I promised that my next post would focus on the really great parts of farming. I have to admit one of the highlights in my opinion is sharing my life with animals. I have always loved animals. My family always had at least a cat or two while I was growing up. Later we added a dog to the mix and one of the first things Proeun and I did when we got married was get a puppy. So yes I have always shared my life with animals and loved it.
We were advised to take it easy when we moved to the farm and not jump right into animals but getting more animals is something that we really looked forward to when we had more space.
I also really love hand crafts and the beauty of natural fibers. So a couple years ago when we went to the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival I started dreaming of fiber animals. At the time we didn’t have the farm yet so sheep, alpaca or anything large was out. Then I saw the angora rabbits. I wanted one so bad but with commuting to our farm and living in the city it just didn’t seem like the right time.
Then a couple weeks ago I got an email from a friend about angora bunnies that needed a new home and. . .
Susan and Sophie joined the family.
Sophie is the one with the black face and Susan the “blue.” The lady we got them from was also a fiber artist and she said she doesn’t even have to pluck them they just pull out their extra hair on their own once a month a make a nest. Then you just gather it up.
They are litter mates and get along with each other very well. I have to say the thing I hate the most about buying animals is taking them away from their homes and moms. But since we got them together they are adjusting well. Now I just need to get a drop spindle and start spinning. Can’t wait. They are still babies so no shedding yet but they are so cute, they are totally worth it.
Even though it feels like fall is coming sooner rather then later nature keeps plugging away and growing even if it is a bit delayed from the spring. Talk now is of the summer that never was. I think we only had about 5 days of over 85 degree weather. But maybe it will surprise us and summer will return. I know that I am forever surprised by the goodness of the land even if it doesn’t do what I want it to all the time.
Long beans and cucumbers.
Chard starting to recover from the grasshoppers.
Cherry tomatoes starting.
Having way to much fun picking tomatoes.
Jack keeping watch over our fall greens.
Hope you enjoyed this little tour.
I promise the next post I write will be more positive but for right now allow me to share a bit more about reality.
What a crazy crazy year we are having. It was the winter that would never end, hello snow on May 2nd! then more cold until beginning of June then sort of a summer for a bit, then the end of July feels like fall has arrived, now we are finally starting to warm up again. But I have been hearing rumors. Rumors I don’t like of frost in August. Ugh, say it ain’t so. Years like this remind me that whether you have been farming for 5 years or 50 you are not likely to catch a break from mother nature and the only thing for certain is change.
Years like this make me so thankful for the CSA model, especially members that understand that this is about great food, but also a bit about learning to adjust, live closer to nature for everyone and support of a way of life and hence a community and hence a state, country, world, you name it. It is also about working with the environment and what it throws at us versus against it and learning to love it all.
While we certainly set goals in what we grow it is not about giving mother nature a shopping list (as if that would work anyway). It is not about saying “OK I planted this on such and such a date, the seed package says it will reach maturity on this date so I want it ready to eat here.” Point at the calendar, smile and nod and convince yourself that just might happen. My experience is that it won’t but that is OK. Maybe you’ll be surprised by something even better maybe you won’t but you know that the unpredictability is really what makes life worth living and tasting.
I am constantly surprised by the goods and bads of farm life. The amazing taste of a cucumber that has my father-in-law reminiscing about picking wild cucumbers with his parents near a creek on a mountain in Cambodia. Or the sudden sadness of coming across your favorite barn cat dead for no apparent reason. Yes farm life is about growing, not only food but our experience of the world. It isn’t always comfortable. It means so so much to be able to share this journey with you and to gain your support over the years maybe not only for us but for another farm family that doesn’t want this way of life to die.
Signed, L-R Proeun, Avril, Proeun II, Mavis, Effie, Amy and Pray Doeun