Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Walkabout 3-29-2020

“social distancing…social distancing?...that sounds oddly familiar…”

It seems I’ve doing this for a long time. When my daughter heard that phrase the first time, she said she immediately thought of her childhood. And, apparently, not in a real good way.

While I’m still processing what I should think about that, I do understand that the isolation that goes along with country living is both a blessing and a curse. And, now with the whole world worried about COVID-19, many are attempting to adapt to practices that we’ve known for a long time.

I wasn’t going to post about the pandemic. Actually, I had taken a step back from writing about the farm since we weren’t participating in the Market anymore. Because who wants to read about a farm that isn’t really a farm anymore?  But, then I realized that there is something calming and settling about the constancy of life here on the hill. And, if you’re anything like me…a little glimpse of normalcy in the midst of the never-ending cycle of uncertainty is a welcome change.

It is possible to forget that there is an unseen menace traumatizing the entire world as we go about our daily tasks. The sheep and chickens don’t know or care that we are worried. They do know, however, that they need to be fed and watered (and in the case of the sheep, allowed to graze that sweet, first grass of spring)  If we don’t get to work on the preparations for the garden, there won’t be any fresh fruits and vegetables later in the season. So, we can always find something to do.

Signs of Spring are everywhere. The cycle of life as old as time continues on as if nothing has changed, even though it seems like everything has.


apple blossoms

buzzard flying overhead

(see the cow on the hill?)


sheep grazing the backyard

heading out to greener pastures


new life for the old hoophouse
spring lettuce

a good use for old mineral tubs

cardinal in the backyard

pretty mama-sheep and her lamb

the first tulip

Then there are the odd and random---unexplainable things...


dancing lambs

one of these things is not like the others
one of these things doesn't belong...
(have NO idea how she got in there-it was a pain to get her out!)

not to miss out on the fun
OTIS shows off his dance moves

Remy is finding the quarantine/isolation situation trying
she has to take naps on my accu-pressure mat

dog napping/yoga in the driveway
I have NO idea what she is doing

But, to return to the whole idea of social distancing and isolation…

the "old home-place"
not much has changed
but, yet...everything has
It was just this time of year when we found our little piece of farmland high on the hill way back in 1997.  You can read about that HERE (and, yes, that work-in-progress is STILL in progress, I truly hope that one day it will be finished…) We were looking for respite and healing. And, quite frankly, I was done with people. I wanted to curl up in a ball and avoid any sort of contact for fear of being hurt again. The fact that we were broke (SO broke) and had just one vehicle kept us from making the trip to town very often. It was 25 miles round-trip, so we tried to consolidate whenever possible. We spent nearly all our time and every single dime trying to create a new life and livelihood. 
Needless to say, we didn’t go out often. It was years before we felt comfortable enough to “indulge” in fast-food. Ages before we could relax our restrictions on “frivolous” purchases. And, yes, my children were home-schooled. They were tense and trying times to say the least. (believe me, I get all the comments/laments about being with your family ALL the time)

So… social distancing? Isolation? That was our way of life. A matter of survival. I am sorry that my children didn’t find it particularly healing, but I did. (Honestly, they got a lot out of it, too---but, a story for another time) It has taken a long time, and I still have work to do, but there is a gift in the slowing down, the loneliness, and the forced introspection. Maybe society will benefit from this crisis in some way. Please don’t think I’m being “Pollyanna” or somehow dismissing the scale of this crisis. (I am NOT) But, the sacrifices we make today will somehow have a positive effect on the future.

Country living, building a farm, starting over seems like it would be an adventure, it would be really cool. Kind of like the American dream. So many people think it would be fun to try. The truth is: It is hard. It is really hard sometimes.

But, in her new book UNTAMED, Glennon Doyle says (numerous times) “We can do hard things!”

(if you haven’t already done so, find UNTAMED and read it. READ it. You can thank me later)

So, I wanted to say, I get it. I totally understand how this current situation is so trying to so many people. It’s scary and overwhelming and everyone is caught up in it at the same time. Nobody has any real answers and there are people dismissing our concerns and the seriousness of the situation. The future looks uncertain and we have no idea if we are up to the tasks required of us. Any traumas or issues we have had in the past are going to be manifesting in some way and making this trying situation even more difficult. So, this is SO HARD.

I don’t have any advice to make it easier. (and, honestly, I’m struggling too) but, I keep reminding myself that we can do hard things. We have done hard things. (believe me, our life here on the hill has been no picnic) and with that in mind, I am certain that we will do even more hard things in the future.

