You know, I have spent my whole career as a writer. I have written radio and television spots, network news pieces and hundreds of freelance magazine and newspaper articles. But I don't have the words to describe how spectacularly bad my day was yesterday.
I don't want to bore you with all the nasty details so I'll summarize:
It took me FOUR HOURS to feed and water all the animals, in the pouring rain, during which time every tiny and enormous thing that could go wrong did. By the time I got home I was completely defeated. I kept thinking "This is just too hard. I can't do this by myself."
When I finally got home I was so deeply cold that I got immediately into a hot bath but I was so deeply tired that I didn't realize I still had my bra and underwear on until I had been in the tub for five minutes. I went straight from the bath to bed, hoping to be able to take a nap for a couple of hours before I had to go out for barn check, but I was so strung out I couldn't fall asleep. I decided to check the etsy store, the blog and ravelry group to see if there was anything that needed my immediate attention. That's when I found this, posted by Glassneedles to the ravelry group:
"Please remember the name is “Community Supported Agriculture”. This group can be very important to our investment. We might not be able to stop in to help with the chores but our dsicussions might let Susan know we haven’t forgot her."
and this, posted by Jenibug:
"You are a hit Susieshepard and your blog is great."
And then I read through the email I keep on my desktop in a folder called "Happy Mail" and poured over all of the kind words you've sent me over the last few months. Admonishments to take better care of myself. Notes telling me how proud someone was of my work. Excitement over the birth of our first kid.
I had tears running down my cheeks and I suddenly realized I have a fan club. Surely I am the only shepherd in the world with more than 140 cheerleaders, amazing, successful women (and a few men) that believe in me and think I can do this. It may sound silly, but it was a revelation to me. Needless to say, my day did a fast 180.
Thank you. I don't say it enough. Thank you for believing in me and what I'm doing.
This morning I woke up to skies as sunny as my new attitude. I spent the whole day feeding, watering and hanging out with the animals and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Watering the animals became infinitely easier today thanks to the invention of the wheel. I had been carrying 5 five-gallon buckets of water the 1/8 from the truck to the pen since they moved to Felix Neck a couple of weeks ago when I got the brilliant (if belated) idea to use a cart. My local feed store didn't have any in stock but they ordered one for me. In the meantime, I borrowed one from my friend Mark Defeo and it may very well have changed my life.
Isn't is beautiful? I used it today to haul 85 gallons of water. That's 700 pounds of water!
I spent most of the day just being with the flock. I sat down in the pasture and scratched ears, petted dogs and took pictures. It was heavenly. Here are some photos I took.
Beatrice and her kid Peppermint Patty
Sicily, one of our Cormo ewes
Jack, one of last year's bottle babies. Jack is my favorite goat of all time. Next year he will be our breeding buck.
Cosmo, one of the Babydoll Southdowns. Cosmo gave me a scare this week when I got to the field to feed and found him flipped over on his back. This can be deadly for sheep. If they are flipped over for too long and can't right themselves they will stop breathing. Cosmo doesn't have the best fleece but he was one of my first four sheep and he is a love bug.
Cini and Sabine
Buck Fifty looking handsome.
I also spent some time talking to people who read the article in the Vineyard Gazette and came to see the flock. Then I headed back over to the kidding barn for some time with the nannies and kids.
We should start seeing some new babies tonight or tomorrow. I will send out an email as soon as one is born. In the meantime, start thinking of at least six more herb names. I suspect we will have a couple of sets of twins but I'm trying to keep my expectations low.
Things are shaping up well for the Martha's Vineyard Fiber Fest on April 19th. I am planning a couple of special "shareholders only" events and surprises, so I'll need to know how many of you are planning to come when we get a little closer. Please invite your family and friends, and any knitters you run into. I really want the other fiber farms on the Island to have the opportunity to show off what they do and we need to get the word out.
There is a thread about ride sharing on the ravelry fan club group but if you aren't a ravelry member yet and you need transportation from Boston or NYC, shoot me an email and I'll post for you.
Have a great week and check back here occasionally for mini-updates. And please email me if you have any questions you don't want to post here. Your emails mean the world to me.
NOTE TO MARGARET AND EDWINA: I tried to answer your email but my emails to your address keep bouncing back! Do you have a new email address? If so please send it to me.