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Part 2 Violets 2015 Maternity Story


This is Part Two of Violet’s maternity story and a follow up to my introduction to Rufus.  These events actually occurred on December 17, 2014.


Well here we go again, and a little early at that, at least for birthin’ goat babies. “Miss Scarlet I don’t know nothin’ about birthin no babies.”  Actually, I guess we cannot plead ignorance anymore, as with these most recent births, we have now been part of bringing eleven goats into the world although the goats of course do all of the work.


Isn't she cute?

Isn’t she cute?

We had been watching Violet for a little over a week and believed she would give birth any day now.  She has gotten very large and rotund and her udder has bagged up nicely, which means she has lots of nutrient rich goat milk ready for her babies.


We decided a while ago to move crazy Rufus, our Billy Goat, back up with the girls. It is all about timing with raising these goats and Hope (my wife) and I thought we had it mastered but I guess not. We were trying to time the mating period so that Violet and the other girls would have their babies in March when it wasn’t so cold.  They have a 151-day gestation period so keeping Rufus away from them was our goal as he is one horny Billy Goat.


Violet and Daphne comfy in the maternity ward.

Violet and Daphne comfy in the maternity ward.

We think Violet got pregnant one day back in the summer during a brief period when Hope was in the middle of giving a school group a tour of the farm, and Rufus busted out of his pen.  I had to wrestle with him in front of the kids, trying to keep my cussing and straining quietly to myself all while smiling and saying, “I got him, it’s ok!”  I put him in with the girls just until the tour was over and we could fix his door, and this was just long enough for the Rufus “magic” to happen.


As I said we knew she was close, heck we were worried enough about it that Hope put me to work before I left town for my annual Duck Hunting Trip preparing the maternity ward of the goat yard. We fence off a separate area so she can be partitioned off from the other goats and have her babies and tend to them in peace.  We didn’t like the idea of Violet being in with all of the other girls and again with crazy Rufus, who is in the middle of everything and always primed for trouble.  For more about Rufus and his Billy goat behavior, and his helping me build the maternity ward, see Part One of this post. I’m beginning to think his goal was sabotage from the get go.


I made a little enclosure for our very pregnant Violet and moved her and Daphne, her daughter from a year ago in with her. We figured she could keep her company and be a good companion right until the birth came and then we would move her out.


They had been in their safe little pen next to the other goats for two weeks and by this time we realized that we had jumped the gun because there were still no babies.  Early one morning, after battling my 30-second commute to work, I got settled in my office and had my morning meeting with the landscape crews.  During the meeting, I receive a text from Hope asking me to check Violet.   Reluctantly, I went out into the dark, winter morning and saw that she was fine with no babies yet, however I could sense something was different. First, she was wide-awake and standing at attention, even greeting me with a gentle “mahh.” All of the other goats looked up but soon put their heads back down as a sleeping child would, and resumed their snuggling and sleeping in their warm “goat pile.”


I texted Hope back that she was fine, with a no baby report, however she was up, wide awake, talking and her bag (udder) was huge. Hope said, “It is going to be soon. We need to keep a close eye on her today.”


I left Violet and went on about my business and took a crew to start at a new landscape job and Hope came back from dropping the kids off at school and fed the animals, and the day went on from there.  After having lunch at our favorite restaurant in Crestwood, The Red Pepper, Hope had to run our youngest child to the doctor’s office and I came back to the garden center. I went into the office, checked email, sent off some invoices and tended to general business.  As I walked out the door and was headed to the bank and post office Hope’s voice popped into my head. “We need to keep an eye on her today.”


New born kids.  Here Violet is actually being a good mom to little girl.

New born kids. Here Violet is actually being a good mom to little girl.

