violethillfarm


You can’t make this stuff up…
September 25, 2015, 1:26 am
Filed under: farming | Tags: , , , , ,

My “weird sh*t that happens” moments are things that happen daily here. In my “old life” they were mild and few and far between.

Yesterday, I was salting a ram’s ballsac. Yeah, you read that right. If you are going to eat meat, then be as nose to tail as possible, right? So nutsac salting it was. Weird.

Today, my moment was at 12:30am, yesterday barely over…

Woken up by a chef calling (hi Sandy! ;). Hear a crash and the sheep running crazy outside the window.
The dogs barking, I’m thinking predator… oh God, no.
Open the window and listen.
Splash, splash, baaa, splash. 
Dammit.
Throw on clothes, grab a flashlight and run to the back paddock.
Yeahhhh. DAMMIT!
A sheep had fallen into the gray water well.
She’s floating, thankfully, because of all the wool.
Any idea how much wet wool weighs?
I do now.
I flatten myself on my belly, lay the flashlight on the ground and adjust my eyes to the darkness of the hole.
I see her face, she panics a little.
I talk softly, clucking and making kissy noises.
“Mama, come on mama”.
I got hold of her ear with my fingertips and float her toward me.
I grab her chin and tug a little.
She was heavy.
It smelled. Horrible.
My arms were stretched full length and I barely had her.

I tugged hard, let go with one hand and grabbed as much wool as I could in my clutched hand. My fingers hurt instantly. The weight, the burdock, the wool itself made me question my decision.
But I was commited. She stopped struggling. She was trying to help. At least that’s what I was telling myself so I’d continue to dig deep.

I let go with the other hand and grabbed more wool. I grunted and primally screamed into the dark using every bit of strength I could muster and trying not to laugh at the thought of what my neighbors might be thinking of the noise I was making in the pitch dark.

The rest of the flock sat watching, eating grass like this was a dinner show.

I took a deep breath and pulled…
Sheep, me, twisting, pulling.
Up on my knees, grab her front leg, then another.
Then we were stuck.
I was on my knees, I had two sheep legs in my two hands, in the dark.
And she was heavy.
So ridiculously heavy.

I somehow struggled to my feet, my muscles screamed, my fingertips burning, I twisted her halfway around and pulled. “RAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!” Like the final noise made just before birth. I’ve heard that sound from myself five times over and it surprised me to hear it once again.

But she was out.

I fell back on my butt, sheep legs still in my hands and I looked at her. She laid there for a moment, I let go, she stood then ran off, dripping and bahhh-ing her way across the field to the rest of the herd. And started eating grass.

What can you do but laugh?

Shower. You can shower.

So I did. And that was that.

So. So. Weird.

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Crabby farmers
September 5, 2015, 4:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I get an unusual number of people that come to my stand and start in, with wrinkled noses and squinched eyes… “that farmer at (so and so)”, they’ll whisper, “I was *just* asking questions and they YELLED at me! I’m never going there again!” sigh. I digress…

It’s 10:51pm on a Friday night of a holiday weekend and I have *just* finished packing the bus to make the trek to the city. I started working at 9am and haven’t stopped. I am worried about how much customer traffic there will/not be, if i have forgotten anything, if the kids will stay asleep for the drive… did I pack (xyz)?… I am already spending money I don’t have for bills that keep coming anyway. Yesterday, it was 7:15a when the littlest decided she’d had enough sleep, so I got up and started working again. I stopped with my last email and text shortly after midnight. I think you may see where this is going.

I may catch a catnap on a school bus seat (yeah, let that sink in) in a rest stop, but otherwise, there is no sleep until sometime around 10 tomorrow night. Every. Single. Week.

Am I complaining? Griping, a little, maybe, but I do this job because I absolutely love it. It feeds my soul. I do it for my kids, my customers, my restaurants and myself… As are most of those crabby assed farmers you run into on a Saturday morning. They most likely didn’t roll out of a bed, well rested, after a week filled with lunchbreaks and a paycheck. Most are farming by choice because it feeds them. They are probably stubborn as hell and you should thank them for being so.

If not stubborn and soul fed by farming, I swear there would be no one left farming. It’s exhausting. There never seems to be enough money or time or things that aren’t broken. Crops fail, animals that become cannabalistic, the feed delivery – again – that is going to cost a bazillion dollars, again. But we get up, determined to get it right next time, tomorrow, next week. We apologize a hundred times a market day for the real, unsubsidized costs or raising and growing good for you food. And sometimes we don’t sleep. And sometimes we’re cranky. Stupid cranky.

So maybe bring a coffee to your favorite, bags under their eyes, farmer. Say thanks, if you don’t already. Think about how to pose your question (but please still ask!) just a little more gently at 8am. And maybe you could cut just a little slack to Mr/s Crabbypants farmer because you may not know what they’ve done to get there to bring food to you.

And maybe approach all your life that way. That distracted driver, the grocery store clerk who wasn’t as pleasant as you would have liked. Very few people begin a conversation of niceties with, “my best friend has cancer” or, “my newborn cried all night”, or “I don’t know if I want to wake up tomorrow”.

We’re human, we have faults and problems and trials. You have the chance, everyday, to choose how you react and your reaction just may mean more to someone than you ever imagined. 😚



This boy is growing…
September 3, 2015, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“Mama!, can you pass me a screwdriver?”
Clang. Clang. Grunt. Mumble. Clang.
“I got the problem. It’s this wire.”
Peeks out from under the bumper and very seriously said, “Can you start the truck?”

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Being there
September 2, 2015, 3:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

“Lillianna!  Come back down”.

“No!”, she yelled from behind the tree line, up the hayfield a ways.

“Lils!”.

“No!”. She is a formidable opponent in a battle of stubbornness and is remarkably confident. Exhaustingly so.

“Trev, can you get Lil?” I asked from the rooftop of the van while I picked the day’s apples. He trotted up the hill engrossed in a running story he was creating of pirates and trolls.

“Yanna!” he called out.

“No!”, she shouted defiantly.

“Bud, just take her hand.” I watched expectantly, ready to take a hike up and carry her from whatever perch she’d claimed.

“I got her!” he replied matter of factly. They emerged hand in hand from the tall grass down the path, wrong hands joined so they spun in circles , taking turns, one forward, one back, then swapping again, jabbering away incoherently.

I had to stop picking to mark that exact moment with a photo of them at 1 and a half and almost 4. A tangible reminder to them of how precious they should be to one another. To always have each other’s hand, and back, no matter what their bickering may be. And, yes, they bicker like champs.

I lost my sister last week. Suddenly, unexpectedly, in her sleep at 50. I’m still processing all the feelings that go along with that. And I am trying to continue to learn something good everytime I experience something heartbreaking. So I have learned, and am learning, a lot over the past few years.

I am learning to tell people more how much they mean to me. That I love them. That I am proud of them. That I am here for them, how they need me. That even if I cannot be beside them right away, I always have their hand and their back.

And I hope that you all – Cakes, Ems, RooRoo, TT and Yanna Yanna pink pajama – help each other out of the woods, offering a hand to each other when it’s needed. And I’ll be here doing the same for as long as I have left.

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