Friday, July 29, 2005

the farm in july

"Well, life on the farm is kinda laid baaaaack!"

Really? Let's see now. How has my week gone ...

Two of our goats, Bambi and Jimmy, had a touch of something or other. Dave gave them a wormer and I gave them two doses of penicillin. It occurs to me now that I'm the family injector. Dave doesn't say, "I need to give the goats (insert: cat, dog ... hamster) a shot." He says, "We need to give the goats a shot," and then he waits for me to grab the paraphernalia and meet him in the goat barn, where he wrassles the goat into position and looks at me with patient, innocent expectation. On the second go-round of said medical procedure, the needle bent as I tried to insert it in Jimmy's skin. He's such a tough buzzard he just swung that whiskery head toward me, bared his lips, threw back his head, and laughed.

I saved a duckling, only to lose it later. Quacks-a-lot, the mother, sat on her second batch of eggs all month. When the one lone hatcher emerged from the nest (which Quacks had cleverly hidden against a fallen log and under a bramble of blackberry bushes) and wobbled after the mother to go meet her eight siblings and two fathers, I stood nearby grinning. It was the cutest picture you can imagine. The duckling was so new-on-her-legs that she'd take three flappy steps and topple to the side. Quacks would move a bit further away and urge Little Bit to keep trying. And try she did, though it took her a good seven minutes to waddle/flop her way to the waiting group. And they greeted her, as I'd expected, but not in the way that you welcome new members of the family. Those eight teenager ducklings rushed and pecked the baby, which pulled a fury out of me in about half-a-heartbeat. I swarmed the group, lecturing all the way, and plucked Little Bit off the grass.

Something you may not know about ducklings is that they imprint on you in about ten seconds. We've been through this before--one a trio of ducklings determined I was their mother and used to wait outside whichever window I last poked my head out. I'd see them on the lawn with their heads turned to one side, rolling that one eyeball around to snatch another glimpse of me, Mama Duck. It wasn't until our goose adopted them that they severed their emotional ties to me. So when I stood, earlier this week, holding that little taupe-ish fluff and whispering comfort, I knew I was in danger of stealing Quacks-a-lot's position.

With Tera's help, we cleared the chicken yard of ducks. She brought me three slices of bread and took Little Bit down to the pen. I stood up near the house and called out, in Motherese (you know, the language of mothers everywhere), "Here, Babies!" All eight teenager ducks--who know my voice and understand that those two words mean "bread"--skittered like the almost-able-to-fly critters they are and halted at my feet. If they were startled by my gritted teeth and eruptions of "I do NOT want to bless you," and "You are very mean siblings," they didn't let on. They cleaned me out of three slices of bread and waddled back to the pen, no doubt to further torment the newcomer. But by this time, Tera had shoved an old pillow into one of their fence holes, and an old tin can into the other--and the marauding ducks couldn't find a way into the chicken pen. With baby safe inside with its mother, I breathed easier ... but I shouldn't have. Two hours later, Quacks-a-lot was mysteriously out of the pen with the others, and Little Bit was nowhere to be found. I don't know what happened to her, but I suspect she followed Mama out and the teenagers got her. I'm still sick about it.

I hemmed two shirts for Zac, and played cards with Tera, and taught a friend how to knit.

I picked and ate the first blueberry of the season ... and it was bliss. Picked a bucket more so we can have spicy blueberry butter and blueberry muffins this winter.

I "supervised" as Dave demolished our rock hearth and wood-burning insert. I'll supervise again when he rebuilds the hearth and installs a free-standing woodstove. And come fall, I'll be busy making cocoa to go along with all the "sitting around the stove" we'll need to do.

I harvested my lavender, and brought it in to dry. Soon I'll have tiny bowls of pungent loveliness scattered throughout the house, and little baggies of the stuff tucked in Tera's dresser drawers, and mine.

I pruned the weakest grape vines, and trimmed my comfrey, and replanted the chives and Sweet Annie the chickens uprooted.

I took Dave and Larry for a walk along the trail, and tried my hardest not to scream when Larry found and sniffed a squished snake lying at the edge of the path.

I counted my roses, over and over. Didn't know I could count that high. When I could bear to do so, I cut three and brought them inside to stick in a Mason jar.

I made banana bread, and wheat bread, giant chocolate chip cookies, and eclairs.

I watched the birth of seven kittens, and the hatching of four chicks.

I read.

So the next time you hear, "Well, life on the farm is kinda laid baaaaack!", see it for the fib it is. Nothin' laid back here. But I can't imagine living any other way.

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19 Comment:

At 7/29/2005 9:51 AM, Anonymous OldGuy had this to say ...

Sounds wonderful Shannon.

Of course you also have a talent for making just about anything sound wonderful :)

At 7/29/2005 10:09 AM, Blogger Bill and Glory had this to say ...

Shannon, I am now officially homesick. Being a farm girl turned city dweller turned valley girl I gaze past our backyard lawn daily to try and imagine the possibilities of having an acreage. The closest we've come, so far, is clearing around the berry bushes, making our fence split-rail, and letting our toddler run around outside naked and diaperless.

I don't want laid back. I just want natural and real. Thanks for bringing me home at least in my mind.


At 7/29/2005 11:24 AM, Blogger whaaaat! had this to say ...

Little Bit, born under a bramble of blackberry bushes... and picking a bucket of blissful blueberries to make blueberry butter and muffins. Sounds like some pretty good tongue twisters... and a lot of fun. Sounds really nice too. But I have to ask what in the world is a comfrey that you trimmed? And what happened to poor Sweet Annie that the chickens uprooted? Is she ok? :)

At 7/29/2005 11:38 AM, Anonymous Humble Pie had this to say ...

