Sunday, April 11, 2010

buckle up

Today was filled with a bit of debauchery. I spent the bulk of it outside: laying on my back on a wool blanket it in the sun in the sheep pasture. I had only the blanket, a copy of the Encyclopedia of Country Living, and my banjo. I laid out in the sun letting my arms feel warm. It was a brisk 60 degrees but I was sporting a tank-top none the less. I read and soaked up all the vitamin D I could rationalize between farm chores and then came inside to cook up some Boyden Farm beef in a skillet. I made a small steak and cheese pizza: a true rare delicacy here. My lord it was amazing....The savory combination of food and sunlight seemed criminal in the joys it granted me. With a full stomach, a protein high, and a sunny Sunday afternoon I felt rich as any animal ever has. I played clawhammer tunes loud. I bet the whole damn neighborhood heard my C-tuned drum pot. I sang loud. I was sober. Homesteaders need little in the world of intoxicants. We're high on compost.

Things here are intensely busy, which is why weekday posts feel thin. I'm on a writing deadline for a non-blog project that takes the bulk of my computer time at home. But I do have things to update you on. The big news: I should be closing on the Jackson Farm in the next two weeks! If that's the case I have a lot to plan, but will claw out the schedule like always. This move to New York marks my fifth state in five years, so I'm used to packing. BUt with the spring coming into the Northeast like a charging Belgium—I find myself overwhelmed at the start of the new farm, the new garden, moving the livestock, planning movers, putting up fences and trying for a promotion at the office all at the same time. Compound onto that the normal daily drama's of a thinking mammal's life and you have yourself one very excited and emotional woman. I'm in no way unstable, but I am fighting the urge to cheer or cry on a regular basis: mostly because of farm and writing highlights bogged down by work and farm stress. Life's balance, I guess.

We had a bit of bad luck with Jazz lately. His back broke out in pus-filled sores from an allergic reaction to the cabin mold. Annie and I are fine, but Jazz's weak thyroid made him, well, sick as a dog. I needed to run him to the vet recently to be shaved, medicated, and fixed up. He's much better now and healing brilliantly but the poor guy walks around surly and pissed off. [See professional illustration for more details.]

I can not wait to post: I signed the papers. I got the keys. I own a farm.

Soon. Buckle up.


Blogger kat said...


I am so happy for you! Best wishes to you and your CAF family!!

April 11, 2010 at 5:58 PM  
Blogger Bri said...

Congrats on the farm!!! That's so exciting! :)

April 11, 2010 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger delpasored said...

Great news! Best wishes on your new adventure.

April 11, 2010 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger BJ Gingles said...

I too, was high on compost today. I spent most of the day planting more vegies in my raised beds, mixing up my special soil mix for some container gardening and drilling holes in an old garbage can to grow potatos in straw (a new project). In the midst of all that, I pulled a back muscle. I finished what I had already started but couldn't start another project I had lined up to do. Dear hubby told me I will probably be out of commission for a few days (he is the experienced one when it comes to back injuries) so it is a good thing my raised beds are truly raised and I won't have to bend to tend to them (our backyard floods when it rains so I have my beds resting on cinder blocks at waist level).
Other than the injury, I have thoroughly enjoyed my day outside listening to the birds sing, feeling the sun on my skin and the breeze cooling me as I worked.

All I missed was being able to produce my own music and I'd say it was just about perfect.

I am thrilled to hear your farm is that much closer... and good luck on the promotion.

April 11, 2010 at 6:48 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

We will be waiting to hear the news of the closing! I hope you find plenty of help with the move.

High on compost, indeed. It's great stuff.

April 11, 2010 at 7:29 PM  
Blogger Kristin Marsh said...

Congratulations--wonderful news!

April 11, 2010 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger SouthernHeart said...

I hadn't read about the cabin mold. It's a good thing you're moving! Hopefully, that will be sooner than soon. Glad it was a good day in the country...

April 11, 2010 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Poor Jazz! I chuckled at your professional depiction of a pissed off dog. I've read that dogs don't get mad, so I'm guessing he just still feels like crap. I have a 13 year old puppy that is feeling his age these days- he's not exactly grumpy, but you can just tell he's feeling his age. Kinda rickety.

