Monday, October 20, 2014

Every work

Every man's work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.
-- Samuel Butler

Webs on a hillside

“Like delicate lace,
So the threads intertwine,
Oh, gossamer web
Of wond'rous design!
Such beauty and grace
Wild nature produces...

― Bill Watterson

We worked this afternoon on dividing the barn into 1/2 for the goats and 1/2 for the horses. The mud around this place has been so relentless, it is time to transition the does to mostly being up through the rest of fall and winter with just turn out when it is dry. Their feet just cannot take this wet mess anymore. This is great as it keep the does away from the horses, and we put their own round bale out for them to have 24/7 - no fighting the herds OUTSIDE the barn for it.

Winter 2010

A throwback from 4 years ago. . .
Nov 2010. . .

A Blog Entitled:

"Winter is Coming"

Winter is Coming. . .
Winter is on the way. . .

For those who do not have livestock or need to do much outdoors
during the cold, you might not realize what a rough time of the year this can be or how many issues those of us our in the elements or on a farm encounter.

Last year, we lost power quite a bit there in the month of December. Feeding and milking livestock in the dark on a mountain is a feat! We are lucky that except when the pipes freeze, we have water even when we lack power (small blessing!)

BUT Our frost free (an oxymoron to the next word) froze up a lot in 2009, and this required the farming fellow to carry many, many gallons of water from down below at our house up the hill to the barn for all the livestock.

The bedding inside stalls freezes to the ground as quick as you can put it down, and cleaning out stalls is beyond a disaster.

The Animals mostly all look miserable from January through March.

All of the grass ceases to grow, and the amounts of hay we have to buy is staggering. We go through about 1,200 lbs every 3rd day here through winter.

Keeping water for the rabbits and poultry is another feat of it's own.

During the winter months, I feel like we are in limbo. We cannot enjoy the work outside, cannot really enjoy the farm at all.

Breaking ice out of buckets. . .seems to monopolize much of winter.

One bright side, The Horses, in their winter coats, look so much like ugly Mules, we really appreciate just how beautiful they really are when they shed out in the spring!

So we are preparing for Winter now. . . and I (Husband does not mind the winter, as I have come to) look forward to spring already though winter has not even yet arrived!


Some things have changed since then.

Most things have stayed the same, and I am still already looking
forward to spring. . .

And winter has not even began

No farm. . .

I am bias. I know I am. . .

For I see no farm complete if it is void 
of Dairy goats

Fancy Farmer Footwear

A photo of my Daddy around 1937, as a guess. I was born nearly 60 years after his birth.

I never saw the home he grew up in, where his brothers died and he came close due to lack of the most simplistic medical care. Where his dad was brought in severed in half (so the story goes) for the little boy who was my father to see after being tied to railroad tracks by some nefarious crew for moon-shining or gambling gone wrong. Where they went hungry too often because these inhospitable hills are exactly That. Where he said he went to work cutting lumbar, doing work adult men would shudder over today, at age nine to earn maybe a penny a day.

Details seems lost without him here to remind me of so much of what really happened, how he really had to live.

When I consider what farming and a homestead meant to him, one of 8, 9 or 10 children in a shanty built in the hills of Lincoln County, WV, I feel a bit silly that I even use those terms in relation to what happens here or anywhere around.

I can hear him saying. . .

"Well, now see, You all are really just playing around."

I guess I am.

Honestly, without the wisdom he carried, that HIS generation, mostly gone now, carried. . . .wisdom that was not just theory but borne out over years and years and years of NO CHOICE, real lifetime farming, homesteading. . .

I often wonder if we really KNOW anything useful at all or if we are just recounting theory and history.

And yet, given that, he would have loved nothing more than sitting on a chair and watching my less harsh version play outthere, being able to enjoy the chickens, the useless donkeys, the high maintenance goats.. .even if he'd have called it, "Just playing around."



Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington