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March comes in like a lamb…or two

Yeah, the saying is that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but I like to create my own reality!  

Recently, March came to Peaceful Valley Farm, like a lamb. Two of them, actually. These sweeties come from the amazing folks at Deep Root Ranch, in Watsonville. There, Jean and Bob raise sheep and hogs (as well as chickens, geese, and a few HUGE cows) in the most natural and organic way possible.  It’s idyllic there, with all the animals roaming around freely, enjoying the green grass and fresh air. We learned that, by strange coincidence, our Olivia-the-pig is the cousin of one of their hogs. Small world, farming.

I really hadn’t considered sheep, until my neighbor’s Suffolk Sheep started dropping babies recently. It was So fun to see the still wet lambs taking their first wobbly steps.  Then, we trekked up to Bonny Doon to visit Mali at Milk Mama Goat Farm and I fell for her East Freisian Sheep. They were so loving and let us pet and kiss them. (Of course, I think Mali has some special magic that makes all mammals love her!)

So, long story short, Mali turned me on to Jean and now we have two ewe lambs.  They were just weaned, but not tame, and it was an hour and a half fiasco finding the girls (by doing a quick reach around in a herd of sheep!) and getting them into crates. (Jean and Bob also have the patience of saints!!)

The lambs have been on the farm for almost 2 weeks now, and today they let the fives (my after school farm kids) hand feed and pet them.  My heart grew three sizes when little Ashton said, “I can’t believe I’m this close to a sheep!”  I hear ya, kid!!!

A big, wooly welcome to our girls, Shaun and BaaBaa



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Just kidding

Ok, it has taken me a full week to find the time to write and post pictures of the awesome birth that recently took place here on Peaceful Valley Farm! (So sorry, Heidi!!)

After 3 nights of Ginger having heavy breathing and moaning until midnight, she finally birthed 2 kids on Thursday afternoon. It was my first week of Farm Camp and the campers asked me no less than a million times “when is it going to happen?”  It turns out we don’t exactly know when Ginger got pregnant, so it was nearly impossible to know when she was due. One of my camp parents is an L&D nurse and grew up on a dairy farm, so has dealt with mammalian labor and birth a few times. Her 5 year old grand daughter said, “My grandma can help her, maybe you should ask” It was so damn cute!  When grandma Kimber came for afternoon pick up, she told me that she would check her if I wanted. I said, “sure”, ’cause, what the hell, right?  KA-BAM,she whips out a surgical glove and heads in. Ginger is a little shy of strangers.  Even more so, it turns out, when they are all up in her business. It looked like the kid was in the right position, and Ginger was having contractions, so we were satisfied that everything would be ok.  No sooner had Kimber taken that glove off than Ginger hit the ground bleating and pushing. The camp kids were there, as were their parents by now. I had someone run up to get my girls while I went in to try to calm her down. Our pen is open on two sides and there were all these wide eyes and excited noises all around.  The kids squealed when the “balloon” that we read about appeared because we knew that baby was right behind.  Poor Ginger was such a trooper! The first kid was big and had a head about the size of  one of those cute French melons. After pushing that out, she lay back down and started eating hay, building up her strength to go on.  I had tears in my eyes when I saw that familiar pompadour and squeaked, “she has Fred’s hair!” One push and kid # 1 had arrived.  After watching many goat births on U-Tube, I was loathe to “help her” like I saw so many people do, but Ginger didn’t seem to know to turn around to start cleaning it and the kid was making gurgling sounds trying to breathe through all the goo, so I gave her a quick mouth swipe and put her in front of Ginger, who caught on quickly. 

  Just as she started cleaning, the second set of contractions started. She got wild eyed (Oh, boy do I know that feeling!) and climbed up into my lap, throwing her head back onto my neck with every pain. I can’t even explain how blessed I felt that she would do that!  The second kid was a bit smaller and out in a flash.  I swiped his mouth too, and sat with them for a few hours, until they were clean and fluffy. 

 Don’t you hate it when your kids flinch away from you like this, and you weren’t even going to hit them??

 I think this boy looks just like grandgoat!

 The girl crawled up in my lap and snoozed, The boy snuggled up to Ginger.  The sun was setting, and we were bathed in Amber sunlight.  Whew,what an amazing experience, not only for me, but for the kids and parents that were lucky enough to be here too!The miracle of birth and growth will never cease to amaze…Oh, the kids are nameless so far.

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My new office

After 4 years, I have officially closed the doors on my organizing business.  As of May 31, I will be devoting 100% of my time to homesteading and running an educational farm in Peaceful Valley.  In the weeks since I made this decision, I have had many days where I think, “oh f**k, what did I do?”  My waking (and sleeping) hours are peppered with “what ifs” but today… 

Today was perfect. 
A complete stranger, who read about what I’m doing, told me that I was doing the right thing, following my heart. Farm Camp registrations are rolling in. People are starting to say “I heard about your program…”
My beautiful, heirloom seedlings are growing like…well…weeds (expect a plant sale, soon).  
I found, connected with and hired the most amazing assistant!  I feel like, together, we can do some pretty cool things! 

I sat at my new desk (where I interviewed my new assistant!)

in my roomy, new office

and had lunch with my co-worker, Fred (someone should have a talk with him…B.O. big time!)

The chicks dig it here!

And these guys are…real turkeys

but, the vending machine

is close to my desk
And I am surrounded by like minded people

so, today, I feel lucky, confident that I have jumped off and will land, safely.