A happy ending

The way it started, it sure didn’t seem like yesterday was going to be a good day.  But a day that began with a lot of stress and anxiety, ended with a long leisurely walk.  It is rare that all four of us are home and able to enjoy a paseo together.  And those rare ocassions are a special treat for an aging father.

Love Wins

Pasture swap

We rotate our goats among three pastures.   The does who are being bred are in one pasture with our billy.  The ones who are nursing, or due to deliver soon, are in a different pasture.  The others (those who are being weaned, aren’t old enough to breed or pregnant but not due for a while) are in the third pasture.  Two of the pastures are connected and it’s fairly easy to move goats between them.  The third, however, is not connected and requires a bit more effort.   In the past we’ve moved them with my truck, or even individually in the RTV.  But lately we’ve just been leading them with a bucket of sweet feed.  Unsophisticated, but it works.

Today we moved some of the girls, along with the guard dog Joey, to the main pasture.

And now with new friends:

Love Wins

Deer food

When I planted broccoli in the main garden I ended up with a few extra plants.  So I planted them in raised beds by our house, figuring  they would mature before it was time to plant sweet potatoes.  They weren’t protected by a deer fence, but being right in our back yard, I hoped the deer would  leave them alone.

I was wrong.

Here’s what I discovered this morning:

At least they left the best part of this one:

So as I type this I’ve just come in from putting a tarp over the raised beds, in the dark during a thunderstorm, in the hopes of holding off the deer a bit longer.

We have a lot of competition for the food we grow here.  But sometimes it goes both ways.  I’ve been eating a lot of venison the last few days.

Love Wins

Not good

Let’s see.  Both the bushhog and the lawnmower are in the shop and the grass is growing out of control.  The cabbage worms and flea beetles are feasting on our cabbage.  It’s hard to spot the potatoes over the weeds.  Deer have begun to eat our broccoli.  The corral in the main pasture still isn’t done, so I can’t move the herd there.  Although the ladybugs have now overwhelmed the aphids, our pea yield is far lower than usual. 

So it’s not a good Spring on the farm?

Well, we’re picking lots of delicious English peas and we’ve started cutting broccoli.  Rachel successfully defeated the asparagus beetles and we had a bountiful harvest.  The sweet corn is coming up great.  Although they’re sharing space with too many weeds, the potatoes are growing strong.  The garlic and onions should be ready soon.  We’ve had plenty of rain and the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cukes, pumpkins, squash, black beans, green beans and watermelons are looking great.  There are plenty of little apples and pears on our trees and young blackberries are everywhere.  The grapevines are starting to sag under the weight of so many grapes.  The hens are laying and the pond is full of fish.  We have a big steaming compost pile.  I just planted some sweet potatoes and the blackeyed peas are soon to follow.  We have more goat babies on the way.  And best of all, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with family and farm.

So things on the farm are not good.  They’re great.

Love Wins

What’s next?

Instead of preparing to spend the month of July in Haiti, I now find myself spending a lot of time wondering, “What’s next?”  We now know that living in Haiti is not what’s next for us.  So what is?

Cherie says we are trying to figure out what we’re going to be when we grow up.  She has the gift of patience and she is confident that the answers come while patiently waiting for them.  I am impatient and anxious to force issues, rather than let them unfold naturally.   So I’m trying to let her peacefullness rub off on me.  It’s hard.

We’ve both got a lot to do.  Aside from managing the household and much of the farm, Cherie is in grad school and she does volunteer work with many local organizations.  I’m in school too, and I also try to manage the farm, serve charitably and keep up a law practice.  But we know we need some focus.

We’re treading water on the farm while waiting for our friend Jeremy to join us.  Maybe we’ll ramp it up and become a viable commercial operation.  At a minimum we’ll grow plenty of good food for our families with some left over for our community.

And we’ll keep searching for the doors that opened when other ones closed.

Love Wins

Memorial Day

This weekend we will “celebrate” Memorial Day.  For the vast majority of us, that means a day off work, maybe a barbeque and some auto racing on TV.  In 1971 Congress made Memorial Day a federal holiday and conveniently moved it to a Monday, to create a “long weekend.”  And that wasn’t so we could have an extra day to mourn our dead.

Over one million Americans have been killed in wars.   That, of course, is a tiny fraction of the human beings killed in all the wars of history.

Very, very few Americans will actually reflect soberly on the tragic cost of war this weekend.  Very, very few will mourn the dead.  Very, very few will treat the occasion as a time to strengthen our resolve to end wars.  In fact, very, very few Americans have any resolve to end wars.

For the very few of us who even consider the meaning of Memorial Day this weekend, most will do little more than take a moment to wave a flag around, or swell with pride at the idea of America’s military might.

And I think that’s a shame.  I’d prefer that this holiday be called “Summer Festival” or something that doesn’t trivialize the deaths of a million victims of human stupidity.

30 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq this month.  I have no idea how many Iraqis and Afghans have been killed.   How many of us know the names of any of those who have been killed?  How many of us have stopped for one second to consider their deaths this month?  How many of us really care about what is happening in Afghanistan?

There are now nearly 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan and nearly 100,000 more in Iraq.  Perpetual war paid for with monopoly money and the blood of men and women whose deaths go unnoticed in the news. 

Maybe we should just stop. 

Maybe we should pray for peace on Memorial Day. 

Love Wins