Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Marking Time

On the farm, you know it is Spring when the animals are not as influenced by a can of grain.  They would rather stay out and eat grass.  Yesterday, I had to use 2 days worth of patience because none of the animals wanted to be where I wanted them to be.

Four and a half bales of hay until my road trip.  Rosemary and I are celebrating 50 years of friendship.  We are hoping to take a spinning wheel with us and some fleece.  We want to see what different plants out west are used for dyeing.  We will take a couple large pots to steam over the camp fire while we are roasting marshmallows.  Not your typical vacation but perfect for Rosemary and me.

Most people think that rooster crow at the crack of dawn.  Actually, roosters crow throughout the day and way before dawn.  They are not good markers of time.  The lumber mill is a much better marker of a new day.  They start up at 5:45 week days.

It used to be you could mark time by when flowers and trees bloomed, especially daffodils.  They used to be a first marker of Spring but a few years ago, they bloomed in January and this year it was mid February.  The peach trees are just breaking bud and 2-5 inches of snow are on the way.  At least the temperature shouldn't be damaging.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

"As the Farm Turns"-- "All My Farm Animals"

Some times farming is like a soap opera; lots of drama.  In today's episode, we find someone isn't who we thought they were.

Yesterday, I brought 3 new hens to Cabin Spring Farm.  I waited till dusk to settle them in but Donald and Sister were aroused by the commotion.  Sister started pecking the first one to enter the coop.  John thought maybe she was jealous.  Donald put himself between the two and looked like he had things under control.  The other 2 went in.  There was a little scuffling but then things settled down.

As I approached the coop this morning there was a little more scuffling and when I opened the door, Sister came running out.  A few minutes later Donald came out but when the three Rachels didn't follow he went back in.  I put some grain out for Sister outside the gate and that made her happier.  After finishing the grain she decided to come back to the barnyard but first she stopped on top of the fence and crowed.  Yup, she crowed like a rooster.  Different than Donald's crow; stronger and louder.

Well, I have been telling myself for a month or so that Sister was looking kind of like a rooster.  She had gotten SO large (bigger than Donald) and had a couple of feathers on her tail that were looking like rooster tail feathers.  But no crowing.  Last fall, one of Little Mama's grown up chicks, laid an egg.  The two chicks looked identical until a couple of months ago when the other "sister" disappeared after the dog attack.  We don't usually get eggs in the winter so that didn't give me a clue.

When I told John the news he came up with a new name for Sister.  John is known for his naming capabilities (ha ha).  We now call Sister--- Heshe.  I like it.  It sounds a little Japanese to me.

Heshe spent the day hanging out near the coop but Donald and the 3 Rachels stayed in all day.  At dusk, Heshe waited until the others were settling in for the night and then tiptoed in.  John reminded me that we may get 2-5 inches of snow tonight so tomorrow could get very dramatic.  Stay tuned.

An aside:  The hens are all named Rachel because they were named by a girl named Rachel who wanted to name them after herself.  She and John must be related way back somewhere.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

It Rained All Night

So when I woke up this morning, I dreaded going to feed the animals in the rain and MORE MUD.  A farmer has to be creative because there is always the unexpected or the expected to deal with.  The plan for this morning was taller boots and a wheelbarrow.

Grab the wheelbarrow from the garage/barn, pick up an unopened bale of hay from the hay stack, open the gate and steadily move forward on the grassiest route I could find to the barn.  It all worked incredibly smoothly, like the animals picked up on the plan two paces inside the gate.  They walked in pace along side the wheelbarrow instead of greedily halting my progress for an early bite.  I put the whole bale in the closet without a nudge and then put some in the hay feeders.  Leaving a little in the wheelbarrow, gave the sheep room to spread out, and all were content.

After munching for awhile, Zorra came over for some rubs.  Amelia came for some attention but we haven't really established her favorite sheep to human interaction.  I wanted to check in with Mira to see if I could get a better sense of what is going on with her, but she didn't want to talk about it this morning.  Reminds me of someone I left in the house, who I was checking in with a few minutes earlier.

