(It is a more than a little unfair to do Fritz the double injustice of being forced to parade around the pasture dolled up like a show pony AND being compared to a garishly-colored florescent-locked plastic toy, but he bears it well. So long as I feed him first. Thanks, dear sweet and PATIENT Fritz. This was just what I needed.)
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Greta likes to carry things with her wherever she goes. These days, she wants to carry an egg with her every time we do chores. And this is what happens when I say, over my shoulder to the bundle on my back, "Greta, you better not be licking that egg!"
Exactly. The Joy of Disobedience.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
I know a family who are very much devoted to the study - and practice - of the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. I worked for a time with a son of this family on his small farm. One day, in the family's kitchen, I was eating a meal largely composed of vegetables we'd picked from out back, just moments earlier. My friend's mother beamed at me, saying, "Can't you just feel the life force in that food?"
Now, my friends, I am (though not politically) a rather conservative sort of a person. I don't consider myself to be crunchy or hippy or any other -y for that matter. Before meeting my friend and his family (this is now going back a ways), I'd never heard of Rudolf Steiner. Not being raised amidst his teachings, certain ideas still, to this day, sound odd to me. Astral bodies? Eurythmy? And life forces? In food?
So on that day, in that kitchen, I think I nodded Yes, and smiled back at her, not wanting to disappoint her, definitely not sold on the idea she was presenting to me. But I have never forgotten that moment. In fact, I think of it often. In fact, that moment has helped drive me to where I am today, has helped me figure out why I care about what I do, and why I care about what I eat.
Now, that being said, I'm not a purist. I don't eat solely of foods raised with love here on my farm. I'd like to eat more foods that I raise and grow myself, and I'm getting there. In the meantime, I eat plenty of anonymously produced foods (and some of what I consider non-foods, and even some complete crap). But you know what? Whether made of plant or animal, they're dead foods. Like really dead. Like the kind of dead that never had a moment of joy or beauty. The kind of dead that is totally lacking in life force.
I know this, and yet, I still eat these things. But, when I eat the foods that Craig and I raise right here on our farm, I know their stories. I know where our meats came from, as I knew the animals themselves, where they were born and raised, how they were treated while they were alive. I know that Craig loves to lie down in the straw with the piglets and that they clamber over him like puppies. I know that our pigs are born and raised right here, outdoors and in fresh air, treated gently and with love. I know that I talk to my hens when I gather their eggs, and catch myself apologizing to them when I have to shoo them out of a nest box. I know that I sit quietly by my beehives when I can, just watching them fly in and out. I know that Craig drives out into the pastures just to make sure the cows are content, and that he has a huge soft spot for Old 100, our own grandmama cow.
And yes, this is food that is filled with life forces. Forces of soil and grasses and wind and rain and sun and stars. Forces even I can feel.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
No sooner did I hit publish on this post than Weena decided that not only could she outsmart me, she'd also prove to me that she can read, and is an active follower of my blog. I can just see her, checking in to see my latest post, then running as fast as her little cloven hooves could go to tell Oona what I'd said about them. "Hey, Oona, you're making me look bad. A real goody two shoes, you are. So, from now on, you're breaking out of here, too. Got it?"
Yup. Oona got the message all right. Can you just faintly see the fence? The fence behind the sheep?
Really funny, girls. Weena, loose the smirk, OK?
Friday, April 6, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Want to know what this is? It's evidence. Evidence of a frequent escapee. Only ever Weena. Never Oona.
And if you look very closely in this photo, you'll find more evidence. Weena is in the foreground, and on her back, right where her neck meets her shoulders (withers, on a horse) there is a little tuft of wool sticking up. Yup. It's sticking up because it catches on the underside of the fence as she shimmies her way under.
So I, the Debbie Downer that I am, dragged a hog pannel and a pocketful of zip ties out to their pasture. Take that, Weena.
And here's Oona this morning. Wait. What's she looking for?
Oh, Weena. Of course. Always Weena. Never Oona.
She snickers at me, I swear. If she could, she'd stand by my zip-tied hog panel and laugh.
Craig says they look delicious. I say no, it's our fault. We built the fences, after all.
Outsmarted. By sheep. Every single day.
(And no, the current plan is not to eat these girls - they're for breeding. So we can have more sheep roaming where ever they please with total disregard for our penning-in attempts.)
Monday, April 2, 2012
Today, I am thrilled to have been able to create a guest post - my very first ever! - for Kate; fellow farmer, (internet) friend and keeper of the always lovely blog, Longest Acres. If you have a moment to spare, take a minute to jump on over to her space. And if you have more than a minute, stay a while. Have a look around. Meet Kate. And Nick. And their traveling farm, which has just made the move to from Massachusetts to Vermont, to a vast hillside farm whose owners have said, Do as you wish. Oh, the endless possibilities!
I'll be back tomorrow with sheep hijinks...
I'll be back tomorrow with sheep hijinks...