Sunday, January 27

Sunday Dose of Cute: The Waiting Game

The pregnant waiting game (1) - Freida -
Four year old Freida

Can you believe it's already the end of January? How has your new year been going so far? Ours hasn't been going quite as expected.

It started with Joe throwing his back out on new year's day morning. Remember last spring when he was housebound for several weeks and ordered not to lift anything heavier than five pounds for at least a month? It's like that. Fortunately this time we had some medicine on hand (left over from the last time), and he was able to make the 70-mile round trip to the chiropractor the next day.

Things were going okay until a few days later when, in a freak accident, I managed to stab myself in the ankle with a metal electric fencing stake—in the exact same place the snake bit me, which was still store after two and a half years.

It was a lot like the whole snake bite ordeal all over again, and almost as painful, only without the morphine drip and three hot meals a day—and with a lot more blood. For a while I even had the Luggable Loo back on my side of the bed.

I once read that farming is one of the most dangerous jobs there is, and I believe it. We're always getting banged up, but in our nearly 13 years together we've never both been out of commission at the same time. Until now.

More story and photos below. . .

We're really bad about asking for help, but this time it was clear that we had no choice. After weighing our options, we ended up hiring a farm hand. Less than 24 hours after we called him, Joe's younger brother made the 600 mile drive to the farm, moved into the guest house/camper, and proceeded to save our butts.

He also kept them warm. One of our biggest problems was that we were almost out of firewood, plus neither of us could load the wood furnace three times a day. I couldn't even make it down the stairs for the first several days. This city slicker greenhorn can now wield a chainsaw with the best of them, and he probably knows a lot more about donkeys, chickens, and pregnant ewes than he ever wanted to. He's also adopted our nightly ritual of eating dinner with a big Colpac on the sore spots.

Our farm hand is heading back home soon, but we should hopefully be able to handle things on our own from here. Joe is doing a lot better and so am I. The infection is gone, I'm off the antibiotics (which always make me feel terrible), and my ankle and foot, which no longer look as if they've been plastered with a really ugly rainbow, are just about back to their normal size.

I still need to stay off my feet as much as I can to keep the pain and swelling down, and although it's going to take a while to catch up with everything, I'm thankfully back to a lot of my usual routine. I am not the kind of person who likes to lie around helplessly doing nothing for days on end, especially if I'm not whacked out on painkillers. I learned a lot about being patient and relinquishing control. And I really missed the animals. These are the first photos I've taken in 25 days.

The pregnant waiting game (2) - Little Dee Dee and FLB -

My return to farm life came just in time, since lambing season is about to start any minute. This is the first time in the 18 years I've been raising sheep that we planned for the lambs to come this early. Thankfully, for several reasons, we cut way back last fall and only bred 11 ewes, though my round the clock barn visits will mostly have to be made by car rather than on foot.

This is also the first time in several years that we didn't shear the sheep before lambing started (because it's still so early), so the pregnant ewes are looking extra big. It also makes it harder to see what's going on. (Those colors on their backs are from the marking crayons that we use when working the sheep.)

Our long time sheep shearer called two weeks ago to say that due to physical problems (the dangers of farming!) he's been forced to retire. I have no idea who is going to shear our sheep from now on, and I'm pretty proud of myself for not totally freaking out (yet). We still have a little time to figure out that problem.

First we have to make it through lambing season. And as you can see, some of us are tired of waiting and ready for it to start already. (Hover over each photo if you want to know who's who.)

The pregnant waiting game (3) - Friendly, who had triplets last year -

The pregnant waiting game (4) - Friendly -

The pregnant waiting game (5) - Friendly, eating for at least three -

The pregnant waiting game (6) - Little Dee Dee -

The pregnant waiting game (7) - Godiva -

The pregnant waiting game (8) -

The pregnant waiting game (9) - Eugenie -

Want a bigger dose of farm life?
Friday Farm Fixes Part One
Friday Farm Fixes Part Two

©, where ready or not, things are about to get a whole lot cuter.


