violethillfarm


All things wild

The best therapy I can get puts money in my pocket.  I discovered foraging a few years ago when my nerd was aroused by a trip with a friend through the forest with my kids.  I take that back. I discovered foraging when I was moved, as a kid, to the top of a mountain in Maine.  No neighbors and no friends left me wandering the fields and forests that were my backyard.  I found blueberries, apples, blackberries, raspberries and even a few cranberries nestled in something a little more than a puddle. I thrived on those outings, gathering edibles to share for breakfast or a boredom snack that, I’m sure, entailed some fantastical tale in my lonely head.
Fast forward… I RE discovered foraging on that walk with the kids on a mushroom hunt. Mushrooms? Crazy talk. They’re poison! Don’t eat wild mushrooms, DANGER, DANGER, DANGER! Mushroom collecting was for hippies or those with a death wish. Then I encountered the science. Family, species, spore prints… my geek salivated. And I sucked it up like a sponge. 

I am lucky enough to have an outlet to share, as I did my childhood blueberry pancakes, in Manhattan each Saturday with our customers and to many NYC restaurants. It feeds me. The quiet of nature while I search; mushrooms, berries, wild edibles happily weigh me down physically and I shed the tonage of stress, worry, sadness. A good trade, I believe. 

So I’ll get my therapy and some of you will get to taste the love that is renewed in each berry, each sprig of chamomile, every bunch of pungent mint or funky fungus we find. And

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Mother Nature will take care of us both.

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On the farm…
May 10, 2012, 3:35 pm
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Settling
March 24, 2012, 12:19 am
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Sometimes settling is our worst fear; settling for a dull life or an unfulfilling relationship, wondering if the grass is truly greener. Sometimes settling conjures up feelings of contentment, the warm and fuzzies; settling in, settling down.

We, Paul and I, even the animals, are settling in.  We are merging our sugar bowls and linens, the sheep are restless for the grass growing outside their door, the pigs are constructing their new homes wallow, the chickens lend us the neverending Easter egg hunt amongst all the bales of hay and the 17 ducks parade the grounds, clamoring and staking their claim to the new ‘cool’ spots.  And Trevor wakes

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up from every night and every morning and smiles his giant, toothless grin that stretches to his eyes when he looks from me to Paul and back again.

Are we complete? Nope. Not yet. But that, too, will come.  Have we settled? Not one bit. We have home and happiness.  We are settling in and settling down. 



Lambapalooza 2012
March 1, 2012, 1:21 am
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Lambapalooza 2012
March 1, 2012, 1:20 am
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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