Sunday, August 29, 2010


If you are a regular reader of this blog, you've probably noticed that things have been a little.... scattered lately. The problem extends beyond blog inattention, I'm afraid. Fences need fixing, nest boxes lapse into poultry trainwrecks, broken eggs and displaced bedding, general ugliness. Sheep have taken to free-ranging

(Here's Rahm on the wrong side of the barn wall...)

And this very barn has been befouled by foul. Not pretty around here these days.


Well, one explanation is busyness. We are working (quite a lot) and have been away. There are, all of a sudden, three elementary school aged kids around the farm with their own social commitments, camps, activities, etc. When do we keep up with chores, exactly?

Another explanation is flagging interest. It's been about 5 years since we started farming and while we love the animals, the somewhat self-sufficiency, the lifestyle aspect, it's not the adventure it once was. The first or second or 15th time we had to trim Rahm's horns or treat a sick ewe or scrounge food for pigs, was exciting. But now we know what to expect.

It might be a sort of general failure. We have not figured out how to make the sheep affordable or how to provide more than our own meat and a few vegetables. (We regularly buy everything from cereal to snack bars to milk, ice cream and bread from the supermarket). The pigs were a success, but Dan (having been part of the slaughter process) is not ready to do another round, and they were a serious time suck. Ditto for the turkeys, minus some of the slaughter issues plus a whole lot more of a mess(!)

Lastly, there's the "itchy feet" factor. Every 5-7 years or so, I get a bad case of "let's pick up and try something totally different". Often, this "different" involves a shiny airstream trailer and a great swath of Wyoming badland, but it can take other forms as well-- 6 month canoe trips, desert islands, etc etc. To compound this state of "itchy-feetness", Dan's work is largely mobile these days... The dream seems within actual reach! (Of course the kids-- as they have often told me-- are TOTALLY NOT INTO this idea, and neither is my charmingly home-happy husband. But still.....

So here we are on Maggie's Farm, the rich summer of 2010 starting to slip from our grasp, the apples (and peaches!) ripening on the trees, our reduced flock happily free ranging, chickens glorying in their dust baths, white faced hornets building a fortress under the eaves, tent caterpillars amassing their downy nests in out front yard trees, the dirt road alternately a dusty mess and a swamp, mint grown out of control in the herb garden

...and a hundred unplanned tomatoes plants offering their hard green fruit in the former pig pasture.

Pumpkins have also sprouted in the fertile land of former pigs...

Everything more or less in a state of wild disrepair.

Not sure what'll be happening around here next, but I'll certainly let you know.


Nicole MacDonald said...

hmmm I'd love to have a big section like that :) My doggies would be in heaven, the cat would probably go feral *grin* Why not just have chickens? They're easier and eggs are always good!

Perri said...

Thanks, Nicole.

We'd meant to pare down to just chickens (and the dogs, of course) but started missing the sheep even before they were all off to their new homes. We have pared down though from 20 to 5.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Don't give up on your little farm. I think it looks awesome! We've been thinking about getting some sheep. It seems like they just need some pasture and shelter. But nothing is that easy, I know. I feel a kinship with you. My too favorite things are writing and gardening/farming.

Perri said...

Hi Yvonne. Welcome!

Sheep are easy, I think. At least compared to many kinds of livestock. Ours are relatively self-sufficient in the warm months. But hay can get expensive in the winter and you have to really manage parasites.... also, they like to wander :) That said, springtime lambs really rock!

I love your blog too-- great to find another writer/farmer out there.

(Even our pictures are similar!)