February 23rd it had snowed overnight. The farm looked lovely dressed in white. No lambs on the ground yet, and the newest calf was warm in his little red jacket with mom's rich milk to fill his belly.
By February 28th, we had no snow, and 4 new lambs on the ground, with a cold storm moving in for the weekend. Perfect time to leave the farm! But we were excited to complete the course work we had started in December, learning about planning for a healthy farm. It would be our final course, 4 days overnight away from home and all the sheep looking ready to pop.
This would be our first overnight together away from the farm, and the longest the feral farm kids have stayed in town at their grandparents. We were anxious, but we had so much learning to do it didn't leave much time to worry. 9am-5pm for the next 4 days we would be learning how to monitor the land to make sure the mineral and water cycles were healthy and the ecosystem diversity was increasing on our farms.
Getting away was amazing. We learned so much our heads hurt. The company and food were excellent (everybody brought their home-raised meat and eggs, and we provided the milk and cream), and we learned a lot just from the conversations, let alone the intense 9-5 course work. We got our hands dirty (and our boots, and for the people that slipped on the hill, pants too), and everybody left with a brainful of new things to think about and plan for.
We returned to beautiful spring weather, 12 new lambs, and 1 new bull calf. Everyone is healthy and well, and the folks keeping the farm going did an excellent job (especially in the middle of the miserable weather).
Now we are busy stacking wood (our landlord had arborists out this week, and we asked to keep some of the branches). The sun on your back and the cords piling up gives you a pleasant feeling, like having money in the bank, but more solid (and more regular--if you are a farmer!).
House cleaning and catching up on emails will keep me busy until the next round of lambs starts hitting the ground.
No doubt they are waiting for a change of weather ;-)