Friday, January 4, 2013

Winter Walkers

I got a hold of a pair of snowshoes recently and have been having a blast with them. I strap them on, call for Gibson, and together we head out with high poles and high tails to explore the winter woods. We walked out past the goat pen and into the timber and hunting trails, and made a half circle around the pasture fences. I saw deer tracks, so many. I couldn't help but laugh and shake my head. All the deer tracks were right in or past the places I had set up blinds and waited for hours, days at a time. I didn't bag a deer this year but I sure knew where to look. Gibson peed on every patch of deer pee or droppings he could find. It was a lot of peeing. I worry about that dog's kidneys.

We went as far as my property stretches, up the mountainside and I huffed and puffed. Gibson danced through the snow, a thousand times more athletic and less tired. The horses watched me make my silly circle around the outskirts of the farm. They whinnied and kicked as they ran alongside the fence lines to watch the Food Lady. I hollered to them and Merlin's ears shot up like little radar catchers.

After the half-hour trek around the farm - Gibson and I returned to the front door and I stuck the snowshoes and poles in a drift by the front door. If it wasn't for the chicken and goose poo and the rust on the cheap plastic siding it would look like something out of an L.L. Bean Snowglobe catalog. I brought G inside to rest and took Annie out on her walk. We did our usual mile on the road. No snowshoes, just us two gals trotting along the brook. Annie seems to not miss Jazz, and has more energy now that she gets more exercise. I think she's trimming down as well. Just watching her and that big open-faced smile makes me beam. Huskies aren't the dog for everyone, but for me as a young lady just starting out into the professional world alone, they were everything. And now my life is full of border collies, a new puppy in a year or two perhaps. I want a little girl, a companion for Gibson. I'll name her Friday, after a favorite old movie of mine.

So much to write about, so much ahead. I have plans for breeding not just my flock of sheep with my ram, but others. I have pork shares sold right into fall. I have kids to bring into the world from two fat goats, and need to train Francis to be milked. I have a big garden to plan, my biggest ever, market sized - and possibly a poly tunnel to put up. I have a book to prepare for publishing in the fall. Lambs to raise and sell. A horse to get into his own trailer and a proper cart....and more I am not even writing or hinting at yet. I thought of all this on my winter walks with the dogs. And it buoyed the gray mood of the day. It's windy and chilly out there, not a lot of life in the forests or by the road. But there's a girl on the mountain who's very much in love with this scrappy place and the possibilities, meals, and friendships that lay ahead of it.

Luceo Non Uro. Always.


Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

Great photo, Jenna. Gives a real "sense" of the landscape surrounding Coldantler

January 4, 2013 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

Don't you love to investigate all of the animal tracks in the snow? I think of them as an animal version of Harry Potter's "Marauder's Map" to see what is out and about when we are not! It's one of the best parts of winter for me here in Colorado.

January 4, 2013 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

I like it. I actually thought about you today, Jenna, before reading this post. After getting a heavy dose of reality with the social security tax and having subsequent chest pains about it and my new less-of-an-already-small-paycheck-and-even-after-a-raise, I just told my girl Sasha "we'll make it girl, we always do."

January 4, 2013 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

You'll accomplish it all and reap all the life experiences from it.

January 4, 2013 at 5:57 PM  
Blogger Kimberlie Ott said...

You sound so happy and encouraged, Good for you! :) Thank you for that positive outlook today!

January 4, 2013 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Moose Hollow Farm said...

I love the picture that you posted of your farm ~ it is definitely a place that looks like home (now and 150 years ago). So many things for you to do this Spring and they are all wonderful. I have been thinking of getting a couple of babydoll sheep ~ I've heard that they are very docile and sweet and I have always wanted sheep. I have to justify the cost of keeping them ~ would I have them sheared twice a year and sell the wool and possibly make cheese from the ewe's milk? Not sure what to do yet but I'm looking into it. Before we can get any more animals (we only have 2 dogs and 37 chickens right now), our barn needs some extensive repairs but it is 30 ft by 60 ft with 3 large stalls and plenty of storage space so that wouldn't be an issue. It just needs a better roof and patching of the walls. What is the best thing for flooring? Right now, there is only dirt.
I really envy your ambition ~ doing what you're doing at 30 years old. I am 61 and time runs short but Luceo non Uro.
Have a great weekend, Jenna.