  1. Oh my, those gals really do like they're more than ready for lambing.

    I'm glad that you are both doing better. Accidents like that are bad, but worse when the person who'd otherwise be taking care of you needs someone to take care of him too!

  2. Without a doubt, the funniest thing about sheep is their spindly front legs. They look like cotton balls speared on toothpicks. And the deadpan stare makes it even funnier.

    So sorry you and Joe have been laid up, and glad to hear you both are on the mend. We missed you; I was afraid I was going to have to look at that same bowl of soup forever!

  3. Hope you are better sooner; I've been sick all month, too, and it's Hard to be so still. Course I only have one kitty to tend to and she gets pretty self-sufficient when mama rarely leaves the bed... Great that Joe's brother could be convinced to help-brothers can be so wonderful. I miss my younger bro, we lost him to a heart attack several months back now.

  4. I'm so sorry about the double injuries; I know it does no good to say "be more careful!" What a blessing that you had SOMEone to call upon to help!

  5. Yikes! Sorry to hear about you and Joe, but thank that brother of his for saving the day! Your ladies look e-NOR-mous, and I'm grateful to them for not going into labor pains in the middle of a snowstorm while you were both recuperating. Take good care, you two!

  6. Oh, so so sorry about both Joe's and your injuries! Thanks goodness Joe's brother was able to come just in time. Hope you two get all well really soon.

    I love seeing the pictures of your sheep. Just one thing though: these girls and I look a lot alike, as far as the body shape - BUT I can't claim to be pregnant!

    Hope lambing goes well...can't wait to hear all about it as time passes.

    Diane in North Carolina

  7. First, I hope you will both be better soon. That is awful that you have been out of commission at the same time. That was really wonderful that Joe's brother could come and help. The animals look very healthy and happy. Those babies are something lovely to look forward to. Feel better...xx

  8. Yep - farming is rough on folks. I only part timed raising animals for a decade and will eventually have knee replacement surgery (big male goats who were cute cuddly kids think running into your knees is fun - it was not fun)
    Bless Joe's brother and Oh My goodness y'all are tougher than tanned leather. Take care and those are some totally preggers ewes - I love lambing season (when I see the pictures!)

  9. Hi Susan
    We have been missing your farm postings---I feared something was up with you two.

    Lambing shouldn't be as hectic this year for you and no one can take your place, with your sheep, for that job. I am glad to hear you are better and if Joe's back is going to go out, January is a better time than June!
    After reading your post last night I made some of those always-popular raspberry almond bars! So easy---so good! Another new fav are the coconut oatmeal cookies. Thank you for sharing these great recipes and your farm life.

    1. Hey Dominique,
      I still owe you an email. One of these days. . . :)

      Ha - I was just thinking about those oatmeal coconut cookies yesterday. We ate so many batches in a row when I was working on the recipe that I had to stop making them for a while, lol, but now I'm craving them again.

      Yes, as far as timing for all this to happen, it could have been a lot worse than January!

  10. Take care, you guys, and good luck on finding a new shearer!

  11. I am a pretty new reader of your blog and I really enjoy every post and picture. I would love to own and run and live on a small farm. I love animals and feel so comfortable and happy in the country. But since I live just outside NYC I can only dream of country life. I was wondering what purposes do the animals have on your farm? For example, what do the donkeys do on the farm (besides look so darn cute)? And what about the Sheep? Do you raise and sell them for food? I love and use some of your recipes too. Maybe you should open a little restaurant!! Forgot to mention how cute your dogs are too!

    1. Hi Christine,
      So glad you're enjoying your e-visits to the farm. As for the farm animals: the chickens supply eggs, the sheep supply all natural meat (you'll find some of my favorite lamb recipes in the Farmgirl Fare recipe index), the dogs keep us safe from predators (and Bear helps work the sheep), the cats keep down the mice (which helps keep down the snakes), and the donkeys are mostly kept around for their companionship and priceless entertainment value, although they do also help scare off predators and control weeds in the pastures that the sheep won't eat. Everybody on the farm has at least one very important job - besides being cute. :)

