Our blog is intentionally non-political and I will persist in keeping it that way. Unfortunately though, there are times in which certain forces and pressures push each one of us towards some measure of introspection. Some of us are even capable of keeping our feelings and opinions to ourselves long enough to query additional sources in order to make a logical summation of current events. Others, well, they seem to be less able to store a single byte of information within the massive storage device we are all born with. Lest one thinks I am pointing a finger at any particular group, it is clear that this malady affects people on all sides of a dilemma, myself included at times.
I certainly don’t pretend that I am immune to the fray or even innocent of bias, opinion or even a few rash words bantered here or there. What strikes my funny bone however is that all of this hullaballo since the election seems to have taken many people by surprise. Without a doubt there were surprises in the entire process, no denying that. What has impressed my observing eyes and ears though is how quickly and irrationally conversations today seem to explode into discord. In fact, words don’t even have to be used to elicit hatred and anger from one side or another. A simple picture of a person or icon appears enough today to meet the hand of friendly discourse with gnawing, gnashing claws and teeth.
As an amateur student of history, all I can do is sit somewhat in the background and chuckle at the outrage (both real and pretend) as well as the new fervor of patriotism (both real and pretend). I have spent much time over the course of my life looking into the mysteries of history to try and discover this so-called time of utopia when “times were good.” To my dismay I have found no such time to have existed in the past, nor likely to exist in the future.
Perhaps, or perhaps not, it was purely by chance that during this tumultuous time that I happened to pick up a book that has been sitting on my shelf, unread, for a long, long time. The title is “1775 Another Part of the Field,” by
To bolster my conclusion, here’s a simple quote from Mr. Hume: “Thus, on both sides of the Atlantic, rumors both true and fake, and often a little of both, were served to the public pages of their newspapers, and the readers, being then no less gullible than they are today, generally accepted them as facts. For some extraordinary reason the public still possesses the same faith in the printed word that it has exhibited for centuries, being prepared to accept the most outrageous nonsense as the gospel truth, providing it is served on a printed page.”
This was written in the early 1960’s about a population 200 years removed, and yet nothing really has changed. Although our cumulative acceptance now spreads to the digital screen that did not exist in Hume’s time, I could not agree more with his assumption. I cannot personally attest to how many times I have read or heard and over-the-top response to a headline only to discover that the content within the article has nothing at all to do with the outrage, slander, or otherwise vicious response.
If anyone is really looking to find a solution to the incredible divide in our collective consciousness, all I can say to my fellow humans is something very, very profound:
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
I know, that doesn’t really help with our addiction to dopamine, but I’m pretty sure it would benefit our species nonetheless.
Not much was getting done around the farm while the temperatures dipped below 20 degrees. On Sunday the thermometer finally pushed upwards and when it hit about 45 I decided it was time to get to work on the garden. With tiller in hand I set to work preparing the bed. Sometime later I heard Ruth the Donkey making a ruckus so I looked in her direction and didn’t see anything spectacular (boy did I miss it!). I figured they may just be low on water and I’d be down there soon to take care of it anyway so I kept on digging.
When I was done I packed up the tiller, filled up the animal dishes and headed for the barn. We went through our usual routine, with one exception. One of the sheep didn’t come running to the barn at feeding time. Strange, but I’d take care of it after everyone was safe and sound.
The time came and I approached said stubborn sheep. Then I noticed something I didn’t quite recognize at first. Suddenly my brain told me what my eyes saw…4 itty bitty legs behind the sheep…she had a lamb!
I turned to our 4 year old and told him to run and get mommy, quick! He looked at me, puzzled, and said, “What?” Okay, so he comes from my bloodline and isn’t very quick to act 🙂 I went to get her and together we gently got momma and baby into a lambing pen and watched.
It looked like momma had done a great job of cleaning up her baby and the lamb seemed in good shape. It was trying to get milk while momma stood there patiently, but couldn’t latch on. I caught momma up in my arms, leaned her back and my wife trimmed some overgrown wool, cleaned everything up and then checked the milk flow. Nothing was coming out, but she tried a few more times and the blockage cleared, nearly spraying me with a nice flow of milk.
We guided the lamb to momma and it took a nice long drink then let momma up again. This time baby lamb was able to latch on and began drinking.
Since then we’ve watched carefully and everything seems to be going well. I administered the CD&T vaccine (not my favorite chore) and we’re keeping momma well fed and watered. An exciting day on the farm welcoming our very first lamb!
Wanda’s First Lamb
Since buying an entry-level scroll saw a couple years ago I have always enjoyed the limited amount of time I get to mess with it. Last year I determined that at the very least I was going to create a new Christmas ornament every year. Christmas was coming fast and I still hadn’t had the opportunity to visit my little saw.
When the cold front blew in this past weekend and the temperatures dipped below 30, I took the opportunity to do a little indoor work. I cleaned up my little shop area some and set to work on my 2016 ornament. Below is the official 2016 WhirldWorks Farm Christmas Ornament!
