I got to know Audrey a few short weekends ago when a cherished mutual friend of ours got married.
So the reason my husband cited for wanting sheep: “Because they will eat the weeds in the field that the horses won’t eat, and then I can eat them!” Seriously? Why does it always have to be about you eating something?!
May I first say before proceeding with the story, that expectations in a marriage are something which one is wise to be very careful of. (Yeah don’t ask how we learned this.) Suffice it to say that from previous experience, I thought it best to make myself very clear this time. Therefore, before we had even gotten that first chicken, I had already explained to the hubs that if he wanted to eat home grown meat, he would have to: 1) Not ever eat anything I vetoed eating. 2) If he wanted help slaughtering a chicken he would have to find it elsewhere, because I was not going to help him kill, gut, de-feather, etc. which leads to 3) If he wanted me to cook it he would have to bring it to me like it came from the grocery store.
Grandpa is 89 years old. A couple of months ago he had a nasty bout with a case of double pneumonia. He was hospitalized for several days, and required having fluid drained off his lungs. He had made it home on oxygen and was reading the “funny papers” when I called to thank him for a package of grapefruit he and Grandma had sent me. Delicious grapefruit I might add. One of my favorites. “That’s the last part of the paper I read,” he explained to me in regards to the comics. I smiled as I remembered that my brother and I used to rifle through the Sunday newspaper hunting those comics and then sprawl out on the floor on the carpet and take turns reading sections of them, occasionally bursting into laughter as we went.
Grandpa asked me what was new, so I told him that at that time we were expecting several little lambs soon. “We used to have sheep. That was a long time ago,” Grandpa replied. My ears perked up. I had no idea that my grandfather’s family used to keep sheep. So, I asked him to tell me about it. What follows is indeed not at all what I was expecting. I liken it to a cross between a really sad Hallmark movie and an old western, one rife with strife, guns, and the law of the west. (Well, mid-west in this case) It is truly an unbelievable tale as well as a piece of history. My own family history to be exact.
A while back I did a rare thing for a woman to do: I entered my "Nothing Box." Some men may be able to immediately relate and know exactly what I'm talking about. Since at least half of my readership will be women though, I shall explain. A "Nothing Box" as my husband calls it, is where you purposely choose not to think about anything. This is preferably accomplished, according to him, in a serene physical location like out on a river fishing. However, at its most basic, it is a mental state of, you guessed it, absolutely nothing.
A couple weeks back I asked for suggestions naming this little darling. I got several excellent ideas. In addition, my friend's kids told me that she looked like the chick-fil-a cow! I could only agree. One friend messaged me with the notion of alluding to her rather Holstein-like appearance. And so:
I love lambing season. It is exciting, busy, and ridiculously wonderful. There is nothing to compare with new life, and little lambs are no exception. These last few weeks have seen the addition of several super cute babies here at Daffodil Acres that we and their sweet mommies happen to be rather proud of.
Being a farmer carries with it daily chores and tasks. A few of mine look something like this:
Wash out the water pans the ducks have made a mess of, feed the chickens, gather the eggs, clean out the nest boxes the juvenile roosters have trashed, weed at least some small bit of the garden to keep things from looking totally abandoned, and feed the sheep.
The temptation sometimes is to get in a hurry to do these things and move right on to the next thing. Recently though I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort not to miss the magic.
Just in case anyone was wondering, the sheep were his idea.
I wanted horses, chickens and a couple of cats. That was it. We bought a modest sized piece of property and built a barn and fenced it for my lifelong passion. Well, I should say the hubs masterminded and did most of the work building it and I helped some. I was pretty happy with the status quo and my two horses.
And then it happened. The hubs began to take notice of a neighboring sheep farm. “Let’s get some sheep,” he suggested one day. “Why do you want sheep?” I asked incredulously. I had no desire to get sheep and was suspicious of the upkeep of additional animals. “’Cause I can eat them!” He replied. Of course. “Why do you always want to eat everything?!” I groaned. (This man. I’m telling you. I see a cute animal, and he sees a nice juicy cut of meat!) “They eat the weeds in the field that the horses won’t eat, and then I can eat them!” came his reply. “Well if the ram smells anything like a billy goat, then you can forget it!” I retorted.
I found this little gem on the trunk of a pine tree the other day. It is the remaining casing, shining in the golden rays of the morning sun like a delicate carving of amber, and perfectly embodying the memory of a cicada. Funny how something like this can trigger a cascade of memories and flood the senses with the sights and smells and sounds of something that happened decades ago, and bring it back as clearly as I see this cicada shell before my eyes at present.
A wizened old woodcarver- a mentor and a teacher, his young turkeys out behind his home, a couple of old plastic milk jugs, two excited kids, and a 17 year cicada cycle in the full glory of its 17th year...
I'm Debbie. I love listening to chickens cackle and sing. I love Lindt chocolate truffles, a good cup of coffee, and a good book.