Let as many people help you as want to. Don't try to do all of it at once. Figure out what's priority and do that first. Leave the unpacking for night time, so you can garden during the day if you want. Don't grow stuff that has to be canned the first summer...try to space it so you're pulling fresh food out of the ground as year long as possible. Consider a green house later in the year.

Good luck with your promotion and take time to breath. Now might be a good time to pick up yoga....

April 11, 2010 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Ah soaking up the warm rays of spring sunshine. Glad you got a dose of Vitamin D after the winter.
I had my first mess of dandelions greens with potato and salt pork. My Mom always called it spring tonic.
A great cure for bacterial skin infections in dogs that I use is Sulphodene. I have found it at WalMart of all places. You can avoid the shaving and vet bill.
Can't wait for the announcement

April 11, 2010 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger cathy said...

Congratulations! :)

April 11, 2010 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Brambly Thicket said...

Exciting times! I am happy for you.

I use Manuka honey on my dogs for skin irritations. It's sticky but it works wonders and it's okay if they ingest it.I hope Jazz feels better soon.

April 11, 2010 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger E said...

You don't need to do it all at once. Make a flexible, reasonable 5 year plan.
Don't overwork yourself or you'll be a broken backed, burnt out, bitter ex-farmer.

Laying around in the sun seems like a way to de-stress...

April 11, 2010 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger Sense of Home said...

Happy to hear you are closer to signing. Sounds like it is time to leave if you have mold problems. Hope Jazz is better.

I can't imagine tackling all you are this spring. We are moving a shed and expanding our garden and that, along with working full time and other normal daily homemade living, seems like a large enough undertaking.

Who needs any other excitement, life is full enough!

April 11, 2010 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

YAY!!!!! Congratulations, you're a farmer!

April 12, 2010 at 12:15 AM  
OpenID Too Many Scarves said...

Oh my god. Congrats congrats CONGRATS!!!


April 12, 2010 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger Tora said...

Whoohoo Jenna, can't wait for this ride to begin. Wish we lived closer, I'd come up with my hubby and give you a hand.Congrats girl.

April 12, 2010 at 12:39 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Spend a little time setting your priorities, then take everything one step at a time. Peering from the outside I would suggest putting the quest for a promotion high on the list, this will help finance the rest of your goals and a chance for a promotion may not happen so often. I would take baby steps the first year on your new farm, you will be busy enough setting up shop, don’t get too ambitious – take some time getting used to the place, plan, then plan again…maybe just a small garden this year, and take it easy on the livestock acquisitions until you have time to do the fences.

But who knows, maybe some loving bloggers, friends, neighbors and curious will show up and help you set up, then you can shift up a notch. I think we’re all excited for you, you’re sitting in your new Ferrari, just waiting for the keys!

April 12, 2010 at 1:44 AM  
Blogger My Ugly Garden said...

Yay! Looking forward to following you on this new adventure. Best wishes and congratulations.

April 12, 2010 at 2:05 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Wonderful writing. So eloquent - I felt the warmth of the sunshine and the guilty pleasure of experiencing it.

April 12, 2010 at 3:45 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Yep, Honey for Jazz (Brambly Thicket) also the inside of melon skin, rubbed on. Works, honest !

April 12, 2010 at 4:34 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Self-made music and snuggling with under-the-weather animals...must have been the weekend for it! My kitty has an eye infection and so we did lots of time in the sunshine together. Healing, no?

April 12, 2010 at 10:57 AM  
OpenID mountainchicken said...

Woohoo! Doing the happy dance for you and wishing a speedy recovery for Jazz.

I'm gonna go freebase some compost and take a hit of sunshine....

April 12, 2010 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

WOOHOO! Your blog is one of the first I check every day, waiting for news that you got those keys. Halleluiah!

Here's hoping that Jazz is bopping around normally soon (pun intended) and that this crazy spring leads to an awfully satisfying summer.

April 12, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
OpenID ruralaspirations said...

Aaaaahhh! I'm so excited for you, Jenna! Congratulations on owning your own farm!!!!

