Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Heart of the Storm

Last night an ice and wind storm tore through the Battenkill Valley and turned Cold Antler into a palace of ice. The King Maple in the front yard bowed down to the storm like he was a liege lord. I suppose he was. Both the Maple and I were caught off guard by the storm, thinking it had passed with just a morning of rain and some scattered flurries. ALl morning there were threats of a foot of snow and it never happened. Tuesday it was over fifty degrees and the sun was shining and I was both happy when Wednesday morning brought nothing but heavy rain. I worked in the oofice and was glad it was just rain. The sump pump was keeping the basement dry and I had enough snow and cold for one winter. Tuesday's warmth was like a hit of a drug so addicting and pure you couldn't imagine going without it much longer.

Alas.

That warm rain lead to snow. That snow lead to ice rain. And that ice lead to more ice and wind harsh enough to feel like I should be looking over my shoulder for White Walkers. And that is where I found myself last night, around 11PM, walking up the frozen and windy hillside to the pole barn to check on the pregnant ewe and hope she didn't have the poor judgement to birth in such horrid weather. I was tired and slightly worried that the old trees above me would send down some frozen branches. The wind literally howls on this mountain, a mixture of elevation and form. I'll admit to being a little scared. But in all this wind and discomfort there was a smile under my canvas and fleece hood. There is a certain type of job security in knowing not everyone is up for this sort of employment.

As for the ewe? She didn't have a lamb in there. She wasn't showing signs of birthing anytime soon, either. Her rear wasn't puckered or dripoping, her belly had not distended into the presentation position for the lamb. She had a few days by my judgement. I let out a sigh and looked around the hill shed by the lantern light. The sheep were a mass of wool and in the center was the new lamp, curled beside his mother and looking warmer in his place than I was inside under the covers. It was the heart of the storm.

8 Comments:

Blogger Alison said...

I'm a little disappointed in that ewe for not delivering in the worst available weather. Isn't that a violation of the livestock birthing code!?

I want to tell you, Jenna, that I am really appreciating your inspirational dream-following posts lately. I recently heard that I am going to be laid off from my cushy corporate job, and it's been the kick in the seat I needed to seek something more fitting to my skills and interests. I'm not going to start a farm, but I'm ready to take some risks to find work I can enjoy and be proud of. Your blog has been like a gnat in my ear for years, telling me I was wasting my time, now I finally have the nerve to stand up and swat it.

March 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger LM Hed said...

Jenna you were right about chickens being the gateway animal. I have been on this land only 2 years now but already have chickens, bees and meat rabbits. There are also fruit trees and 4 large veggie gardens that I get 90% of our produce from. Thanks for the inspiration.

March 13, 2014 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger By Candlelight Farm said...

Who knew I would love my chickens so much!?! Gateway? I am afraid so! I just ordered my bees and am so eager for them to come home! I enjoy your blog, your books! In fact, I am a voracious reader and your "From Scratch" book is the only book I ever recall finishing and immediately beginning again. It is a glorious life and many thanks for illuminating the possible!

Elizabeth

March 13, 2014 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger Susana said...

Jenna you always inspire, I am not a farmer but your blog has made me feel as comfortable as that little lamb. I am fond of quotes so here is another one.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

March 13, 2014 at 11:11 PM  
Blogger Susana said...

Jenna you always inspire, I am not a farmer but your blog has made me feel as comfortable as that little lamb. I am fond of quotes so here is another one.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

March 13, 2014 at 11:12 PM  
Blogger Susana said...

Jenna you always inspire, I am not a farmer but your blog has made me feel as comfortable as that little lamb. I am fond of quotes so here is another one.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

March 13, 2014 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Mary Wilson said...

So glad you and all the critters are safe and warm and dry in the last (surely?) storms of winter.

March 13, 2014 at 11:35 PM  
Blogger Peacemom said...

So ready for the end of winter. So ready. I've not checked in with you in a while, Jenna, we've just been so busy. Bought a new little old farm over her in NH (FINALLY!) and been living life in a rougher state with the cold. In any case, sounds like things are going well over there! You've added quite a nice selection of workshops and I've told others over here about them. Best of luck with them and this new lambing season. Time for the cold to GO here in New England and New York, past time. Bon Chance! ~Vonnie

March 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM  

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