Thursday, May 14, 2015

an extraordinary afternoon on an ordinary day


My posts are few and far between these day. The days are growing longer by the minute with summer nearly in the air but somehow I still seem to fill them up with something..other than blogging. Well except for today! :) 

I likely have a gazillion things on my heart, as most shepherds usually do. Tending sheep no doubt is all heart. Among my sheep tending and the need to finish this year's shearing, we have been milking since the first of February. Twice a day my sweet woolies are brought in the from the field, into the covered holding pen right outside of the red barn door. And then in groups of 5, they're led into the milking parlor where each are fed a smidge of tasty whole grains and lavender buds while their milk is gathered before they are led back out to the field to graze, rest and relax until the next milking. It's a routine and during this season, much of our lives revolve around it. As the milk is collected, the milk fridge fills to the brim. When it's nearly slam full, cheese is made or the milk is used for soap making. Or it's most often, both. Besides cheese, we also stock our own house fridge with sheep milk. We use it just like any other milk and let me tell you, you simply haven't lived until you've had a heaping freshly made bowl of sheep milk ice cream! It is no secret that I'm crazy passionate about my flock and that rich creamy milk, well it is just an added bonus.
As I sit here at my Grandpa's old desk, there are two pawed furry friends curled around my feet and through the open windows the spring breeze carries the sounds of my flock in and around me. Through smell and sound I can see a field of the contented grazing ewes with their lambs frolicking about. Friendships have formed in the lamb group so they can be heard often calling out to each other. It's a beautiful vision that wraps me up and holds me tightly as I continue to type.

This has been a whopping season of changes for us here on the farm, we have started the construction of a small farm store which we plan to complete sometime..this year (because I know better than to give an actual finished time frame - after all things rarely happen quickly on a farm), each Saturday we have committed to bring a bit of our farm to a farmer's market in Midlothian - this is the shepherd's undertaking and it has been a big one, I've also written another book entitled - Seasons from My Farmhouse Porch - that is packed full of photos and stories of our every day life on the farm and will be published here really soon, I have quit my off the farm job, have been hanging out A LOT of laundry and I've expanded my soaping. Most days I make at least one batch of milk soap. The days are regularly scheduled with to-do lists and I'm pretty diligent about staying on track...most days..but not today. :)

Today I put aside the to-do list and walked barefoot in the field and visited my woolly flock. I check on them often, they know me and I them. Each of them seem to feel comforted by my presence and the sound of my voice.


With the guardians at my side, I let the early afternoon breeze choose my route. We walked fence lines, tree lines and lamb lines. Those lambs are quite inquisitive young woolies and only taking their eyes off of us for a moment as they would gust up extra energy for a spirited back kick. Both hind hooves high in the air which then seemed to create a trend, that each lamb must participate in. And with no further notice there is a long strand of bucking lambs putting on their very own rodeo. Such contagious silly energy never fails to make me smile. The air is cooler today, thick white puffy clouds above in a big bright blue sky and then there are the dandelions. A field loaded with them! Each stem spreads their seeds as spring breaths its fragrant life through the rolling field of buttercups, young green grasses and wild strawberry blooms, which are now all sprinkled with wispy dandelion seeds. It's simple breathtaking beauty at its best. Walking back to the little farmhouse in the field, the rose bushes just beyond the porch edge are popping with bright perfumed blooms.

The garlic bed full of hearty green scapes has a special kind of appeal. The blueberry bushes are now all chocked full of young berries and the black raspberry bush that has made itself quite at home trailing up, down and around the side porch with arms and leaves reaching well above 8 feet tall, looks to be growing gloriously by the minute. The lavender has its first buds of the year and the mints have found their way well outside of the herb beds, they truly will take up residence, where ever they please. From the farmhouse porch I recognize the sound of newly hatched chicks following their very proud and very fierce mama through the field grass near the barn's edge. The peeping carries loudly as Mrs Hen clucks repeatedly for each of them to keep up. Even I can't ignore her demands and so I walk closer to spot in between blades of field grass, small downy little peepers hopping and skipping their way to their mother's side. A tiny trail of mixed yellows, grey and black velvety little darlings. As I walked even closer, Mrs Hen quickly nestles herself down and within seconds every tiny peeper disappeared under the comforting safety of their mother's wings.
An ordinary walk sure is good for the soul. So much simple beauty to capture and soak in. Now it's back to that to-do list..but I'm now going with an extra song in my heart and a pretty big smile on my face. 
Happy spring my friends!