Actually, we all DO! Happy Easter!
We spent the day just resting and enjoying the place… the animals… and our little family. Maggie has been a bit under the weather, with some sort of stomach flu, so Jessy and I have been doing her chores while she recuperates! And it’s just been perfect weather to be outside, enjoying the time for sure!
I had such a good time last night playing music for folks, I felt like I was drunk on the experience and yet I didn’t have anything to drink! (Just for the record, it’s rare that we do.. just don’t like to mix drinking and performing, just never seems to be a good combination!) I guess we were just all “on the mark” and enjoying what we all love… making music and entertaining folks! We had a lovely crowd, the largest we’ve ever seen at this club, and we all went home with a little extra cash in our pockets for the effort, so that just was the icing on the cake. I think I could really dig playing out more and more… we have some months that we’ll play 3 or 4 times and that is perfect! It’s been about 2 months since our last gig so we were all overdue for a fun time! (Winter can be that way… the holidays and such, and a lot of our fans are elder folk and for some reason, there is a sort of lull in gig opportunities until the spring…) But, unfortunately, I didn’t get home until nearly 2 am… and so I slept in this morning till almost noon!!! Felt great!
We had a nice big ham from one of our October pigs… and of course, green bean casserole!!! (my favorite!) and some other goodies… didn’t make a desert… I guess because we’re trying to watch the sweets in the house and the girls each got a little basket of goodies from the Easter bunny… (I don’t care if they are 35 or whatever, I like making them a little basket from the “bunny” and I think they would feel a little left out without one… they are still my little girls a few times a year!) Maggie even ate a little bit of dinner and then they spent some time playing video games and laughing a bunch and I laid down a bit to, ah, read. Which of course, lasted about 5 minutes into an article and then promptly turned into a food coma nap!
It’s so nice to have just a laid back day. Jessy and I ended up just sitting outside around the fire pit, she with a kitty in her lap and me with Miss Daisy… each critter just snoozing and enjoying being held in the bright sunshine. We got a little bit of rain in the early morning, but the afternoon was just beautiful… blue skies, warm sunshine and about 56 degrees. Just wonderful.
We let the sheep and goats and Cody out of their paddocks because the ground is pretty dry. Thought they would enjoy a little time out and they did. Cody got a good roll in and a canter about the place. The sheep were kicking up their heels and mostly had their heads down, nibbling every little teeny green shoot they could get their lips around. Fergus and Molly were little pistols and found a weak spot in our fence over the winter! And of course, popped right under it without hardly a thought. (Just a word of warning… don’t use tiewraps for fencing. We have so learned our lesson on that. You might think they would be wonderful, just a zip and done… but we have found that cheap ones break VERY easily, especially with a determined ovine wanting to graze that lovely green grass on the other side of the fence. And they seem to weather badly. We have replaced nearly every single one we used in the first season. And they STILL found a few others to pop out!
Jessy is our resident expert on livestock fencing… she can wrap a wire around fence and post like a real pro. She went out there and after herding the two miscreants back into the fold, she fixed the spot. And then she waited until they found another place… this time SUPER pregnant Iris crawled under a fence spot and Fergus followed. Jessy fixed the fence and I herded the two back in, after letting them have a few good minutes to graze the longer grass in the back pasture.
That back pasture has got to be fenced soon, it’s like a garden of Eden back there and yet I just can not let them back there for fear they will get loose through the fields beyond. It’s our LAST fencing issue. We have some of the fence, and some posts and will be working on it soon. We tried last week but the ground was still too hard and frozen. We had to put a couple posts in the weak areas today and it was hard but much better than last week. I think we will be able to start this next week, at least getting some of the posts in the ground. We’ll get it… it’s our first big project of the season!
Well, after that little adventure, we had the place all secure again. Thank goodness, when one or two sheep get out, they won’t stray from the main flock, but sort of hang near the fence and wait to be rescued. If all of them got out, they would be a half mile down the road! So we don’t panic if we see one inmate show us a weak spot in the fencing. Once they realized we meant business, they just settled in to graze and forgot about the fences for a few hours. I’m pretty sure most of them sit around all day just visualizing how to get loose. Or what they can eat next. Pretty much, yeah, that is what is going through their minds most the time. No good deed goes unpunished I figure. I let the goats out to graze as well and they managed to get through part of their stall and into the chicken feed in about 2.7 seconds upon release. I fixed that up and sent them packing outside. Small scale farming seems to be a series of constant adjustments. And reactions to what the animals do.
