind the ears?

And on the right, the little ram who defied the natural laws of birth by standing up within a minute of his birth and running around the lambing pen whilst mama tried to clean him off.

So, where were we? Oh, yes, our winter delusion. So, we tested our notions of inferiority by giving winter our all this year. In case you're suffering from amnesia or you haven't ever read the blog before, you know that Winter gave us her all, too! What do you do when you've tested a theory and find that your desired goal is hopeless? You change your goal to something easily attained! We are now planning to remain in total chaos and strictly adhere to a schedule that prevents the atrocity of more than 5 hrs. of sleep a night. pick up your shovel and dig! Its' a sort of 'spring training' because she-who-must-not-be-named was clearly playing the optimist when she made out her seed order this year (and joined a couple of farmer's markets wherein she hopes to have more than just cucumbers and squash to sell) - get a load of all those seeds! I should add for honesty, that excludes the seeds I have on the way from SSE. You are now aware that we lurve Fedco Seeds. Lurve them! Somehow, in keeping with the NEW GOAL - I have concluded that THIS will be the year that hubster puts up the raised beds so I can have a more honorable herb garden just off the kitchen side of the house. I have restrained myself to the utmost extreme to prevent inclusion of any dorky 'hoe' jokes but I wish you to know that it was difficult.

spider shawlI should be starting those herb seeds this week but I've been totally consumed by a new knitting project. I know, another 'new' one. But, Judy made me start this shawl with her fabulous stitch markers and, once it began, I have been totally drunk on it. It is well established that I have the social skills of a troll but here's a little peek into how innocent I am in this plight. I started the shawl and the knitting has been feverish and addictive. There have been growling episodes whenst I've been interrupted. But, all the time I was knitting I was thinking about these two knitters with whom I discussed the making of this shawl.(Link is to Loribird but, Miranda - why can't I access your blog?) We sort of informally decided to work on it together. But, uh, hey ya'll - I've started! It must be so fun to be my friend...(whuh? there was no lightning in the forecast today!)

psst...someone's being born next doorI'm just jumping all over the place, here, but I will sum up - the MerinoX lambs are doing great and the mama's were splendid. The birth was a little creepy. You know, maybe it is because the Cotswolds are so big and lanky that the lambs are born a little, uh (searches for a nice way to say 'stupified') relaxed. They take their time getting up and the first bit that they walk is hard to watch as no one enjoys watching something so sweet and gentle fall over so many times. The Shetlands are a different story - they are tiny like little bugs and are basically crazy from birth. We've yet to come up with a description of the MerinoX lambing that doesn't have something to do with Orcs coming up out of the ground. It was mildly disturbing, I tell you. The ram ripped his own sac off and proceeded to jump up and run around with it trailing off of him. Pinging all over the pen (aha! we will ever use lambing pens for this reason - mama knew he was confined and safe and instead of trying to reign him in, she could take care of herself first). Fortunately, they are very sweet so their super-lamb exuberance is less creepy, now. Next year, I will be ready! I will, stop laughing. I can't get over what this pic captures in the difference between these two breeds. While the little ram was being born, there was a meeting going on on the other side of the pen. They stood, head to head, blocking out the little merino ewe, seemingly concurring on the futility of wasting all that energy to run when there's plenty of time for that after you've procured your first meal. Clearly, they think they have the better way.

thinking......Lastly, before I run off and pretend I'm a newborn merino for the rest of the day - and update on Tink. She's doing so well - all healed up and playing with the other lambs, even. Still, she seems wiser and more reserved since her day of fighting with a pig. I know this pic is too blurry, but I love it so much I had to put it in here. She's standing facing a window, letting the sun warm her head, and you can just see that inside that tiny, cute lamb is a wellspring of wisdom. She's like a lamb Zen Master. Thanks, again, for all of you who sent us well wishes when she was on the brink!

Hey ya'll, guess what? The news-weather guy is mumbling something about another 'doozy' of a winter storm that will land tonight and the last ewe still waiting to lamb is laying down today! So, we need to get the hay covered, secure the barn, get extra water in for the night, make sure the car is parked out of the way in case we have to resort to a machine to dig us out, oh, and stock the pantry, blah, blah, blah.....where are my mittens?