So, hold onto your hope.  Be kind. And, just keep doing those hard things. ('cause I know you can)

I truly hope you find a way to have a Happy Sunday! 

peach blossoms and sheep
this is Spring!

Thank you for stopping by. Please come “visit” again soon!

 If you need some coping strategies… Here are a few interesting things to read:

and, here’s a video

Sunday, March 1, 2020

A Little Sunday Walk-about

Meteorological Spring…March 1st…a time of transition and renewal…

It seems appropriate to post a walkabout today after months and months of silence. Turning the calendar page is always a point of reflection, an opportunity for change. While I would like to say that we’re knee-deep in new projects and I’m making great progress on that oft-mentioned book project, we seem to have been stuck in some weird limbo state where we’re just caught waiting…and waiting…  and, quite honestly, I’m not quite certain WHY we are waiting…or for what. We’re just stuck.
first sunrise of 2020

Personally, I would welcome a little transition and renewal, I’ve been mired in my annual February funk,  This year was complicated by cataract surgeries and continued fibromyalgia issues. With surgery/recovery behind me and a new approach to pain, it is definitely time to move on.  I know I’m not the only one who has had struggles, (I saw a friend yesterday who has suffered devastating losses on two separate Februarys) so maybe we can heave a collective sigh of relief and look forward to something new.

Meteorological Spring seems like a good time to embrace that. 
(and, here are a few sunrise shots for good measure)

Not much has happened here on the hill since I last posted. But, then again…much has changed.

this view is pretty much the same as the first time we ever saw this place
way back in March 1997
early morning chore-time is still the same

so is the cat awaiting treats by the back door
this is new
I have a whole entourage when I go to collect packages at the lane
OTIS and Karma always go along
sometimes, Otis even dances!

Winter weather never really materialized. We had one measurable snowfall. ONE (which honestly has me wondering what March will bring…) The rest of the time it’s been wet, really wet and warm(ish).  There have been relatively few brutally cold days, although enough for me (and numerous others) to complain. The woodstove is warm and wonderful, but it means the rest of the house is cold…too cold for comfort. Lured by the warmth and comfort, my productivity tanks. The cat and I have an ongoing struggle to see who gets to claim the recliner. I’m fairly certain Remy will rejoice when warmer weather lures me outside and she can nap in my chair in relative peace and to her heart’s content.
I won! I got the chair!
But, it was a hollow victory...
she sat behind my head and pulled my hair

Pretty snow scenes

But, the mild weather meant that lambing season was far easier than some…no hourly checks in the middle of the night because of frigid temperatures…HURRAH! We did have one disastrous birthing experience where mom and babies were lost…but, that had nothing to do with the weather. These things just happen sometimes. (It has taken 20 years for me to be able to accept that without beating myself up for days afterwards---so, progress)  The rest of the lambs are growing nicely and it even looks like the hay supply might hold out until the grass comes in. Processing dates have been scheduled and we’re already fielding requests for lamb chops.  The farm isn’t done yet!

apparently it happens in every species!

very misty morning

this looks like trouble

oh, the cuteness!

he looks sleepy

little sisters


The whole down-sizing thing is just plain weird. This was the first February in nearly 15 years that we weren’t rushing to get broiler chicks started in the brooder and making worried phonecalls wondering if the seed potato shipment had gotten lost or frozen somewhere along the way. The seed order was so small it was laughable. (really, we are still laughing) No one seems to understand WHY we chose to change up what we’re doing…or WHAT else we could possibly do… And, frankly, sometimes I wonder myself. WHO am I—are we-- without the Farmers’ Market? Food for thought, much thought, no doubt.
a new project in the works

I wrote some time ago about being mindful of what’s around us…not being so caught up in the doing that we/I overlook what is all around us.  You never know what you might see! And, maybe somewhere along the way we will find our new purpose and direction…
a hawk flew into the front window
(he was okay)

backyard birdwatching


breezy cardinal

full moon through the trees

the deer come to visit most every morning

this time they left a little something behind

heading out to graze at sunrise
(can you believe this was late December?)

frozen rosehips

spent garlic chive seedhead

after he dried off
he flew away
(the chickens were most relieved)

weather coming in at sunset

crescent moon behind the trees

morning glory seeds in the sunlight

muskrat Suzie...or is it Sam? (dating myself here) at the creek



even the driveway puddles are starting to look like Spring!

So, on this first day of meteorological spring, I hope you can look past the worrisome news, the troubling and divisive times and find something to point you toward transition and renewal as well.

Happy Sunday! 
All the best from Gus and Karma!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you will “visit” us again.