Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Change of Venue

Our blogging platform has changed!  To follow us (on a more content rich and frequently updated basis) check out the following:

TerraDeiFarm.indiemade.com - We've merged all of our important places into one site.  Now you can find out farm, news, shop and more all in one stop.  Please come on by and say "hi"!

Also, you might be interested in checking out our blog for Grit Magazine: http://www.grit.com/blogs/blog.aspx?blogid=4294967765

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Winter Kidding: Part 1

Here is a glimpse of the cuteness that has been going on around here:

This is Ruth. Though mostly wild, apparently she is a ham for the camera...see following pictures.  And the picture at the top of the post that wouldn't insert where I wanted it below...
Our fall/winter kidding season has overall been a success, but started on a trying note.  Our first doe to kid was Ruth, a young first timer who went about a week early.  Luckily we happened to be out in the barn checking on things when she delivered twin bucklings.  One was 99% dead at birth, we managed to resuscitate it but it slipped away again a short time later.  The second kid was loudly letting us know that it was alive, hungry and deeply offended at being brought out into this cold world.  But he was weak, barely able to lift his head and nowhere near trying to stand.  And, his mother wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. (Please note, I do not like goats in the house and firmly believe that they should stay in the barn with other goats whenever possible so that they don’t forget that they are goats.  However, there is one thing I despise worse than goats in the house and that is: COLD.  Especially at 1am.)   Therefore, after both my husband and I, the doe and the goat kid had all reached a suitable level of frustration I simply milked colostrum from the doe and we brought the kid to the house to warm up and gain strength.
Still Ruth

Ruth still refusing to get out of the camera

In Ruth's defense, we were able to graft the kid back onto her a day later when he was able to stand and she has been a great mother since then.

After a successful round of tube feeding I fell asleep on the basement couch thinking, “Isn’t this the life?” - with my human baby in a bassinet on one side and a baby goat in an old playpen on the other.  Needless to say, between the two babies, there wasn’t much sleep for me to have that night....

I remember making a comment after the first buckling died (the one that we had briefly resuscitated.)  It went something like this: One of the things that I really appreciate about working with animals/farming/nature is how they keep you humble and realistic.  There is a lot of self-empowering talk in society today about how “Anything you dream, you can achieve” and “You can be anything you want to be!”  I’m all about setting goals, having dreams, and working hard to see them come true - but I also think we have to be practical.  As a somewhat slight built 5'4" female, I’m probably never going to be an NFL football player no matter how much it may be my dream and I may want to do it.  (And no, that isn’t actually a dream of mine.)   But sometimes dreams and desires just don’t align with real life (or “whole life” as our 3 year old calls it.)  So, no matter how much, for example, I wanted that goat kid to survive - he didn’t.  I worked hard, did everything I know to do, hoped, prayed, willed him to survive, begged, poured everything I had into that tiny creature for the short time I had with him....I wanted him to live.  And he didn’t.  Which brings me back to my point: Nature keeps us grounded.  It’s hard, it hurts and usually it downright sucks, but generally it does us good to be reminded that we are not masters of the universe - not even our own universe. 

Stay tuned for the 2nd installation of the kidding saga.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sheer Joy

If the presence of life enkindles hope (see previous post) then joy is enkindled by the presence of hay.  Yes, hay.  I can still vividly remember moments of sheer joy in childhood, captured by galloping with unbridled enthusiasm on top of a long row of large round bales.  (And yes, while "galloping" and "unbridled" are figures of speech,  I will admit to, as a horse crazy youngster, always imagining that I was riding a horse.)  It sounds simple and silly I know, but those who have lived the experience will agree.  It is blissful. 

The paradoxically calming and energizing smell of hay filling your nostrils, the warmth of the sun on your back and the fresh farm air on your face as you sprint headlong - leaping from bale to bale when necessary.  Even slightly having the wind knocked out of you when you trip and fall onto the scratchy surface feels strangely satisfying.

