We have said our farewell to friends. Tears have been shed and we all await the next visit, when the Lord allows.
Why, oh why didn't Priscilla have her baby while they were here?
Her udder is so large she can hardly walk. Swollen teats look like little sausages. I hope that she will wait for this terribly cold snap to pass before she delivers her baby. Coco is large and her udder is swelling, but not like Priscilla. We have placed the girls in the upper part of the barn with hay and water and have locked the door. Too bitter outside for little babies. Or at least too bitter outside for us to have to go search in case of complications.
We had planned for Priscilla to be bred last fall. She visited the bull next door from October to December. Maybe he didn't like her. Maybe she didn't like him. At any rate, no baby was born in the fall as we had anticipated. Like so many other plans we make, things changed. I had wished to avoid birthing calves in mid-winter, but here we are. We are so desperate for milk and butter that we will be more than willing to deal with the cold weather.
It was 12 degrees this morning when Kathryn and I made our cups of coffee and shivered in front of the fireplace. Goat cheese omelets, made with the Thomas' family cheese and the Lee family eggs tasted heavenly. I will miss having Kathryn be my sous chef, chatting over chopping with nice wine and music. Last night we had so much fun making our blackeyed peas, roasted pork, collard greens and french fried potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Philip and the boys worked hard yesterday afternoon, cutting and hauling firewood. They and the girls then had to go into the cold dark night to search for the cows that did not want to be found. Cold and weary, they shed clothes and warmed up so they could enjoy our first feast of the new year.
The candles glowed, the fire crackled and the wind outside howled like a demon as we shared our aspirations for 2010. Nora aspires to read and write this year. I think she should reach that goal by springtime or early summer. Rose wants to learn to knit better and to learn how to cook a few more dishes. Maggie wants to improve her drawing skills and finish her pre-algebra book before her brothers. Patrick wishes to expand his egg laying business and Thomas hopes to learn driving skills and to make a new friend. Philip aspires to lead our little church in the way it should go and I wish to expand our dairy operation gracefully, milking 2 cows and 4 goats this year, making one hard cheese a week to store for winter use, and to make sure and cover the important things in school. I also aspire to arrange one date night a month for Philip and me.
We have lots of other dreams and ambitions, like making our bakery operation more efficient for the 2 farmers markets, teach a few more cooking classes, fertilize our fields by more intensive grazing and broiler production. We wish to improve fields, expand our garden by at least 25%, cover an intensive grammar study, write more in our home school and love each other more sweetly. We would like the farm to generate enough income to cover farm costs and family food costs as well as electric and insurance costs.
The Bible says that "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps," Proverbs 16:9.
May the Lord direct our plans and steps in a way that will improve the health of our family, our community, our farm and our world this 2010. And yours, too!