Misty mist fills our little valley this afternoon.
I have to sit down and take a quick break after some barn spring cleaning. It wasn't too bad. Maybe we are becoming more efficient? Stalls have to be cleaned out at least weekly. More often if it is raining and everyone stays inside. The concrete area where we milk has to be swept out daily. The milking stanchion scrubbed. Periodically we do a little deep cleaning that involves digging out certain stalls, cleaning interior of barn, sweeping out a few cobwebs and scraping chicken poop. I mean high-end organic fertilizer. Everyone grabs a rake, a shovel or a pitchfork. Even Nora likes to help. Usually Patrick loads the wheelbarrow and Thomas carts it to the big pile which will be moved to garden by Philip and the tractor when he gets home from work. We will then put it in the compost pile, or go ahead and spread it onto rows that won't be used for a few months. The manure has to age and decompose. Can't put it fresh on the tender veggies.
I have been thinking about whitewashing the area where we milk. Maggie and I were discussing the possibilities of fixing up the old milking parlor so we could use it for our dairy animals. Right now it is being used as a receptacle for all the old beehives. So many ideas. So little time.
Yesterday two of the cattle, Priscilla and Moose, Boaz the ram and the two nameless pigs made their way through the hay pasture, into the woods and off of our property. Thankfully the neighbor called and apprised me of the situation. It wasn't really the kind of call I want to receive, especially as supper was about to come off the stove. But better than having to hunt over a hundred acres of someone else's woods in the dark.
Our friend Rachel and her kids donned their shoes with us and we hiked through the valley. The rain had let up and the creek babbled along merrily. The misty clouds rolled like cream over the mountains in the Jefferson National Forest. I grumped and gruffed for a few minutes, trying to get the old attitude back into check. Hard to stay grumpy very long, looking at wildflowers and herbs all over the place. The air was cool. The sweater was warm. We won't talk about the wet feet. We saw wineberry bushes in bloom. Wild violets. Yellow flowers, I don't know their name, wild geraniums, horsetail.
We had no troubles getting the errant wanderers headed back to the welcoming red barn. Even the pigs trotted happily, grunting and snuffling. We picked our way back over the stream, through the marsh, harvesting this herb and that, wishing for a basket. The dogwoods made lovely bouquets along the edge of the stream. The Rouen ducks splashed and glided along the overgrown watercress. Nora and Boone sprinted to the house, planning their last few minutes of playtime before supper. The two tired mothers agreed that having to tend those wandering animals was a gift. It forced us to go outside and enjoy the evening.
The ever peeping frogs gave us a welcome as we reached the warm house with cozy fire. Big pot of beans, rice and carne guisada were perfectly done. Big salad from Amy's garden didn't take long to toss. Wet feet dried out rather quickly in front of maybe the last fire in the fireplace.
Now we take a long lunch break. Misty mists have given way to thundering rainstorm. Guess we will tend to some more ephemeral tasks. Like laundry.