So, though we are having an unseasonably warm spell here, I found myself looking forward to next summer when I came across these pictures from this past fall.  Enjoy, and may they warm and invigorate your spirit!

Hay is good for fishing,
And good for taking Senior Pictures,
And good for practicing Senior Pictures...

Where there is life, there is hope

dum vita est spes est.  (Latin: "Where there's life, there's hope.")

I often think of this as I gaze out our windows or meander through our barn, aimlessly observing all that surrounds me.  We are surrounded by life - the human kids, bouncing goat kids, animals everywhere calling out in their raucous mixture of voices, trees in the yard and struggling orchard, plants in the garden.  And weeds in the garden.  Well, mostly weeds in the garden.  (You want to talk about vigorous life and unconquerable spirit....weeds.)
Despite weeds, one of our gardening joys this year was our pumpkin patch.

 We carved out a pretty big patch and grew a few heirloom varieties, including: bumpy bluish-green "Marina di Chioggia" an Italian variety, beautiful "Long Island Cheese"  my favorite for baking, "Black Futsu" a rare Japanese variety, "Musquee de Provence" the classic fairy tale pumpkin from southern France, and the slate blue "Jarrahdale" from Australia.

We also planted classic orange "Howden" pumpkins and white "Luminas" along with a mix of decorative mini pumpkins and gourds.  Due to the dry summer and early fall it wasn't the best year for pumpkins, but we did alright and enjoyed fall decor that then became a parade of pies and pumkin breads and butter.  We still have some pumpkins keeping nicely in the cellar, so the parade will continue for awhile! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fly on the Wall

I have a secret.

I read dead people.

i read dead people bumper sticker
Compliments of BookFiend.  Order this bumper sticker here, or visit the Etsy shop here.

Their books I mean.  It's a dangerous habit though.  You know why?  Because, in doing so, you just might learn something.  Such as this:

Around 380 BC the Greek philosopher Plato, student of Socrates, wrote a book called, The Republic.  It is considered to be one of the great works of Western Philosophy.  Worth the time to read.  Seriously.

SOCRATES buttons pins badges philosophy, greek, plato, aristotle, philosopher
Compliments of Pinstop.  Order these pins here, or visit the Etsy shop here.

The book includes one of the most tragic stories every written (in my opinion) - "The Allegory of the Cave".    It is written in the context of a dialogue between Socrates, Plato's teacher, and Glaucon, Plato's brother. (See, it is worth reading if only to hear such great names!!)  The allegory is told by Socrates, in which he tales the tale of a group of captives.  These captives have lived their entire lives chained in a cave, facing a blank wall. There is a fire lit behind them and the chained people have spent their entire lives watching the shadows on the blank wall, cast by figures passing in front of the fire.  They see only shadows, and hear only echoes. 

Having never seen or known anything else, the shadows and echoes are as close as the prisoners have ever come to viewing reality.   Insofar as they even believe that the shadows and echoes ARE reality to its full extent.  They have a small world, which their mind is completely able to wrap around, and they think they fully understand reality. 


Socrates then explains how a philosopher (literally: "one who seeks/loves/has knowledge and wisdom" or "one who thinks") is akin to a prisoner who has been freed from the cave and is able to realize the extent of his previous ignorance.  What he once thought was the fullness of truth, he now recognizes as, literally, only shadows and echoes of truth. 

(Predictably, the most tragic part of the story follows later - when the freed prisoner goes back to other captives and tries to free them.  They shun him, ridicule him and refuse to believe him. They are too comfortable in the belief that shadows and echoes are the full extent of truth that they a) can't wrap their mind around the idea that there might be more and, b) hate the freed prisoner for trying to push them onwards toward the truth.)

This story haunts me.  I feel it loom over my shoulder, like a dark stranger following me down the street.  What do I think that I know, which in reality is just shadows and echoes and not true knowledge?  And the real tragedy is that I can't answer that, I can't know what I don't know.  You know?  (Sorry, couldn't resist the redundancy.)  

