The flock going out to pasture
I slept in a small trailer behind the house, and would wake up at 5 or 6 am to sunlight and the sounds of roosters and chickens (usually the cold would keep me from getting up for a while yet!). I felt a bit like Chris in the Morning from Northern Exposure, and it was kind of fun! Robin would usually be up early doing chores. We'd convene for breakfast at 7:30, and then start our chores at 8. Chores were things that were done every day, usually at 8 am and pm. These were the things that had to be done, such as feeding the animals and letting them out to pasture. My main chore was taking care of 30 Angora rabbits. After chores, we would do whatever work needed to be done around the farm: if it wasn't raining, usually this involved weeding and mulching the gardens, clearing the orchard, or shovelling manure out of the barn. I loved the meditative, physical nature of the work, especially being down in the gardens.
Topaz, an Angora rabbit we brought in to be groomedOther times, the work would involve fiber-related stuff, like plucking the angora rabbits, skirting and sorting fleeces, or getting ready for workshops. In the afternoon, when it would be too hot to work outdoors, we would do lighter indoor work, or go into town for errands. After dinner, sometimes we would do some more work, or do something like go for a walk on the acreage. By the time everyone finished up evening chores it would be 9pm or later, and we'd meet up in the living room for an hour of rest before bed (often this involved watching documentaries while spinning). Some days were lighter than others, and often we'd all be exhausted at the end of the day.
A kid Angora who got separated from his mom
I learned pretty quickly that you can't be type A or a perfectionist with farm work, or you would never rest (you can't pull every weed out of the garden or pick up all of those little twigs!) . Things can also change at the drop of a hat, so you have to be pretty flexible as well. It was neat to see how the Dalziels had figured out what worked and what didn't, and that they are still learning daily.
Amaretto and her brand-new cria LatteOne of my favorite things at the farm was spending time with Chris. She was so knowledgeable, and perpetually cheerful despite whatever calamity may have been happening. She understood what my goals in being there were (to learn how to spin, and to see if having a hobby farm would be something I'm interested in in the future), and catered to that. She was a total task master when it came to getting my spinning done, and I loved it!
Donder and Gelato
Llamas sauntering by: Cappuccino, Latte, Amaretto, Mocha, Saline, and EspressoI absolutely loved the animals, but had a special fond spot for the dogs, especially my good buddy Gelato. Gelato is a 1 year old Maremma (livestock guardian dog), who at his less-than-full size still outweighs me. These dogs will sacrifice their life to fend off cougars, bears, and coyotes, but have only gallons of goofy love for humans! He and Donder, a Great Pyrenees, had five puppies. I would find myself hanging out with Gelato, only to be surrounded by six other affectionate dogs seconds later. It was awesome.
A happy moment of dog love with Donder, Gelato, and brood!
I have to wrap this up, as I'm leaving for home tomorrow and still have a lot to do. I will get to the fiber stuff soon, I promise!!