Archive for February, 2010

Sweet Discoveries

Don’t tell anyone but I think I’ve turned a corner!  Despite the chaos of the move and all of the little hiccups in my life these past three weeks, I’ve made some small discoveries in the past few days that have contributed to the joy of being here:

  • A waterfall on the other side of the creek behind my garden
  • A pair of American Kestrels nesting in a tree nearby
  • A pair of Mourning Doves on my feeding tray each morning
  • The neighbors on the property next to mine
  • The joy of uncluttering and letting go of “stuff” that I haven’t needed for years but thought I couldn’t live without
  • The sense of a new beginning

I think I’m home now.

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Wether, Whether and More Weather

My education in sheep began today and I now have a different definition for the word that sounds exactly like the word we use when we speak of climate conditions.  When my farming friend recommended that I buy a ewe and a wether I said, “Whether what?” thinking she hadn’t finished her sentence.  I now know the proper name for castrated male sheep.

I began my online search with a breed known as Babydolls which essentially are miniature sheep.  (There’s actually a website called mylittlesheep.com which sounded just a little too cute for me.)   Next I explored the Navajo Churro, a hearty breed with lots of history and fine wool.  Then onto the “no sheering” breeds like Dorpers and Barbado Blackbellies.

Suddenly I had visions of myself carrying a staff and looking like one of the figurines in a Christmas creche!

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The Birds and the Fees

Since the barn is in need of some repair before I can begin housing animals, I decided to pick up a hobby I enjoyed while living on the mountain… bird feeding.  I was quite familiar with a variety of feeders and the process of attracting birds to my mountain garden.  However, at this time of year, there were very few takers other than the nuthatches and some early Oregon juncos.

What I was not prepared for at this lower elevation was the “birdie broadcast” that went out across the wires the moment I hung out the feeders.  Within minutes, my nyjer seed sacks were alive with the most beautiful shades of gold and yellow finches.  And while every inch of fabric was covered with beaks and little feet, there were dozens more politely waiting on the barren branches for their turn.

So yesterday, while driving back from Lowe’s, I thought to stop at the feed store in the nearby town and pick up more seed since the little 10-pound “trial” bag was emptied within a matter of a week.  “What size?” the clerk asked.  As I pondered the price list and debated about the amount of seed I would realistically need, I opted for the bargain:  50 pounds!  And then, without hesitation, I handed the clerk the same amount of money as dinner & wine at my favorite restaurant… and realized my destiny.

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As the Dust Settles

This first week has been all about settling in.  The engineered septic system is finally complete and now I have these strange pipes sticking up out of the ground in places that seem somewhat illogical.  However, I am reassured by the county that things are exactly as they should be.

The unpacking process is definitely going to take longer than I realized.  The downsize into a smaller house is leaving me with an abundance of no-longer-necessary items, most of which I have chosen to donate to the local Humane Society thrift store rather than taking on the project of organizing a yard sale.

I promised myself that I would spend the rest of this winter focused on getting the household in shape before I even begin setting up the barn and the animals soon to reside within.  However, my sense of discipline is wearing thin.  The koi in the pond, the birds outside my window and the neighbor’s rooster  just don’t seem to be satisfying my need to partake in animal husbandry (wifery?).

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Life Without Connection

Actually, it’s not as ominous as the title of this entry sounds.  After going a week without an internet connection, I discovered a few things…

  • lots more time on my hands
  • a relief from the sucking vortex of sites like Facebook, YouTube and even basic email
  • a tendency to be early for my appointments
  • the pace of life just seemed to move a little slower without the sense of immediate availability

Now you may be asking yourself what this has to do with Millie’s Farm.  Well, it was an insight into a paradigm shift that will need to occur once the farm takes on life.  Much as I am weeding through the many boxes of “stuff” that I’ve collected over the years and letting go of things that really don’t contribute to the overall household, so too will non-essential online time be trimmed.

And that, my friends, is my insight during this past week of cyber disconnect!

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And so it begins…

My new life, my new home, my new adventure.  All that I have waited for, asked for, dreamed of.  A home with a view, a garden, an orchard, a barn.  My own Enchanted April.  This is how I’ve asked to spend the third third of my life… beginning today:  Moving Day.

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OK, so here’s the deal.  I’ve got a small pasture and a whole lot of greenery both in and out of the fenced area and I need something other than a lawnmower to manage the growth.  I went to the Department of Agriculture’s website to see what they had to say about grazing farm animals and here were their selections:  Bison, Emus, Ostriches, Rheas, Llamas, Alpacas, Rabbits, Sheep and Goats.   For starters, let me say this about that… bison are definitely not what I had in mind!  And I’ve never heard of a rhea but I’m guessing that it’s in the family of two-legged, feathered birds like an emu or an ostrich.  Something about them sounds appealing… but then so does a llama.  Sheep and goats are rather commonplace and rabbits are tops on the list of the epicurean coyote.

So I’m off to do some research.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and discover that those four-legged predators don’t really like getting a mouthful of feathers!

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