I silently cussed to myself that I had to stop what I was doing and backtrack, but I did. I retraced my steps and walked out the back and as I approached the goat yard, just like earlier in the morning I felt that something was different, and low and behold, it was. There sat Violet with two new baby kids.  They were healthy, beautiful, standing and already able to walk around.  I was petting on one of them and felt behind the ears that they were still wet, exhibiting exactly what “wet behind the ears” means. Mama Violet had cleaned them off completely; they were dry but shivering from the cold.  This rude awaking is common for goat babies with the timing of the birth and leaving mama’s womb in the middle of winter.


I texted Hope and told her that we had two new kids, one girl and one boy.  Of course, after she waited weeks for these guys to come, they are born when she is not even on the property, the audacity of them!  Quite frankly though, as long as things go as they are supposed to, these are sometimes the best births, because nature just takes over and we are not there to worry and try to do our human micromanage thing showing us that we are no better than God. I couldn’t tell if they were nursing yet but Hope reminded me that was normal, “they will figure it out,” she said.   I told her to run by Feeders Supply and grab two small dog sweaters or jackets, as these little kids were cold.  They were fine for now but definitely would need something to wear thru the night to help keep them warm.


After Hope got home with our children, we had a big trip outside to visit the new babies. There is nothing more fun and rewarding than sharing this experience with your own children and the excitement they get when we have new babies on the property. Hope had gotten two little puffy, ski vests (for little dogs), one pink and one blue of course.


Boy looks just like rufus, girl looks like Violet's daughter from last year.

Boy looks just like rufus, girl looks like Violet’s daughter from last year.

We struggled a little to get the vests on, they seemed to fit perfectly but as soon as we got the one on the little girl, she would just fall over on her side.  It was so pitiful but funny as she would fall down, we would stand her back up and then she would fall down again.  We repeated this process at least five times with the same results, her falling over like an AD-AT Walker from Stars Wars or an actual Fainting Goat, which she is not!  She didn’t like it all and would just give up, lying there crying for us to get it off.  “Mawwmmm, Maawwwmmm!!”  If you have ever heard a baby goat cry out, it sounds just like they are saying mom in an exaggerated, high pitched tone.


This was not going to work, they had to have something to keep warm, but if they couldn’t stand to nurse and get the invaluable colostrum from their mother they wouldn’t make it thru the night.  So I ran back to out to Feeder’s Supply, by now it was after 7:30 on a school night and we needed to feed our kids (as in the human ones that we are responsible for!)


As I am driving to the store, my best friend Kit called me and said “What’s up?” I had to admit “I’m driving to Feeder’s Supply to buy two miniature dog sweaters for our newborn baby goats.” He laughed at this statement, so I replied “I’m serious.”  He said, “I know you are, I do not doubt that, I have come to expect this kind of thing from you.”


When I returned to the farm, Hope had fed our children and we ran back outside to put the new sweaters on.  These softer, wool style sweaters were much easier for the little goats to maneuver in and I must say quite stylish, like something from the LL Bean catalog.  Of course the rest of the night, we barely got any sleep worrying about the babies and whether they were warm enough, getting enough food from Mama, and so on and on and on.


Bad picture, but this is Hope adjusting the new sweaters that fit just right.

Bad picture, but this is Hope adjusting the new sweaters that fit just right.

The next morning we woke up to happy healthy but cold babies.  They seemed to be doing fine but the coming night was going to be even colder. We needed to decide whether we should run a bunch of extension cords to heat lamps and worry about burning the place down, or spend hours cleaning out an office that we were using for storage and move the goats inside.  Well, we decided on the office and luckily it did not take hours to prepare. Violet was used to this hotel treatment as we did it last year, fashioning an indoor goat pen in the garden center offices with our kids old pack and play.  It worked out great, and everyone seemed much happier right away.


Violet and babies moved indoors to the hotel suite.

Violet and babies moved indoors to the hotel suite.

