Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Farm Photo 3/27/07: A Lot of Love on the Farm


Rosebud, her newborn twin girls, and Lucky Buddy Bear

Lamb Report:
Things have been crazy. There are stories, but there isn't time to write them down. There hasn't even been time to change my hats. I've been wearing them piled on top of each other for days: shepherd, vet, midwife, nursemaid—and undertaker.

Current lamb count: 25. Number of Nanny Bears having the time of their life (and wishing we could have baby lambs all year round): 1. Number of farmgirls who never in her wildest childhood dreams pictured herself at 38 years old, wearing dirty overalls and a big straw hat, kneeling in the hay in an old barn, listening to the rain hitting the leaky tin roof while holding a baby bottle and trying to milk a sheep named Snugglebunny: 1.

Update: Click here to read "A Tail Of Two Mothers: A Mother's Day Story From The Farm" and learn why I was trying to milk Snugglebunny—and why I was able to stop.

More below. . .

Minutes before an enormous thunderstorm blew in out of nowhere—catching us off guard and turning the driveway into a creek within minutes—Bear and I hiked out to close the front gate. My mind whirred with everything that had been going on, everything that needed to be done.

As I chained the gate shut and turned to head back to the barn, a perfect heart rock glared up at me from the driveway. I've been finding a lot of them lately—so many that the ledge where I keep them is just about full. There are dozens and dozens of them, carefully lined up against one another in a place I pass by numerous times each day.

Somebody once left a comment here regarding my heart rocks, saying something like 'there must be a lot of love on your farm.' I think about that a lot. Why do I find so many of these heart shaped rocks (that I love so much)? I don't go looking for them. It's more like they find me. The one on the driveway today—that was in a spot I've walked over hundreds and hundreds of times—couldn't have been more obvious if it had been lit up with flashing lights.

Last October I wrote about a turning point that happened between me and Cary. We headed out to the front field with the sheep and Donkey Doodle Dandy as usual, but instead of following me back to the house, Cary chose to remain with her flock.

And that is as it should be, I thought. And as I turned and walked away, I looked down and found a beautiful heart rock. I took it as a sign. And I took the heart rock I found today as a sign.

The last few days have been very trying and very tiring. I've questioned what I'm doing with my life—and why I'm doing it—more than once. I've wondered how in the world I ended up in this place. (A funny thing happened on my way to Vermont—life got in the way and I found myself living instead in rural Missouri, where I'd never been in my life.)

As I clomped around in the pouring rain a little while ago, I was reminded of a scene in the movie "Four Weddings And A Funeral." At the end of the movie, Andie MacDowell is standing at Hugh Grant's doorstep in a rainstorm, sans umbrella, soaking wet. He asks if she wants to get out of the rain, and she says something like, "You reach a point when you just can't get any wetter."

She was right. After only a few seconds out in the storm, I was as soaked as if I'd jumped fully clothed into a lake. It was actually rather liberating. As soon as I realized I was at the point where I couldn't get any wetter, I was able to ignore the rain and focus on my chores.

When I finally got back to the house, I stood in the living room and clumsily peeled off my dripping overalls. I felt a weight in one pocket. It was my heart rock from the driveway.

While I was driving the truck to the vet's office and the feed store yesterday, I slid the Talking Heads' Speaking In Tongues album into the CD player and cranked up the volume, because everyone knows you cannot fully enjoy the Talking Heads unless they are blasting away in your face. The last song on the album is "This Must Be The Place," and it is one of my favorites.*

I can't tell one from another—did I find you or you find me?. . . Home. . . I guess that this must be the place.

The rain just let up. I'm headed back to the barn, with a detour to get that Talking Heads CD from the truck. I think another blast of music is in order.

A year of Farm Photos ago:
3/27/06: Happy Birthday To My Sweetheart, Joe (There are those heart rocks popping up again.)
3/26/06: I Told You They Have No Manners
WDB#27: The Bigger The Water Dish, The Happier The Dog

*Shawn Colvin did a wonderful (and completely different) renditon of this song on her Cover Girl album.

26 comments:

  1. Hang in there! I too am reaching a turning point in wondering what in tarnation I am doing farming - and now I am having to do it alone.

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  2. Please don't give up! You have inspired me to start my own blog. I love all the photos and can't wait to read the latest farm news.

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  3. Heart rocks and lambs and a farmboy birthday! What more could we ask for?

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  4. Sometimes it just feels like a slippery slope we're on. I was the soul that commented on the farm filled with "LOVE".I am a horselover. Heart,mind and body. I was born with this unquenchible thirst to be woven into the souls of horses! I am incomplete in a huge way without my daily fix. An addict. Your daily grind of being a responsible animal tender can be exhausting,heartbreaking and dirty!Just think though, what would you rather be up to? You have to be somewhere,so why not be a shepardess? Honor your heartstones, pull yourself up by your bootstaps,bake a loaf of your favorite bread, take a tubby and just wait...Another day on the farm always brings a surprize!

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  5. Such a lovely post! Where you are right now is where you want to be. It may be different in 20 years but for right now... you're home. Enjoy it, revel in it and do be sure and tell us poor souls who don't live on a farm any more everything you do. We need our Farmgirl fix!

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  6. You are an inspiration. I went out to my potted garden this morning to find my serano pepper plant almost devoured by 2 hornworms! Uh! Then my tomatoes are not happy with something - I don't have that much space down here and now what I do have in not playing nicely. Some days I think, why try to grow this stuff in Key West! But the sun is out and I am making a big pot of soup. Life is good !

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  7. What a great blog to start out my day!

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  8. Oh dear, you said undertaker. Now I'm wondering what happened.....
    I'm stunned at the number of bouncing babies on your place! Having a blast looking at the pictures!
    Thank you, thank you!

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  9. Like Kat, I'm wondering about the undertaker part - hope everything is ok.

    Hang in there, this too shall pass. It's been my mantra a lot lately too. :)

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  10. I also find that heart shaped rocks come at the right time. My collection snuggle on the mantlepiece.
    I tend to lurk here but I've finally founf time to sort out my sidebar links and put you up properly,
    Best wishes with the lambing - it surrounds us here in Scotland too,
    Jane

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  11. I believe the heart shaped rocks are signs from a deceased loved one. In spirit they give us all kinds of signs to let us know they are there and that they love us. I enjoy your blog very much!

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  12. Funny how life takes its turns, and where we end up, isn't it? I grew up in a place like you live now, and there isn't a day I don't miss it. It's a hard life, but an amazing one.

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  13. I so love your stories about life on the farm. I know that lambing season is really hard work, but look at the rewards. Besides, what else would give you such satisfaction? I know living here in the city gives me nothing. A soul needs nourishment. Mine is getting nothing here so I come to this site to give myself a little boost. I have helped with sheep, planted a garden and done so many things that you have inspired. Hang in there. Hey do hire wayward city folk? I can cook! And I don't mind washing dishes. lol!

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  14. Love your blog is very peaceful!!!
    Virginia

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  15. Susan,
    KM and I may think you're crazy, but I think you're the best kind of crazy and I'm positive KM does too.

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  16. The Bella Dia blog had a wonderful heart shape rock story. There is a tree where people them and think of a loved one. Maybe as your heart collection grows, a tree on your farm can house the collection. Thanks for writing your blog. I love reading about life on the farm. And, my son is a big BIG fan of Dan the Donkey.

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  17. Linda Sue in North Texas3/28/2007 8:57 PM

    Dear FG Susan - sorry you had a day not unlike some we've had lately. The blessing is - tomorrow is a NEW day - all clean and shiny. Yes - the undertaker part just plain stinks - but our consolation is probably same as yours- we did our very best for every creature in our care. The hard work - well my spouse always says "better to wear out than rust". So oil yer joints with something chocolate, a bit of sleep and we look forward to tomorrow with you. Happy Belated B'day FarmBoy Joe!

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  18. Susan, I just adore your writings! I also have a heart rock collection. These are placed on the graves of our dearly missed (5)dogs and (9)cats, back at the end of the fields, where the woods start, under a catalpa tree. You are at a wonderful place, enjoy every (hard-working) minute!

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  19. Love reading about your life on the farm. With all your many hats, I imagine it can be trying. But, it sounds like your heart is helping you out by finding "hearts" all along your sometimes weary path. Sorry about the loss of one of them, hope the "mama" is not mourning too much.Keep writing and I'll keep reading, and wishing I could be there in person, watching it all unfold.

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  20. Your wood fire, warm breads, and barn tales warm us farm beyond the bounds of your homeplace. Thank you for sharing it, the ups and the downs.

    We heart rock your beautiful site :)

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  21. Wonderful post. How do you find the time? Although at this time of year it's hard to believe it, I have a friend who is 84 years old and she still farms sheep nearby. She had 52 mamma sheep this season (all the lambs are now born), bummer lambs to feed, daily rations to give, and all the innoculations, etc. She also wore the undertaker hat. We had a week of freezing cold and one morning she found a frozen newborn in the field. Very unexpected. She and her husband raised and sold sheep for years. Her son owns the sheep on her farm now, but he lives elsewhere and comes once or twice a week. You can well imagine all the work she does the rest of the week! But she loves the life so who knows if you will still be on the farm at 80+. There are a lot worse ways to live. Hope you find lots more heart rocks!

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  22. I'm beginning to wonder if heart rocks are even better than round rocks. I'm so glad you're happy with your home.

    pablo
    www.roundrockjournal.com

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  23. Farmgirl, I hope that your heart is lightened by the wonderful things happening around you. Lucky Buddy Bear is the best nursemaid that ewes and their new lambs could ask for, and the new life around you is a joy.

    Thanks again for sharing with us the beauty (and hard work and sometimes sorrow) of a life on a farm. I think you must be living very *completely*.

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  24. I can sympathize with the doubts and fears that cross your mind as I have them too at times. Usually in the barn at midnight chasing down a mink that's trying to kill the chickens or wondering why oh why a coyote killed my favourite ducks.

    Those who think that farming is full of sunshine, happy times and romantic notions hasn't ever lived the farming life.

    Hang in there. Tomorrow is another day.

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