Thursday, April 16, 2015

Seeds in the Ground!

This morning was bursting with chilly sunlight, yet the farmhouse was warm. Warm in the way that only mugs of coffee and red coals can keep promises. They offer us this; "You do the work of brewing beans and kindling fires and in return we will offer quicker wits and and warmer bodies." I took them both up on their promises and started this day with my daily mug of hot coffee with heavy cream and little heat.

Chores were done with the efficiency you gain as the days get warmer. I go about the normal rounds and then realize slowly the chores have been growing. There are pregnant does of both rabbit and goat kind waiting to give birth (probably both around Beltane) and the chickens are once again laying eggs. I find eggs everywhere. They are in the back of the pickup truck, among the sheep, and hidden in the barn in an old bucket. They are green and white and blue right now. The dozen chicks I am brooding are doing well. Thety are Buff Orpingtons and Golden Wyandottes. Now at a week old they jump clear out of their first brooder. I had to upgrade them to a stock tank. Hot dang, those gals have some gams.

Like all weekday mornings I spent this one in my living room working on logos for design clients. I am pretty happy with this recent completion, a berry farm that needed some good marketing. The farm is called Knock Knock, after the sounds ravens make when they are using their beaks to call each other. It was fun to work on and I was grateful for the opportunity to add a little more to this farm's fund. I have four pigs to pick up next week and am hoping to do that, make a mortgage payment, and keep up with other obligations to truck, friends, and farm. So far I have been keeping my head above water. So I design and play records and drink my thick coffee and have to wear sweaters because I am not moving. Even with the sun shining outside my sweat is dry from the work of hauling morning water in buckets and throwing bales of hay. I know soon there will be goats and dairy chores added to the morning mix and so I make a mental note to download some new audiobooks for that rough first week. Getting my arms used to milking will require a good story.

After design work was done it was early afternoon and I went back outside. I jogged a few miles and did my workout routine. That got me warm again so I got bow and quiver and shot 30 arrows into an old thatch circular target. I am up to 30 heavy arrows from 20 last week. My arm needs to get used to the 50lb draw of my hunting bow. I was shooting 50 arrows at 30lbs easily and realized I was ready to size up. I need more practice at that draw but I only broke two arrows today, not bad for a spring's beginning.

After all that business I checked on the turkey hen's nest and found another speckled odd-looking egg. So far four have been collected for the incubator in an attempt to raise Thanksgiving dinner from the womb itself. My turkeys are always caught in the "act" so I am pretty sure they are fertilized. I guess time will tell. I'll bring more to Patty's farm soon to set into her incubator of goose eggs. She hosts Thanksgiving but the deal is I always am the one who brings the bird. This year it could be a Bourbon Red hatched, raised, and slaughtered right here between both our farms. If that isn't an exercise in proper gratitude I don't know what is.

My big achievement of the day was the Kailyard. I got out there and repaired the perimeter fence. I used hoe and pitchfork and turned year-old goat manure. pig bloodied hay, horse poop and rabbit turds into the food to feed it. Isn't it funny how carnivorous vegetables are?  They love to eat the blood, bones, manure and compost of living beasts that usually eat them. I planted snap peas, spinach, and two types of heirloom lettuce (Nevada and Deer Tongue) I set up the four-foot row poles and covered the freshly planted earth with cover cloths that let in rain and sun and protect the baby seedlings from cold, high wind and curious birds. It felt so good to plant a seed, work earth, and add the fertility that comes of keeping a small farm. On days like this you can see the whole dance from the balcony.

As the afternoon light started to gently kiss my mountain I decided to take Merlin out for some groundwork and a ride. He was not as good as last ride, but nowhere near as bad as a few weeks ago. Miles in the saddle all make a better horse, so I rode him up int the mountains on a new trail. The first time we ventured to that part of our usual summer loop. He was a little nervous but it was also new ground covered so I considered it a fine ride. It felt so good to be on that black horse, with saddle bags and our old tack. I was in bare legs and my usual riding clothes of tall socks, paddock boots, half chaps and kilt. I wear riding breeches under the kilt that I cut off above the knee so there's no rubbing or chaffing all day and I can ride in comfort. I am starting to feel like my summer self. It was mighty fine. I picked off a few ticks. Those buggers are the worst.

After the ride I moved Merlin from his winter paddock to his summer one. It is smaller (half an acre instead of 2) but that pasture needs to come back and I plan on expanding the kitchen garden in the spot he spent the whole winter waiting for hay and pooping. I need to look into some good pasture seed. Before turning in for the evening chores I walked his paddock fence and made sure the electric was on and all was well. It was, and so now it is the field's turn to do the work of growing.

The day is coming to a close and my night consists of dinner, the new episode of Outlander, and a well-earned restful evening. I had taken care of a farm, planted seeds, trained a horse, rode up a mountain trail, bottle fed a lamb, seen to young poultry, and now it was time to enjoy a night in with Jamie and Claire and know there set of a rainy day ahead. Tomorrow will be a good day to work on more design clients and plan workshops and other such indoor activities. I adore these days of growing physical efforts but my arms are sore from arrows, my legs sore from jogging and saddle, my back a little bent from the gardening and I think it is time to kick back and be grateful for another wonderful day at this little mountain farm.


Blogger sarah e blog said...


April 16, 2015 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Hi, I enjoyed your post. Wow, you sure did yourself proud today. So much going on there on the farm. I am currently reading the entire Outlander series of books. I am enjoying them, however..I want to finish before seeing the tv show. Oh ya, ride that horse as much as possible. Merlin needs it, to be sure. I think that you do too. Riding feeds the soul and clears the mind. It is a joy.

April 16, 2015 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger Cat H said...

Sounds great! Can you do a vlog (soon?) on how to cover up seeds planted early? I would love to get some things in the ground but know that unless they're covered, they'll nay do well.

April 17, 2015 at 5:43 AM  
Blogger DarcC said...

I use a pasture mix called beastmaster, it's done very well on my recently cleared land. This will be it's 4th season, last year was the first year it was heavily grazed. I get it at my local farmer's co-op, I can find out who makes it if you like.

April 17, 2015 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger daisy g said...

So glad spring is visiting you and bringing with it raised spirits. Be well.

April 18, 2015 at 6:57 AM  

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