Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Free Spirit Strikes Again

In high school I had a very scheduled life. My senior year of high school I did marching band as section leader, made all-state band, and went to state in four individual sports (cross country, swimming, tennis, and track). I had a thriving social life, was active in my youth group, played the flute at church, and spent time with my family. And maintained As in honors classes.

In college, I kept track of how every hour was spent. I still have those four journals somewhere, that will tell me who I talked to, what homework assignments I did (and when) and what classes I went to. My junior year I attended two colleges full time and again maintained As. (And got engaged and began to plan my wedding.)

Since I graduated, though, I haven't been too fond of schedules. Some days we eat two meals; some days we eat three. Some days we have snacks and smoothies all day, then dinner. Some days we do school in the morning. Some days we do it in the afternoon. We sometimes school on Saturday.

Part of that is perhaps because I had four children in six years, and, as I'm not a baby scheduler, our life flowed from one day to the next. (I think I tried to schedule at one point, but it felt like either we were going to visit my parents, or we had company, or the baby grew and his needs changed so rapidly, I felt constantly out of sync.)

Part of that is perhaps that starting a farm from scratch involves new challenges almost daily.

Which is a drawn out way of saying that I am finding the twice a day milking, around 8am and 8pm, to be extremely restricting! My free spirit has begun to rebel.

At one point I thought I would be a perfect dairy farmer. I'm not big into leaving home. But I am not a perfect dairy farmer. I like variation too much.

It didn't help that milking tonight was ... unusual. I had given Einstein his bucket of milk replacer. Elle was not happy about being second again, and after a few seconds she managed to bop it off the fence (apparently they are growing!). Milk replacer all over two sheepish calves.

So I fixed some more, herded Belle from the farthest corner of her paddock, and began to milk.

But Phil moved the rest of the cows upslope today, and Belle could see them. For the first time, she didn't just tug forward and back; she tugged to the side, trying to pull the cattle panel off so she could be free. Except lugging a cattle panel from her halter doesn't sound like great freedom to me. (Mayhem, yes.)

Happily, we finished.

Another little averted disaster involved another calf. When Phil herded the bulk of the herd uphill, one calf refused to join the group, preferring the shelter of the trees. For six hours or so she stayed down there, despite Phil's hour-long effort to corral her upslope to her mother.

By evening, though, Phil heard a mama cow mooing, and an answering baby mooing back. They found each other at last, mama and baby together.

Speaking of babies, I first felt little baby movements last Thursday. That seemed awfully early, but since I've felt it every day since, in the same place, and since quickening can come at 16 weeks (which I now am), that is very fun. Apparently the baby is almost four ounces and the height of an avocado. Grow on, baby.

In my always weird pregnancy dreams, I dreamed I had twin girls, and we named the unexpected one Danae Rose. Since I've never considered either name for any child, I think it's funny that my subconscious was so definite.

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