Gretta was looking out into the rain and we were having a conversation about mud and its positive and negative attributes.  I told her about rainy days in Marin County (about 45 years ago) when I would go to the Mill Valley library and then to a sweet hangout where you could get a hot cup of tea with a splash of brandy.  I would write poetry on paper napkins-- I wonder if any of it was good.

It is funny how what you think is going to be a quick chore of necessity turns out to be a delightful serene visit with good friends.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Out For Dinner

The "after the snow melt" mud was too much tonight so I took the sheep out for dinner.

Everyone likes to go out to dinner but often the food isn't as good as home.  The sheep got both.  I opened the hay gates and let the sheep go help themselves.

This picture was taken a couple of days ago.  It was a fun sight tonite with 9 sheep in with the hay, but once again I didn't have my camera.

Once the sheep decided who was going to stand next to who, they were pretty well behaved and  dinner was peaceful.  I think they all appreciated eating in nice surroundings without squishing in the mud.

Then it was back home for a dessert of organic grain.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

White Sheep and a Kitten Called Little Gray

Just Yesterday, I was thinking about how all the sheep colors blend about this time of year.  I tell people that the sheep of Cabin Spring Farm are brown, grey, white, and multi beige but when the sheep are in heavy fleece they do have a similar outer fleece color (kinda beigy) .  Today the sheep are white sheep.

  Sometimes in the spring, before the sheep are shorn, people will ask me how I can tell the sheep apart.  Are these the people that think all Black people look alike?  Do some African Americans think all White people look alike?  Look at the different faces on these beautiful sheep.

 In the above picture you can actual see the beige,white, gray, and brown.

And below is the kitten called "Little Gray"

Thursday, January 25, 2018


A beautiful day and I needed to get outside so I decided to let the sheep out of there regular space.  As I was letting them out the lower gate, I heard a loud fluttering of wings.  It was sister chicken flying up to the top of the barnyard fence.  This is the first time she has done that since the dog attack.

It was a long recovery and I decided to let her do it in her time.  Today was her time.  All the animals seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.  The sheep grazed in the cabin yard, the chickens scratched at some grain by the garage barn and then went over to hangout under the forsythia bush.  The chickens have been in the coop for so long that the kitten maybe didn't remember them.  Little Gray thought they were interesting and decided to check them out.  Then on to other fun things like batting at something and then half practicing prowling.  Mama cat just watched.  She was partially hidden under the cabin deck and as Charlotte went around the corner she was startled by the cat, for a moment.  The geese minded their own business and did't harass anyone. Sooooo peaceful.  I love days like this.

The sheep have been so patient with me these mornings.  Because of all the new things I have to do first thing, I have been getting down to the barn late.  They are just glad to see me.  Little Gray was waiting in a different place and seemed to be trying to get my attention but all in all they seem to be willing to wait while I do some things for John.

John is getting along.  Tomorrow, he is going to try to walk down to the barnyard.  Probably to thank the animals for their patience.  The only time he has been out of the house is to go to PT or the doctor appointment. Yesterday, we saw the pictures of the new knee parts.  Pretty amazing. John's doctor is happy with how everything is going but John just wants to have less pain and more flexibility.  I think he needs to get out more, like I thought the chickens  should get out more but I have decided to let him do it in his time.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Organization and Balance

Two words that I could live with for a year, for sure.  In this context, I am referring to life on the farm this week.  Someone on the farm had a double knee replacement last week and it wasn't any of the sheep, geese, or chickens.

One really has to get organized when adding in all the elements of nursing on top of farming.  Saturday, I felt like I was walking in circles all afternoon. Then Charlie and I built a platform to make the reclining chair high enough to get in and out of.  We did pretty well but the animals had to wait for their dinner.  Yesterday, Lyndy came over and we built a plywood exercise plate.  Lyndy made two different yummy soups for the coming week and helped me bring a few loads of wood up to the porch.  We were looking amazingly organized.

And the balance.  First nursing items, then a cup of tea for me, then the animals.  Then breakfast for me, and a few minutes to write and then back to nursing.

I have a superb patient, a warm house, and plenty of food to eat.