Let the New Year Begin

Another fabulous holiday moved to memories!  Another beautiful tree down and all the bits of Christmas to be packed away until the next year.  I adore the holidays so its always difficult to take it all down and pack it all away.  I felt this years tree was especially beautiful.  As I began the process of undressing the tree, winding up all the lights, removing all the adornments from all the corners,  I told my husband how sad I was.  His reply, "you always say that"!  There you have it, drama over!

 So, if you are feeling the emotional pull of the holiday past and have no outlet worthy of your drama,  just think forward to the year ahead...that's what I did.

What are New Years resolutions all about anyway?  A new year, new start?  Organization?  Planning?  Goals?  I imagine all the above would be considered sound reasoning.

According to Wikipedia a 2007 a study about new years resolutions involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study's participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying "lose weight"), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.

I have always been a big new years resolution gal.  I haven't had much success with them but each and every year I proclaim a few more.  I proclaim I will clean more, eat less, work harder, exercise more, be more's a wonder I have time for everyday living.  Truth is, as the year moves forward, everyday living kicks in and all those grandiose plans are least until the next new year.

We set out each year planning for our farm too.  We have the same goal setting approach but try to be a bit less casual about the results, it is our livelihood after all.  In the business environment it's referred to as forecasting.

                       Forecasting is the process of making statements about events whose actual 
                        outcomes (typically) have not yet been observed....wikipedia

Sounds like "resolutions" to me

In 2014 we plan to grow our flock.  Calling it resolutions or forecasting matters not,  our motivations are the same. We established a goal, based on previous results.  We simply recognized that demand exceeds supply.  We did some forecasting and set a goal.  Our goal was achievable because our farm, our acreage to be exact, can support more sheep.  

At the core of our mission, always, is to raise healthy happy animals and that means providing the proper conditions. Plain and simple, there needs to be enough good quality grass for the number of sheep.  

Our goal:doable! 

Truth is each year on the farm we make lots of plans.  We plan not to have any noxious weeds in our pasture, each year we do.  Each year we plan not to loose sheep, each year we do.  

Each year I am made very aware that we are not in control here.  Each year I am reminded, no matter our desired outcome, mother nature will preside over the results.  

Whether in our personal lives or our businesses, we set each new year in motion hoping to create some modem of control, yet it is not to be....

Maybe if we were willing to recognize there are influences beyond our imagination we would be more inclined to tolerate different outcomes to our goals?

The Spider and the Butterfly

My sweet husband often reminds me of a childhood memory of his, a teacher would often ask "wonder why they call them butterflies, not flutter bys'?"  Watch a butterfly.  You don't see butter but you sure see flutter.

In the mornings I try to walk.

 My morning walks are surrounded only by the sounds, smells and movements of nature.  There isn't much else around me.  Point is, I'm especially aware in these early morning moments. On this particular 

morning walk

I noticed the frantic flutter of a butterfly's wings suspended in a not yet bloomed cluster of milkweed.  The butterfly was obviously in trouble.  I had to help!    So I approached the butterfly.  Sorry no photos. I don't carry technology with me on my walks.  It didn't take long to notice that the butterfly was caught in a spider web.  Even better, little miss spider(nothing little about her really) sat, perched on the branch above, waiting for the last flap of the beautiful butterfly's wings.  


 I couldn't just let this travesty take place.  Death and dining by a yucky old spider!  The milkweed was situated on the embankment, not an easy access point for me to reach.  With a little ingenuity I was able to whisk the web loose from the butterfly and off she flew as high as my neck could reach to see.

Oh my heart felt free; and happy

.  I almost skipped the next distance.  After my heart came back down to earth I began worrying about what I had done.  I mean really, I had to have


to worry about.  After all, the spider has to eat.  I interfered with her breakfast.   I'm not fond of spiders that's true.  I don't imagine many of us are.  I do try to respect

all Gods creatures


We raise an endangered breed of sheep, the 

Navajo Churro'

s on our farm.  As such, I am aware of many of the teachings and beliefs of the Navajo Indians.  

Spider Woman

 is a wonderful spiritual story that suggests

weaving and the spiders web are interconnected


 I might wrinkle my nose or scream at the idea of a spider.  I really don't appreciate the itchy whelps I find about my body from time to time.  I must admit though I have a sense of respect for them least my higher self does!

 So, I continued to walk thinking of the spider and feeling bad.  

I had interfered with the natural process

.  Not respecting the cycle of life I took matters into my hands and saved that butterfly.  I interfered in the natural process!

Wait just a minute,

aren't I part of the process too?

 Isn't that all part of life? Unsuspecting people interfere all the time. Get in the way. Ky bosh a plan. By the time I walked out as far as I wanted to go and turned to circle back to the farm I had concluded I would go apologize to the spider but not feel too much guilt for what I had done.  My motivations were genuine.  Maybe she wouldn't even be there?  As I got closer to the specific frond of milkweed I looked and you cannot imagine what I saw...the milkweed was

covered with unsuspecting butterflies!

 So, Ms. spider might not have had breakfast but she would feast on lunch and dinner too.  Milkweed attracts butterflies.  Ms Spider knows that too.  I stopped, looked close and said, "sorry about your breakfast but from the looks of things you'll be dining fine in no time."  I turned to continue my way home.  I couldn't help but think how easily a thoughtful gesture can be considered otherwise.  How easily our kind reach can be considered interference.

