One year ago today, Matt and I bought the farm.
I know that I’ve described the effort we have made to restore it, to revitalize it, to build a barn and some infrastructure and a life on it.
Last night, I walked out to feed the calves one of their three daily feedings of milk. The last traces of dusk had escaped the western sky, and the pattern of a half-dozen red lights on the wind turbines signaling in unison was the only light there. In the East, the moon was just rising through a distant haze over the tall hill that circumscribes our viewpoint.
Across our fields and our neighbors, the fireflies put on a beautiful show of lights. One or two fireflies in a backyard look very nice, I will grant. But acres of fireflies look like magic. They take my breath away, even as I slog somewhat wearily on a hot and muggy evening.
The calves are grateful to see me. In moments, the milk vanishes and the calves urgently lick each other looking for more milk. Overfeeding would be risky for them, so I resist their snuffling entreaties for more.
Heading back to the house, I pause to admire the beautiful starscape I can see above. The Milky Way is visible until the moon rises.
I love this place. Farming is hard, tiring, and sometimes thankless, but I get to behold beauty every day.
Some images of the land from last year. This doesn’t include our efforts just to *find* the front pastures.
For those of you who follow Instagram, you are aware that we had some illness in the bottle lamb group. We lost two lambs- the weakest of the BFL lambs from Ohio, and little Liz died of a genetic heart condition (as best we can tell). She was getting persistently thinner with no improvement from many attempts at treatment. I autopsied her carcass and found her heart large and floppy with excessive fluid all around it. So we think the issue was congestive heart failure.
The rams are fat and happy. It’s tricky to give them enough pasture so they won’t try to bust out, but not too much nutrition so they don’t get more chubby than they are right now.
The main ewe group is doing well. Most are putting weight back on now that their lambs are demanding less. Some are a bit thin, so we will soon be rounding up the sheep for some FAMACHA, some worming, and some bum-trimming. There are always a few ewes with poop-sicles dangling from behind. No one needs that!