Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wagging Their Tails Behind Them

My dear friend, Marie, was so kind to buy all my sheep when I had to leave the farm. It broke my heart to see them go. Marie was gracious enough to buy them with the idea that there could come a day when I would want to buy them back. I didn't know what was going to happen in my life at that time, but I had a very strong hope that I would end up with a new farm somewhere within a couple of years.
Well, as things turned out, I was able to keep my farm here in northern Missouri. And, I am starting over. A lot of things have changed, definately for the better. But one thing I didn't want to change was my sheep! Marie and I worked out which sheep I would bring back to the farm and how and when we would make that happen. The plan was for us to bring the sheep home in September, after the temps cooled down a bit and we had some time to prepare for their arrival. Well, you have heard about "the best laid plans." Things just don't always work out the way you've planned because, hey, life happens! Due to the terrible drought being experienced by much of this part of the country, Marie needed to "lighten the load" on her property. So, when a cool snap hit us, she and her husband brought the sheep we had agreed on back here to Cavalli Run.
Here is Erik, getting things ready in the barn for the return of the sheep.

They've arrived!

Coming off the trailer and deciding whether or not to go into the barn: you can see Solomon (my original ram) in the foreground. That is Cooper in the white fleece, just on the other side of Solomon. He is new to Cavalli Run. I decided to buy one new ram from Marie to add some new bloodlines and color/pattern into my flock. Cooper was born this spring at Marie's farm. Just behind Cooper is Cookie, one of my ewes from before. She came to me as a lamb, along with her momma, Ursula, who has also rejoined our little farm.

Along with Solomon, Cookie, Ursula and Cooper, we also brought Cocoa (one of my original ewes), Marshmellow (ewe lamb who was born here last spring), Porthos (ewe lamb also born here last spring), and Hershey ( a ram lamb born here last spring out of Solomon and Cocoa). Due to the horns growing too close to his head, Hershey will be going to freezer camp in a month or so.

I just love the variety of color in this breed of sheep. And I am so happy to have so many of them home again.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Out With The Old, In With The New

It has been over a year since I last posted anything on this blog. A lot has happened in the past year. Many of you already know that I went trhough a divorce last year. For those who don't know, well, now you do!

I am not going to say a lot about what happened. But, in a nutshell, after 29 years of a very difficult marriage which had become increasingly toxic over the past ten years, and even more so since moving to this farm, we put the farm up for sale and I went to Texas to stay with an old friend from my days in the Air Force. I filed for divorce and was able to keep my farm in the divorce settlement. I wasn't sure what I would do, but I became re-aquainted with another old friend from my Air Force days and we hit it off wonderfully. We have spent the last 7 months getting to know each other. He asked me to marry him, and I said "Yes!" He is a wonderfu, kind, caring, gentle man. He has never been a farmer (he is a city boy, born and raised in CA), but he has a pioneer spirit and loves the outdoors. He is more familiar with the deserts of CA as he spent a lot of time on his great-grandfather's ranch, has a little, remote place in the Sequoias with a rustic cabin on it, and has enjoyed hiking and back-packing all of his adult life. He is very handy and I have yet to find something he can't fix or make. He said he was up for trying to live the farm life, so we kept the farm and moved here the first week of May. The wedding is planned for the 6th of October.

As you may notice, I have returned to my maiden name of "Courtney" and have decided to remain "Brenda Courtney" even after we are married. Not because I don't want to be "Brenda Petersen." There are two main reasons. First, after this past year of figuring out who I am...apart from being someone's daughter, someone's wife, someone's mother...I have come to the conclusion that I am really and truly "Brenda Courtney" and that is who I am most comfortable being. Secondly, and probably the most practical reason, it was a real pain in the rear jumping through all the hoops to get my name changed on everything! I really don't want to go through all that again...ever! Erik is happy for me to keep my name. I am happy to be thought of as "Mrs. Erik Petersen" but continue to be "Brenda Courtney" for legal purposes.

When we got back to the farm, things were quite a mess. The pipes had not been properly winterized, and even though it was a mild winter, we had busted pipes everywhere. Because of the mild winter and early , warm spring, the grass was up to our armpits! And there was trash everywhere. So we unloaded all our stuff and started the slow process of un-packing, getting the water running, and putting things in order so we could get started doing what we came here to do.

Erik poured a concrete floor in the tack room so that it would be a little easier to use. He will use it as a work shop for now and then, eventually it will become the tack room again (when we are able to build a proper workshop for him).

Next we worked on fixing fences in the various pasture areas to get them ready for the animals we were anticipating the arrival of (stay tuned for the next post to learn more about this).

Our next project is to build a round pen for working with the horses we have chosen to buy.