A brand new Charolais heifer calf was born just a few hours ago. Andy called me because he needed some help opening some gates while he carried the calf to an adjacent pasture that all of the mamas and babies are on with Frank, the bull.
I haven’t moved our minivan since my dentist appointment on Tuesday. It’s Saturday night. The kids have had colds. I’ve been homebound. It’s good.
When the boys and I went out to give daddy some assistance, while Buttercup napped, I was gently reminded over and over and over again why I love this lifestyle that we eat, sleep and breathe. It’s the life. The life all around that takes my breath away. It’s the miracle after the tragedy that makes me want to soak it all in.
The LGDs watching over the 4 horned sheep in the pasture. The chickens running around chasing bugs and scratching up the field. It’s the mama cow with her new calf and the geese on the pond. It’s the heirloom corn taller than my husband’s head and the farm boys learning how to drive at 3 and 5 years old. It’s the seeds in the soil and the sunset in the sky that give me hope and encourage my soul.
It’s the melted beeswax being poured into candle molds and the homegrown meals that are served at our homemade table. It’s the fresh food and the fresh air and the beauty of life all around. It’s the grace that follows the grave and the life that follows death. It’s the joy that comes after sorrows. We have many sorrows and heartaches. It’s part of life in our broken world. But, there is so much beauty to behold.
Today I saw a lot of it. Tomorrow is not promised, but these glimpses of our glorious eternity give me great hope. It’s a gift from God and I’m so thankful to Him for all of it and I’m inspired by everything good.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”(James 1:17)
Oh friends. They grow up too fast! I’m not even talking about my kids, because we all know they grow up way too fast! We just celebrated Pinecone’s 3rd birthday yesterday, but I’m actually talking about these little Great Pyrenees puppies that were born just yesterday! Or maybe it was actually 8 weeks ago, but those 8 weeks just flew by!
Now the puppies are going to their new homes. That was always the plan. We needed more livestock protection here, particularly for the sheep, but we knew that the other puppies would be sold to work on other farms and provide security just like we needed. But, now they are actually old enough to go. And the first one did. Today.
Yesterday, we put 2 of the puppies that are staying on the farm with the new Jacob sheep that we just brought home. Today the first puppy to leave left. The farmer (that actually lives just about 45 minutes away) contacted us to inquire about a pup to be paired up with a dog that they already have working on their place. These dogs work great in teams and we had a puppy available. We labeled the puppy with her own ribbon collar when they went in for their first shots and we knew she’d be going down to Anthony’s Roots when she left here. This afternoon the Anthony family came to pick up the little girl.
Then it stormed. Crazy-don’t-wanna-get-struck-by-lightning-why-are-we-still-standing-on-the-front-porch-storm. The storm that makes you invite a family into your messy house (because you didn’t clean up from the birthday party-that only included grandparents and an aunt), but if it wasn’t storming then they never would have seen the kiddie pool that was used to rehabilitate a duck on the front porch that needs to be repainted that led into the house that wasn’t cleaned… But, it did storm and that family did come in and they did see the dirty dishes and they didn’t judge. At least they said they wouldn’t and it was good.
It was good because we chatted and the kids played and I was encouraged about blogging by a blogger and we talked about butchering animals and Andy offered to help, because he’s butchered them and then the storm stopped. So, it was time for the Anthony family and their new puppy to leave our farm and go to their farm where the puppy would be settling into her new role.
So, they loaded into their van and the oldest daughter yelled to our oldest son: “Bye, I’ll never forget you!” I realized later that this was a first for us. We’ve had a thousand firsts since we started farming and this was one of them. Saying goodbye to our first LGD puppy. I’ll never forget it.
Andy’s been a beekeeper longer than I’ve known him. He’s been building up his honey market for the last 9 years and together we have acquired a spectacular regular customer base for the liquid gold that our bees produce. In fact, he’s harvesting Tupelo this week and he said it is GOOD with a whole lotta Tupelo, whereas last year was a yummy mix of Tupelo with a splash of Gallberry. Since the stuff is gold, it’s afforded us the opportunity to barter with friends and associates for goods and services and we’ve loved being able trade all sorts of things.
I say Fair Trade although we might have gotten the better end of the bargain on some of this stuff, but bartering has become sort of a way of life. At least it’s more normal to us now than it was when we entered our initial trade agreement. I remember that trade pretty clearly, because it involved a gallon of honey and a little cash for our first heritage sow, who was an Ossabaw Island pig named Sassafras.
Since that initial trade, we’ve bartered for everything from doula services to coffee mugs. Even my blog logo was traded for some of our honey and homegrown food. Our CPA traded us firewood for his services and a local jewelry maker recently traded me a gorgeous copper strand/beaded necklace for some raw honey.
We’ve also traded lots of labor for goods, because more often than not we have goods and not cash money on hand. Quite frankly, if we weren’t beekeepers and farmers and growers then we probably wouldn’t want to or be able to fork out the dough for the high quality/organically grown goods that we can produce. What I mean is, if we didn’t grow it ourselves, we probably couldn’t afford it. At least, not on a farmers income… Or a bakers for that matter. We’ve tried. Nonetheless, we are able to eat like kings and queens and barter for some pretty spectacular goods in the meantime.
Sometimes it’s easier to barter than pay cash and there is something kind of amazing about avoiding a cash exchange. If you haven’t done it, let us know what you’ve got. Maybe we can make a trade! Or come to the sweet farmers market at the crossroads of Swainsboro and meet the local artists and farmers and join the club.