I’ve been catching some of the loose chickens and putting them back where they belong. It’s funny, really, they WANT to go back where they came from. Most of the ladies escaped from the poultry barn flock when we had a rip in the top netting from some of the free range birds roosting on top of the thing in the winter. So, really, they didn’t want to be loose, and they hang around the outside pen and try to figure out how to get back in! Yet catching them is hard! I have caught almost all of the ladies over the last week… caught two today by feeding them some bread and waiting a lot until I could get a good grab hold and slip them back into the fold. One Amerucana was particularly funny… she wanted in so badly, she would come over and over and over again, but each time I grabbed at her, she would shimmy away so well, I began to think it was a game we were playing. Finally, I got her and a few tailfeathers were lost in the process, but it was for the best. Jessy said this particular hen was trying to roost on the poultry barn roof last night and kept sliding off! She’s much safer now, inside with her peeps.
Blue Louie and Dammartin are a pair of roosters that run the free range flock up near the house and I think Louie, in particular, was upset that I have been catching his ladies! He kept trying to shoo them away from me, as if he knew what I was up to. Dammartin is his second in charge, following Louie around and generally looking upset as well. Perhaps, they were worried that I would grab them next! Louie lets me pick him up usually, but not today. Silly roosters. Copper and Bucka Too are the roosters in charge back near the big barn and they control the old free range girls, about 12 of them, that seem to stay pretty close to the barn. Once the weather gets nicer I know that we’ll have more chickens out ranging about the yard, cleaning up the bugs and such.
It does seem a little sad that Bucka Roo is not the top dog anymore in the rooster department. He’s had a very rough winter and just seems to have lost a little of his vigor. I have no idea of his age, I’m sure he’s pushing 4 or 5 years though, and apparently he has lost out to his sons as king of the rock. He is happy though, that we put him in with his son Raven, in the poultry barn flock. Raven will posture and give Dad a hard peck and a chase now and then, but Bucka just avoids him and dashes into a group of ladies or under the sunning table. Usually, you can find Bucka sitting in the sun with a lady on either side of him, just enjoying the weather and the company. He’s no longer breeding any gals, just seems to be content to enjoy his retirement time.
It really seems to work out best, having two roosters for each group. One will always be the king and the other, a prince in waiting. Also the princeling is just another lookout and guard over the ladies. They will work in tandem to protect their harem. Only one does the breeding, though the princeling will occasionally try and sneak in a little moment of love which usually results in the king roo busting his chops and setting the whole flock into a tizzy for a few minutes. It’s so neat to watch the interactions and relationships of these animals… I think I should have been one of those animal bahaviorists… I really do like seeing how they work, react and live.
Well, we have two days of sort of yucky and cold weather on the forecast. So I plan to work diligently inside on a few client projects and getting a few new rugs up on the farm site. Just finished a batch of cute mini-rugs that I hope will help to raise a few funds for the final fence-down! Maggie has orders for 3 batches of signs we need to finish up and of course, we always have rock sales to work with! Should be a good week though… we’re looking forward to the possibility of lambs any day now! Today is our first due date possible! And we have some dear friends coming out to the farm on Saturday to visit! So we have all sort of cleaning up and getting ready plans!
It does feel good to spend some time getting the place in order after the hard winter. As much as you would like to, it’s hard to keep the place all clean and tidy in the cold. You can’t run the hose much, and when you’re just trying to get through your chores before you loose feeling in your hands and feet, you’re not that careful about sweeping up and getting feed bags in the right place and such. Things like tools and such tend to get used and left where ever you finished with them. Winter winds and storms blow trash in from the road and knock down a lot of branches. Jessy and I have been just walking around, doing chores and we’ve managed to fill the fire pit with kindling and add a huge amount to the wood pile! Seems we all have sticks in our hands as we walk about.
So it’s just good to finally get started on spring cleaning. We’ve gotten all the trash out of the buildings, and a lot of the sticks picked up. Moved a few things around, started to muck out buildings and fill up our garden raised beds with good winter compost. Even have pushed a little broom and burned some boxes and such. We’ll get a whole lot more done this week with the temperatures after Tuesday back into the 50’s and beyond! Yahoo! Spring has sprung!
All in all, I’m so grateful that we have our beautiful little evolving homestead farm. Each and every day, it seems that we’re one step closer to making this place every bit of our dream home. It’s a struggle at times, it surely is. There are days that end in tears of frustration when something just doesn’t want to work out properly, or there is a challenge that seems too big. But in the end, with some prayer, hard work and just stubborn determination, we work it out. There are far too many days that end in huge contented smiles and much welcomed sleep for weary, hard worked muscles! Nothing feels better than laying down after a good solid day of accomplishment. It’s just the icing on the cake of contentment.
And I just thank the Lord for the chance to have this place, to have our wonderful friends and family around us, and for all the blessings that rain down upon us. We have our troubles at times, like everyone. But the wonderful blessings so outnumber those dark moments that they are quickly forgotten and past. I wish for you all to have found that sense of contentment and blessing in your lives! Happy Easter and Merry Spring to you and yours!!!!!
Sherri, Jessy, Maggie and the critter gang at Windhaven!!!