Saturday, February 4, 2012

Feelin' Good

I feel good right now.

The day started out with feelings of Barnheart and cabin fever. The morning had burst gloriously with balmy, 55 degree weather, startlingly blue skies, and endless possibilities for the day. But I was inside. Stressing myself out over minuscule matters that won't even be relevant until late summer. I was listening to gloomy music on my MP3, and feeling like a heritage turkey crammed into a canary's cage. 

I needed to get outside. Jenna Woginrich says the best way to cure Barnheart is through direct, tangible, intentional actions, so I set out to do that! 

What started out as a ho-hum morning, has turned into a wonderful day. I bred my three rabbits, and with luck I'll have three litters of newborn kits (term for baby rabbit) around March 3rd. That's a grand thought, having that much meat on the way. I have been trying and failing all winter to get my does bred, and I knew they wouldn't breed because of the dark winter days.... But I kept on trying. Today things were a breeze, and all the girls were bred in less than five minutes. My Californian does were bred to Glenstorm, the dashing black New Zealand/Beveren. And Rosie Cotton, the New Zealand, was bred to Basil Stag Hare, my hefty Californian boy. Poor Camillo, my youngest Cali buck, looked on in disappointment, as he realized that he wouldn't get a doe that day. 

 With future litters planned out and put underway, I next grabbed my trusty pitchfork and set out to the delightful task of forking the ground in my garden. This year I'm going small. Just a little 10'x20' plot next to the barn is all I have, but I think it'll be enough. This little plot was an eyesore for years, as it hosted weeds and stones. It couldn't be tilled, and there was no topsoil on it. Once upon a time it had been a pig pen; now it was just a wrecked piece of land. Last year I started laying down two feet of compost over the plot. Using something along the lines of Patricia Lanza's "Lasagna Gardening" technique, I layered manure, hay, leaves, and grass clippings all over the wounded soil, and planted pumpkins there. While last year's summer weather was too cool for the pumpkins to grow, the plant's foliage was amazing! So all throughout the fall and winter, I've been laying down more compost. This little garden is healing, slowly but surely. 

 Today was my first time to see the fruits of my labor. I had laid down yet another two feet, and then left the worms to go to work. But what would I find beneath the quiet top layer? Had it composted enough that I would be able to plant in just a few short weeks? I speared a forkful of the organic material with my pitchfork, and flipped it upside down. I squealed with delight over what I saw next! It's perfect!! My eyes beheld what was now soil. Black as night, peppered liberally with healthy, writhing earthworms, and a texture like freshly baked cake. I had put my "special compost" on the garden last fall, which consists of well rotted goat manure and alfalfa hay. That combo rots down faster than you would believe, and the result is a compost so rich and soft that it brings tears to any gardener's eyes. 

 I excitedly turned the entire plot over, forking beautiful loads of black soil, and marveling at the enormous amount of earthworms in one spot!!! Joel Salatin would be proud of me. ;) The afternoon was warm, and I soon shrugged my Carhartt off; proudly wearing my teal colored, Polyface Farms T-shirt that I had gotten while in Virginia. The words "Lunatic Farmer" are emblazoned on the front of the shirt, and on the back it says, "Healing The Land, One Bite At A Time." I love this shirt...

 The goats were complaining for attention by the time I finished in the garden, so I worked on trimming hooves, washing and re-filling their mineral feeders, and applying their spring-time dusting of D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth). Poppet thoroughly enjoyed her pedicure, lolling lazily on my lap (why can't the Nubians be that calm??) and winking her blue eyes at me. I hadn't planned on breeding any of my goats this year, but now that I have my summer available, I think I will! A friend offered to let me use her handsome buck for free (I LOVE his pedigree!!!), so he'll be coming up in the next week or so. Hurray!! Baby goats!! The thought of having velvety nosed, elfin kids dancing around the place is enough to make me want to burst. There is nothing in life that can compare to a newborn goat kid. If you don't believe me, then you obviously haven't had the experience of being around one yet. [wink] :) 

 And let's not forget that baby goat kids also mean that I'll be milking again! HOORAH!!! I can't wait to begin the methodical milking chores again! 

Doing all of this wonderful work has helped me re-focus. I get so depressed when I'm not doing something physical outside... This is going to be a beautiful year. Yes, I am still extremely disappointed that I did not get the Polyface internship, but I can't let that ruin my year. It's time to stand up and shake off. Time to move onwards and see what will happen in 2012. I'm ready. Gardens will be planted. Animals will be born. Knowledge will be learned and taught. Things will happen. Let's see what comes of this crazy farmgirl's efforts!! 


Don't ask. You don't want to know. ;)


Tayet Silverspoon said...

I know exactly how you feel. Many a time I have felt down and gloomy and gone outside to cheer up.

Baby goats? YAY! My girls are due for the 3rd and 4th of march. Wouldn't it be cool if there were baby bunnies and baby goats born on the same day?


Goat Song said...

Ooooh that's awesome Tayet!! Baby goats by next month! Keep me updated on that! :D Rabbits are usually pretty timely about kindling (giving birth), so they should have 'em either on the 3rd or 4th!

DebH said...

that comment on the "methodical milking chores" just makes me calm! What's with that anyway? during milk season, I stress about getting it done every day when heading home from I might get derailed and the poor goats. Then I'm sitting there milking and all my nerves just simply relax. I actually love the milking chore! I think the notion of Spring arriving around here is actually starting to sink in. I've been waiting for that horrid Blizzard that ALWAYS shows up..but not this winter, its been silent and gorgeous the entire Winter. This is South Dakota and we get some wicked ones. I think it has to do with the lucky note I started this year with and I'm going to believe in it! This year is going to be IT!

Anonymous said...

I love the picture! :)
Mrs. V

Anonymous said...

That's great! I'm excited to see the kids!