(The lighting wasn’t very good, but it is a yellow star with blue numbers)
Farming is fun, remember that romantic ideal, then start a farm and let reality sink in for a few months. Okay, it’s not all that bad. The summer was terrific on the farm and we settled in pretty well with all our new chores and responsibilities. Just when we were getting accustomed to routine, the goats and sheep started looking like they may just be pregnant. We slowly started making preparations, but the weather began to change. I realized we were way behind the curve from where we needed to be if the animals are indeed pregnant.
The girls needed their own pens instead of the communal arrangement and the boys needed to have their own separate living accommodations. Building the pens wasn’t all that difficult, but the idea of building a whole other barn for the boys with the time we had available seemed all but impossible.
Then we realized we already had the start of a small barn in a small pasture. It was a simple 4 post structure we put up in the summer to provide shade. It was only 8 feet by 8 feet so we were pretty certain it needed to be bigger. Simple math (my favorite) said to just double its length and that is what we did. It isn’t the prettiest barn in the world as we rummaged through the last of our left-over construction material to piece it together. We did end up having to buy a few things, but overall it was very affordable.
We moved the boys (and Ruth the donkey) into their new home. I wasn’t sure how well or quickly they would adapt, but apparently as long as they know food is in there, they don’t seem to mind leaving the ladies behind. The ladies on the other hand appeared rather upset the first couple of days. They’d sit by the fence that separated them and made quite a bit of noise. I guess they’ve already gotten used to it though as they don’t seem so concerned anymore.
Next project…the garden!
Yes, I’m quite a bit behind in my posting as of late. Partly due to the fact that I planned my next post to be about the “ram shack” we are building in order to give the “boys” a place of their own. Unfortunately the weather hasn’t been cooperating very well and the short winter days contribute to a loss of productivity on the farm. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a neat story about how our donkey, Ruth, continues to amaze us with her character and abilities.
We typically close the gate that leads to the barn, but on rainy days we leave it open so our animals can make it to shelter. Of course the goats rarely need any prodding to get out of the rain. They’ll usually head for the barn at the mere hint of wetter weather. The sheep though seem to prefer standing out in the rain. I really don’t mind when the days are warmer, but when it is cold and raining I get a little concerned for their health.
It was on just such a day when we were all huddled nice and warm in the house while it was cold. I noticed it had begun to rain and thought maybe I should go out and get everyone in the barn. I stepped into the garage and as I slipped on my boots I looked out on the field to see where the animals were.
No surprise, the goats were already in the barn, but I saw the sheep huddled together under the trees. But then I noticed Ruth. She was walking towards the sheep, but when she reached the sheep, she stopped and turned around. She began to nudge one of the sheep forward. They all began to walk, but turned towards the trees. Ruth headed them off and turned them towards the barn and didn’t let them stop. As soon as the sheep were in the barn, Ruth stood in the doorway to make sure they didn’t come back out. She seems to like the rain too and only popped into the barn a couple of times, but while the rain came down she didn’t wander very far from the door.
My work was over before it started all thanks to our smarter than expected donkey!
Ruth, the rain monitor
Vacations are a rarity these days, especially with a toddler and a barn full of hungry animals. Thankfully, due to the grace and friendship of neighbors who agreed to take on our responsibilities we spent this past weekend on the wonderful island of South Padre. It wasn’t just a simple time alone however. We enjoyed the tremendous pleasure of a Weekend to Remember Getaway retreat by FamilyLife. It was not only a great respite from the daily grind of farm and work life, but it was indeed a weekend to remember spent with the one I love.
Our love for each other has been a wonderful adventure these past 10 years, but in these three short days we learned more how to better apply the precepts of love, respect and honor.If you and your loved one have yet to take a weekend to remember, we highly suggest you find a way to do so. If you’d like more information about the weekend getaway, please feel free to ask us.
Or better yet, find a Weekend to Remember event near you!
For the past month we’ve been preparing our farm to receive friends, both old and new. We have never prepared for such a big event and weren’t quite sure what kind of turnout to expect so we worked a little extra to prepare for a big event. Doing so was a good idea as it turned out that over the course of the day we had 49 people come through our gates.
Of course the animals were the hit of the show. The goats stood up well to the constant flow of people in and out of their pen. They even had a few small puppy visitors. I purposely kept the dogs, donkey and sheep isolated in a separate pen as you never really can tell how they are going to react.
I also spent some time in the week before the open house to cut a walking trail through our woods. This particular section of woods is one we haven’t explored much if at all because the area around it was so dense with briars and intertwined small trees. On a tip from a neighbor I bought a brush cutter attachment for my weed eater and was able to forge a very nice trail. It still needs a little work, but our visitors seemed to enjoy a walk in the woods very much.
The event seemed so well received that maybe we’ll plan to do this again next year!