Sunday, March 31, 2019

March Sunday Walkabout 3-31

You know, when I decided to limit my farm blog entries to once a month, I thought it would free up lots of time and mental space, allowing me to focus on writing other things.


I was wrong.

While the time I would have spent focused on composing, editing photos and posting those blogs has become free, no “other writing” has magically happened. 

As a matter of fact, it’s a struggle to write. At all. I spent most of the winter, all that precious “off-season”, trapped in a sense of limbo. Waiting, waiting for resolution for a number of things. After months and months (literally) of waiting, we finally got an appointment with a rheumatologist to determine the source of my oft-debilitating pain and exhaustion.

Did you know that 2 – 8% of the population suffers from the chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia?  That’s about 5 million people in the US.  I guess that’s 5 million plus one, as I finally received my diagnosis. Reading through the symptoms, it shouldn’t have been unexpected. I am at best, a poster-child for the disorder, the embodiment of almost every possible symptom.  In some ways, it seems like a rather vague, “catch-all” diagnosis that some people don’t even acknowledge as real. Finding a suitable treatment seems every bit as vague and somewhat daunting. But, at least I know that there is an explanation for my symptoms. It’s most definitely not “in my head” or something I am imagining or exaggerating. Honestly, that long-awaited doctor visit (it took over 3 months to see that one doctor) was one of the most validating experiences of my life. And, ironically, it opens a whole host of subjects for future blog posts. (assuming I have the energy and focus to write)

But, since you’re here to read about the farm and find out what’s been happening here on the hill, let’s get on with that.
HOME on the hill

I’m pretty sure I could just substitute some bits and pieces from past March blog posts and no one would ever know. Yes, life here on the hill is truly that repetitive and predictable and this March 24 marked our 22nd year as owners. Surely, you read THIS ONE. So, while I am a complete supporter of “constancy” (you should really read this article) and I appreciate the rhythm of the seasons, it does indeed make for a challenge when it comes to writing interesting copy, particularly after so many seasons of "the same old, same old."

Although, there are always a few unexpected things...
Karma got a 'possum
(it took the Boss two days to get it away from her)
Neighbor was hoping to work on clearing the creek
but, found it was far too WET...

had to get his bulldozer to pull it out!
the Boss gave a hand
(you know what they say about "boys and their toys")
Tess turned the boot-scraper into a bed

I saw a muskrat carrying a bunch of grass to its home upstream
these weird tracks aren't crop circles
it was finally dry enough to seed the unused garden spot
I admit it
I freaked out a little when a skunk followed me on my trip to the mailbox!


March is a time of transition.

It seems that man, woman and beast are all impatiently waiting for the growing season.  Chicks arrive, chicks go outside, seeds arrive, seeds get started. We pick up seed potatoes and onion sets. The “hungry time” of late Spring means the sheep can sense the grass growing somewhere, just out of reach. We can’t allow them free access, or it would stunt the growth for the rest of the season. So, we make one last trip to the hay guy’s stockpile to have enough to make it to that blessed day when the sheep return to pasture. Trees and flowers begin to blossom and birds begin to sing. I think I heard spring peepers at the creek…
forsythia blossoms

icestorm #10!
mama cardinal

1st day of Spring

papa cardinal 

the biggest snowflakes EVER
daffodil sunshine

raindrops keep fallin' on my head

1st honeybee of season
spring flowers
peach blossom

baby broilers
first batch out on grass
They looked surprised when I told them they were headed OUTSIDE

moon through the maple branches

But, the weather is capricious, beautiful blue sky one moment, swirling snowflakes the next. This year has been no exception. Although we haven’t had the snowfall totals of past years, we did have 10, count them, TEN, ice events. I lost track of the days of drizzle and rain. And, there are no indications that the the ground will dry out anytime soon, leaving many to wonder just how to cope with this new, weirdly wet environment. Our weather woes locally are not on the scale of those in the Mid-west. Have you seen the photos from Nebraska, Iowa and the like? Check out these photos or read this.  This is scary stuff that will indeed impact the nation as our food supply will be affected for a long time yet to come. This will spell the end for some farms, I am certain.  But, those in Ag will have to be open to some sort of adaptation and change as the long-term forecasts show no real end to the near-continual precipitation here in our Valley as well. 

While many people seem to think that “farmers love rain” (believe me, I have lost track of the number of times people have said this at the Market) too much moisture can be a curse in many ways. It is possible to irrigate during a drought, but I don’t know anyone who has found a practical way to stop rain from the heavens.

The last rain event (which also included the biggest snowflakes I have ever seen-some were the size of my hand) occurred during the vernal equinox, which coincided with the last Supermoon of 2019. Somehow that combination seems like it should be monumentous, or at the very least noteworthy. So, I should not have been surprised when I heard baby lamb voices when I walked in to do afternoon chores.


Yes, I said lambs. Lambs. Weeks and weeks after I thought lambing season ended. After the jug pens were pulled apart and the heatlamps put away. Lambs. LAMBS!

The skinniest of skinny old ewes (who I figured was too old and skinny to breed) was talking sweet baby-talk to two teeny, tiny lambs!

Well, now, that was unexpected. To put it mildly.

Despite her somewhat pathetic appearance, mama-sheep is raising her lambs without human assistance, and they are growing out quite well.  Thank you very much.

And, that is the end of lambing season. Really. Truly.

mama sheep and the teeny-tinies

This year lambing season started with the loss of both ewe and her twin lambs, truly bumming me out and casting a pall over the entire operation. But, it ended with the totally unexpected arrival of two healthy lambs. So, our numbers are not quite as dismal as they could have been. While it’s a little glib to quote Jerry Seinfeld and say we’re “even Steven”, (watch this) , the truth is, things do have a way of working out…

I don’t know why that’s so hard to remember when we’re in the thick of things.

And, speaking of working out, I’m sure we will find a way to work around the weather issues and health concerns as our 22nd consecutive season as Market vendors begins in just 6 days. Six days! I must admit, this is the least prepared that we have ever been for Opening Day. I don’t know if that bodes well for the season…but, it is what it is.

 this guy turned FOUR!

I want to take this opportunity to say THANKS for stopping by! I hope you’ll come back again soon.
Until our next “visit” …

Happy Sunday!
...maybe you can work a nap into your schedule...
       Happy Spring!

...or, have some cake, y'all!