It’s been balmy and sunshiny, so I went outside on Saturday to check on the children who had been
out from underfoot outside for hours. At five PM it was still 65 degrees. Here is what was going on, as seen by cell phone camera.
The boots were abandoned in the grass, the dog was tearing around, hoping against hope to get her mouth on the softball, and paper planes, fleets of them, were flying across the backyard.
This is the girls’ playground in warm weather. The goat girls and pig girls and chicken girls too. It’s a mess. Lumber scraps, extra boards from the barn build, no pasture grass, a compost pile where the pigs play king of the mountain, and one scrawny pine tree where the goats reach up as high as they can to nibble needles. (There is a fence around the pond so that none of the critters can get into it, if you want to know.)
They don’t play with their stuffed animals and dolls much anymore. I am thinking we could majorly clear out toys and they wouldn’t even care. The babies are Valentine, Ted, Daisy, and Stubbs. My human girls get a lot of baths, if you want to know that too. I don’t especially care for goat smell. And Lord, have mercy, the laundry. But it’s all good. We have plenty of soap and water.
And there, for your perusal, is a photo of Pennsylvania February With Tilted Barn. The barn is quite upright, I assure you. I took the picture from the orchard, inside the woven wire fence. I cannot tell you how upset I will be if these critters breech the fence and ruin our plantings, but for now all is harmonious. The pasture has been diligently plowed by the porkers. We can only hope that what they are so happily digging out and eating is the poison ivy roots that infested that area for years. We plan to seed proper seeds once we get growing weather. Meanwhile the chickens peck over the places that the pigs opened up.
Our farm is turning into the symbiosis that we hoped. (Except for the day the cutest kid died, and the day the pigs ate a chicken. Those were dark days.) We have less than five acres, but if you read enough Mother Earth News articles, you start to believe that a lot can be done with only a little. 🙂 A few years ago Gabe and I looked at each other and asked, “Do we really want to make that much work for ourselves?” Neither of us are animal lovers. I never voluntarily picked up a goat or a chicken in my life. But we looked at our sturdy tribe and we looked at the digital addictions that are ruining children for all practical purposes. We made a conscious decision. Let’s do this!
The gardens were the first and easiest step. Our land was crud: wet, heavy clay. Nothing grew well for the longest time. We have composted and dunged and amended the soil until at last we are getting decent yields. Then along came a dog and some rabbits. Draining the boggy meadow with ditches and tiles to dig a pond was the next huge project. Two garden sheds gave us post-and-beam building experience, but the barn… That barn and the animals have been by far our favorite upgrade. Every child has a special prodigy that they love. Nobody loves the guineas, but we hope they reduce the tick population and earn our respect at least. I feel sorry for anybody who would think they can sneak into the barn past their wretched watchdog racket.
So that was what was going on in our land on Saturday. When it came time to write the post, I was so miserable with a sinus/head cold thing that I simply collapsed into bed in fumes of Vicks and peppermint oil and throat drops, with plenty of tissues nearby.
On Sunday night after we had a party for my mom’s birthday, my husband said, “No way. You are not going to write tonight.” I listen to my husband, if you want to know.
So, here we are, all nicely caught up again. Happy Monday and the rest of the week!
One thought on “Life on the Farmlet”
Dorcas, this is wonderful. It reminds me of what my brother and his wife recently chose for their family of boys. This is a fabulous way for children to grow up, and something that has become increasingly rare.