Sunday, February 21, 2010

February showers bring....?

If I had a camera with a powerful telephoto lens, I'd take a picture to post here this morning. It would look through our rain-streaked kitchen window out toward the barn. It would show you the soggy barnyard, puddles standing in most of the yard, thick, sticky mud everywhere else. The background would be grey and foggy. And then the photo would land on a lone figure standing in the doorway of the barn, Sugar, a goat with ears down, head drooping slightly. You would see her head leaning on the post at the doorway and her sad eyes looking up toward the kitchen window, pleading with us to do something about this rain. This was my view while I washed the breakfast dishes.

She's miserable. They all are. They'd much rather be headed out to the pasture by now, or climbing up on the round bale of hay. Being confined to the barn is not their style. I hope it lets up enough for them to get out in awhile. There's no telling what the sheep and goats will cook up together in that barn.

One of our ewes had twins while we were over at some friends' for dinner last night. Lisa found them safe and sound when we returned. I checked on them this morning. They were toasty warm and full of life.

The 5-acre field that we'll use for growing is now plowed and ready for Lisa and Kasey to lay irrigation pipes and tape. Planting in the field will begin around March 1. Planting seeds for germination in the greenhouse has already started.

This place is bursting with life, even if some of its livelier beings are a bit thwarted by the rain. Maybe I'll put on some rain gear and go for a walk today.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In the middle of the night.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night. We're still lambing, and have some goats we're concerned about, so I slipped out of bed, put on my jacket, grabbed the headlamp, and walked out to the barn. There was a chill in the air. I pulled my jacket tight around me. A cat stirred from the pile of cats and dogs on the porch and glanced my way through bleary eyes. In a moment, the pile came to life as cats lazily stood, stretched, and yawned. The dog laid motionless, sleeping peacefully after a full night chasing coyotes away.

I walked on toward the barn. The darkness enveloped me as I stepped off the porch and away from the lights at the house. It was quiet. I could hear only my own breathing and the crunch of my boots on the frosty ground. The barnyard is usually so full of activity, lambs and ewes looking for each other, doelings jumping and head-butting, everyone looking for corn. But last night there was one lone woolie, lying next to the fence, to greet me when I entered.

I walked on toward the barn. The sweet smell of hay met me as I walked through the open door. Some animals stirred. The sheep are not used to us yet, so they run when we get too close. Several of them sprang to their feet and ran out toward the pasture. I looked quickly to see if any were showing signs of labor. Then I looked past them to see if there were any ewes down in the pasture on the other side of the barn. Everyone was on her feet. I breathed easier. There would be no babies in the house this night.

On the far side of the barn, the goats were piled up together in a corner. The two or three on the outer edge looked up, but the others continued sleeping. I walked closer to look at them. The one we're most concerned about was in the middle of the pile, completely surrounded by the others. I watched her breathing, soft gentle rises of the area just past her rib cage. She was safe for the night.

I turned to walk back to the house and stepped past the hay feeder. I looked down to see two woolie lambs cuddled together sound asleep in the safest place in the barn. I smiled at their cleverness.

I made my way back to the house. The dog was still asleep but the cats had scattered. I walked through the door, took off my jacket and laid it down. I turned out the lights and went back to the bedroom, walking softly and quietly to keep from waking anyone. I got to the bed and laid down. I closed my eyes, holding in my mind the beautiful sight of the animals safe and warm, sleeping peacefully in the middle of the night. And, soon, I too, was sound asleep again.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Taking requests/suggestions

My life is full. I want to write, but it's hard to find a place to start. What should I write about?