Sunday, May 29, 2011

Garden Trouble

Two days ago it frosted. Today we had a big hailstorm. The warm weather vegetables are not happy. The basil is history. The squashes will need to be re-planted. The tomatoes are half-dead. Spring on the Palouse. Well, life goes on. We will just have to re-plant.

We've got some friends visiting us for the memorial day weekend. They have four boys under the age of thirteen. That makes for a total of seven young boys in the house. The energy level is high. That's an understatement. It has been loud and rowdy. But really, we are having a great time. The boys are most certainly having a great time.

Our oldest boy has been taking on an increasing amount of responsibility for the animal chores. He's really doing great.

Caspian, the male goat, is getting worse. His front legs are in really bad shape. I have no idea what to do or even what exactly the problem is. I was really having a lot of...emotions...about possibly having to put him down. I don't really know when that decision might have to be made. Not today certainly. Prayed about it a little bit with Jenny. I can't really justify taking him to see a vet...but it is tempting. We decided to call a vet on Tuesday and what they could do in the way of a short visit if I can put Caspian in the back of the truck an bring him in for just a quick look. I was unprepared for how troubling I found the notion of killing him is.

Well, sitting here thinking about how precious each of God's creatures are. They are indeed a blessing. Each and every one of them.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

loose goats in the garden

Jenny and I were hiking up at Kamiak Butte today. The wildflowers were blooming and it was a glorious spring day. When we got back though the goats had escaped and were roaming in the garden and barnyard. They didn't do much damage although they did chew on the cherry trees a little bit.

Spring is such a glorious time on the Palouse. What a blessing.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Farm at the end of the rainbow

A beautiful rainbow leading right to our farm, where we capped off a hard day's work with a strawberry-rhubarb pie. We poured concrete for the base of the clothesline. After meeting some friends for lunch we planted about thirty tomato starts. I don't think all of them will survive. Some of the starts were getting pretty "leggy". That's alright. We should get a fair number of plants out of the deal.

Planted a second planting of greens yesterday. Salad greens, lettuce, and spinach. Also about 100 row feet of beets. The garden is starting to take shape after another long, late spring. Tomorrow we are going to take a day, or part of a day, off and go for a hike. We're going up to a little place called Kamiak Butte. If the weather is right you can see the green Palouse hills and wheat fields for miles around.

I may try to till about an 1/8th of an acre for animal feed. Field corn and sugar beets. The field corn can double as corn for cornbread too. It is a new project for this year. I'm praying for success, but whatever happens we will be blessed. We've got lettuce and radishes almost ready to harvest already. The pigs are looking great. I've never had such healthy, happy looking hogs. I'm really pleased with the piglets we got. Purebred Berkshire hogs from Rocky Ridge Ranch. We are in the planning stages to expanding their pigpen into more of a pastured operation. They need to be contained in a pen anyway until they get a little older, so we're not in a huge rush.

I have been really been feeling so blessed and so close to family, friends, and God this last week. My feelings of connection to God wax and wane. Part of my faith is the act of questioning. As much as I question though, I still always come back to the knowledge that we are all children of God. That this good Earth is an example of his handiwork. That we are so very blessed to live out this life in such a beautiful place. God bless.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Taking a break

Taking a little break from working in the garden. Between teaching, co-parenting, animal care, and trying to get the garden started, I am overwhelmingly busy. I just don't have enough time to get everything into the garden when I'd like to get it planted.

I was thinking about the educational philosopher John Dewey last night. John Dewey writes, among other things, about the role of experience in education. Experience, writes Dewey, is the cornerstone of a meaningful educational experience. Sure we can learn a lot from books. We can even memorize tidbits of information. But in order to really learn something we have to have an experience with it.

When I was 18 I wanted a car. My friend had been given a broken car by his grandmother. Having given up on fixing it, my friend, in turn, sold it to me. For $500 bucks. I knew nothing about working on cars. I could have read the shop manual, and sometimes I did, but I didn't learn how to work on cars until I got underneath one with a wrench. I fixed that car and drove it for another 5 years. Best $500 vehicle I've ever had. It usually ran, and if it didn't, I could make it run within a day or two. I worked on that car in some memorable places.

So, back to the original point, it was the experience of working on cars that taught me how to work on cars. There was no better way to learn than to buy a broken car and possess a strong desire to make it run.

So back to John Dewey in a roundabout way. One of my favorite quotes for my life right now is,

"To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness"

I am fitted to do more than just teach in a classroom. I can garden, I can hunt, I can fish, I can care for animals. I can teach on the farm, I can teach at the food c0-0p, I can teach the boys, I can teach my friends. Teaching in a classroom is just one of the many things I am fitted to do. Perhaps another way of saying that would be that I am called to teach. But I can be called to many types of teaching. That calling can change over time. If teaching is my calling, then God will find a way to present me with an opportunity to teach. It is not my place to know how and where and what I will teach. Only to know that when I am called, I must serve.

Don't get me wrong. A salaried job as a school-teacher sounds like it may have some clear advantages, but whatever happens, I will be put to use if I am willing. God, show me how to be willing to serve in whatever way you see fit.

So, I pray that I may open my mind to see how I may serve as a teacher today. Whatever form that may take.

I am so blessed. Time to go plant some snap peas. Blessed be!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

OK, this time for sure....

I am 99.9 percent certain we will actually get a puppy this time. We've picked out a specific puppy and put a deposit on him. We've had quite the series of misadventures trying to get a dog, but I think we've got one this time. Matty helped me pick out a German Short Haired Pointer. He is super cute. He should be a good upland dog as well as a waterfowler.

On another note, there are teaching jobs starting to open up for next fall. I guess the future is in God's hands. Just pray and take the next right action and leave the results up to God. Regardless of what happens, we continue to be so blessed.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Take a kid fishing day

The boys and I had a great day fishing today. We didn't catch much. I caught a catfish which stung me as I tried to release it. The fish were winning the day.

We are trying desperately to contain the chickens so we can finally get the garden in. We let them free range for most of the year and then put them in a large run during gardening season. We've got them all in, but the same four chickens keep escaping somehow. I'm going to work at it in the morning after morning animal chores.

We're going to confine Carissima to her birthing stall on Sunday. I believe she is pretty close to kidding. We are sure hoping everything goes smoothly. We are not experts at this, and I would hate to have to perform any serious interventions. Well, animals give birth all the time without my help.

I just want to keep sharing and sharing how blessed I feel. Having Jenny and the boys here on the farm is amazing. What an amazing gift from God.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Goat kids any day

Carissima is due any day now. We've fixed up a nice birthing stall for her. The boys have decided to sleep out in the barn to let us know when she birthing. Not that they need to. In all probability she will do her business without any one even knowing.

The school year is winding down. I'll be sad to be leaving this job, but it is time to move on anyway. I'm feeling much more comfortable with the layoff. I'm sure that God will provide. Even if it is in a way that I do not expect. I hope it is via another teaching job, but who knows. I am open to all possibilities. I've been meaning to get an application in at the local food co-op as a bread baker. That sounds like lovely work.

We are currently struggling to contain the chickens. They have a huge run, but they have been totally free ranging all fall, winter, and spring. We put them in the run for the summer months to give the garden a fighting chance. The run is in disrepair, and they keep escaping. More work on the run in the morning. They ate a bunch of the new lettuce transplants. We need to get them locked up soon before the other veggies start coming up.

Just a short check-in. I'll get out with the camera soon. Blessings.