You really do have a way with words but you know that don't you?

I am blessed everytime I'm here but most of the time I can't get myself to comment 'cause well, let's face it you don't really want to hear "Wow, great post!" from me every single time you write do you?

Anyway, wow, great post! :)

At 7/29/2005 11:38 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Bless your heart, OG. :)

Glory, sorry for making you homesick for the farm. You can come over here and feed ducks with me any time.

T., you have my permission to write a book of tongue twisters from this post. :) Yes, Sweet Annie is fine and will live to tower over all the other plants in my garden. The comfrey (another herb) is already rebounding. I'll have to trim it again before long or it will bend itself over the smaller herbs nearby.

It did sound a little like people, didn't it? I painted a rock once that said, simply, "Herbs," but the "s" faded off pretty quickly. A friend, surveying my garden with me, said, "Whose Herb ... and why is he buried in your garden?" :)

At 7/29/2005 11:45 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Hold on, there, Humble Pie. Who told you I don't want to hear that fifteen times a day? Ha!

Really, it beats reading "You need an editor." Someone wrote that a few months back. I had to smile at the irony, because that VERY morning, I was offered two big editing assignments from a publisher.

Thanks for continuing to come back ... and thanks for your kind words. :)

At 7/29/2005 11:58 AM, Blogger Nancy had this to say ...


That sounds so nice, I am just city girl.

I don't think I can have goats, geese, ducks, chickens, lions, tigers and bears oh my!

Maybe I could come by and visit the animals at the petting zoo, and help you pick flora and fauna (sp) and bake some muffins with ya!

At 7/29/2005 12:14 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

You do that, Nance. We'll clean out the chicken coop together. :)

At 7/29/2005 1:14 PM, Anonymous joe cool cowboy poet had this to say ...

I love that song, but it sure ain't true, I agree.

At 7/29/2005 1:26 PM, Blogger Nancy had this to say ...

Um.... I think I am busy that day

At 7/29/2005 1:56 PM, Blogger Fishkrisser <> had this to say ...

Well Shannon, it sounds like youv'e been extremely busy. Especially making all those yummy treats. Especially the blueberry butter. Lucky! It makes me wish I had some Swedish Pancakes right now.

At 7/29/2005 3:47 PM, Blogger Stephen had this to say ...

Spicy bluebetter butter? Sounds good! Can we get the recipe for that?

At 7/29/2005 5:13 PM, Blogger Fran had this to say ...

Hmmmm, it's funny but I had a friend teach me to knit this week. Yet I am still decidedly eclair and giant chocolate chip cookie free! How sad I am! ;)

Sorry about the baby duck. Seven kittens! Wow! Loosey getting a trip to the vet now?

Well, I guess I will go buy some eclairs since nobody loves me enough to make me any. *sniff*

At 7/30/2005 9:20 AM, Blogger Sherri had this to say ...

Your blog has become a regular in my morning. Even as part of my devotional time. Of course, your gift of painting with words makes it easy. Just wanted to tell you and your hubby.....I found myself wandering around your blog this morning to find your hubby's blog, then to find Calvary Maryville's website, then to find a Calvary near us, thinking in the back of my mind that finding a church near us would probably not be possible. Usually all the really cool churches, you know, the balanced onces like Calvary seems to be, are never near us. HOWEVER, WOOHOO, there is one 12 miles from our home so guess where we will be tomorrow morning. It just seems to good to be true. The music looks like it will be right up our alley too. Which will make my hubby truly happy, the bass guitarist that he is. So we'll visit tomorrow and will let ya know if it's the fit I think it will be. And then I'll sit in awe and wonder at how God leads, the things that He uses to guide us and to provide for us. We've been away from church for a long time because there are so many out there holding false doctrine or extremism one way or another. Been there, done that. Don't need that stuff cluttering up my heart and spirit.

Maybe we've finally found a home.

Sorry this comment was so long. I've never been one who lacks for words or opinions.


At 8/01/2005 6:52 AM, Blogger Curlyqfun had this to say ...

Wow, sounds like it was a busy but very normal day at the Woodwards Farm. Your place is always so peaceful and comforting. I love it out there....love to visit...but not to stay forever. Well, maybe if someone made me eclairs, bread and cookies everyday & I didnt gain a pound I could be persuaded ;o)

At 8/01/2005 4:23 PM, Blogger Ellen had this to say ...

Hi Shannon, Catching up on reading your blogs... Dan and I have been "tripping"! ha! Anyway, I am wondering, how in the world do you find time to write with all of this to do!?!?! Do you sleep?
Blessings to you.

At 8/01/2005 4:32 PM, Blogger John had this to say ...

Nice place of memories and good times of good people. Thank you!

At 8/16/2005 10:01 PM, Blogger Lori Seaborg had this to say ...

Kinda' late to reply to this old post, but I'm going through your blog to find any I'd missed. I always love to read about country life. It took a decade of prayer to finally be able to move to the country. We're only on one acre, but on a river and have 20 chickens, so I'm very content (until God feels led to give us the 100 acres I want!). Life is a little different here on the Gulf Coast than where you are, though...we picked blueberries in May and June; it's Chilton County (AL) peach season now and I'm in canning bliss. Our oranges and lemons are almost ripe on the trees.

Keep blogging; I have you as my favorite blog on my site. It's been great to send people to you and then have them come back to tell me "thank you" for recommending your blog.

At 10/07/2005 12:54 PM, Blogger Christian had this to say ...

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