My advice about the farm is to Take It Slow. You don't need to do everything at once, so just prioritize your tasks, take a deep breath, and tell yourself that it will all get done eventually. We had planned to get chickens and a garden set up this year but now that we are here on our land we've put that off for another year. Clearing land (and getting pigs, which moved up the priority list when we learned how they could help with clearing) are all we feel up to right now. Baby steps, my girl...

April 12, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Turtle said...

poor jack! Maybe a good ole marrow filled bone would cheer him up!A good weekend otherwise!

April 12, 2010 at 12:05 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

I'm with the other posters on this one. Take things one step at a time. I thought that when I saw you'd bought a border collie pup to take with you to your new place. As the owner of one very smart border collie myself, I can tell you that a new house plus a new puppy who is a working dog is going to be VERY VERY time consuming, if you're going to train him right. Trying to add in a garden and more livestock at the same time is asking for burnout, or a nervous breakdown, whichever comes first. Maybe train your puppy and get your new chickens housed this year, and save the garden and more livestock for next spring? You do want some time to enjoy your life,sleep, use the bathroom and stuff like that.

April 12, 2010 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger deb said...

We should close in 2 weeks, 3 days...we are just waiting for the appraisal, and survey. Very exciting for both of us. We only have 2 chicks so room until we move. I know exactly what you mean about having to plan so many things b/c it's spring. Trying to plan a garden on property we are not even on yet is difficult. I keep trying to picture it in my mind. Congrats on your farm.

April 12, 2010 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Lil said...

So glad Jazz is feeling better. And YAY, WOO-HOO and CONGRATS on finally getting the keys to the farm. Every post you put up I'm holding my breath waiting to see if you've FINALLY gotten the farm for good. Phew! Good luck on the moving, the planning, the writing, the promotion, and well, just everything! :-)

April 12, 2010 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Miss M.J. Ma'am said...


April 12, 2010 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger pebbledash said...

Congrats, Jenna, you so deserve this!

April 12, 2010 at 5:07 PM  
OpenID ditchthegrid said...

Yay! Hooray! I'm so happy you're going to be moving to your very own farm!!! Congrats! And with mold in the cabin, it's a good thing you'll be heading out of there soon.

I can't wait to live vicariously through your next adventure. :)

April 12, 2010 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Damn The Broccoli said...

So you are off the meat wagon well and truly then!

We just bought a pig.

Homesteading Rocks!

April 12, 2010 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger Conny said...

All buckled up - ready for take off! Such an exciting time for you. Cheers ~

April 12, 2010 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...

Recently my best friend from
high school stated I always brought
good drama with my baggage when I visited him!!!
Well I know you've got me beat
where drama is concerned, & it's not just ordinary drama: but great drama well expressed verbally!!!
Looking forward to the drama
coming from the new Cold Antler Farm, & yes congratulations on your
move to New York!!!
What a blessing!!! Enjoy!!!
CHEERS with a health drink!!!
Colonial Heights, Va.
P. S. Got my 42 Chevrolet Flatbed
World War 2 Farm Truck up & running
again, glad to have it back in service!!! And a farming we will go soon!!!

April 12, 2010 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger Sharon Delman said...

Congratulations on your farm!!!!! Best wishes on the dream fulfilled!

April 12, 2010 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger laurinda said...

Oh, Jenna, congratulations! We spent yesterday afternoon planting some plum tree saplings in at our new lot, and planning the garden. Enjoy your new space!

April 13, 2010 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Wonderful news about the farm!!! If only we had 48 hours in a day..... looking forward to reading all about your newest adventures!

@--->--------- <--for you

April 13, 2010 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger cheryl925 said...

I really love your blog but have to correct you on the notion that a bunny in a cage in the sun is humane. I own a rabbit as a pet and rabbits, like chickens, need time to run and play. Like chickens, you can't have two males playing at the same time, which is why you only have one rooster. Rabbits sleep a lot, like cats, but still like to chew things, run around and get petted. If you truly want humane treatment, you would build a play area to let your bunnies out each day. They are most active in the evening, at night and in the morning. They sleep during the day.

April 14, 2010 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

I hope Jazz is feeling better!

April 22, 2010 at 10:35 PM  

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