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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Turning the page on 2009


The Farmer was right. He predicted we would have new lambs by Christmas. I was in the powder room curlin’ my hair when his big smile came around the corner and announced that the ewe had had two big fat lambs early that morning.
I grabbed my camera and headed out to the barn. Both of the ewes ensconced in the pen were knickering at the lambs, so it was difficult to tell at first which one was the mother. The lambs were up and feeding, and the ewe seemed to have an udder bursting with milk. All very good news. The other ewe should be giving birth in another week or so, we think. And there may be at least one other pregnant ewe out in the herd. We have to watch for udders forming.
If you form an udder, you get put in the lambing pen and fed a cup of grain every day on top of your hay and water. You are sheltered from the wind and rain and it’s a fairly nice, cozy resort, all in all.
The Farmer picked up a truckload of sweetfeed for the new mothers. It amazes me that the sheep on the other side of the barn know when I’m scooping sweetfeed. They must be able to smell it. Or maybe they know the sound. Anyway, when I come back through the barn I am faced with an entire herd of silent, disgruntled-looking sheep. It makes me feel guilty. But that stuff is expensive. I can’t just give it to everyone.
That was a nice, mild Christmas day – and a good one for driving, thankfully. But now we are having an iced-over Boxing Day. Just as well. I was looking forward to having absolutely nothing to do.
While I was procrastinating over housework this morning, I decided to read my favourite blogs. Jon Katz writes about his beloved dogs at www.bedlamfarm.com. Jon has authored more than half a dozen books about his life on the farm, and my favourite stories are about Izzy, the Border Collie who accompanies Jon on his trips to visit the residents of the local hospice. It’s amazing how in some cases a dog can connect with someone in the end stage of life when no other human being could. Jon’s natural gift with words and images lends a poignant tone to his daily journal entries. I find them very moving.
On the flipside of the blog scale, there is Ree Drummond. Her irreverent look at her life on a cattle ranch with her husband (whom she adoringly refers to as “Marlboro Man. The source of a million hiney tingles”) makes me laugh out loud. A city girl in her former life, Ree wrote “Black Heels to Tractor Wheels” to trace her journey from the city to the farm. Like me, she didn’t choose the farming life. She chose the farmer. Another thing that I believe we have in common is that neither one of us really considered how our lives would change when we took up our respective positions as farmwife. But we have both happily discovered that it suits us well. I personally can’t imagine life in a city being more fulfilling than life on the farm. And I certainly can’t imagine life without my Farmer.
Ree loves to cook in a “way to a man’s heart” fashion that laughs in the face of carb, fat and calorie counts. I bought her cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Countrygirl for my sister for Christmas. The great thing about this book is that it is full of step-by-step photographs of the recipe preparation process. Complete with little complementary quips from the cook/author. From her Rib-Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce recipe: “Spoon the sauce over the steak. And don’t skimp! You want to taste the deliciousness.” And in her recipe for Fancy Macaroni: “Stir to combine, and try not to pass out over how good this smells. And don’t even think about tasting it. It’ll be over for you so fast it’ll make your head spin.”
Reading Ree is like spending an hour chatting with your best friend. Over a really good glass of shiraz and some decadent cheese. I urge you to check out her blog – www.thepioneerwoman.com or look for her cookbook today. I’ve challenged my sister to cook her way through each page, and to bring the results to Sunday dinner to share with the rest of us (smart thinkin’, huh?).
Okay, I’ve given you something to do on a rainy day, and I’ve written my column. My work here is done. It’s time to go out to the barn to see how my new lambs are faring. But before I go, here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2010:
1. If one of my children wants my attention, I will attempt to put everything aside and give it to them, for they may not ask twice;
2. I will strive to give the benefit of the doubt before assuming the worst;
3. I will gain access to the kitchen ahead of the Farmer and cook at least one real meal per week;
4. I will read all of the books that I have purchased over the past six months (there are at least 12);
5. I will pick up the phone and call my family and friends for no reason at all, a different person each week, instead of messaging via email and Facebook.
2009 was a difficult 12 months for more than one of my friends. For others, it was a year of treasured moments to remember forever.
We have no idea what 2010 will bring, but we now for a fact that a year can change everything for anyone. Here’s hoping your year, dear reader, is full of health and happiness.

-30-

1 comment:

Shirley said...

Hello:
May I use the birth of the lambs and your comments on my monthly nature journal for my group, Feathers 'n Petals. All articles and photos are contributed by our readers and e-mailed to the group on e-mail. I am a fan of your down-to-earth way of expression. You will be credited for your article but no personal info will be given. My sister lives in Carleton Place and she forwarded your column to me. I am a friend of Catherine Kerr.
Shirley M. Flanagan, Ontario.