I opened the front door to great heaps of snow. For southern Colorado, this is quite a storm. It is still blustery and the snow is falling thickly with glints of sunlight shining through. It is a chattering 1 degree with the wind. Our farm dog, Gandalf, is sleeping indoors this morning despite his woolly exterior.
The chickens are snug in their coop with the help of a heat lamp. I will need to put on my galoshes and check on their water. One more cup of coffee!
The wood stove has been puttering along beautifully over the past frigid few days and I am afraid that the wood is about run out and another two cords will not be arriving for another few weeks. We do have a furnace, but there is nothing quite like the warmth from a wood stove to really warm the bones.
We have two new additions to the farm that have warmed our hearts. Their names are Taos and Socorro, after two of our favorite places to holiday in New Mexico.
Fourteen, or so odd, years ago, we adopted several kittens over a two year period full knowing that one day we would lose several cats within a few years. We lost four of them this year, my sweet Frankie just a week ago. We have one old kitty left, our beloved Booboo, whom the children taught to come to Andrew’s room if he blasted Bob Marley. We have two five-year old kitties as well. Well, it’s a bit quiet around here when you are used to many more. The silence of winter approaches and we felt we needed a little life and a little fun around here. So off to the shelter we went on the first blustery day and adopted two adorable little girls.
Our farm is humming along with dreams of spring and planting and future farm animals, as the fire in the wood stove warms the brightens house, the snow-light bouncing through the windows and adding a chill to the senses. ‘Twill be a cold night for tricks and treats tomorrow indeed, but in our little farmhouse we are warm, our hearts filled with joy.
We went over to Sylvia’s farm Sunday afternoon. The day was warm and sunny and her alpacas were wandering happily about their pens. Sylvia was a gracious host and went over again everything we would need to know after taking the two alpacas home that she had generously offered us.
They are very cute boys. Buddy is small and fluffy and his friend, Carmello, looks like a camel. Their fleece is lovely and they didn’t kick me or spit at me. They did immediately head away from anywhere we were. That is how alpacas are. I don’t know if I thought these alpacas would be different. They would run up to me and want their noses rubbed and a hug around the neck. They aren’t mean but they aren’t really friendly either. A little newborn kept nibbling at my shirt and was absolutely adorable but would skitter away as I turned around.
We thought it through, we planned. We decided. Not this year.
When I write something on this blog and set it out into the universe it starts spiraling. It starts manifesting. And my dream for this year is Doug’s as well and we are going to make it happen. (Look for the full scoop later this week!) but for now, our entire income will hinge on the success of our Homesteading School including the Certified Herbalist arm. Farm tours and interns, vegetables, milk shares, eggs, lots of folks coming to the farm. The aura of the farm needs to match our intention. Having families come tour our homestead is always a delight for me. I love how excited the kids get when they hold a docile chicken or play with Elsa, the uber friendly goat. When they talk non-stop about bottle feeding goat kids or kitty “hunting” (can you find all nine in our house?). If we had terrified animals in the back corner…well that doesn’t really fit in.
I am getting two lambs next month that will be bottle babies to make them tame and I will try my fiber fun with them and if I love it, I can always get an alpaca next year to add to the fiber animals but in the meantime, we need more of a petting zoo environment, I think. A good experience for kids (and adults) to hold onto when dreaming of their future farms.
Babies do tend to come early. When the feed store called and said that two of the eleven chicks were in, I panicked a little as we were not ready! Hastily Doug and I set up the baby nursery in the garage. We brought home the small package of two ridiculously loud Polish Rock chickens (aka: Top Hats). They are about three inches tall with a high poof on their heads resembling a fabulous fur hat. It will grow into a plume of wild white feathers atop a black body. Very stylish, very comical. We placed them in the plastic bin beneath the light and watched them shiver….watched our breath cloud the darkened air of the garage. Then we picked up the whole thing and moved it into Emily’s room.
One of them we have deemed to be a diva. She sings many decibels louder than her tiny frame…constantly. She is so loud that the cats are disoriented. Thankfully, she slept through the night. Her sidekick, a slightly smaller version of herself, runs around after her, mimicking her every move. She sings sweetly. While Aretha jumps off of the food bowl, Ginger (as in Rogers, and her great hats) is quietly behind her ready to do the same. Aretha (yes, as in Franklin) thinks she should fly the coop already. So, another Ethel is in the works. She looks carefully with her pin point squinty eyes at the top of the bin and with all her little power propels her wings and runs into the side of the plastic bin, three inches higher than she started. I try not to laugh, her will is inspiring, but brain damage is imminent if she doesn’t stay grounded!
Doug and I enjoy their antics so much, babies and grown chickens alike. Shyanne came tearing into the house, boyfriend and friend in tow, squealing with delight (so that’s how you get teenagers home!) over the little fluff bundles. Andy is disappointed he is house sitting because he wants to cuddle and see them as well. I imagine next year with new chickens, the tiny hands of a one year old being carefully provoked to pet the new chicks. For her to grow up and be excited to go to Grammie and Pa’s house…to the fun farm. (As opposed to the funny farm…or perhaps- well never mind.) Where our future grandkids can be can be wild children in the wilderness of grain fields and corn stalks. To walk around with tomato juice strewn down their little chins. To hold a newborn goat, to pick up eggs and help make breakfast, where they can go for a ride on the tractor with Pa. Where they can lie in the grass with a thermos of hot chocolate and watch the stars. Where they can be loved and snuggled and on Grammie and Pa vacation…away from the confines of homework, where literature and art are fun, where poetry is written naturally by the lake. Where the farm is school. Farmgirl school will change over the years into an all inclusive resort for little ones. Our first arriving early.
Maryjane has stopped growing and is having trouble finishing up. So, tonight Emily will be induced. Tomorrow, folks, my next farmgirl will be born. I ask your prayers for Emily and Maryjane (and the sanity of Grammie amongst doctors) and I will post pictures of our new little arrival when she gets here….hopefully kicking and ready to play hard on our farm!