Friday, April 27, 2012

This old barn....

I am feeling so very content today while I sit with our sheep Shelby, (our daughter's special ewe) and her two new ewe lambs in a stall built by Paul's Dad within this century-old tobacco barn.  When we first decided years ago to convert the old bare-timbered structure for use with animals, "Big Harold" had a specific plan for stalls, and the talent and fortitude to build them from steel-hard oak.  We thrifted the sliding stall doors from an old barn which was about to be torn down at the famous Calumet Farm.  A bit of red paint still holds to the edges of the bars, and I wonder if any Kentucky Derby winners ever peered through them.
Although we have a fancy new expensive metal barn that I love, this morning I'm absorbing the sights, sounds and smells of this steadfast shelter... The chewing of hay, the special lowing of mamma to lambs, rustling of straw, burps and belches of ruminant alpacas and sheep, rooster crowing, robin trilling.  The smell of old wood with the tiniest hint of tobacco, composting manure, sweet feed and earth.  Such a contrast to the noises, sights and smells of a city, and I know that I am extremely fortunate to be where I love to be.
I've been reflecting on all of the creatures we have housed in here in the nearly 25 years since Paul first bought what came to be called Seldom Scene Farm....  Reindeer, rabbits, rheas (yes, really!) and emus and a Tibetan yak...., goat kids, a baby camel, a baby racoon, a wild orphan bunny that was raised by a domestic rabbit with a new litter....llamas and hundreds of alpacas, and lambs and puppies and kittens, and a few nurse mare foals and donkeys.... Chicks and ducklings....and Lord only knows what else (such as Mother Nature's wild children... owls and snakes, mice and swallows and more...)

For the most part, we have turned back to the more pragmatic and traditional in these past years.... what we can use in fiber and what can be eaten, and not so much for sales/profit or for the novelty of it.
We don't really know when this barn was built, but I always try to imagine how suprised the builders would have been to walk in and see some of the creatures that have lived here.... and somehow I know they'd be pretty proud about it!
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

More Spring Goodness

Morel Mushrooms, by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate

Softly they come
thumbing up from
firm ground

protruding unharmed.
Easily crumbled
and yet

how they shouldered
the leaf and mold
aside, rising

breathing obscurely,
still as stone.

By the slumping log,
by the dappled aspen,
they grow alone.

A dumb eloquence
seems their trade.
Like hooded monks

in a sacred wood
they say:
Tomorrow we are gone.

I still haven't gotten over just what a beautiful spring it is, and there's no where better than the farm to enjoy it.  I finally have the secret to finding morel mushrooms!   Wanna know?  Look EVERY DAY.  This year I've taken woods walks almost ever day, and I think this was the key to such a great haul.  We enjoyed these over a nice dinner with friends before we watched the NCAA Men's Basketball game the other night (which, ahem, Kentucky won!)
I've just been more tuned to the changing foliage in the woods, never two days the same and always something new to discover.

 These baby ducks are rouens, which we bought from a pond expert- they are supposed to help cut down the algae on our pond, and they'll add to the overall farm environment!  For now, our daughter is having a lot of fun with them, putting them in the koi pond to swim, and leading them around.

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