We’re finally starting to settle into a routine around here! Considering that every time we’ve settle into a routine this summer something has happened to disrupt it, I figure we’re probably ready for another animal or two.
— 2 —
Interested in what our routine looks like these days? (I’m sure you’re not, but I know that *I* am going to enjoy looking back at all the craziness, some day!) Our day looks something like this: up at six-thirty, milk the cow, milk the goats, strain the milk, wash the milk stuff, feed the goats-sheep-cow, hang out with the goats and cow until it’s time to get the kids up, get the kids up to start chores, let the chickens out to free range, water the chickens-goats-sheep-cow, make breakfast, skim the cream, make butter, clean the kitchen, feed the baby, start school, make lunch, eat lunch, clean the kitchen, take naps, move the chickens-goats-sheep-cow’s to their new rotations in the pasture, check the chicken-goat-sheep-cow’s water, feed the chickens grain, practice instruments, cook dinner, eat dinner, milk the cow, milk the goats, strain the milk, wash the milking stuff, feed the chickens-goats-sheep-cow, wash out the goats water pails (they’re picky about water and won’t drink it if hay falls in it,) give the chickens-goats-sheep-cow’s water, hang out with the goats and cow again (all of us!) clean the house, make cheese (when Jon is home), go to bed.
…With lots of changing diapers and wiping bottoms going on in between (I realized the other day that I have been changing diapers and wiping bottoms for 10 consecutive years now!!!)
— 3 —
We finally got our fencing put up for the cow (round one, that is! Since she’s rotationally grazed, this will be an ongoing project.) The other day, I was sharing with Manuela another conversation Jon and I had about the fence, and she says I need to post this one…
It started out with a conversation that looked almost identical to this one, but ended with me getting huffy and telling Jon: “nevermind, just do it however you want. I’m too tired and hot to argue about it” and I started walking back to the house. Halfway there, he calls me back. I went back and he says:
J: “Shmooey (oldest son) just brought up a good point.”
J: “He said: ‘Daddy… if we put this whole fence up and we do it wrong, Momma’s just going to make us do it all over again.'”
I should mention that he was laughing when he said it and I have an INCREDIBLY patient husband who
understands puts up with me (and knows exactly how far “a little bit” to the left is!) He is kind enough to indulge me with minimal amounts of frustration and aggravation (on his part!) He’s amazing. …I think my parents feel sorry for him.
— 4 —
Have I mentioned lately how very much I love our cow?! I don’t know if all cows are like this (and I pray that they are because we really want another one some day!) but today it was POURING rain and the only way I could keep her dry during milking was to milk her in the middle of her shelter (normally, I tie her to a fence post and she stands against the fence, but today she couldn’t do that because of the rain.) This meant she had the freedom to move forward or backward, and to either side. I was skeptical that she’d stay still for me, but we tried it and she was PERFECT! She never moved an inch, and she didn’t even have anything to distract her (we’re trying to transition her to a grass-only diet [to read more about why, click Here and Here], so she doesn’t usually get grain during milking.) I’m so happy with this cow!
— 5 —
Speaking of the cow, between Lucy and the goats, we are currently able to supply ALL of our own butter and cheese, plus have milk to drink. Tomorrows project: sour cream! And between those four things, all of our dairy needs are met, as well as mine and Bitty’s emotional need to have “pets” (although I still want a dog! It will protect the goats and chickens, after all!) I think these animals are one of the best things that have ever happened for our family, for many more reasons than what they provide for us in food (like the fact that they’re giving Jon and I lots of opportunities for what he likes to call intense fellowship!)
— 6 —
Do you know what’s better than having a job that you love enough to WANT to get up early for? Having customers who A. really appreciate what you’re giving them and B. become more than “customers!” We are currently giving our neighbor some of our produce as a partial payment for the land we’re leasing, but every time we drop it off, he gives us something in return! Some tomatoes, or blackberries they picked or (last night) some blackberry jam! We’ve gotten to know him and another of our other neighbors better over the last few weeks than we ever have! And when I went to give my friend Manuela some things last week, she sent us home with muffins and cookies and stuff to make pesto pasta. And not long ago, a lady Jon works with gave him some jam and another friend is planning to come out and set us up with a beehive soon! I feel like we’re doing so much more than “selling a product” and how many people get to say that? It’s really, really beautiful!
— 7 —
A picture of our youngest. My oldest daughter took it and it’s blurry, but it’s one of my favorite pictures of her, because although she rarely laughs, she smiles just like this over practically everything: