This morning when I woke, I felt utterly defeated. The trials and challenges of the last week have really kicked my butt and for whatever reason, last night I felt like a hit a wall, and today didn't start out much better. I am emotional, I am feeling overwhelmed and just downright miserable. I'm really not one to ever feel sorry for myself, but today I wanted to join my own pity party. Learning new skills on new equipment is challenging enough, but then when that same equipment breaks rendering the job impossible....
As I was standing there on my porch feeling sorry for myself, a wild tom turkey came out of the field and began strutting around in front of my barn. For those who watch and listen to the messages in nature, the arrival of this turkey was very significant for me. I watched him walk around, so confident with his purpose and place in the world. I absorbed the teachings from the turkey and knew immediately what I needed to adjust in myself to feel stable and grounded again. It was even more of a blessing to walk to my barn about 20 minutes later to find this beautiful gift left behind by that very turkey. This feather will be added to a growing collection of treasured gifts. While I marveled at the message I had already received from turkey this morning, I had an even stranger encounter with a young red squirrel on my deck. Although I am studying shamanism, these kinds of events always take me by surprise. Although it is nothing unusual to see me chatting it up with the animals about all kinds of things, this encounter was really odd. I watched the squirrel walk down my driveway towards me as if I was his destination. It wasn't long until I realized that this squirrel was actually here to see me as there he was sitting across from me on my deck, on one of my chairs as if he had just arrived for an agreed upon meeting. This young squirrel, I think a male, proceeded to give me the biggest scolding from a squirrel I've received to date. It turns out that this little squirrel also had a ton of wisdom to share with me but was far more impatient in sharing his wisdom than the turkey was. I really needed that though little squirrel, thanks for the lecture <3
What an odd way to start out my blog this week no? You must be wondering what could have happened to make me feel so desperately defeated this morning. Perhaps I should back up a bit. I believe last week, I left off running to see a man about a tractor. Well, that's the great way the week started - we actually bought that tractor and it arrived last Tuesday! Sky River Meadows now has on it's team, a very sexy and beastly, Fordson Power Major 5000 tractor with an industrial grade bucket. I have always had a thing for old trucks and tractors, especially when they work! This powerful machine will help us move a lot of manure! Most importantly though, it is powerful enough to help us to get the hay off the fields. One of my biggest stressors since moving to Woodfield, is that each year it has been a struggle to get the hay off. We have over 300 acres in hay, and I have been buying it due to lack of my own equipment to make it. As we've only recently acquired these essential tools, this is why we're just starting to cut. Regardless of how much we manage to put in our barn, the fields all still need to be cut down so they are good next year - hence the rush to get everything operational. With assistance from some wonderful neighbours we managed to get a small bit of hay down so we could test the equipment. Bailey, Fred and I spent a Saturday afternoon/evening pouring over the 24T square baler with an old service manual in hand. I am some blessed at the moment as my man Fred AND my girl Bailey have some MAD skills with equipment!! Bailey managed to figure out the knotters, get them working, and even figured out the complicated thread pattern for the baler twine. We got that old baler up and running, and it was even tying the bales right! I was literally jumping and dancing in the field while we followed that baler through the field as it dropped it's first bales for us. Our victory was very short lived however, as 14 bales in, our new (to us) baler let out the most horrid sound that metal can make, and died. I won't get into the gruesome details, however it now sits in the equipment barn across the road, pulled apart and looking sad. With the square baler out of commission, we had no choice but to see if we could get the round baler working. We were out in the field Saturday night until close to 11pm trying to get it going and had to admit defeat and call it a night. Thankfully Fred is amazingly gifted with machinery. He managed to work out a lot of issues with every piece of equipment we have. This week things will get serious into making hay! Good news is, replacement parts for the broken baler have been found and are being picked up tonight. Apparently Monday's are now also for road trips for essential farming equipment :)
For anyone who has ever farmed with animals, having a barn full of hay is security. It ensures the herd eats for the winter. Our business depends on a happy, healthy herd and of course I want to provide the very best of everything for a herd that works so hard to help so many people feel good. It is likely safe to say that hay season is one of the most important jobs (and least favourite for most) on a farm. The cost savings are huge if you can make your own, but for me I also just always enjoyed the entire process as a kid. With the exception of the "hay bites" as I have always called them, the scratches you get from moving hay bales around. I find cutting grass of any kind to be deeply therapeutic. Raking and baling the hay are all equally satisfying jobs as well. When the barn is full of fresh hay, there is no better smell in the world. To me it smells like survival for another winter, and that is a necessary security. I feel the days getting shorter already, and I hate to say it but the leaves are starting to change as well. The geese are very active during the day and the dew is thick and cold on the grass in the morning. All of these are early signs of an early autumn and I object profusely! We are absolutely not even starting to think towards the fall until the hay is off the fields! We need at least two weeks of good weather and we will be all set. I am loving the learning curve and trying to stay positive. I know next year things will run smoothly and on time. I definitely am looking forward to that!