Things were going swimmingly when we started to notice that Violet was rejecting the little girl.  It got so bad that as one point she head butted her with her horns and flipped her in midair, throwing her.  Nature can be so cruel and we knew we were going to have to do something and do it quick for the baby girl to survive. To be continued…

Rufus- Part one of Violet’s 2015 Maternity Story

I knew the moment I finished creating the make-shift maternity/ new kid pen for our goat mother and new baby that it wasn’t secure and it was a poor job.  The way one looks at any job that has just been performed half-assed, reassuring one’s self that it is indeed fully-assed and just fine, even though you know better. With this I had no excuse, but I decided to leave the “farmer rigged” goat maternity ward and go back inside and see what happens.

Rufus just hanging out

Rufus just hanging out

An hour later, I came back outside and low and behold, I had two goats that weren’t supposed to be in the maternity ward, performing the equivalent of older siblings running up and down the hospital hallways unsupervised.  Right there in the middle of it all was Rufus!  Yes, Rufus, our one and only Billy Goat and resident stud.  I guess I should cut him some slack as he is the proud new Papa to be, maybe he just wanted to hand out Cigars.  However, with Billy Goats and their behavior, you are always quickly and rudely pulled back to reality.

It was obvious to see that Rufus was the culprit as he was looking at me with his big, bug-eyes while sections of woven wire fencing still hung from his horns.  Deeply relishing his 2 minute destruction of  what took me over an hour to make.  Like a toddler tangled up in the tinsel from the Christmas tree, who stumbles, falls and takes the whole tree with them, he sits there looking at me and saying, ”This is fun, and isn’t it funny!”

I think to myself, “This is not fun, and it is definitely not funny.  I am neither having fun nor being funny, period.”

The tricky part of working on anything in a goat yard while a Billy Goat is present is that the Billy Goat is present.  The shear presence of a Billy Goat on a Farm changes a farm.  Kind of like the presence of a dirty old uncle at a family event always changes the family event.  If he isn’t leering at your sister, commenting how pretty she is and how much she has grown up. Then he is rough housing with you on a level on par with Ultimate Fighting, and you just want to get away.

A Billy Goat is horny, has an insatiable curiosity and is horny.  Did I mention he is horny?  And the curiosity part means that if anything happens, he is there in the middle of it making it all about him.  Remember the dirty old uncle, yeah you get the picture.
“Woo Hoo” he says to me with his eyes as I walk in the yard to start my repairs.  “What’s up buddy??  You want to play??”, he continues on.

“No Rufus, I don’t want to play, particularly your style of play”  I say.

“Oh Come on, it will be fun”, I imagine him saying as he snorts and flicks his horns.

I carry a fiberglass livestock stick that I can use to fend off Rufus and keep him away from me.  With me, he only wants to play (thank God), which entails standing on his hind legs to become 7’ tall and wanting to butt heads, lock horns and everything else male goats do.  The other female goats who are present look at me like, “Where is my fiberglass whooping stick?”  Her looks say it all, “I needed one of those damn things earlier today and where were you, oh that’s right, inside the house. After all buddy, you’re the one who moved his ass back in here with us, like we would enjoy him and his CONSTANT ATTENTION.  I mean seriously, the son of a bitch never leaves us alone and he is always horny.  Always!”

After tapping Rufus out of the way, I try to go about my mending of the wire fence, clipping wire here, retying there.  It is a tricky process as I have to always keep one eye on him and one eye on what I am doing, he is constantly walking up behind me, checking things out.  My wife tells me that I am overly paranoid and that he is just curious, but I say “nah nah nah, this is a guy thing and he wants to challenge me.  To see whom the bigger Billy really is.”

This go on for a while, things seem to be going fine, but then when I am not paying attention, I get separated from my sacred stick.  Like Gandalf from Lord of The Rings without my staff, my powers are greatly reduced.  Rufus moves in, tries to butt me and of course since I am a guy, I react more aggressively than I should.

I grab him by the horns (you know, grab the bull by the horns) and hold his head down, demanding to him “You want some of this, you want some of this!  I know you don’t want some of this, you cannot handle it!”  My wife just rolls her eyes and walks away.  Now she has full proof to back her theories that I have lost my mind.

