Yesterday was what seems to be a rare occasion more often than not lately. The sun was shining. A brief respite from the rain that was to begin again overnight. With the less than stellar weather, it’s not easy to get things done outside, but sometimes we have to buck up and wallow through.
I spent a good part of the day in the mud, pulling out weeds bound and determined to thrive despite the abuse. Truth be told, I am a firm believer in once a weed is pulled, another shouldn’t grow in its place. Problem is, they don’t agree.
Anyway, when I walked back up to the house for dinner, I noticed something odd. My parsley from last year is growing back. Parsley isn’t supposed to grow back in Ohio, but there it was. I still can’t believe it. Goes to show just how much of a mild, albeit wet, winter we’ve had. I made sure to pull the offending weeds and wild onion that grows in from around it, thrilled to have found the little surprise bounty. Then I was thinking about the rest of the herbs that die out for winter and are actually supposed to come back, how I hadn’t checked on them yet.
Have you ever had the opportunity to smell fresh oregano? For me, it is one of the most amazing smells. I’ll even include it and other herbs in flower bouquets for the added aroma. Anyway, I pulled a bit of the endlessly growing weeds from out and around it and that was all it took. Just a gentle glide over the oregano as I cleared around it and its smell rose up in the air like the most amazing perfume.
As Eldest walked up to the house I asked him if he smelled it. He said, “Smell what?” and I replied, “The oregano.” He said no. GAH! I swear those boys can smell a buck’s musk on the air from a distance, chocolate chips cookies baking in the oven when I just think about making them, but the delicious smell of oregano right under the nose…no.
So, here’s why I’m sharing this… It’s not because I want you to go outside and start sniffing things. That would be weird. It’s not so you go out and start pulling up your weeds, although you’re more than welcome to do that, too. It’s more on account of the little things a person unexpectedly comes upon that ends up to be the highlight of their day, the icing on their cake. It hadn’t crossed my mind to get into the herb garden with all the wicked wet weather we’re having. I can guarantee I wouldn’t have yet if it weren’t for noticing that little sprig of parsley that came out of left field so unexpectedly.
I’m asking you, as we’re continuing to batten down our hatches and tighten our belts while we wait out the virus, what gems might you discover that you may not have otherwise if you took a look around? What might you do today that you may not have had a chance to do if you were away from your home? From reminiscing over grandma’s old recipe book to searching through that container of parts in the garage, I bet there’s something that’ll catch your eye.
My work here continues on without a whole lot of change, but even so, happening upon one little surprise made for a most deliciously fragrant day. Take a moment to stop and smell your oregano while you have the opportunity. You never know what else you might find. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
I was going to do this yesterday, but time slipped away, and before I knew it the day was heading closer to over than I had realized. So, here I am, a day late and definitely more than a dollar short since the farmers market is still closed, but we’re all in this proverbial boat together. Therefore, I write…
Yesterday was a joyously hard one. Young’un isn’t so young anymore. In fact, it’s official. He’s an adult. It’s hard to imagine, even with the vivid imagination I have, that we moved here when he was a 5-year-old on the cusp of 6 and yesterday he woke up to 18. We were all so new back then. New community, new friends, new adventures ahead. Shoot, the past 12 years here have been one adventure after another, and I am so happy Young’un has been by my side to share in so many of them. Frankly, it’s been a joy to have experienced so many things with Hon, Eldest, Kid, and Young’un. I am a very happy and fulfilled mom.
Why, it truly doesn’t seem that long ago since he and I were out at the chicken coop that first year, watching them grow up and into laying eggs and crowing before the sun. I’ll never forget when one of the roosters jumped on a hen and Young’un determined they were playing leapfrog. For quite some time I’d hear him talk about how those roosters sure liked to play leapfrog.
He’s been by my side to watch animals being born, give care, and ease the passing of those who have died. Together, Young’un and I have become beekeepers, learned how to make maple syrup, planted strawberries, and learned the basics of blacksmithing. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and we’ve grown together. I’m amazed we made it through learning to drive. Seeing that look on his face a week ago when he put his nervousness aside and aced that driving test to earn his license made my heart full of pride for another accomplishment notch on his belt.
No, it’s not always been sunshine and rainbows. When is it ever? Of course, just like with his brothers, we’ve butt heads more times than I’d have liked…or will like…because I know it’ll happen again. Even so, Young’un, like his brothers and my Hon, are my universe.
So, to you, my youngest, my Young’un, my Nicholas…on this second day of your adulthood, I wish you the sun and the moon. I wish your dreams become reality and your life full and joyous. Together, you, Will, Samuel, and your dad hold my heartstrings. I’m your biggest fan and am here for you. Love, Mom
Since we’re all supposed to be sequestering ourselves at home or going to work and then home at the moment, I thought I’d take a bit of time to share some stories I’ve not shared on account of my thinking about it and then doing something else.