Over the past several months, the Snowlake Initiative has been running a talent show here called GOAT. This past Tuesday we welcomed Ontario performer and musician, Jen Cook, of Red Jenny and the Boys to come to the farm to try out her skills in front of the Sky River judges, for the filming of Episode 4. I can honestly say that in all my years of hosting people with the goats, I have never before witnessed someone have more fun than Jen did. Watching her preform, hearing her laugh, enjoying the reactions of the goats. Wow, what an experience to witness! There was a few very special bonding moments for Jen with a couple of the herd. This photo captured here of Jen with Julia really sums up what a joyful experience it was for Jen to play for the goats. When this episode is up on YouTube I will of course link it in to a future blog. On a week that has been so stressful and I feel overwhelming pressure, this break was so welcome. It was so easy to be sucked into the fun and enjoyment that Jen experienced while playing for the herd. If you too want to try your talent in front of the Sky River judges, there is still time to apply! For more information, details and questions, please contact the Snow Lake Initiative. Take advantage of the beautiful weather that still remains in this summer and come visit the farm and these very judgmental goats <3 You won't regret it!
With as strange as this entire year has been, it is no wonder that choosing names for the new babies has not been a priority. We have been getting by with calling the boy "little man" and the girl "little lady". Not the kind of names you want sticking for very long. I have tossed quite a few ideas around in my head for the 5 weeks since they were born and each time I have continually come back to the same names consistently. I am now happy and pleased to announce that the 2020 babies have finally been named! Please welcome Sky River Meadows Zeus and Sky River Meadows Hera! These two cuties of course will both be staying on the farm for many months as they learn to work in our therapy programs. Sadly for Zeus, he does seem to have a LOT of testosterone so he will very likely be fixed in the next few weeks in order to hopefully settle him into a quieter lifestyle of cuddling and being loved on. These two little darlings have already tripled in size since they were born on July 10th. If you'd like to meet them and cuddle them while they are still small, be sure to book a visit for you and your circle!
Before I sign off for another week, I want to take a moment to personally acknowledge some important people. First to my team of volunteers at the farm - without you, I think I would have thrown in the towel a couple of months ago. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not only being here to lend a hand, but for coming this past Saturday for my workshop. It was hard for me to share with you all but I felt loved and supported through it all. I appreciate the insight, and sharing. I look forward to many more workshops and brainstorming sessions! The herd and barn have never looked better, keep up the amazing work! I wanted to also thank my wonderful neighbours from down the road. Lloyd, Howard and Ray Quinton have all offered help and support in recent days and I know they are rooting for us to get this farm into tip top shape again, like it was when the Quinton family used to care for this land years ago. There are no better minds and hands to teach me than those who've lived in this valley their entire lives. I look forward to bringing it back to it's former glory and making it better than ever before. Lastly, but certainly not least, to my Fred. I can't express how much you mean to me already in such a short time together. These last few weeks have been so full of great experiences, it makes me excited for the future and what other mischief we can get up to. Watching you become Farmer Fred is the greatest gift of all <3 Thank you for all you do, and most of all for loving me <3