I picked up three lambs yesterday, katahdin crosses from a farmer in Salem. I transported them in the back of my Subaru Forester, just like the first three sheep I ever brought home to the cabin in Vermont. These guys were secured in a dog crate set over a tarp, not loose in the back seats, but the excitement was the same! There's still a little charge I get deep behind the ribs driving new livestock home. There's more of a sense of accomplishment now, because there's no longer the audience there once was. There isn't the hype of books and publishing events. It's just me, the internet, and sheep in the back of a Subaru. Again. Holy crow, that was fifteen years ago. Some of you, a few, have been following my story for fifteen years... Buck. Wild.
This morning the new lambs were asleep in a pile under an apple tree. No one got bullied or escaped during the night. I don’t know why I always expect the worst with new livestock. I expected the goat to possibly push them around, since he’s a large male. I expected the ewes to head butt them away from their hay or grain troughs. Instead, the second I plopped the little lambs over the electric netting the three adult ewes went racing up the hill in fear! The goat ignored them until one approached him, and then he sniffed their head and walked away. That was it. Everyone is now learning to be a flock together. And the new ram lamb should breed my ewes this fall so next spring, lambing will happen here once again! What a thing to look forward to!!!
We’re supposed to get a good rain this afternoon, but before it hits I made a quick portable fence around the grove behind the barn where I host gatherings and enjoy campfires. My lawnmower broke, which was to be expected. I got it used (and not starting) last summer from a neighbor. After some youtube videos and cleaned lines I got to run but this year the entire cable system snapped clean off from handle to engine and the carburetor is shot. So, until I can get another one used, I am going to depend on the weed whacker and some very-intentional small grazing areas with the portable fences.
Also, I wanted to thank the people who reached out after my last post, especially those who sent some venmo to encourage me (4 of you! Thank you!!) and encourage me it did! I’ll be checking in with more more posts soon as I get through this script I need to turn in for a freelance project and the piglets get delivered.
The farmer I am getting the pigs from is a neighbor, and is letting me pay for the pigs in installments. That’s also what the lamb breeder let me do, and I am so grateful to both farms. I’ve been living, neighboring, and farming here over a decade and the networking and community is exactly what it takes to keep scrappy operations like mine going. There’s a trust and openness in Washington County I haven’t felt in other areas I lived. A camaraderie of folks all stuck with the same dreary winters and same summer hopes. This is the most at home I ever felt anywhere in the world.
More soon, especially after the piglets settle in the fireflies start to come out!
And before I head back to work here: I wanted to share my friend Jessie's amazing quilts! She's a single mom of three boys and a part of our local Wheel of the Year community. If you're looking for naturally hand-dyed fabrics turned into art you can hang on your wall or hand down for generations: click here.
I am going to keep writing here regardless if you support it or not, but if you'd like to encourage more frequent posts, you can venmo me a tip at jennawog. I decided that as long as one person sends a single dollar, I'll write again the next day. Seems fair to me.