birth days

we celebrated the 4th birthday of my youngest this weekend. it is mind boggling how quickly time passes. these milestones offer us a delightful opportunity to reflect. my third child was unexpected, seriously. i had an 8 year old and an 11 year old at the time when i missed my period that lovely fall day in 2010.  i was 43 and convinced it was early menopause. it was a dear friend who suggested the other possibility. ” i am not heading into Rite Aid like a teenager looking for an EPT”  i quickly responded.

positive. what? try again. positive? are you kidding me?

i was not immediately elated. i spent a lot of my early pregnancy reading fiction and contemplating how i would handle sleep deprivation in my forties. i google searched weird topics and discovered statistically there are more unplanned pregnancies with women in their 40’s than in their teens. we settled into our unforeseen life shift and welcomed william on a rainy may day 4 years ago. he is and has always been the love child. the joy that this little guy has brought into our lives is beyond measure. you know there are some gifts so great, you can’t even plan for them.

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we have been closely watching addie, our milk cow, get closer and closer to calving.  her udder kept getting larger and larger and still no calf. we walked her pasture multiple times each day. waiting. watching. wishing. she started to move so slowly, her breath started to shift and still no calf. finally friday it happened. the pull of the growing moon drew her bull calf out. he is a beauty, exhibiting the gorgeous belting of his dutch belted sire.

IMG_1677it is hard to tell what the week ahead will bring. we are in the thick of it here on the farm, truly. another birthday is around the corner, a dance recital is days away, the first CSA delivery is nestled right in there, and the temperature is starting to feel like it’s time to plant summer crops.  life is full and busy, even busier now that each day will start and end with addie. i feel so blessed though amidst this energy, for each birth reminds me of how precious life is, the milking routine steadies my days, and the cycles of life are a beautiful thing.

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right now :: sparrow

IMG_8418Sparrow is my sweet little heifer calf that was born to my milk cow, Lilly, back in August. Every evening, she gets separated from her mama so that  when I go to milk in the mornings, there is some milk for me, too. Otherwise she runs with the herd all of the time, by Lilly’s side. And she is a spunky little thing that has required some patience when it comes to the “catching” each evening. But cows are creatures of serious rhythm and routine, and she is beginning to learn the ropes. She is almost (almost) to the point of walking herself to the stanchion in the evenings when she sees me coming to fetch her. We’re making real progress, anyhow. Well, a couple of nights ago when I tied her to the stanchion for the night, she walked herself right around and put her head through the head catch, just like she has seen her mama do so many times now. I spent some time rubbing her down, cooing to her a bit, and rubbing her tiny little udder. She seems to know what her future roll is going to be! I don’t think I ever realized just how special my little cow friend was going to be to me. My buddy, Sparrow…IMG_8411 IMG_8415 IMG_8419

thankful

IMG_7892Today, I’m very thankful for our cow, Starla. After two years of needing assistance with calving, she finally took care of business on her own. A few mornings ago, Eric and I arrived for chores to a healthy little heifer calf laying peacefully in the pasture next to her mama. This cow is prone to udder edema, however… making her poor udder wildly distended with gigantic teats that are waaaay too big for a calf’s mouth. So Eric did have to help the nursing process out just a tad, but now the calf has the hang of it and is going gangbusters. I’m thankful for that, too.IMG_7913And tonight during chores I had a few more reminders of all that I have to be thankful for. A very isolated rain shower crept over the farm while we were in the midst of chores. The sky was so dynamic, with intensely gray clouds, lightly falling rain, and the low western sun shining through it all, illuminating the water droplets and making the farm sparkle. And we all know what the combination of these ingredients is a recipe for, right? Yes, rainbows. A full rainbow was visible from the ridge, one end coming to rest right at our hay barn. A barn full of golden hay is a pot of gold if ever there was one.

And can you guess where the other end of the rainbow fell? Right on Eric’s head as he was setting up the livestock fence in the pasture. But I didn’t need the rainbow to tell me where to find that precious pot of gold. I know a treasure when I see one…IMG_7909Wow, how lucky am I? Two pots of gold in one day! I’m feeling pretty darn thankful…