The summer months are here and now, phew and it is hot! Humid, muggy, sticky, whatever you'd like to call it. The air is thick, moist and the sun can only burn so much of it away. All that said, I still very much enjoy summer. My gardens are bearing and well, the fields are thick and lush, the flowers bloom without much interference from me. It's a prosperous season. I just finished licking my breakfast bowl, blackberry cobbler. Made fresh with blackberries growing effortlessly near the side porch.
And now as I type, I'm sipping tea- several varieties of mint medley-ed together from my herb gardens. And it's divine. A prosperous season indeed.
Summer is also a time of reflection as new lambs and lots of other new farm faces appear and grow, grow, grow. Every year our sheep flock builds and strengthens. We have a core group of, what I like to call the powerhouse ewes. And they're beauties. I'm currently milking only 7 ewes and 2 goats. A total of 9 animals produces nearly 4 gallons of milk a day. The ewes I've been milking for over 5 months now and the goats, just a few. All in all with the heat and other variables, they're all healthy and milking well. Currently milk is being used for soaps, cheeses and our own family consumption.
Often and I mean often, we are asked if we have any milk to spare for others. Our goats and ewes have fed an array of species and if we have it to spare, spare it we do. We are still feeding a couple of bottle babies too. The farm is its own ecosystem. What the animals and the land give each other and us, it is then given back to them.
And then there are the farmhouse critters. Many times - usually more than not - there are house lambs, house chicks and house goats. Yep, we are family. The duties involved is no fairytale or for the faint of heart but never will I regret living in the same space as an animal I'm the caretaker of.
I am told I paint a poetic picture of farm life. I suppose I'm an optimist and I suppose I do always look for the sweet amongst the bitter and feel the calm during a raging storm. I suppose all of that is likely why I am who I am. I never have felt like I chose to be a shepherd or a farmer, I have always known that this life chose me. And not because it is simple or easy, not because this was a dream come true and not because this is a passion that stirs deep in my soul. No, for me it was like being away for a long time. In finding my way back, the rolling green fields in sight as the rays from the afternoon sun point like arrows from the heavens, flocks of all kinds begin welcoming me, the trees waving their arms in hoorah. There will be a season where I won't make cheese, there will be a season where I won't do other things as I did before. There will be many seasons where things don't go as I planned but it all will never change my heart. Being a shepherd, was finding my home and my home is where I know I will always be.