January 4, 2013 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Friday, as in His Girl? Wishing you the best with 2013 plans!

January 4, 2013 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth from the Berkshires said...

I so admire your courage, your vision, and your audacity.

January 4, 2013 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Good luck in all your plans. They sound exciting!
One of the reasons I love winter is the fact that it makes me slow down and plan for next season.
We are also looking into expanding our garden but to include winter food for my animals: corn for the chickens, parsnips, carrots and mangles for the milk cow. We have the room, just not the experience......yet

January 4, 2013 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger missliss40 said...

Everyone needs to write down their goals, in detail and with completion dates. Also include the obstacles that would keep you from reaching these goals and the action you will take to overcome the obstacles. Then read them everyday. I also like to have a very close friend to share these with; we encourage each other and cheer each on. I have done a simpler version of this in past years, but this years big goal is to diligently pursue said goals!

January 4, 2013 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

I am anxious to see what will be next. Especially interested to see your garden and baby goats.

I imagine other readers of your blog read Mother Earth. In the newest issue (Dec/Jan) there is a bread recipe just inside the front cover: Miss Bonnie's Honey Oatmeal Bread. I made that today and it was great. Husband gobbled almost an entire loaf at supper. I used home grown eggs and honey and organic whole wheat flour and organic white flour. No dough enhancer. I did know what that was until today. Used made-in-TN cast iron loaf pans and they were awesome.

I ordered 3 different kinds of Annie's seeds today for our garden.

Nine pm and I can finally rest by the wood stove with a cup of hot chocolate and a book.

The Phony Farm in Middle TN

January 4, 2013 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger English sheep gal said...

Glad you are 'lovin it' - I got a great fold out laminated leaflet, with measurements along one side, and pictures / sizes, descriptions of different tracks you may find in snow, tips on how to identify them. I take it on all my wintery walks, it's fascinating stuff - last week saw mouse tracks that suddenly stopped - and wingprints in the snow where it had been caught by an owl. Life & death in the garden, which I would have totally missed in another season.
Lots of exciting plans for the future at CAF, hope expanding gardening, milking etc will still leave some time for swinging in that hammock chair, resting and enjoying it all! Hannah

January 5, 2013 at 12:12 AM  
Blogger daisy said...

You are the director of your dreams. I have faith that you will make them all come true and then some. Enjoy.

January 5, 2013 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger Paul Molnar said...

Nice. Just that; simply nice. (loved the picture too)

P.S. - I'll see your "Luceo non uro" and raise you a "Buaidh no bàs" from my Great Grandmother's People, the MacDougalls.

Your victories may not always be pretty but may they be many.

January 5, 2013 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Melanie J. said...

I finally know a piece of that happiness and I've yet to put a seed into soil. I moved to NC from FL over Christmas, and now I'm surrounded by hills, farms, and potential. My cup runneth over! Thanks for the continual motivations!

January 5, 2013 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Brenda London said...

do some research on the poly tunnel because there is a grant program available for that. I'll try to locate the info if you have no luck finding it. it is for the low tunnels for geographic areas that have short growing seasons and I know we fit into the criteria when I looked at it. My back is too bad to seriously make the commitment but it looked like a really good program.

January 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds fun! We've got snowshoes but have had no snow to speak of yet... and Chicago just got moved to zone 6? Which this southern girl is kinda happy about... though not about the cause. The poly-tunnel grant is a USDA-program, might look into it... here's the link for the new york NRCS program site:

January 7, 2013 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger aart said...

". . . . could feel her cheeks freeze in just this short stroll. Their feet squeaked on the snow, making a sound she'd heard for almost 80 years. A sound she's never trade for waves lapping a Florida shore."

January 8, 2013 at 6:38 PM  

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