Today was an interesting day of life and death on the farm. This afternoon we welcomed to the world a pair of black lambs born to an assumedly relieved mother, Freya. Freya has been expecting for what seems like forever and in watching her hobble up and down the steep pasture slopes of the farm I’m sure she is pleased the ordeal of pregnancy/labour is over. Of these twins, I wonder who will become the black sheep of the family? Bah, sheep jokes! Pun intended. Photos of the lambs to come…
This morning we also discovered an egg-laying hen was lost to a suspected opossum overnight. More on the invasive opossum and how it found a comfortable home on Hornby here (scroll down to the Invasive History section).
Now, on to the ‘meat’ of the post, which will be on our/my musings about farm life thus far:
So we have been living and working on a farm now for two weeks and a couple days ago Lana and I were chatting and the conversation of “well, what are our goals?” came up. It’s funny that the topic of ‘specific goals’ was just brought up as we have been planning coming out here for half a year or more. Our over-arching goal has been ‘become farmers’ and ‘move back to the land’, but we didn’t know what specific goals we had. Let me emphasize: we haven’t taken this lightly… we are very enthused about being back-to-the-landers/farming and are very happy we have made that decision. I guess we simply didn’t get around to spelling out the abc’s of what we are hoping to accomplish. For instance, do we want to know about the financial side of things, the vegetable-growing side, the animal-husbandry side, etc.? Helen and Steve, who are the owners of Middle Mountain Mead (MMM) and the ‘mentors’ to our ‘apprentices’, have proven to be a wealth of information about farming and farming life, which has serendipitously shaped our evolving goals. I think Lana and I, and I say this next part with fear of sounding over-confident, could theoretically up and buy a farm tomorrow and maybe fake it until we make it. We are both university educated and physically fit. With that realization, we have resolved to treat this summer as an opportunity to evaluate whether this lifestyle is something we are game for! And I say lifestyle in the broadest sense of the word, incorporating work, play, nutrition, exercise, remote living, potential distance between us and friends/family, etc. We want to make sure the sacrifices are worth it for us and our lives right now. The sacrifices being everything we gave up, including Starbucks on every corner + many other conveniences, friends/family within a 1/2 hour drive, steady income, benefits, etc. So far our vote is a resounding YES: it has been worth it! Obviously, additionally to checking the lifestyle we will be learning all of the ins and outs of life here at MMM and relishing in the fact that we have been granted this amazing opportunity. Hopefully that isn’t overly confusing. Sometimes it is difficult to put to paper what is in your mind.
More farming-specific learnings:
- Farming so far has taught us that we cannot strive for perfection the way we, and so many others in the world, have become accustomed to. For example, it just takes TOO much time weeding everything in a vegetable bed. Instead, you can simply give it a quick once-over and hit it with a thick mulch application to suppress future weed establishment. Do it smart. I like it!
- Year-round farming is throwing us off… We are so used to throwing seed in the ground sometime in the spring/summer and reaping the rewards in late summer/fall, but immediately upon arriving we had these notions challenged. There is so much nutrition-rich produce ready for harvest already! We have been loving all of the kale, arugula, swiss chard, leeks, cabbage, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower that the garden has to offer. Not to mention all of the herbs.
- Farming really is a lifestyle versus a career or job. As Helen and Steve prove, the work does not end. They are constantly working. A few hours here then taking a break or switch tasks, then work another few hours there. From dawn to dusk, and sometimes into the night. Weekends are no exemption. As the caption for this next photo should read: “where’s the next task?”
Here’s a photo of Lana working hard:
I think that’s all I’ve got for now! Sorry for the lack of photos, I will try to get better at that. To make up for it, here’s a photo of the CUTE farm cat, Bilbo: