I have no idea what the new normal is, but I’m trying to find out! For now, it consists of sunny fall days, DH set up in his “office” on the front porch, so many friendly, kind, loving, concerned, and helpful friends, food—lots and lots of wonderful food, trips over the mountain to doctor’s offices, and long de-stressing walks along the river with Split, my faithful, neurotic Border Collie.

Mostly, these days, I’m full of gratitude for all we have. Thanks for everything, I have no complaints.

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Isn’t she fat?

Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories, 
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety – 
best preacher that ever was, 
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness, 
to ease us with warm touching, 
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
---Mary Oliver

It was spring all winter; now it’s definitely summer. I’m dealing with the odd seasons oddly—I’m confused and rushed. I haven’t done a thing in the garden, in part due to the tennis elbow I’ve developed working at the dairy. Tennis elbow isn’t a joke, as it turns out—it’s seriously debilitating! I may have to give up my remaining shift at the dairy to let it heal.

We sold the two Dexter cross calves—Hester from last year, and Maeby’s new calf. We just don’t like the Dexters, and there’s always the issue of breeding when you have a breed that’s smaller than any of the other breeds in your area. We would have to find Dexters to breed to, or Dexter crosses, and they’re not very common here.

I’ve also sold the Khaki Campbells. They are just too much of a pain to deal with; a pond or stream would help, but it also turns out I don’t really digest duck eggs all that well. Chickens and chicken eggs are more my thing. We’re keeping our little flock of Anconas and one Muscovy—they’re so much calmer than the Khakis, and then we’ll have a few duck eggs for DH.

I’m spending a lot of days in the kitchen making cheese right now. The girls are bringing in 6-7 gallons of milk a day, and we’re about to have a goat and a few sheep in milk. The relentless tide has begun! ED and I (and DH and Bernard to a lesser degree) are revisiting the idea of a small licensed cheesemaking facility—a micro-creamery. I’ll keep you all posted on those plans! Meanwhile, I’m pleasantly lost in the world of acid titration, butterfat, and flocculation.

Pearl’s milk production has picked up to 2-3 gallons a day, and suddenly I have to be making cheese. I’m trying to make enough feta to get through the summer, even though I much prefer making it with goat or sheep milk, partly for flavor, but mostly because yellow feta looks wrong to me!

The weather has been so, so lovely, but I can’t get a thing done in the garden, because it rains so often, the ground won’t dry out enough to work!

Baby tomatoes are up, and peppers, and cardoons. And nicotiana.

The girls and I are all burned out on the dairy. There’s too much to do here, and way, WAY too much to do there.

Maeby looks gorgeous. Her sister, Maude’s daughter, just had a calf and it sounds like she’s doing well.

Ok—off to the kitchen.

The peach tree in front of the house has finished blooming, and is leafing out. The grass and clover in the pastures is belly-high to Joon.  It’s an early, early spring (it was 80° yesterday), and so far, there’s no end in sight. DH took on the miserable task of cleaning out the greenhouse this past weekend, which was a big job after the duckies spent the winter in there, and today I’m starting tomatoes.

This seems a little early—here’s hoping a late freeze doesn’t kill all the flowers (and therefore the fruit)!