The morning was quiet and spring-like. The birds sang brightly as the dawn arrived. Isabelle was pressed against the wall of the lean-to and was quiet. It was time.
I made a strong tea of nettles, motherwort, red clover, and red raspberry leaves and poured it into her drinking water along with molasses.
The chickens were maniacal in their calling as I waited and prayed for an easy delivery. They were driving me mad as their cacophony seemed to rise with each contraction.
The lambs stayed quiet, face to the sun.
The contractions increased.
“A foot is sticking out!” Doug yelled and Maryjane and I came running. One of my students happened to be there picking up herbs so she held Maryjane while Doug held Isabelle and I pulled lightly on the feet during a particularly difficult contraction. We had called our friend, Jenet, who just went through a goat labor, to ask last minute advice and were as ready as we would ever be. I thought she would throw the baby against the wall in her violent turn to release her but I caught her and lay her gently on the hay.
We waited for another baby to arrive. She was huge, we were just positive there were more infants to come but the placenta came an hour later and that ended our birthing session.
Everyone welcomed Adelaide to the world, including our kitten!
It is amazing how quickly they gain their footing. Soon Adelaide was jumping on the couch with Maryjane, making her away around the house, and drinking bottles every few hours. She stayed tucked under Doug’s arm throughout the night. She is precious and it is bittersweet that she is going to her new home Monday. I am thankful that mom and baby are well and a new miracle has joined this world.
We went and visited our friends, Lisa, Lance, Brandon, and Brett, on their homestead. Maryjane is such a little animal lover and horse whisperer already. Her friend, Tuvia (Lisa and Lance’s grandson) was there to play with her and together they visited with cows, chickens, horses, and dogs. A farm girl in the works!
The aftermath of the cold was sobering but not surprising. Everything in the cold frame was gone. I just received this cold frame as a barter for a class so I am still new to it. Should I have packed it with straw? Covered it with a blanket? Brought everything in?
The bees activity couldn’t help but remind me of Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail”. “Bring out your dead…” kept ringing in my mind as the bees studiously brought out dozens of dead bees, one still moving. “I’m not dead yet!”
We went to a lovely birthday celebration for my future son-in-law and Maryjane’s daddy, Bret. It was his 18th birthday. This young man is just wonderful. He is a devoted partner to my youngest daughter, Emily, and a doting father, who I rather fear is going to spoil that little girl rotten (if Grammie and Papa don’t beat him to it!). He is finishing high school and going to college full time to be a diesel mechanic. Very proud of the family they have become. It was fun getting together with his rather large family at a nice restaurant and celebrating.
Outdoors temperatures have rose to the thirties and forties and it feels like a heat wave! I sat outside for a moment with my face to the sun taking in the warmth and the light. I love the sun. The animals are cuddling together to keep the warmth and all is well and peaceful at our little farm.
I hope this finds you, dear reader, safe and warm and healthy in your own homestead. And with less than a week before Thanksgiving, I ought to turn off the Christmas music, and start preparing for the Thanksgiving meal. I am blessed to have friends and a few of the kids joining us this year. We all have much to be thankful for.
The morning rang promise. The air outside twenty degrees and the inside of the house had warmed to forty eight. But the sun shone so brightly, so gloriously this morn and I found that the prairie’s cold edges had been softened by an overnight snowfall that left the spance of barrenness now dancing with tiny diamonds, facets of crystals, sunlight, and festivity. I let out an exhale.
Have you ever had those evenings when you blow out the oil lamp beside the bed, huddle under the covers, and pray to wake up in Hawaii? When discouragement and nit picking sadness won’t leave you but rather leaves you weary and desperate? Such a night it was. The feeling of insurmountable and never ending happenings start to take on its own unreasonable aura. For all the dreaming and praying and begging and planning and succeeding at finding our dream homestead, if you had told me that the house in an arctic blast would never get over fifty degrees, I would have said, “Oh, hell no.” I don’t stand outside when it’s in the forties, I am going to stay inside in it too? Yes sir. I have let go of all the souls that passed on this year but the sadness remains. I understand that it is tough times for folks but I went to bed wondering if I am being foolish with what I do. Healers don’t exactly bring in the big bucks, and sometimes they don’t bring in the little bucks either! We are here to help people who choose not to go to the doctor or hospital and there is absolutely nothing we cannot help with. But we have received more inquiries on social media about our old house and whether it’s for rent than for remedies. Our friends visit doctors who give them medicines that make them sick. Should I go get a real job and give up? Do people really need me? Should we move back to the city to somewhere that has heat? Should we….and then blissful rest overtook me until the dog heard something at one in the morning.
