I Love Ewe(s)…

We are nearing the end of Valentine’s Day 2012…  it is the day of lambs.  Yesterday there was a singleton born. Today? Three sets of twins and, just a few moments ago, another singleton that Paul walked in the barn to the birthing of.  Yesterday we had 7 babies, today we are doubled.  Why? Because Paul wasn’t around the farm and, as I’ve mentioned, they’re sheep – that’s how they roll. 

I imagined them yesterday in one of those Youtube videos “sh*t sheep say when the farmer’s not around”.  Like a video version of a Farside cartoon, the fat bellied ewes sitting and knitting sweaters from yarn coming from their own backs…  “When he opens the gate to feed us, all run past him and scatter.”  “Even if there is lush, green grass, DON’T STOP – go straight for the screaming neighbor’s lawn.”  “The next ram to run straight into the fencing and get stuck for no reason whatsoever is guaranteed 7 eternally virginal ewes in the afterlife.”  “Ladies, it’s raining ice, the temperature is dropping and the farmer is gone… Quick! Stand over a puddle and PUSH!!”  Seriously. WTH.

But I love them.  And I talk to them at feeding time and sing to them when I’m collecting displaced chicken eggs and we commiserate when they are fat and waddling or when their udders are huge and hanging low. 

And I like to sit quietly in their pen and laugh loudly at their many voices – the low and gurgly, the high and machine-gunned, the one ewe that sounds like she’s constantly drowning and the one with the giant BLAAAAAAAT, no baaah-ing for her. She opens up her mouth, sticks out her black tongue and BLAAAAAATS!  And it cracks me up. Every. Single. Time.  So I let the stupid slide and I just enjoy the hilarity they bring to my life. 

Lamb Count 2012:  14! 

Who needs sleep, we have babies!
February 12, 2012, 6:23 pm
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Paul spent the day at market yesterday while I scrounged up every laughable silly face and noise I could muster for Little too far from where we/I wanted to be.  We talked Paul’s whole drive home as we usually do, Little putting in his own two cents to daddy through the headphones that, I’m pretty sure, he uses as a security blanket.

I’m pretty sure I fell asleep more than once but, like the lovesick teenagers we resemble, we both find comfort in the sounds of the other – awake or asleep – so the cell line stayed open.  I heard him talk of new lambs at some point – “I hear a new one”.  Yes, he’s like the lamb whisperer.  That big, intimidating looking guy with the long hair, dark glasses and funny accent?  Yeah, him.  He’s the guy who can recognize a new voice amongst the 75 or so baaaa-ing away when he walks in the door.  He is the guy who can sit bolt upright in bed in the middle of the night and know there is a ewe giving birth.  And if you’ve never seen a ewe give birth, they make no sound.  Their instincts know sound brings predators, so they are quiet. 

He checked on new baby, I heard bits in my sleepiness.  “Doing ok. .. Where’s mama?… Twins!”  I think I may have responded somehow but almost 5 months of playing the role of Bessie to Little has left me partially delirious.  Then I slept.  As much as a mother to a hungry, huge almost 5 month old does. 

A late morning text from Paul confirms my questionable recount of his arrival home – a singleton and a set of twins. And, in true sheep fashion, on the worst night the winter has offered thus far. He was up til 4:30, setting up new ‘jugs’ for the mamas and babies, heat lamps and pads, feeders and hayracks, make sure everyone is nursing and up on their feet.  And he, I’m sure, fell into bed – hopefully he got his boots off. 

And, as I check in on our sleepy human, he has put his boots back on (I hope) and headed back out to check on our new little wool babies.  Considering the cold, and the snow, he may be busy today.  Sleep will have to wait.

Lamb Count 2012: 6

Saturday Market Prep
February 11, 2012, 1:31 am
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Paul works.  I am stuck, 7 hrs away with our Little, and he works.  Market tomorrow. Union Square Greenmarket, Manhattan, NY.  As every Saturday goes.  He/we come with our products to sell in the city – we sell, we chat, we educate, we laugh.  I am envious of him heading in and I’m sure he would like to be snuggled up with the Little, playing.  Greener grass and all that… 

Friday is a day of bustle.  Wash eggs, pack eggs, trips to the butcher, pre-orders assembled, resaurant orders accounted for – chicken and some requested mutton,  pack the tent, the table, the scales. Regular chores – collect eggs, feed, water, one last check on the mama ewes. Tweet, facebook, email, website – “Heirloom Pork tomorrow!”, “Organically fed Naturally Colorful Eggs”, “Belle Rouge chicken”… we merge the worlds of small farmer and social media. I’ll do what I can to help from far away and, if he’s lucky, Paul will find some sleep. 

February 8, 2012, 9:37 pm
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Lamb #3 was born on Sunday.  A strong, healthy boy who was jumping and playing by afternoon.  Two males, one female so far. They are enjoying their new digs, a pleasantly mild winter and the fresh from the yard hay that our friendly neighbor baled, but you can almost guarantee the rest of the swollen bellied mamas will attempt to hold out for the coldest, worst weathered, middle of the night winter still has left to offer.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be sheep.

Growth.  We’ve had lots of growth in the two years since we’ve met…  personally, in our family and ourselves, and business.  We can say we raise what we do in the best way we can, as kind as we can and that we would never hesitate to feed our own children.  We are a new generation of farmers, farming by choice.  Farming because we enjoy it, because it is important to us – to feed and be fed in so many ways.

We are ready for growth, again.  When I finally am able to make the farm home – we are ready.  Paul’s myriad of wild and, often, genius ideas will be sifted through and my nuts and bolts, number cruncher self will bring fruition to my Frankenfarmer’s ideas and there will be new.  New food, new methods – we’ll listen and watch and do and grow.

Hello world!
February 4, 2012, 2:58 am
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Market tomorrow.  I have missed market for the last several weeks, stuck in the waiting pattern of Maine.  I am anxious and excited to go back to the buzz of Union Square on an unseasonably warm February day with little Trev. 

I have spent the last couple of days with Paul on the farm, getting ready for the new lambs that are bound to all decide to come on a Friday night during a snowstorm – as they often do.  The new place is amazing.  I still can’t fathom 200 acres, even when looking at it.  We often ‘forget’ about the 20 acres across the street that belong to the farm as well.  The animals have settled in.  The pigs are grazing intensely out behind their own barn.  The chickens have decided to overtake their entire barn, including hay storage.  This overtaking amounts to what Ava calls, “The best. Easter. Egg. Hunt. EVER!”.   The ducks have found every puddle and bathe happily.  The sheep are snug inside for baby season, eating hay cut fresh from the field. 

And Paul and I dream.  Of where and what we’ll expand to next.  Of the logistics of all that expansion brings.  But we want to get better.  We listen.  To what we read, what we hear, what people may want or need, of our kids and their options with what we are building.  Paul is my dreamer, my inventor – I am the nuts and bolts, the marketing, the nerd.  We collided through a wild set of circumstances and two very long years to get to where we are now – on the verge of growth in so many ways.  He is my partner, my friend, my love and together we will do great things.  We hope you take the ride with us…

LAMB COUNT 2012:  2