8x10 Print - Socrates True Wisdom Quote
Compliments of Splendid and Sound.  Order this print here, or visit the Etsy shop here.


Such is the paradox of education and knowledge.  The more you learn, the more you realize that you don't know.  Education - and by that I mean truly learning - is the key to discovering your own ignorance.  You think you have a handle on the world, and then....BAM you learn something that opens your eyes to a whole realm that up to now you never even imagined existed.   

Back to the point:  Any given moment I can look back at myself in the past - last week, last year, 10 years ago - and see clearly how far I have come.  And I can say to myself, "Past Self, you really thought you had your act together.  You really thought you knew something.  But hindsight makes ignorance glaringly obvious.  Clearly, Past Self, you were just chasing shadows and echos."  

I can tell myself that, and I do (though maybe not in those exact words) but I know that I am still chained to the wall of ignorance and my "Future Self" is going to look back on me in this moment and say the exact same thing.  It is a vicious cycle.  So I repeat - I am haunted by that story

Ministry of Poster (L134) Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. -Oliver Wendell Holmes
Compliments of Ministry of Poster.  Order this poster here, or visit the Etsy shop here.

So, all I can do is strive.  To keep learning, chasing secrets waiting to be unlocked.  To keep analyzing, trying to expose the smoke and echoes.  To refuse to be chained and fixated on a blank wall.  And to seek reality in reality, instead of seeking reality in an empty wall.
Just as a side note:  All of this wall talk may bring to mind "the wall" that our society now seems to be fixated on.  (Yes, I mean Facebook.)  Disclaimer: I do not hate social media.  In fact, I think it is a great tool for business, socialization, etc.  When it is used as a tool.  I mean, a man runs a chainsaw, the chainsaw doesn't run the man.  And you can imagine the tragedy that would befall if he tried to let it. (You can tweet that.)

Yet, due to the addicting nature of social media we often find the tool controlling us.  I rarely log on to Facebook.  Not because I dislike it, but because I like it too much - an hour goes by before I've even realized it and I still haven't accomplished the task I originally logged in to do.  That was an hour wasted.  An hour I could have spent accomplishing something, learning something, really investing in myself or in another human being.  (Again, not that our social media can't be used as a tool to do these things, but I for one will admit to it causing me a LOT of wasted time also.)  Maybe, just maybe, the fixed attention on the wall of constant status updates and random pictures might be leaving us hollow inside - or worse, feeling like we've been torn apart by a chainsaw.  Maybe, just maybe, in doing so we're following only shadows and echoes of reality?

The irony is that I just spent time writing something that few people will actually read.  Why?  Because it isn't on Facebook.  :)

GRAFFITI Photo Philosophy 101 TEL AVIV signed phipps y moran Flipping Gypsy Photography Featured in New Art Review free mat Ready To Frame
Compliments of Too Artful for You.  Order a print of this photograph here, or visit the Etsy shop here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Like a Sharpie Mustache

You know those fabled camp pranks that you pull on innocent sleeping people?  Hand in a bowl of hot water, sharpied-on facial hair, shaving cream in hand and feather to the nose...you get the idea.  Our house is a bit like that.


I've been a little tired lately and we've been out of coffee for two days.  This morning I sat down in the recliner to feed Thomas while Sophie and Elijah played with blocks at my feet.  A moment of blissful peace.  And I promptly fell asleep.

10 minutes later I awoke to this:

The good news?  Body cream makes a great hair conditioner and fabric softener, and our basement now smells like "Night Blooming Jasmine." 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Danke Uncle Paul

This was mentioned in the last post - but I figured a little more appreciation was called for.  While in Germany, Elijah's Uncle/Godfather Paul got him an uber lederhosen.  Here are some more pictures of the dapper boy.  (And Paul, please consider this your thank you note...)