But then I awoke to this scene. The house feels warmer somehow. An older gentleman that has been battling severe nerve damage for many years in his foot is coming by for more medicine because it’s working for him. We are getting ready for a craft show tomorrow where we will see friends, perhaps help some folks with our remedies, and get excited for Christmas. We will get by and I should be thankful that we have a home, food, and some heat. This lifestyle may not be for everyone but it is certainly for me and Doug and I am thankful for those new beginnings, new mornings, and snow covered fields that remind us of all we have. Homemade gifts are in the works, hot coffee in the thermos, and life on this homestead goes on and is certainly sweet…if not a bit chilly.
-18 degrees outside with wind chill. Since we cannot fly to the tropics we are keeping busy on this wintery day! Jack Frost’s creativity and beautiful artwork in the windows inspired some of my own.
While we are inside trying to stay warm it seemed a very good time to put on some music, turn on the propane heater to help the stove along, and work on Christmas presents and art.
Last month I had an idea. I am both fascinated and sad looking at old, dilapidated homesteads, long ago abandoned by the road side. The idea was to take photos of these homesteads then transpose a scene of what it may have looked like in its hay day via paint and a bit of imagination. So one day I had my camera and asked Doug to stop at one of them. I am not much of a law breaker (outside of selling raw milk by share) and I was nervous about trespassing. I kept asking Doug, “Is someone here?” There were no windows or doors on the property so of course the answer was no, save for the coyote pup that dodged under the foundation and a few pheasants that disappeared from our camera lens. I wish I had relaxed and taken better photos but what I came up with sparked my imagination.
This is the old barn on the place. I placed a piece of glass over it and drew this scene…
The photo is underneath to show what it looks like now and the paint shows what it might have looked like then.
Doug put on the Perry Como Christmas album, the heat is starting to penetrate our chilled skin, outside the world is a magical wonderland, inside is a holiday workshop.
Just about 16 weeks ago my blog post that day (after three days of silence) had the most views of any of my writings since I started this farm blog last November. A Child Was Born was anticipated and we all waited with baited breath for the safe arrival of this darling child. My first grandchild. The community all knew she was coming. Our customers/friends from the shop were excited. They brought welcome gifts. My best friends bought out the baby store practically. The banter in the local beauty shop was about the new princess and how she would have the people of the town doting on her every whim.
“Being a grandparent is the best! You can spoil them then give them back.” “Grandchildren are very special.” These were vast understatements once she got here. I do not want to give her back! Emily and Bret are vacationing this week in Grand Lake and having a grand time with their new princess. I did not realize that the love you feel for a grandchild is the same as when you see your own newborn infant. Without the stress. No worrying. I just love her with all my heart and appreciate each stage and each amazingly big smile! She has been one of our biggest blessings. Doug and I are absolutely smitten. She is the reward for having all three of our children (who were SO incredibly good and well mannered; whom we really thought were going to get through teen years without a hitch) hit rebellious, law breaking, gonna go live with my boyfriend, weed smoking, screw you parents stage at the same time. They are all respectable, loving kiddos now, but they sure took a few years off our life and before we thought we wouldn’t make it, our little reward came down from heaven. Maryjane Rose.
Besides the Pumpkin Hollow Farm sign, Rod also made us this cute sign with our last name on it in the style of Winnie the Pooh (Sanders is written above Pooh’s door) and we took a little photo shoot of Maryjane before she went on vacation. Cute as Pooh, as Papa would say.
Time to stop and smell the flowers. Doug snapped these beautiful photos yesterday. Beautiful evening.
In our hectic society we are taught to go, go, go! The more one can get done, the better.
But the whole reason behind taking a day of rest is to recuperate so that we are more efficient and healthier during the week. Taking a break and a day off should be as simple as breathing. We only get to live a few minutes in the whole scheme of things…
A day of rest doesn’t have to be on Saturday or Sunday….one doesn’t have to go to church to make it a day of rest (God is everywhere.)….
We just need to take deep breaths, enjoy food and drink and friends, and look around at the astounding beauty of nature and all the gifts and blessings and simple pleasures that encompass us, surround us with joy.
Maryjane’s first swimming day was yesterday at my grandma and grandpa’s house (her great, great grandparents’ house!) and we intend to take Mondays off every week. Between the shop being open during the week and four farmer’s markets a week, plus keeping up around here, we would be wise not to get burnt out before July! So every Monday we will alternate between Grandma’s pool and Doug’s parents’ pool. Every week we go see Grandmas and Papas. Sun, rest, fun. A day of rest for everyone! What will you do on your day of rest?