I just got back home last night from a trip to Northwest Arkansas.
My maternal grandfather, 99 and 3/4 years old, died last week. I wrote a note about him, but don't know how to cut and paste, so maybe later this week one of my kids can help me put it on the blog.
We had been praying for mercy for him. His last days were not comfortable. Dying can be a laborious task, much like some birth processes. We were sad to say goodbye, but so very relieved that his struggles were over. It was especially good to be with family and share memories.
Since goat babies were not due until March, I made flight arrangements, presuming most everyone would wait for me to get back home.
Something about 70 degree weather must tell goats and sheep that it is a perfect time to have babies, shepherdess or no shepherdess.
Today we are cold. I bundled up in sweatshirt, heavy coat and lined jeans to inspect the herd and flock.
Babies are everywhere!
Along with Portia's three living babies, we have Rosebud's two doelings and Clover's two bucklings. Our goat herd has doubled! We now wait for Angel and Stella to deliver. Sakura is too young to be a mother this year.
When I left, Willow had triplets (2 male 1 female) and Lucy had twins (2 M). Now Tarkheena has one female, Annie has one female, and Sissy has one ram lamb. Esther, Ophelia and Dahnabad are ladies in waiting. Perhaps their little ones will burst forth this weekend.
My gloved fingers were cold as I threw hay and made the rounds. But do not fear, all these babies are proof! Warmer days are heading our way.
I have more proof: the willow tree on the corner of the bottom hayfield was glowing with a chartreuse aura midday. The other ones off the driveway, the ones the kids like to climb, were a rosy hue.
Hopefully the fruit trees don't get too excited. Nights are still quite cold. We would hate to lose all the fruit crops like we did a few years ago. The weather forecast predicts rain and we are hopeful. A few days of soaking rain would do wonderful things for spring on the farm.
I am thankful to see all the life here on the farm, contrasted with memories of last year's death, and recent death. Living here in our land of milk and honey has been a most wondrous education. Dawn and nightfall, full moon and dark. Winter's dark days and fecundity of summer. Mourning and ashes, contrasted with delight and sweet joy.
My baby boy, Thomas, turned 18 last week.
Sometimes the fullness of our life, our friends, our family, the beauty of it all, mixed in with the messy and the painful and the occasionally nearly unbearable, is so sweet it hurts.
"Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise."