“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Henry David Thoreau
“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Psalm 37: 4
Considering the nature of the last few posts on this blog ~ today’s entry will probably prove to be a little boring. I won’t be offering an interesting issue to ruminate on or any particularly deep and profound thoughts to ponder. Instead, I’ve decided to prattle a bit about our life around here and what’s been happening in the last eight weeks since our visit to Missouri.
The return home marked the actual beginning of our Idaho farm year. When we arrived, the garlic was up and growing and the gardens were ready to till. The greenhouse leeks and onions had grown considerably and we had an abundance of chives, garlic chives, thyme, rosemary and lovage to harvest and enjoy. After running corrugates, we immediately planted peas, beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onions, leeks and snapdragons. Flats of tomatoes, peppers and a variety of flowers and herbs were started, many of which have already been transplanted. Our last frost date arrived on May 15, so the rest of the gardens and deep beds will be planted very soon: beans, corn, summer and winter squashes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, dill, cilantro and basil, plus many more herbs – both annual and perennial. (Tyler is my herb man and Matthew manages several of his own raised beds, as well as the hives of bees). Succession plantings of more peas, carrots, beets and cabbage will also be made. By the middle of June, we’ll be picking strawberries from the strawberry fields and peas from the garden.
The iris, Oregon grape, lilac and buttercup are in full bloom now. The hyacinth, tulip and daffodil are mostly expired, and very soon there will be oxeye daisies and peonies to gather into bouquets. All the ornamental and fruit trees have been a riot of dainty white and pink blossoms, filling the air with a sweet, pungent perfume. It’s intoxicating! I have just recently planted marigolds and nasturtiums in the gardens to help ward off unwanted pests, plus zinnias in a kaleidoscope of colors to add gaiety and celebration to the landscape and our tables.
Our oldest Boer dam, Diana, has delivered three kids: one healthy and robust, the second, mostly dead and the third was stillborn. Tyler described some the details of that event in his post, Dealing With Death …and Life . We have sufficiently nursed #2 to a full recovery and in the process; he and I have become fast friends. I call him Squeak, because quite literally that’s all he could do for the first week of his life. He sounded just like one of those annoying squeak toys you needlessly purchase for your dog at pet stores. His vocals cords have recovered along with the rest of him. I put him in a kennel in the back corner of the kitchen a while back while I tried to grab a short nap ~ he “naaaed” in protest for 10 minutes straight at the top of his lungs.
Our prize milker, Katelyn, had her own set of problems as the time for her kidding approached. After nearly 24 hours of labor with mostly weak and inconsistent contractions, she had still failed to dilate enough for the kid lodged at the end of her birth canal to completely pass through her cervix and enter into this wide wonderful world. After a long, sleepless and anxious night, we called the vet and the four of us watched, held and comforted Kate as Dr. Lewis performed a cesarean section in the middle of the barn floor. We observed in awe as he made his incisions, first through the skin, then through the two layers of muscle to open up her body cavity. Next, he pulled a portion of her uterus out and opened it up as well. He delivered 2 mummified fetuses ~ dead for at least 6 to 8 weeks according to their development ~ and a fairly oversized doeling who was alive, but weak, as she had been tightly wedged in the birth canal for many hours. All my favorite James Herriot stories were flooding through my mind and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Our second milker, Holly, gave birth to two robust bucklings and had an uneventful delivery; though Tyler did have to check her progress and it was necessary for him to help the first little guy out all the way. As much a I fret over our goat gals with their babies, there is no telling what kind of a nervous wreck I’ll be when the Lord one day blesses me with grandchildren!
Last week our second Boer dam, Little Gal, delivered a petite doeling unannounced. When Tyler went out to check on all the does at midnight, she and her tiny one looked up at him and “naaaed” their greetings.
There are three more does yet to kid in the next several days and then our kidding season will be over. In the meantime, four adorable baby goats are being bottled fed two times a day. There is seldom an idle moment in which to catch ones breath.
The broilers and pullets all arrived some time ago. So far, our losses have been few and they are thriving. I have always enjoyed raising laying hens, but for me, meat birds are another story. At this point in our farm adventure, we have always raised the hybrid Cornish Rock to sustain our table. Very soon after they arrive I am usually counting the days in anticipation of their execution . . . . . I simply cannot endear myself to these greedy, brainless birds.
The robins sing sweetly each morning at sunrise and each evening at sunset. There are red-winged black birds with their distinctive call along the canal bank, building nests in the cottonwoods and Russian olives. As usual, the sparrows are twittering about, quarreling one with another and already raising their second brood of babies. Starlings, crows and magpies are making mischief wherever they can find opportunity to do so. And the beautiful red-headed house finches are perching on railings and awning to peer at us through the windows. Varieties of birds visit us each summer here on the farm. They are all a marvel and a joy to behold. Killdeer invite us to chase after them as they lead us away from the nest of eggs they have fashioned in the dirt somewhere by the compost pile. We whistle back in imitation at the meadowlark calling to us from the hay field, and we wait patiently in anticipation for a visit from the goldfinch who perch on the sunflowers planted strategically in the gardens. But best of all the barn swallows will be arriving soon so we can watch the airborne ballet as they swoop and swirl and dance above, about and around us . . . . . how delightful they are.
Currently, I am visiting “suburbia” one day a week as I join my sons to work with them in their lawn care business. Both Allen and I are guiding mowers over postcard size yards around houses in subdivisions, which are barely 12 feet away from each other. T & M Mowing has operated now for 11 years. We started the business as a way for the boys to begin building for their futures financially. It has acted as a springboard for character development as well. Allen plans a post revolving around this very subject in the near future ~ so I’ll save the detail telling for him. Needless to say, a day each week I am tangibly reminded, in one small way, why we have developed this “agrarian” vision and are following after it with all our hearts ~ truly, “Where there is no vision the people perish . . . ” (Prov. 29: 18); whether they’re aware of it or not.
Thanks to all of you who visit our blog, banter with my men, add your words of affirmation and encouragement, and especially offer us motivation, inspiration and hope as we labor alongside you for Christ, His Kingdom and His glory.
The Private World of Tasha Tudor ~ by Tasha Tudor and Richard Brown
Tasha Tudor’s Garden ~ by Tovah Martin and Richard Brown
DON’T MISS THESE BOOKS ~ THEY’RE WONDERFUL!