Tuesday, March 29, 2011

First Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of moving to our farm. This was much like the day we moved in a year ago...overcast and chilly. It was wetter last year, but not quite as cold, I don't think. We woke up this morning to find a dusting of snow on the ground. I am really hoping that was the end of it for this year. It has been a very cold winter for us in this old farm house with little insulation and only one heat source (a propane heater on the living room wall). Next year we plan to put wood heat in, even if we aren't able to do any other remodeling or building.
Aside from being a cold winter, it has been a year of many ups and downs. We have had to do a lot of clean up, a lot of un-packing of several years' worth of things that have been in storage, things that came from my mom's house after she died three years ago, plus things we brought back from Germany, and a lot of getting to know our farm and the various animals we have aquired since moving in: 3 dogs, 1 horse, 1 donkey, 30 fowl (laying hens, banties, and a half dozen Guineas), 7 ewes (would have been 8 but we lost one), a ram, and several barn cats.

We have known some loss this first year. One of our original ewes (Zinnia) strangled herself in the fence, one of our banty hens went missing, and several cats have died or disappeared (mostly kittens whose mommas dragged them off to hide them).
We had over-grown pastures we couldn't see, let alone hike, because the man who was supposed to cut the hay didn't get it done in a timely manner. We had a miserably hot summer and no central air. We had wool we couldn't spin, a horse I couldn't ride (because I lost my confidence after she threw me shortly after I got her), a sheep-guarding donkey who didn't like the sheep, and dogs who shed like crazy and make a huge mess in my house!

We've had more house issues than we've ever had in any house we've lived in: rolling floors, rotting floors, roaches, flies, Asian beetles, frogs, and mice. We didn't even have this many critters in our house in Africa! Okay, we did have roaches, AND we had lizards...but not the rest. Oh, and ants...we have had some ants here, and we did have ants way worse in Africa.
But, there have also been an awful lot of highs. I love hiking these hills. Nothing makes me happier than being out on my land (except maybe working with my horse and having her respond to me the way I want her to). I have discovered that I am capable of much more than I would have given myself credit for. I have learned so many new things. I know how to drench sheep now! I know how to work with wool now. I am learning how to work with my horse and getting my confidence back. I am learning how to take care of sheep, horses, donkeys and laying hens. I learned how to use the willow from the ponds to make baskets. I am working on training my dogs. I made a saddle pad with my own two hands. I have my own, farm-fresh eggs coming out my ears. Our farm has a plethora of wild berries and fruit, which we were able to put up to enjoy all winter long. Three of our four children were able to spend some time on the farm with us, along with their families. We have had visits from several friends we hadn't seen in years. And, how could I forget? I got some really great boots!!!
Even with all the lows, and a few days where I seriously wondered if we made the right decision when we decided to follow my dreams, I feel overwhelmingly blessed to be living this life. I am planning to live here for the rest of my life. I told my husband I wasn't moving again until Jesus came to get me, and I'm pretty sure he's not gonna make me pack! But, even if I didn't have to pack, I have no desire to ever move from this place. The future promises to be very bright, and many exciting events are on the horizon.
We should be having our first baby lambs any time now. I am hoping to be riding Skipper again by the end of April. I was working with her some yesterday and she remembered all of her lessons from last fall...even responded to them better than she did then. We are getting our fences set up in order to be able to do proper pasture rotation with the sheep this year. I hope to have my hand-craft business up and running by this fall. We are getting ready to put our first garden in (here). Spring is showing itself. We have so much to look forward to. Year number two has all the potential to be very exciting and full of even more new adventures.
I'm looking forward to sharing this next year with all of you. Thank you for reading my blog over the past year, and especially for commenting on my posts. I have enjoyed getting to know many of you and having you along for the ride.

And Gabby thanks you, too!!!


  1. Oh we are sisters of a sort. I think I just spent the last 3 years in your life. If you get a chance to look back over my blog we had some of the same problems. A farm house in Maine without adaquate insulation. Hence, walls torn down and insulatated, floors finished, we cooked for 6 months on a 2 burner Coleman cookstove. I still don't want to go camping to this day. When we first moved in, no water pipes. We had to replace everything with PEX tubing. We added a woodstove in the kitchen. Gave up on the forced hot air furnace. The air was cold by the time it reached the kitchen. Oh, the stories you have to tell. Keep faith. I'm so sorry to hear about your ewe. Those are the experiences that really hurt. We are still adding fences. Our first lambs arrived yesterday. Keep trying. I know you feel tired and depressed at time. Take a moment and hike those hills. It will raise your spirits and make things right with the world again. CONGRATULATIONS! Happy 1st Birthday.

  2. Happy first anniversity! You will look back a few years from now and see what happened from humble beginnings...those hills will be covered with livestock and chickens. I love the picture of your pups with the dirty feet...reminds me of home.
    Brenda, thank you for you prayers and kind words. We will need to get together this summer.

  3. Thank you Kelly. I looked at your blog and have become a follower. I couldn't figure out how to post a comment though. Is there something different to it?
    Sarita, you are a doll. You are one of the most encouraging people I have encountered. It is I who am blessed to have "met" you! I absolutely am PLANNING to get together with you this summer, one way or another! I may come spend a day playing in your studio, if you'll let me!

  4. Brenda, I, too, have enjoyed following your adventures this year. I especially appreciate the spirit in which you tackle each new experience. Our paths have been similar in so many ways--and now I share your joy in "staying put"and gathering my own eggs, so to speak:)

  5. Sounds like typical farm life. :) Always a new adventure! Sometimes sad, but most of the times rewarding. I've lived the farm life for a very long time and sometimes in the middle of winter I am ready to pack up and move to town. But then a few warm days shows up in March and I'm ready for another year of scooping horse poop, staying up for lambing, gardening and fixing things on the house.

    It's never ending on the chores that need done, but the work is so much more satisfying than sitting behind a desk.