  12. Get well soon. Healing thoughts being sent to you both. I have missed your posts and my dose of my beloved Missouri.

  13. Hope you both get completely well soon and have a great spring!

  14. Hi Everybody,
    Thanks so much for all your kind words and support. I've missed you! :)

  15. I am at work and just peeked at the title, The Waiting Game, and first thought was it cannot be birthing time already! Then scanned down and saw that you've both been miserable. I cannot read this now because I have to get back to work but for now, Susan, if you two don't take better care of yourselves, I'm gonna tell your mother! :) Cannot wait to read the rest of this story in a few hours. Bless your hearts! argh! :)

  16. Hi Susan, Glad you two are on the mend. I do look forward to reading about your life on the farm. I love the animal adorable. If I was younger and in better shape, I would come up there and lend a helping hand. Take care

  17. I've been checking for some time and I'm relived that you both are ok, and your animals too.
    Gosh, how time flies by; I've been visiting your blog since 2005!

    Do take care and best of luck guys

  18. Oh my word!! I'm glad ya'll are both on the mend now and how wonderful that Joe's brother came to your rescue!! We are always getting banged up here too but luckily nothing too serious (yet).
    Those sheepies are sure ROUND!! I'll bet they will be glad when the waiting is over!
    Another blog I follow posted a recipe for Ozark Honey Oatmeal cookies this morning and they made me think of your Oatmeal Coconut cookies, as they also have coconut in them. :)

  19. If I didn't live so far away, I'd be over there feeding would be the least I could do. (Chris in Indiana)

  20. Eugenie is so adorable - looking extra fat and those little curls just behind the head!

    I am glad to hear that you are both on the mend. We have a little farm with donkeys, birds, and goats. I am having minor ankle surgery later this week, so my man will be doing all the chores for at least a week, maybe longer. Still, at least it isn't a metal spike.....

    Did you know that there are some great medical classes on responding to 'agricultural incidents'? Great term, huh?

  21. Glad to hear you're on the mend. I wondered why there were no new posts about like on the farm. How awesome that Joe's brother came to the rescue. Welcome back.

  22. Get well wishes - back injuries are so frustrating because it's so easy to re-injure yourself, and watch out for that Achilles heel - maybe a quick splash in the River Styx would fix it! I hope you have a smooth lambing season, and thanks as always for your delicious recipes - I am always recommending your blog to people!

  23. Susan, I've been enjoying your blog and pictures for a good while, and am glad to hear that you both are on the mend. Neither of those injuries sound any fun, and am glad that your hired help was able to be a good support to you during recuperation.

    Loved the sheep pics, too!

    Joy and grace,

  24. My goodness, Susan, I'm so very sorry to read about yours and Joe's injuries!! If I didn't have a chronically bad back myself, I'd offer to come out to help you around your wonderful farm. I've been a faithful reader of your blog for years and feel like I'm practically part of the family -- and like Joe's brother, I feel a responsibility to help out if I can... Be well, dear Susan, and try your best not to push yourself too hard these first few days that you're feeling better. Get help from neighbors if you can -- lambing this year will not be easy! And, your shearer should be ashamed of himself for only notifying you of his retirement so close to the start of the shearing season!!

  25. Oh Susan, I think any one or all of us wish we could come ad help you two. It would be the east we could do to thank you for all the farm life you have shared with us. I do hope you are both recovering and doing well. Thank goodness Joe's brother was able to help.

    Take care.

  26. Hi Susan, wow sorry to hear about Joe's back and your accident. Glad ya'll are both better now and how wonderful that Joe's brother was able to come help. Hope your lambing season will be soon and go smoothly. Really enjoy your great recipes and I share a lot of them on my FB page. Wish I lived where we (my husband and I) could help you out...not with lambing, we know nothing...but anyway we could. Take care.

  27. I am always getting banged around at farm and had a big accident last year. Still on the mend, but so much better. But, would not want to be doing anything else!!!

  28. You're doing a wonderful thing letting all of us know the hardships of creating a large farm and at the same time sharing your sentiments about it. I've dreamt of having a working farm but it wasn't my fate. I hope you and Joe continue to recover well and enjoy a beautiful spring.


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!