You probably know we’ve had a couple of steer for about a year now. They’ll be with us for about six more months or so and then they’ll be off to freezer camp. Now don’t get upset with me saying that. It’s a fact of farm life for many. I will truly miss them. Whether the animals here stay for years or stay a short while, we don’t take them for granted and provide them with the best care and love.
Our steers are named Stewie and Ribeye. For being on the cusp of hitting the one-year-old mark, they’re quite squirrely and rambunctious. I really would have thought by now they’d have calmed a bit, but those boys can be quite boisterous. Stewie in particular.
From the time Stewie came to us as a calf, he’s been one for fun and getting into trouble. He’s like a young boy hopped up on Sour Patch Kids. He’s all sweet and cow-eyed one moment, sour and salty the next, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. He keeps me on my toes. The only problem has been finding the right thing that stops him from bucking and leaping, pushing me around. You see, I’m the queen of this here farm. He just didn’t want to acknowledge it.
At times Stewie and Ribeye tend to get too close, swinging their heads, leaping around, general steer merriment along with a small dose of what you might have seen at the rodeo. Not always a good and safe situation. I tried carrying the yellow whiffle ball bat with me and holding it out for them to keep their distance or smacking against my hand and Stewie didn’t care about that. That bat was another thing to play with, along with water buckets, hoses, feed scoops, and just about anything else. I used all sorts of words in my stern teacher voice that means business. Words like no, stop, quit, and (#@)(*#%. None of them had any affect…until bup.
I don’t know what it is about bup, but that one word caught Stewies attention. It just came out one day in my frustration of trying to get him to stop knocking into my water bucket and soaking my boot. It was weird. Ever since the first bup left my mouth, that one word has stopped him from doing whatever it is he shouldn’t be.
It didn’t take long for Ribeye to followed suit when he heard the word. When I say bup, I mean business. I don’t know about you, but when my mom used to use my middle name, I knew I was in big trouble. Same thing when I say bup and hold my arm with my palm towards them. It’s like the dreaded middle name. Boy, I tell you, I do that and they not only stop in their tracks, but the get the saddest look on their faces. The world ends when I bup and give them the hand.
So, there you have it folks. Bup. I don’t know why it works, but it does and that’s what’s important. All it takes is a stern bup, throwing up the hand with it depending on the situation, and play time is over. If I knew that particular word held such weight beforehand, maybe it would have worked with a few ornery rams…or maybe the boys when they were younger. Regardless, it’s a real and working word around here and I’m happy to have it. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
You know how it is. Sometimes it’s hard to find good help. You pay them well, they show up on time, you are generous with perks…all seems to be going smoothly and then *BAM* doesn’t work out.
Case in point, our steers. They’re paid quite generously in hay, feed, and grass. Plenty of water…lots of room to romp…excellent healthcare…you get the picture. They’ve been living in a cattle dream for almost a year now. Problem is anything new in the pasture or anything they think doesn’t belong is deemed a reason to mess with it. They just can’t seem to leave things alone, whether it’s a migrating goose or a water bucket. Maybe it’s a steer thing. I know the sheep are curious about things at times, but then after they satisfy that curiosity they move on. Stewie and Ribeye, not so much.
The weather here continues to be rainy, our little dry creek an on again off again raging river - a problem when our larger maple trees for sap are on the other side (or in that water as the case seems to be). Hon and I decided, despite the sap collecting season being near the end, that we’d collect some and have a bit of syrup to enjoy this year. We also decided to give collecting some black walnut sap a go.
Our friends at Earthdancer Farm have tapped their walnut trees for several years now and told us how good it is, so we figured we'd give it a go. The walnut trees around here are later to bloom than the rest, the silver maples the first to bloom. Anyway, Hon and I tapped our few black walnuts, most of which are in the pasture, hooking on the jugs for collection, tieing them on with rope for good measure, and walked away to let the sap collect. Of course, Stewie and Ribeye noticed and were right alongside of us as we tapped the trees, supervising the process, making sure all was done properly. Since then I’ve shooed them off countless times. Considering they don’t have opposable thumbs or any other way I know of to help with the sap process, they’re just plain ‘ole up to no good in their curious steer way.
This morning I went out to check on the sap. One jug was completely full (yay), one had a little in it (yay again), and the other was hanging by a rope thread, empty, with a big split down the side. Now if it were super windy or stormy last night, I’d maybe think that had something to do with it, but I’m sure that wasn’t it. Especially since I captured video evidence of the culprit fooling with the jug that had a little sap in it. GAH!
So, there you have it folks. A couple of curious steer that really aren’t being helpful with sap collection. I have a feeling they’d rather lick the jugs and butt them with their heads in fun than consider leaving them alone for us. Even so, I’m determined to collect enough black walnut sap to make a bit of syrup for our family to enjoy giving a go. Smiling & Waving, Sharon
I'm the queen of our farm, although the animals wouldn't agree. My title is Head Chicken Wrangler, but most days I'm just called Mom. Life on a farm is full of family and hard work and I wouldn't have it any other way.