Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Overwhelmed - and then throw six little piggies in the mix

Do you sometimes experience the kind of day when you wake up, and you really, really, really don't want to leave your bed, because everything seems too overwhelming?
My body has been bone tired from working in my garden, and my mind and spirit follow suite with the exhaustion. When too many things have pulled on me, sometimes I get to a place where I feel that I will crack, and then I get scared, because I fear that I will be lost to the underworld forever. (Also, my friend's wife died of cancer last week, and since she was German, they asked me to call her mother after the death. It has been very intense.)
So today, after milking the goats and feeding piglets, and after breaking down in tears after Steve left to work, I decided to go easy on myself. I tend to treat my body like a machine, and with all the things pressing on me, I push and push and push. (Dear fellow Mamas, does any of this sound familiar? Of course it does.)
This morning, while I did the laundry, I enrolled the boys in doing dishes, which took them 45 minutes. Instead of making cheese and homeschooling the kids, we all went outside in the rare sunshine. Huh, could the never-ending rain have to do anything with my depressed state?
Here is what ensued: I put up my Muck-boot clad feet and knitted several rounds on Eva's socks in the sunshine. The boys practiced acrobatic moves on the lawn. Eva happily brought me imaginary food cooked in her toy kitchen, which we pulled outside into the sunshine next to us.

Mission accomplished: a much happier Mama, and in turn, happier kids.
The rest of the day might still include homeschooling, or it might not. I can tell you this: the day included chocolate, which also helped my mood.

Later today, we will spend our day with these little characters.  We got them last night, six of them. They are five or six weeks old and very tiny, but will be fattened up with whey, fresh grass and organic grain.

Steve brought them home after work.  While waiting for him, the kids played hide and seek in the grass, painting each other with yellow dandelion buds.  The best way to pick up piggies is to hold them by their legs, while they wildly squeal.  I think it's much more dramatic for us humans than it is for the pigs (as you can see on neighbor Anne's face).

Yellow Lukas, not because he has jaundice but because he rubbed dandelion flowers all over his face.

In the meantime, the goat mamas and babies are thriving.  Here, the mamas get a well deserved break from their offspring in the beautiful, lush spring pasture.
Flowers are emerging everywhere.  The garden is growing.  The rains WILL stop.  Chocolate is easy to come by.  I can do this.  I can do this.  I can do this.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Baby goats

This is what our days look like lately.  Baby goats, baby goats, baby goats.
At 4 am on Friday, I woke up thinking that I should go check on my pregnant goat Gracie in the barn.  It was so cozy in my bed and so rainy and cold outside, I went back to sleep instead.  At 5 am, I woke up again, and I urgently thought that I really needed to go to the barn.  So I did, and as I turned the light on in the barn, I saw that Gracie started to push a baby out.  I ran back inside the house, put on my barn clothes, got Steve and a hair dryer for reinforcement, and together we assisted two baby goats into the world.
We now have a total of four tiny goofballs in our barn, and my human kids adore them (especially Eva and her best friend).  They are a riot together.  If you are ever depressed or sad, try to sit on the ground in a barn filled with goat kids.  They will make you laugh, probably sooner than later.

As you can see, we can't keep our human kids out of the barn to play with the caprine kids.  Even Kai, my eleven-year old, is not too cool to delight in them.  Eva sprawls on the straw with the frolicking babies and is getting entirely too comfortable underneath the adult goats, who gingerly step over her to nurse their babies.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Finally! My goat Quasar gave birth to two baby girls.  Since I didn't know the exact due date, I checked  on her obsessively compulsively all last week.  The same happened when I was pregnant with my own first child.  I was convinced he would arrive at least two weeks early.  Alas, he was three weeks late.  So in essence, I woke up every morning for five weeks, brightly exclaiming, "Today is the day!" A watched pot never boils.
But it did happen today!  Quasar did it very sneakily.  I think I had freaked her out all week, checking on her all the time, standing there and staring at her rear end for hours.  I bet she thought I had gone soft in the head.  She didn't give me too many signs of impending labor, although I did notice her full udder and softened ligaments.  When I checked on her at 4 am, she didn't tell me she would have babies five hours later.
All of my three children were present when she pushed out her babies.  What a delight to grow up watching animals being born, being splattered in amniotic fluid, and fetching things for your mother trying to clean up baby animals.
If these pictures are too graphic for you, just scroll down.  There will be pictures of blooming things and stuff.

Two feet come first, then the head, often with the tongue sticking out.
First born, Mama licking off all the goo.
Look at all my helpers welcoming the new life!
Here is the second one coming.  Another hoof showing.  And lots of goo.  It's messy business!

Nothing signifies spring more than goat babies.  And a sore back.  And sore arms.  And a sore neck.  I am gardening like our lives depend on it.  They kind of do, come to think of it, since I grow a lot of our food.
This week, I planted potatoes and transplanted all the onions I started from seed two months ago.  There is a lot of double digging of soil going on, and crouching down in one position for hours.  I'm also weeding the flower garden to make sure things don't get too much out of control for August, when our good friends will get married at our place.  It's a good thing my boys are homeschooled.  They know how to work and help their Mom when she is too wimpy to dig another shovel full of heavy soil.

Spring is very busy here on the homestead.  Goat babies, weeding, transplanting, digging, cheese making, homeschooling, harvesting nettles for pesto, keeping the cat out of the catnip, house cleaning.  Is it any wonder that I feel crazy in April?   But, oh!  It's so gorgeous here, and after months and months of grey weather and non-stop rain, we revel in baring our naked arms and faces to the sun.  We are filling up on Vitamin D whilst adoring cherry blossoms, hummingbirds, and emerging flowers.  I even manage to knit every now and then.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Today on Facebook, I posted one picture of the tulip fields from my down valley grocery shopping trip last week.  A lot of people asked for more.  I took them at Tulip Town in Mount Vernon.  People travel here from all over the world to look at these flowers.  It's like our own Amsterdam around here!

When we went, maybe only 20 percent of the flowers were blooming.  I bet next week is even going to be more mind blowing!

And here an update on our Fort.  Steve finished putting cedar shakes on the outside, and we had help washing windows.

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