It has been over two weeks since I last opened my laptop. Gee whiz - how awesome! I actually forgot about the keyboard! I never feel totally disconnected because of my smartphone but I did try (and quite successfully) to not look at it too much. I am now jumping back into work and on-line life with the holidays over and life back to semi normal. Most of the Christmas decorations are still up and they will stay up for at least another month. I love the twinkling lights and glitter at this dark time of the year and I see no reason to put it away as it adds much visual cheer.
We had a nice couple of weeks. I cherish the time we get to spend time together without the interruption of Julia's school schedule. The three of us visited my mom and my sisters in NJ and Julia and I went to Boston for a quick trip. Otherwise it was low key. Farming never stops for The Farmer. He is only able to be away for 2 evenings after getting the animals all stocked up with food. He never really relaxes when he away and I know he keeps thinking about all that needs to be done to get ready for lambing. He couldn't believe that it had been a year since he last was at my mom's house. Time certainly does seem to fly by the older you get, doesn't it?
The Christmas Holiday Season is always bittersweet for me. My Dad passed away on the Winter Solstice eleven years ago. I always dread that day. I will never forget the early morning call from my sister Jenn sobbing and crying. That Christmas was a sad one with the silver lining of having the whole family together to remember Daddy's life. I'm sure many of you have had similar experiences around the holidays losing loved ones. There was an article in the WSJ about this same subject. This December, we lost two dear family and farm friends and we still are adjusting to thinking about life without them on the earth.
We had an ice and snow storm shortly after Christmas. I am still hacking away a path through the thick ice. Now we are in a deep freeze. It is "pipe freezing weather" and "lamb killing weather". I know - most of you probably don't think of these things but that is the gist of the general conversation when you live on a farm - the weather - the animals - and what is for supper. Luckily, most of the lambs are not due for a week or so. We have had 4 so far and when I get a chance, I will post some photos. I have light bulbs next to the the pipes in the kitchen which always seems to help. We have been hauling wood for the furnace but it is still chilly in the house. Good thing for wool sweaters and hats.
Boy oh boy, I just re-read this post and it sounds like such a bummer and downer. I do not mean to sound that way and try to keep this place happy and upbeat but life is not all wine and roses. Sometimes it is best for me to share the good with the bad so that many of you reading who live in different places and dream of living a beautifully bucolic farm life, don't get the wrong impression of perfect life on the farm. Frankly, life is not perfect on a farm - just like it isn't perfect where you live. We are all faced with challenges, heartaches, sickness, death mixed amongst the happiness. On a farm it swings greatly between the two emotions of joy and sadness more frequently.
On the 23rd, we lost our dear Border Collie Nessie to cancer. She was 10 1/2 years old and was the hardest working dog we have ever had. We miss her constantly. I keep saying to Kate - "Are you ready to be in charge? Ready to be top dog?" She looks at me with the most quizzical look.
|Ness on our last walk through the fields on December 18th|
Kate has been The Farmer's main working dog this fall because Ness was failing. She has a long ways to go and still scatters the sheep in the wrong direction at times. I think as she matures more and hangs around the sheep at the barn she should hopefully figure it all out. She is incredibly agile and quick and very sweet. During the winter, there is no herding or moving to be done because the sheep are all tucked into the barns.
We will have to think about getting another Border Collie puppy soon. We have not been without two dogs in the house in over 30 years. I am missing the routine of having two dogs in the house with us daily. We have lost 3 dogs in the last 13 months - Phoebe, Winston, and Ness. Boy oh boy. You love them so much and then they are gone. And then you miss them and think about them every day. I call their names out of habit and then realize they are not here anymore.
The LGD puppies Beau and Sadie are doing great outside. They are getting huge! They definitely know their place and reason for being on this earth - to guard the sheep and our family. There has been a lot more barking during the dark evening hours which is what they should be doing. Their coats are so thick and curly and beautiful. They still are not doing too good in the "not jumping on people department." Shoveling snow and ice and gathering firewood is one of their favorite activities.
As Garrison Keillor says, "That's the news from Leyden Glen Farm today...." I'm not much for Year in Review Posts nor New Year Resolutions. It's best for me to just jump back in where I left off and start organizing what needs to be done. The photos in this post were taken on December 18th and I have not wanted to download them onto my computer to look at them until now knowing that this was the last nice walk I took with Ness.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to sharing lots with you this 2016.