A Gus-made mallet...six year olds and their self-directed projects!

Peas are not difficult to grow. They shoot up determinedly as spring struggles to make up her mind, asking for no more than a kind word and a scoop of dirt. They are cold weather hardy, admirably resilient, and nearly impossible to screw up. All of this to say: our garden of peas under mason jar cloches is an absurdity all of my own making.

The wild hair to start peas indoors was born as many ridiculous homestead explorations are: I saw someone on the internet do it. Pair that with a feeling that every year heat knocks out our pea patch before it really takes off and you have a woman who: knows better, does worse. It is worth noting that simply getting the peas in the ground earlier would solve the premature pea death of seasons past but I am a woman of new ideas! Yes. That. Ok. But then to complicate matters I sowed them in a flat with decidedly picky seeds who thrive only in the sunny and warm climes of June, July, August, etc., which thusly created peas adjusted to a mild and windless 60 degree house, peas that could not journey out to the porch to harden off if the safety of their neighbors was at all a priority.

The at risk pea shoots, the mason jar cloches, the absurdity of my own making.

Bless the flaxen-haired hero of the homestead who worked his way through his mother's pea sanatorium, gingerly planting peas between jars, By the Book and Just in Case.



Less than half an hour spread between Craig poking his head out of the barn door with news of supposed labor and Gus screaming through the house, MOM. Dad says there is a lamb coming out NOW. And then there was Bunny. All black save for those spotted ears Bunny. Born on Easter Sunday, a singleton to a mama whose roundness suggested otherwise, a ram. The labor and birth were unremarkable and the shepherdess rejoiced. The mother whose faith never wavered chose not to waste her time on floating prayers and thank yous into the ether; instead she promptly drank, ate, cleaned, nursed. Practicalities over wonderment. A sentiment shared by my Partner in Sheep, Etc. who asked over the barely dry lamb what it was we planned to do with him. I wondered aloud if we might wait to sort that out as nothing seems more discourteous than discussing the fate of a ram on the day of his birth. I've since been allowed to move through the days as if we can keep and name all of spring's small creatures. A small mercy of the homestead and husband.

#FOLKSTEAD


In recent weeks the weather has shown up a callous naysayer of spring, throwing wet stuff at all angles and in varying stages of frozen. It's all been Very April. And so, ever the cautious shepherdess, I have kept our sheep confined to a stall-with-a-view under the capitalized, italicized, and in bold header of LAMBS! Though, as has been revealed by the absence of new life in the barn, I know very little about imminent labor and it's telltale signs. This morning after more maligning of The Hand That Feeds than even the rottenest sheep could classify as fair, I led the flock to a rather sad and waterlogged piece of "pasture" encircled with a stretch of chicken netting barely committed to its function. There the ewe-nited front basked under a cloudless sky for the bulk of this Sunday, contentedly sun-warmed and self-satisfied by victory over their keeper. Location, location, location! all the beasts scream on these first true days of spring.

...

We began our day ingenuous little potters with plans to be In Studio for the duration. But first. A brief rendezvous with the chicken house whose windows were blown out by force of a few hens winter before last when Craig startled them with their daily allotments. The temporary garden plastic that saved our asses from predators, the elements, etc. that evening (and every evening since), we all agreed had lingered at its post somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 days too long, give or take a few weeks.

A half an hour, we said.

At most!

We know better, and yet we find ourselves surprised when hours pass and the day's original plans seem just begun near 4 in the afternoon. Ingenuous little potters might well be synonymous with homesteaders in denial in our particular case.

But

the sheep were out and the chickens have a new-to-them set of windows (one with a handy in-case-of-devastating-fire "Tot Finder" sticker whose misrepresentation of the building's contents has Gus wound particularly tight because what if we have a fire and they look for children in there..??). We also played a rousing game of post-lunch hide and seek where I was discovered to be asleep on a pile of rocks. Benadryl can save the day post chicken house cleaning, it's true. But you may find yourself easier prey should you happen upon a warm rock under the noonday sun. Be advised.

...

In spaces where I fall into inane what is my life? broodings (long drives for critically endangered goose eggs, water hauling to animals on soggy pasture, washing the thirtieth pan of the day, etc.), I have come upon the idea that perhaps my soul's Plight As Homesteader/Human is a learned graceful release of expectations and attachments. The watched sheep never lambs, the assuredly bred cow goes into heat, the reliable incubator hatches nothing, the newly baptized unreliable incubator chugs right along with a handful of developing goose eggs. The slam dunk IVF patient (as her doctors refer to her) has 5 unsuccessful treatments and finds herself rather ungracefully facing No More Children.

And so it is.

And so it is.

I won't call this year redemption from all that came in the past two. Instead, I'll call it home and all of us who live here lucky- regardless of the messy inconsistencies between ideals and reality.

I will prostrate myself at the feet of this life and

release,

release,

release.

And so. (It is.)


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