He is bucking and flaying his head around, enjoying the moment way more than he should and certainly more than I am.   It takes an incredible amount of energy and strength to hold a Billy Goat down and I finally give up and release him.  He backs away, snorts, palls the ground and then rears up in the air, again to his over 7’ height. “Awesome man, this is fun”, he seems to say to me.“No Rufus, no.  Get down you SOB”, I holler out.  Luckily I am reunited with my staff of power and I poke and prod him with it till he realizes that I am back in control.

Rufus displaying his next trick.

Rufus displaying his next trick.


He backs up and goes for his next move or trick in his bag that he pulls out when defeated but still trying to show his dominance.  He bends his head towards the ground and proceeds to do what all Billy Goats have been doing for thousands of years.  He urinates all of his face, goatee, underside and backs of legs. Once he is convinced that he has thoroughly doused himself with his equivalent to Drakkar Noir to goats, he throws his head back with furious abandon and curls his top lip, grinning his teeth at me.


This part is almost worse than the urinating on oneself, actually it is.  He takes such pride in this horrific act, that after he throws his head back to the sky announcing to everyone look at me and what I just did, he curls his upper lip showing off his teeth.


Yes, a full out Elvis style lip curl that he holds in pose for several seconds.  I am convinced after witnessing this numerous times,. that Elvis actually was exposed to goats at an early age and saw Billy Goats do this lip curl and that is where he learned it.  At least he did not repeat the golden shower part of the segment.

The Elvis Lip Curl

The Elvis Lip Curl

After this dramatic display, I quickly go about finishing my reinforcement work of the pen and get the heck out of Dodge.  I tell myself that I shouldn’t be insulted by Rufus and his shenanigans, after all, this is not unusual behavior, just a goat being a goat.  I am the one who chose to have him live here and use his services.  He is after all the resident stud.

All We Need is a Little Patience

Come hell or high water, some of which we have already had, I was determined to get this blog post out.  I have been trying for at least three months to get this completed but to no avail.  It has been excessively busy with our landscape jobs, garden center, farm, employees, kids and family.


Skip Laurel with burnt foliage.

Skip Laurel with burnt foliage.

From the winter that would not end, to the spring of insanity, where I am so busy I cannot catch my breath.  Albeit good insanity, as moneymaking insanity is always better than the alternative, but with this kind business it is always feast or famine.


We just survived that little thing around here known as Derby.  Since only Louisvillian’s can turn a two-minute event into a month long party, of course many of our clients have to have their gardens and landscapes be just perfect for this time of year. Now we are into the normal spring rush.  It is so crazy and intense that I often forget why I do this line of work.


I was at a new client’s home the other day, a friend from Rotary, and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Man, you have a great job; you must love what you do.  You get to go to people’s houses, be outside, not cooped up in an office and see all kinds of great things.”  I had that brief moment as often before, that I had to remind myself, “You know what, he is right and this is awesome.”  However, I am just like anyone else and who is caught up in the day-to-day grind and forget what I am doing.


Spring has been spectacular as usual and we are fast approaching summer.  However, it still seems that it is not business as usual. Plants are off schedule and blooming at strange times.  Some are dead or some are tricking everyone into thinking they are dead, as they have taken longer than Rip Van Winkle to come out of their slumber.

For months now, I have had clients asking me about various plants and whether they were indeed dead.  Most have assumed they are dead, as they just look horrible.  All of the broadleaf evergreens took a hit. Plants like Southern Magnolia, Cherry Laurels (Skip and Otto Luyken), Holly, Boxwood, Nandina and many others. Other plants that are supposed to marginal here were not hit at all like one of my Osmanthus that looks amazingly well.

Scratching the bark of a Foster Holly.

Scratching the bark of a Foster Holly.


I have been seeing some amazing things happen with plants coming back.  I have been periodically checking on a planting of laurels that we installed last fall.  A few months ago, I thought for sure they were all dead, but now all have flushed out and are looking great.   Trust me, there are many that didn’t make it, but I am surprised by how many did survive.  All we have to do is show them a little patience.

