in which we give thanks for everyday riches

in which we give thanks for everyday riches

A while ago I stumbled across this Estonian proverb.  It struck me as oh-so-true and I have thought about it often since:

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.

 

This morning, I am satisfied. I have everything I need if just for today.

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My pre-dawn breakfast: Farm fresh eggs, carefully basted, served on top of toasted, hearty homemade bread spread with rich, yellow butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows.  The thick-shelled brown eggs were laid a couple of days ago by the neighbor’s chickens, yolks bright and firm.

Sprinkled on top, a tiny bit of Parmesan Reggiano. The cheese mixed with the runny yolks is a thick, delicious sauce with the perfect amount of rich saltiness.

Full, satisfied and ever so grateful. How much richer can I be?  What little pleasures made your day a little bit nicer?

 

in which we hear it for the boys

in which we hear it for the boys

Tight little buddies from the beginning. Cow friendships are the lasting kind...

I know, I’ve been called on it before, and I admit it is true.  The Ladies get most of the press around here. Not fair and for no good reason, except that they got here first and took over.  And they look better in most of the pictures.  And they do silly comment-worthy things more often.

But now, the boys outnumber the girls. Not by much, and not for long, but today it’s true.

A few things about the boys are not exactly what I was expecting. The tussling, humping and general roughness is exactly what I thought bulls and steer would be like, but the politeness, loyalty and friendship was a bit of a surprise.

 

They are very social and enjoy each others company. I have a loner or two, but even they have their special close friends.  And Rocco, the bull, is Chairman of every pack. Rocco likes to spread himself around.

The intense gaze of Rocco - he doesn't miss anything...

This week, we have finally completely separated the boys from the girls. So, front pasture has all the ladies and the back pasture is home to all the steer and Rocco.

I hate to cloud their moment in the spotlight by mentioning this, but without the Ladies to show those boys where to go next, they’re a bit slow to find dinner. And to know when it’s time to come in out of the snow.

Found the hay, but forgot to go back inside to bed. All boy camp-out by the bale...

I put out three big bales of hay with plenty of space between so everyone would have a fair chance and plenty of room. You’d think they’d be happy to separate since there aren’t  enough places for everyone at one bale, but no.

Rather than strike out on their own, the littler guys have been watching Rocco and his top  henchmen do all the eating, politely waiting for their turn.  But politeness doesn’t buy much in the world of cows – once the big boys had their fill, they decided they weren’t risking their booty by going inside to bed.  They plopped down right there, at the foot of the bale for their naps, blocking the timid little fellas out.

Wearing their hay hats....

The Ladies would have split right up and made quick work of  all three bales.

So, today, I took pity on the gentle-men and led them to the other bales. They had been waiting for someone to take charge – I didn’t have to call twice.  Like the Pied Piper, I lead my parade of curly coated steer. And, let me tell you, they were pretty excited about their all you can eat buffet.

Can't explain it, but cows are big on single file...

Boys.

in which it’s not life without death

in which it’s not life without death

Christmas Day was a sunny, spring-like day here at the farm. I treated myself to a solitary hike around parts of the property I don’t visit much and indulged myself in a few dreams.

Standing in the warm, safe sunshine,  it’s easy to feel lulled into a sense that all is right with the world.  But then I turn the corner and find myself face to face with this poor unfortunate soul.

Clearly death did not come gently this time.

I can’t tell about the turkey by the bend in the creek – all that was left of that poor bird is a pile of spiky feathers. I hope her death was sudden and swift.

And the fawn’s leg, hair and hoof intact that showed up last summer sharing no clues about the life or death of the living baby deer once attached. A random reminder left anonymously in a peaceful, lovely meadow.

There’s a dark current that runs beneath our sunny, peaceful moments.

Without the shadows, the light would not be nearly so bright.

in which we decide we like it

in which we decide we like it

We changed our minds. Forget sunny & balmy, it’s cold! Now we want IN!

A couple of months ago I moved the pregnant Ladies to the newly fenced front pasture where they could enjoy the last of the not yet grazed grass. Lucky for us, every one of the pastures has both high and low land so each pasture has plenty of well-drained high ground for the wet messy times when the creeks are overflowing.

Which apparently these days can be anytime, all year-long.

While our winter weather remained so balmy and mild, the Ladies had little interest in the adjoining barn other than the usual cow-riosity. Did you know how nosy cows are? Neither did I, but let me tell you, cats have nothing on cows when it comes to curiosity.

All summer, we have been slowly working on the barn. I didn’t really give this building much credit or thought at first. No architectural beauty, it was rough & ready with a floor piled high with black, rich composted manure from years of cows sheltering inside.

Our barn, warts & all this summer.  She’s still not beautiful on the outside, but everyone knows real beauty is on the inside…

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Private rooms, fluffy beds, shelter overhead…

But, the beams were solid, half had a new roof and it adjoins the front pasture and hayfield in a convenient way. Not having the budget for anything better, we were grateful to have it, warts and all.

We tarped the roof to keep the leaks at bay, cleaned out all the old lumber and partitions, and shoveled out the foot of manure and spread it on the garden to be. Amazingly, the entire floor was poured concrete!

We built partitions and hung gates to create a couple of private stalls for calving and I brought fresh hay in for bedding.  I had been counting on Bling’s help to shake out the hay – shaking a thousand pound round bale into a fluffy bed is no easy task, and Bling has a real talent for the job.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvuieKmt3DI?rel=0&w=420&h=315]

But alas.

xxxxxx     Bling looked…….. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and looked…..

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The Ladies were somewhat interested in the activity – they like to watch people work – but the warm days and what’s left of the fresh grass kept them busy outside.  No help, no bites. A few curious sniffs, a couple of gatherings in front, but nobody seems interested in taking up residence.

Well, oh my, what a difference a day makes! Dropped temperatures, harsh winds and snow is making this humble structure look like the Taj Mahal! Even wild Miss Sass decided inside is the place to be!

Our little Angus visitor, Miss Sass

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Can’t judge a book by its cover – this week, this is the most beautiful barn I’ve ever seen!

And I can sleep knowing the Ladies are dry and warm.

in which the brook babbles merrily

in which the brook babbles merrily

How many ways can a brook babble? Moving water is an endless source of fascination whatever the tone of voice.

One of the things I love more and more about the farm are the running streams. The water is cool and clear and gives shelter and nourishment to tons of wildlife and the Ladies.

The sound is soothing and happy and can surprisingly be heard from the spot that soon will be home. I always loved the sound of running water from my bedroom window….

Beautiful Zay by the pond