Last night, as Tom and I set off to the henhouse after dark to treat the house and birds for mites, I got to thinking about how many times we’ve been out to do odd farm work in the middle of the night.
There was the time the temperatures were dropping, dropping, dropping at the end of May, just after we put the tomatoes out. We headed out, flashlights in hand, and dug up half of the plants to rescue them from the twenty-something degree temperatures headed our way. We stuck them in the garage and planted them out several days later. Yep, we had tomatoes that year.
We’ve met the vet at the barn at 2am to fight a horrible case of milk fever in one of the cows. We’ve left the barn at midnight after spending a couple of hours getting a stuck lamb out of the mama, successfully, I might add. We have set the alarm clock so that we could go beat snow off the hoophouses in the middle of a blizzard. These are some of the highlights. This list doesn’t include the multiple barn trips during lambing season, the time the power went out and we had to rescue all the baby plants from the greenhouse, or the time a neighbor called to say a bear was headin’ our way… “better round up the sheep”. Boy, do we have fun, or what?
That doesn’t even account for our “odd and random” and just plain WEIRD daytime activities! That's a subject for a whole 'nother post (maybe a series of posts)
Fifteen years ago, our life wasn’t nearly so crazy….or maybe it was just much duller.
Back then, Tom was a career substation electrician at the power company, and I a homeschooling mother of two little girls. Homesteading was just a passing fancy. Supper was always at the same time…and so was bedtime. We didn’t have much worry about variation. Gardens and critters hadn't taken over our lives....yet.
A chance remark at a Thanksgiving dinner caused us to rethink our lives. Shortly thereafter, we had sold off a whole bunch of things (including, but not limited to….one car, our home, and a LOT of personal belongings).
Once in the Valley, things changed again. The plans we thought were a sure-fire thing….were NOT! Suddenly, we were “homeless” and house-hunting with two small children in our pick-up truck. Forty days in the “wilderness” transformed our lives yet again. (Believe me, I can relate to the children of Israel, because it felt like 40 years!) Through much prayer, driving and looking at properties…we found Middlebrook. (we owe a debt of gratitude to a certain real estate man, too!)
The once empty sheep field was quickly transformed into our homeplace. A house, garage and barn rose from the landscape. Gardens, greenhouses and orchard followed in short order.
Many of changes have transpired over the years. A farm is ALWAYS a work in progress!
Right now, we’re anticipating lambs. That means a check at 10pm, and on very cold nights, another at 2am. The first check of the day takes place at 6am. I have certainly seen more starry nights since becoming a shepherd than ever before. It’s beautiful out there in the middle of the night, really beautiful. Personally, I could do without the distant coyote wails…..but, we do live out in the country. That goes with the territory.
Most nights when I head out to do the odd farm job, I am so very thankful for that chance remark at Thanksgiving all those years ago. Because of it or in spite of it….Tom and I got “the chance of a lifetime”…we are living the good life…on this good land.
And, believe it or not…it IS fun!