Keep in mind things like Crape Myrtle, Vitex, Nandina, etc. always take a long time to flush out their spring growth.  We get asked about these plants every spring.  The best way to check to see if a plant is still alive is to scratch the bark lightly with your fingernail or a knife and see if there is green underneath.  If there is green, the plant is still alive.  This doesn’t guarantee that the plant will flush out new growth, but there is a better chance than not.  I have seen “green” plants stall out and just not have the energy or resources to push spring growth.  Another possibility too, particularly with deciduous species that were knocked to the ground with total dieback, is new growth coming up from the roots.  So again, be patient.


New growth on Skip Laurel

New growth on Skip Laurel

The amazing thing in all of this is to bear witness to the tenacity of life.  This winter did claim some victims, but there are way more survivors than casualties. Plants are just like people; whatever doesn’t kill them makes them stronger.  They just need a little time to gather themselves and pull out of the winter funk; Lord knows I have.  Finally, plants like people will often surprise you in amazing ways, if you just give them a little patience.  Happy Spring Everyone!


Violet Delivers a Beautiful Girl Kid!

After misreading her signs, more like the independent, little girl decided to wait awhile, Violet (our youngest goat) went into labor the other night.  Being the sweet girl she is, she could not have picked a more convenient time for us.  It was last Saturday night; we did not have plans and were home with the kids.  Hope had just gone outside to feed and was making the rounds when she called me on the radio saying that Violet’s bag (udder) looked awfully full.

I replied, “Yes, I saw it yesterday and it looks good.”  As we have been a little bit worried that her udder wasn’t bagging up enough and that she was not going to have much if any milk for this new baby.  I was having flashbacks of Hope nursing Captain Black Boots, a little Jacob lamb we had, at all hours of the night like one of our own children.   Hope then calls back over the radio and says, “I think she might be going into labor…well, if she isn’t she is really close and it will be tonight or tomorrow.” I said, “OK, keep me posted and let me know if you need me to come out.”

I was trying my best to stay calm and hang with the kids, not goats but our actual children, however something inside of me kept nagging saying something is up.  Then Hope calls back over the two-way radio and says, “You might want to come over here if you want to be part of this!”  I reply, “Oh come one! All right, I have to get dressed and I will be over.  Just hold on!”  Like she has any control of this, but I was not there for the full birth of our last goats and I want to be present for the whole process.

Hope in the goat hut with Violet in labor

Hope in the goat hut with Violet in labor

I hurriedly scamper around the kitchen to get on my Carhartt overalls, boots, jacket, hat and gloves.  Like any of these moments when you are rushing it feels like you are moving in slow motion.  Hope later remarked jokingly to her Dad that I did somehow manage to come out with a bourbon cocktail in hand.  Well I did, but I had already poured that before this whole thing kicked in so I figured I might as well bring along the traveler.

I get outside and proceed towards the goat pin and sure enough, Violet is in labor.  Hope is already in the goat hut with her and I bring her the towels and the lantern.  We are thinking there are two goats in there so everything we are doing is geared towards that.  Violet is lying down and we can see a hoof and the little goat’s face.  She is moving a little, and it is truly the most amazing thing you have ever seen.

Truly beautiful and once you have done this, you move past the gore or so called grossness of it all, which is none really and see the miracle of birth for what it is, a MIRACLE.  Violet seems to be stuck as there is a little bit of a pause at this point.  We get worried for a moment that we can only see one hoof and that maybe the other is stuck.  Violet stands up, which alarmed us at first, but all at once she lays back down, a few strong pushes and the baby kid just spills out.  The amniotic sac breaks immediately, Hope helps clean off the kid with a towel a little at this point.  She then picks up the kid and puts her in front of Violet.  Before too long, she is licking her and cleaning her off, which is exactly what you want.