I chuckled at myself over the whole ordeal.  I smile at the moments spent that morning with the spider and the butterfly.

What I realized. in the end,

everything turns out as it should

Prada to Carhart

                             Farming Fashion!

                             Farming Fashion!

Several years ago on my journey to find a farm I'd set my eyes on a place in the hills of North Carolina.   A picturesque 20 acre farm situated on a hillside.  Previously, an alpaca farm.  The owners built a very specific structure with human living space above and alpaca living quarters below.  Warm summer days plus piles of alpaca poop adds up to ripe aromas.  Didn't they know that architectural design went back centuries and had been dispensed with because the residents of those living areas couldn't survive mother earths perfumes?  

They had plenty of money when they built the place to incorporate elaborate fans and exhaust plans so they would only be consumed with alpaca cuteness...nothing else.  It was a glorious place.  At the time I really had my sites set on it.  Am I glad today it didn't work out? You betcha.  A switch to farming was a shock to my financial reality as it was without saddling myself with more debt and less land to farm.  Never the less, it was an education and an adventure that entertained me until I could fine MY farm.

At the time this was all going down a friend of mine said, "oh, your going to farm where the farmers wear lace".  I spent my first adult life very conscious of fashion.  I loved clothes and all the adornments.  For some reason at that moment I defended the honor of all female farmers before me and those yet to find their way. My head spun toward him and I said, "...and why not?"  Why just because we farm would folks assume "lace" was out of the question?  Maybe it was a path I would soon discover.  Maybe it was a bra about to be burned?

Now, several years later as I speak from the tractor seat I have a much better understanding of the roots of such perceptions.  No, lace isn't a farm worthy fabric this is true.  There are certain realities in farming that become the "fabric" of your day.  Utility takes precedent over frills.  You wear things that are tear resistant, wash hardy (they get washed ALOT), weather protective and last but not least you look for quality in what you wear more then ever before...your clothes have to stand up to hard wear and tear.  Your adornments are chosen by need not complimentary color or bling.  Your gloves are where you can most easily access them, your cell phone is where it won't fall out as your bending over or hurling bales of hay and your boot socks are usually chosen by what's not currently covered in mud!

So, again back to why I'm writing this female (and male) farming friends have found their own individual way to express their fashionable side. Our designers are different and we probably pick up our farm seed at the same place we choose some of our clothing.

Regardless, the farmer fashionista does exist.   As I've said before, don't ever underestimate what's under those Carharts!

The Boys are Back

Each year in the fall the rams (boy sheep) get moved in with ewes (girls)'s breeding time!  Since my background isn't in livestock or farming I am inclined to blush at the sites and thoughts of all the goings on around here.  I have an even greater imagination when it comes to the romancing I'm convinced takes place.

We have different pastures with different rams in each pasture.  We decide which ram goes with which ewes based on blood lines.  We just want to be sure there's no inbreeding.  Not too long ago I had someone jokingly say, "picking their beau's are you?"  Believe me, I did not laugh that off.  For a day or so I had to wrestle with the possibility that I might be involved in arranged marriages of sorts. Making the final decision for these girls, really!
 My justification rested in the fact that every ram on this farm is handsome and therefore these gals wouldn't mind.  I mean they don't have to rely on them for anything other then pretty babies and I hope a romantic evening, of sorts.

 So, the day approaches sometime in October each year.  We watch the calender.  For the sheep, the rams especially, they know.  This year Mi Sueno, our #1 ram, stood in the corner of his pasture for some 30 days before it was time.  Longingly staring at the ewes in the adjoining pastures.  They say the moon, stars and earths influences tell them it's that time of year again.

The other rams didn't show much interest but they haven't been around the block as many times as Mi Sueno so they're not quite as tuned in.  With very specific direction we send each ram strategically to they're perspective harem.  It is such a change in dynamics on the farm I stick around and feed my imagination.  I know when she bats those eyelashes...I saw it!     As I describe to anyone who wants to listen, each of our rams has a very different style.  Mi Sueno,  magnificent as he is, has one thing on his mind.  It is a job.  It's not work he'd trade for anything but that's all it is, his job.  He joins the gals one day, does his job, and regardless of the number of days past on the calender, he tells us when he is ready to get leave the mixed company!  Each year we know, when Mi Sueno starts getting rough with girls, he's had enough of whatever they were offering...he has forgotten again for another 12 months.

White Lightening is a handsome young ram with great promise just not enough years to build a reputation.  I know he is just discovering who he is but I still contend they each have their own style. He hasn't shown a single sign that he bred or was interested in such.  We won't really know until it's lambing time but I've seen his type before, he's just the private type. He nibbles on their ears and asks them if they'd like to dance.  I've actually heard cooing before.

Yesterday we moved the rams back to their pasture.  As we open the gate for them to join their fellow rams,  they look back toward the ewes, as if to say, "am I sure about this" then forward they move to the other rams calling, "come and get us".

Each ram being different in character, one looks back at the ewes again and then at me saying please can I stay with the girls while another doesn't give it a second thought, off he goes ramming rams! Once together they butt heads jump on each other and bully about.  They are boys, happy to be back together.

So you see some might say they're just animals and that I have too vivid an  imagination but I say, nope, not too far from our own stories of romance...sans the music and candlelight!