Thursday, November 15, 2018

Before The Storm!

As usual, let me begin a blog post by talking about weather! A true snowfall is coming through, tonight and into tomorrow. Anywhere from 4 to 10 inches, but a snowfall regardless. I am just inside from evening chores and preparing for the storm. Things are solid! The pigs have full bellies and defrosted fresh water and the barn door tight! Mare has her blanket. Merlin has his coat. The hawk has been worked with indoors, hydrated, fed, and set outside in his safe mews. The lambs have a full bale in their shed. The chickens have 5 stations outside the weather to perch in. The dogs are fed, the human is fed, the stoves are fed. I am down to 2.5 cords of wood but the house is WARM! I am well tonight. Feeling healthy, ready, willing, and hungry for this storm!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Snowfall and Dog Paws!

Woke up to a new sight: snowfall on the tree branches outside my bedroom window! It didn't last long, sadly, but the cold rain that came after made morning chores the kind of challenge I adore. The work of outside care, making sure all the animals are settled and fed, followed by warm mugs of coffee by the wood stove.

That tiny dream came true and fueled me through a morning of illustration work that is just starting to wind down now. There's a chicken roasting in the oven and a hawk is perched here inside, having just finished his flying lessons for the day. Little Dash is coming along well and slowly learning the commands and suggestions a falconer asks of him. The only restless spirit in the house right now is Friday, who wishes she was out digging trenches in the mud. No dog living or dead has loved digging like this happy monster.

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Morning to Celebrate!!!

There's a hint of snowfall in the forecast and the temperatures are finally dropping! This morning there was some frost on the horses' backs and I could walk across the pasture without slipping and sliding on mud! It's a small victory, but what a morale boost! And this farm is finally comfortable with the firewood supply! This is a morning to celebrate!

And on top of all that fine news a reader named Cathy mailed me a camera! I am figuring out how to use it and soon as I do I will be able to post new pictures here of the farm at a higher quality than my Kindle Fire! I have hot chocolate, hay bales under cover, wood stacked inside, feed stores for the lambs/pigs/chickens.... I have new books to read (thank you to my sister who mailed me a new novel) and basically everything a Hobbit requires for a snow storm. Dogs, cats, hawk are content and the flannel sheets are on the bed.

And yes, I know that I have basically just been writing about fears of winter prep, firewood, money, and such but that's it's all I think about. I wake up and think about what I can try to sell, what I can manage to pay towards student loans, electricity, save a little for the root canal. The to-do lists and the daily income goals I make through sales, freelance, the farm... That's my entire world right now. It's my job. And about a thousand times more consuming than any office job ever has been.

The stakes are always so high and the fear right up against it all - but man, the strength this farm has given me makes me stand eight feet tall. I've been here for nearly a decade. I bought this place as a single woman. I kept it. I will keep it. And for at least this weekend I will be ready for cold mornings and snowfall and enjoy that buzz of the first true storm that makes this barren place of dead trees and brown fields turn into a magical land again.

I'm going to keep going. If you want to help with that, please do. Send an email or buy some artwork or soap. Those sales and blog contributions are all I have to make a living off of right now between lamb and pork shares. It's certainly needed and may be what carries this place through into December. And then I figure it out from there, month by month, as I have since I signed the mortgage papers.

And Cathy, of the camera mailing, please email me so I can send you a winter's supply of soap!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

All Sighs

It's been a long time since the ground was solid and the sky was bright. Which is a sentence I am writing about the weather, but might as well be about the election. I hope all of you got out and voted! I was at my poling place first thing after chores today. The place was packed, not usual for a mid term. I am on pins and needles waiting to see how it all shakes out. Politics mean a lot more to me these days. A lot more.

But yes, the weather has been a trial. It's been raining for a long time, day in and day out. Milder weather and the deluge has turned this farm into a mudslide and I am going through straw like crazy keeping everyone comfortable and dry where they bed down at night. There are towels by the door and I've been keeping up with the laundry and mopping but good heavens this farm is looking exactly like all of us look between transitions: rough. Nothing in nature is expected to bloom year round, right? Once snow comes this place will feel as perfect and right again as it did in late June. It finds its place in the gear slots of my heart. It keeps digging in.

After last winter, you think I would have changed my tune but I can't help it. I am excited about the first true snowfall. I am giddy about the idea of waking up to my world covered in white powder and making my way barefoot down the old stairs. To light the wood stove and start a pot of coffee and then head outside from a cold house into that perfect snow with the dogs to care for my animals. And then return, to a house suddenly so much warmer after being outside than being in bed and sitting beside that domesticated fire and sipping hot coffee and knowing that for the day all in my care is safe, fed, warm, okay. I want that feeling back again. I crave it. And as the mud pools and the earth stays warm I miss it.

There's now two and a half cords of wood stacked for this farm. I'm a month behind on the mortgage, but catching up and a lot closer to solvent then I was a few months prior. This morning after voting I went to the laundromat to clean my sheets and comforters. I took a hot shower when I got home. The world may be rain and mud and politics but tonight I will be clean and warm and tucked in close with dreams of snowfall and the steady released sigh of knowing that there is wood, candles, stoves, coffee...

Tonight I hope we'll all be okay. We'll all sigh.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Meet Dashiell! My New Hawk!

Just trapped this looker recently. Dashiell (Dash!) was 955g at trapping. He was caught right outside Cambridge, a few miles from my property on route 313. He has small feet, a big heart, and already is comfortable at Cold Antler Farm! So glad to have this little guy to restart the hunting story all over again. Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Nesting Season

It's full-blown Nesting Season here at Cold Antler Farm. Days are shorter, muddier, colder, and wetter this fall. I am so glad the stove is up and running and that another cord and a half (three cords total!) will be delivered to the farm, all paid for! Knowing that my heating needs are met, at least for a good chunk of this winter, is such a relief. And because of that relief I can focus on other things this farm needs to do. Basics like keeping the bills paid, animals comfortable, and house pleasant enough not to scare away strangers.

I'm hosting some friends of friends' from out of town this weekend. Her and her husband are coasting through town and I was asked if I could handle guests? I am always thrilled to have visitors but feel I need to prepare them for the farm. This isn't a Haycation/Glamping situation. It's a small old house that is always happy to offer hot food, strong drinks, and clean sheets but it is still a home heated by (mostly) a single wood stove. There's no TV, microwave, washing machine, and I live with four mammals beside myself in this house and if you're allergic to cats or dogs... well, you're not going to have a good time. So I try to let folks know upfront. But the upside: you wake up to crowing roosters and the singing of a creek each morning. The blankets are heavy and beds are comfortable. The dogs are kind and the horses usually don't buck very hard. It's a fine place to rest if you like backpacking.

My trusty Canon Rebel I bought years ago finally kicked the bucket. So I am without a digital camera right now and hoping to get one used again soon. If anyone has a quality used camera to offer for sale or barter, let me know. Looking for Canon or Nikon, SLR. Email me!

The truck has an appointment to fix an oil leak and I am saving up for a root canal so most of this farm needs minor repairs, but whose doesn't? And both of those things are more important and urgent than a camera right now. But I figure asking never hurts and if someone has a five-year-old Rebel they want to trade for lamb or pork futures, I can ask. Never hurts to ask.

Okay I am off to get a load of hay in the truck and clean off some muddy paws from my farm dogs. You guys stay warm and well!