May 28, 2013

the scene of the crime

There's a sight that every farmer, or even every backyard chicken keeper, doesn't ever want to see. And it looks like this. . .

That's right, it's evidence of a chicken attack. Or in this instance, a downright massacre. I'm not showing the gruesome photos. These aren't our chickens, but we help take care of them and their eggs feed us so they're our chickens. In our five years of farming, Nate and I have been incredibly lucky to have never had a predator issue, save for a situation where our barn cats were eating our baby chicks. But this is a different set up, in a different location, with different predators. And a set up that was here when we got here.

I walked upon this scene with a heavy heart a few days ago and it took Nate and I a while to figure out what had happened. Something had gotten into their enclosure and killed seven out of eleven chickens. We only found four bodies, three had been carried away. The remaining four were, of course, shaken and one had pretty severe lacerations. She's healing well but we're keeping them inside for now. I put Rescue Remedy in their drinking water for the shock and trauma and have checked on them periodically. They seem to be recovering well but it'll be a while before they're laying eggs normally again. The predator, probably a fisher judging by the scene and the state of the carcasses, will most likely be back for more. So, we're faced with the challenge of figuring out a new set up for these girls and the new ones to come.

There was one huge, beautiful Buff Orpington rooster among the hens and perhaps the saddest part of this whole ordeal is knowing that he fought to defend his girls until the very end. 

May 22, 2013


Life is never quite what we envision it to be. We spend our days wondering when we'll finally 'get there'. We think that we'll be happy if only this one thing could happen or change. In my mind I envision us on our own farm. A place that is ours. Where we can do what we want, grow what we want, have the kind of business we want, make the messes we want and make the home that we want. We've moved around so much that we've ached for a place to make our own.

I think we often spend so much time thinking ahead that we don't slow down and see what's right in front of us. The other day, I found myself outside planting our window boxes. I was fixing up our back patio, listening to music and sipping iced tea with mint from our garden. I peeked around the corner to see Nate sitting with Zander as he blissfully played and splashed in the stream. I stood there watching them for a minute. A wave of peace washed over me as it hit me. . . We're here. For the first time in years, we're in a situation where we're not under enormous pressure. The way we used to farm, we didn't have the time or energy for anything else but work and time just flew by. Now, we work but have the time to play and enjoy each other. We have a place to fix up and make ours, even if it's only temporary. Our time will come when we have a place of our own and with it will come the work, stress and pressure of maintaining it and making a living from it.

But for now, we're here. And it's home. I couldn't ask for anything more.

May 15, 2013


I'm the only one who knows what it feels like to nurse you to sleep. To feel your body go limp and heavy in my arms. Your head falling back causing the baby chub in your face to slide away, giving me a tiny glimpse of what you might look like when you're older. I marvel at the long and lean body lying before me, replacing the squishy, chubby baby you used to be. You're always on the go so I never get to just sit and stare at your beautiful face. It's a quiet stolen moment in those dark hours.

I'm the only one who knows our nighttime dance. I know exactly what it takes to get you to sleep and how easy it is to wake you. I can tell if it's going to be an easy night or a hard one. I know that you don't yet know how to give in to the sleep that your body so desperately needs. I know that you'll be waking in a bit and that you'll need to rock or lie with me and nurse until you fall asleep again. As you fall into sleep I start to plot my getaway. I can tell what stage of sleep you're in just by your sucking. First, I try to take the breast away. If that works and you don't wake, I know I have a good chance of sneaking away. I wait a few minutes until I hear your breathing get heavier. I slowly start to prepare to transition you to your bed or to peel myself away if I'm lying with you. I do it ever so slowly and if you start to stir, I freeze and lightly pat your back until I hear your breathing change again. Sometimes you wake and we start the dance all over again. Sometimes I fall asleep trying. When I'm finally able to sneak away, I walk carefully, avoiding all of the creaks in the floor that I know will wake you. I know I have an hour or two to myself before we do this dance again. I know that this teething process is incredibly hard on your little body and often makes sleep difficult. You'll get better at this. I know you will. And these moments will be a distant memory that I'll look back on longingly.

In my foggy, sleepy nighttime haze, I look down at your sweet face falling asleep in my arms and I know that this . . . the hard times, the frustration, the sleepless nights, the fear, the selflessness, the pee, the poop, the teeth, the tantrums, the small victories and the unconditional love. . . this is motherhood.

A late Mother's Day post in honor of those who have walked this path of motherhood before me and to my own mother who taught me all the mothering I know.

May 10, 2013

the bees

We are lucky enough to have some bees to play with and get to know here. Nate's been learning and getting the hang of things. I'd say he looks right at home with them.

May 6, 2013


Because Zander is breastfed, I've always gotten a lot of the intimate moments with him. I do the soothing when he's hurt or upset beyond consoling, the cuddling during feedings, and the putting to sleep. Nate doesn't complain but I know he sometimes feels a little left out. 

They spend lots of time alone together playing around the farm but I thought that if we could find an activity where Zander is out of his element and has to depend on his daddy for security, it could be a good bonding experience for them both. That's hard to find because the boy isn't scared of anything.

Enter the toddler swim class...

Having never been in a pool before, Zander was a little freaked out. I was surprised, but I knew that he'd eventually love it. Sure enough, he quickly got used to it and started having fun. He was even going under water by the end.

Watching my two boys at swim class and watching Zander overcome a scary thing with the help of his daddy made for the best Saturday ever.

Just coming up from under water!