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.
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.
it 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.
There’s a boy very dear to my heart that turned eleven yesterday. At his request, the whole family played a very long-winded game of Monopoly. Oh, my, that game. Today, we’ll make homemade wood-fired pizzas (his favorite) and some kind of sweet treat (also his favorite: anything sweet). We would have done it yesterday, but I got a late start on making the cheese due to the intense game-playing! He doesn’t mind the wait though. What kid doesn’t like to be celebrated for multiple days in a row, instead of just one? I’m incredibly thankful for his life and the intense, passionate way in which he lives it.
It was 3 degrees on the protected front porch this morning when I left to go and milk the cow. I’m sure out in the open it was colder, and the wind chill put the temperatures in the negative. I was certainly thankful to feel the warm sun creep up above the trees enough to feel the warmth on my back while I was milking. I’m thankful for a cow’s consistent needs and the impact it has on my own consistency. If not for Lilly, I probably would have stayed in the house complaining about how cold it was outside, sipping coffee. Because of her, I embraced the cold and felt my own vim and vigor so much more strongly. And I was incredibly thankful, when the chores were done, to head down to the house and see the swirling spirals of wood smoke coming out of the chimneys.
There’s a warm cup of coffee with fresh cream waiting for me on the stove right now. My feet are defrosting. I can feel my fingers again. I am thankful, indeed.
Sparrow 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…