Violet with Daphne, 1 minute after birth

Violet with Daphne, 1 minute after birth

We wait for a while, expecting another baby and yet there is nothing.  Hope and the veterinarian clearly saw two spinal cords on the ultra sound.  Since nothing is happening, I rush to feed and water the other animals while we are waiting, as they are all hungry on this cold winters night of 22 degrees already.

Twenty minutes pass and after much deliberation, we decide that we should move our newest, little family inside.  I run into the garden center offices and prepare one of our landscape design offices that is not being used.  Yes, we put goats in our offices. We are pros at having livestock indoors as we have had a lamb, among other creatures in our house!  The good news is the garden center has concrete floors.  I get some old floor mats, a corral we had used for our own children, fresh hay, feed and water.

I then go get the baby kid from Hope and take her into the design office as it is getting very cold quick.  Hope puts a lead around Violet and walks her in, I help them through the door and we get everyone inside.  The whole time this is going on our kids keep calling us over the radio asking if the can come see the new baby goat.  We keep replying to hold on and that we will let you come over soon.

We are all in the office, the two of us and the two goats, and we can finally take a sigh of relief as we realize that there are not any other babies coming; which is fine as we have a healthy girl.  Hope reminds me that we need to dip the umbilical cord into iodine to sterilize things. I discover the little iodine wipes that I had in a first aid kit are all dried up.  So I rush over to the house, tell the kids to sit tight and I will be right back.  “When can we see the baby goat, when can we see the baby goat!!??” they ask me.  I tell them to let me run to the store and we will go over together.

Kids loving on Violet and Daphne (new kid)

Kids loving on Violet and Daphne (new kid)

After driving over to CVS to get the iodine, I run back into the house, get our kids and run over to the garden center.  Crain and Lily, our children, are delighted as always with the new baby goat.  We dipped her umbilical chord in the iodine and decided after sitting with the goats for a while, that it might be a good idea to feed our family.  Hope calls our friends over at China King (Crain is in class with their daughter Xin, got to love Oldham County) and I run back out to get Chinese take-out.  This was just another normal day on Acorn Lane Farm.

Here I am with little Daphne

Here I am with little Daphne

Tips for Dealing with Ice and Snow Damage on Plants

I just remembered that I some times take for granted that people know what to do with their landscape plants when they get damaged or weighed down by snow or ice.  The answer is absolutely nothing. Yes, that is right, nothing.  Well at least not until it warms up and they thaw out.  This is a hard thing for us to do because when we see one of our cherished trees or shrubs bent over, branches weighed down with ice, it is natural to want to relieve the plant of this problem.  Counterintuitive as it may be, that is often the worst thing you can do.  While the branches are covered with ice or snow, they are very brittle and damage easily.  The most obvious damage is complete breakage but there is also damage that can occur on the cellular level.  It is better to let nature run its course, letting all branches and limbs thaw out completely.  After the thaw, the branches will usually spring back into place; this process may take awhile but it occurs most of the time.

River Birch ice damage in front of garden center

River Birch ice damage in front of garden center

If complete breakage has occurred, you will still first want to let the plant thaw out completely, then come back and make a clean-cut.  It is almost guaranteed that the break will not be clean and will be a splintered break.  The tree will have a difficult time healing and the wound can open it to other pest or disease problems later on.  Use a sharp hand saw or chain saw, make a clean cut back to the next branch junction and branch collar.  The branch collar is the raised part at the base of a branch where it connects to the trunk of the tree or a branch.  You do not want to cut past this, but just in front of it. In other words, don’t leave big stubs by just cutting the branch in the middle or not far enough back.  The tree cannot heal properly from this kind of pruning.

It is interesting to see the difference in how various plants react to these kinds of winter weather events.  Obviously the trees and shrubs from more hardier clients have adapted to this kind of event and they don’t exhibit as much if any breakage as some of the plants from less harsh winter areas.

