Saturday, April 25, 2009


What in the world was I doing this week? I can hardly believe it is Saturday night already.

Monday I decided that it was much more important to make romano cheese than any thing else we could work on, so there is a round of romano cheese aging in a humid part of the fridge. I don't know how it will turn out. Let you know in 10 months.

Thomas got glasses and a haircut on Tuesday. He can see! He looks like a professor. Even sounds like it sometimes, when I overhear him speaking to his dad about WWII literature. He picked up The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and is planning on reading it this next week. He asked Philip if we could get a copy of Mein Kampf and the two of them had a long discussion about why it is good to read what crazy leaders and wicked people think and believe even if you don't agree with them. I am surprised at times at the depth of Thomas' knowledge about things we have never covered in "schoolwork" but he picks up in his leisure reading.

We had friends over for farm tours and we sold a couple of wether baby goats. Maggie was very pleased. One of them was Cornflower's baby, and since Cornflower is her goat, she got a nice paycheck. The other belonged to Clover, and Maggie has 50% ownership in Clover and offspring, so she was pleased to get a payday there as well. More than anything, she was happy to see Willie and Nelson go to live with some friends who will keep them as pets instead of future dinner.

We had a couple of rainy cold days that were miserable. Hail. A few snowflakes. Rain.

The baby chicks got to move to the outdoors. They were beyond thrilled to eat worms and green grass.

The pigs finished their tilling projects and were released to graze with the cattle and sheep. We were afraid they might run off, but the only running they do is around the pasture, kicking up heels, then straight to a cool spot in the barn for naptime.

The children have spent every spare moment playing on their new raft on the pond. Most everyday they find a few hours to get out on the water, and most everyday they have come into the house soaking wet, dirty and thrilled with spring.

The cold weather turned into 90+ degrees today. I have been milking in short sleeves, even at night and early morning. Coco's coat is turning grey as she loses her winter coat. Maggie is milking all the goats in the morning, now. We made our first chevre and yogurt of the season. Yummy.

The black heart cherry tree has green leaves. When did that occur? Thursday night? The tart cherry is still covered in blooms. The peach tree has teeny baby peaches. So does one of the plums. The willows are no longer chartruese but emerald green. The grass is thick and lush, thanks to the Lord for providing the rain.

The other day I read that there is a shortage of songbirds in suburban areas. I wish those poor suburbanites could come out to the farm for a visit. At nighttime I cannot count the different songs I hear. I have tried. Maybe in a little while I will sit out on the deck for a few minutes and try. In the early morning hours it is the same. But different songs! So many birds, trrling, twilling, tweeting, twrring, peeping, cracking, not to count the frogs and bugs and farm animals! And the breeze and the creek. And the trees. So much sound. My favorite song.

Yesterday I didn't enjoy much sound, except for when I milked Coco. It was time to prepare for farmer's market. I am pleased to have Thomas on board to mill our wheat. We had a pleasant day at Ikenberry's, sweating. How could it go from so cold to so hot? Springtime, I guess. We put all the winter coats into the attic, in faith.

When I got home today, Philip and the kids were heading out to finish a handyman job. I was so sleepy I wanted to take a nap, but a walk in the woods detoured me. I guess I was hoping I would see some mushrooms. I searched high and low and found nary a one. I did gather a nice mess of fiddlehead ferns, anticipating a saute with sesame oil and sesame seeds and a dash of soy sauce. Or butter and garlic with crumbled chevre. But I spilled them out of my shirttail "basket" somewhere and was sad. I was also sad to not find any mushroom cache on our property. I guess it seems silly, but deep down, I was thinking that since God loves me so much and he knows how much I love wild mushrooms, it only seemed natural that he would give me a pile of big glorious mushrooms. I mean, really, how difficult would that be for God? We have woods, stream, all the right conditions, so it isn't like I am wishing for something totally outlandish, like bottles of malbec to be found in a cave behind the pond! ( although I would take them in a heartbeat!)

Scrambling along through the dogwoods and redbuds and brushy brush I noticed the ferns and the trilliums and the wild violets and countless other woodland beauties. I wondered about how I know God loves me and how he gives me so many things I ask for in life. But not everything. Some of our prayers are answered so supernaturally and instantly, I could never doubt that a higher power exists and that this power connects with my life. At the market today we got to see in the flesh a beautiful answer to prayer: Nicholas Caldwell Price, new little son for Scott and Lara Price, fellow farmers.

But walking along, desiring mushrooms, I thought of the other truly significant prayers that were not selfish (like my food cravings are!), but were reasonable and just. Like praying for my 40 yr old friend, Nicole, to be spared from cancer. For our friends in India to be restored their homes. For other friends to be able to have a baby, or for marriages to be made whole or for many many other things we have prayed, wishing for an answer. Receiving none.

I thought about how some people would say I am silly for continuing to pray my silly and not so silly prayers. But I can't help it. I talked to the Lord about how I just can't understand so many things, and frankly, don't like the way everything turns out sometimes. But that doesn't mean I will quit talking to him. I thought as I worked it out that in a lighthearted novel, this revelation would occur and then I would find the big pile of mushrooms. I would rejoice in the God who hears. Everybody would know how much God loves me by seeing how much stuff he gives me. How my friend was delivered from cancer instead of taken by it.

But our life isn't a silly book. I didn't find any mushrooms, I dropped my fiddlehead ferns, and we have some significant challenges in our life right now that haven't disappeared. We have friends with even more challenging crises than we have ever faced.

Why in the world did my afternoon walk bring about such thoughts?

Beats me. But I had this weird feeling that my Father God was walking along with me, listening to my ramblings, and wishing he could give me everything my heart desired. Slightly amused with his whimsical child. Mostly endeared to her. Wondering if she remembered that his only son Jesus prayed an even more serious prayer one night that couldn't be answered in the way that made the most sense.

Whew. I think I better go sit outside and listen to the nighttime songs. Might catch the last of dusk. It is 8pm and not yet dark.


CountryDew said...

Sounds like a very contemplative ramble in the woods.

Jeff said...

Do you know anything about shiitake mushrooms? I've never grown mushrooms, but perhaps you might think about it -- they seem to be very popular. Here is a site that has a lot of information about permaculture and also offers courses on growing shiitake mushrooms:

The Farm has been around since the early 70s - I'm thinking of taking a permaculture course there maybe next year.