Winter’s Coming

“Winter’s Coming”  For those of you who may watch or have heard of the HBO series based on the book Game of Thrones, this is the motto of the House Stark.  The meaning behind these words is one of warning and constant vigilance.  The Stark Family are the lords of the North, Winterfell, and strive to always be prepared for the coming of winter, which hits their lands the hardest.

A deeper, metaphorical sense can be found in the motto.  According to the author George R.R. Martin, it more generally expresses the sentiment that there are always dark periods in each of our lives, and even if things are good now (“summer”), we must always be ready for a dark period when events turn against us (“winter”).  In this sense “winter” parallels Richard of the House of York’s opening line in Shakespeare’s Richard III, “Now is the Winter of our Discontent/ Made glorious by this sun of York…”

In this sense it is loosely matched by the Latin phrase “memento mori” (“remember you have to die”), which was whispered into the ear of victorious Roman generals during their parade of triumph, to remind them that all earthly success if fleeting.  (parts of these paragraphs came from the website Wikia.com)

I started reading the book series a couple of years before the TV series came out and I immediately connected with the Stark Family and their view on life.  Having a garden center, landscape and now farm business, which is not just a business but way of life, we know better than anyone what this means.  I worry about winter coming all year and this year was no different.  In fact, I kept saying that I had a feeling this winter was going to be a bad one.  I was unfortunately right, and little did I know how bad.

I'm not one to normally do selfies but I had to laugh at the ice in my beard, a la Ned Stark

I’m not one to normally do selfies but I had to laugh at the ice in my beard, a la Ned Stark

As a child, I used to love winter and the beauty, adventure and fun it can possess.  The child in me still feels that way; however, the adult in me worries ad nauseam about all of the things that can go wrong. We Louisvillians have been spoiled for years with mild winters, but this winter is different, this is hardcore and playing for keeps.  I have not seen anything like it in my lifetime.

Usually, we have a snow or ice event and it is gone the next day, or even that afternoon. We have had Polar Vortex #1 roll through here, then Polar Vortex #2 and now this.  We close the retail garden center in the fall and our landscape jobs are the only source of income and cash flow that we have all winter long.  First trick is to sell the jobs, second is to execute them.  We are used to having to work around the winter, but this is just something different.  This week alone we had snow on Monday, temperatures have kept it from melting, then snow, rain, sleet and ice on top of it.  With forecasted continuing below freezing temps, there is no way we are going to be able to work this week at all.  (Yes, this is a year that we should be doing snow removal as we don’t, but that is a discussion for another time)

Since we have started this whole homesteading farm and petting zoo thing, many of our friends, say to us with a little envy “we could never do what you guys do.”  “We really admire what you do and it’s wonderful that you do it, however, we could never do it.”  We always say, “Of course you could do it, it is just a matter of doing it.”  We would have never thought that we were the ones who would do this if you asked us 5 years ago.  But this is the winter where I say to many of our friends, “you know what, you might be right, you might not be able to do this.” I say that because this is the winter where I wonder if I can continue to do this!

It was bad enough to have winter affect our landscape business but now we take on this farm venture which adds even more winter stress.  We must be masochists or something!  And now, as if to add insult to injury, we get ice and lots of damage to our trees on the property, just relentless!

I am not writing this to complain, as I would not trade it. I write it more to reflect how interesting and different your outlook is on life when you are so connected to the natural world.  We as humans have done a very good job of shielding ourselves from the problems of winter and adverse weather.  Of course, our family has these modern conveniences as well, but for us the weather is everything.  It literally dictates how the whole day is going to be dealt with and things change on the fly because of the weather all of the time.  Just as it has been for millennia for farmers and people who work the land.

There is a sense of accomplishment every morning and afternoon, when I have completed the chores of feeding and watering, that I have done something real and honest.  A sense that I am part of God’s creation and fully involved in the process, instead of just going through the motions, allowing technology to rule everything.

I can also guarantee you that there will be a sense of accomplishment, when this Spring I am reflecting back on the how we survived the worst winter we have ever experienced and are better and stronger because of it.  After all,  Spring is Coming!!!