Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Digesting a M.E.A.L. and General Updates

Anyone need an extra chin? (He'll hate me for this one someday.)

I did a quick review of my latest posts and realized that I haven't given a very indepth update of things going on.  Upon further reflection however, I feel like I have little to report.  Not only because I'm more of a house resident than a farm participant, but because winter hasn't really left yet in the sense that the farm is still enjoying some down time before the spring rush hits.  

Mark was down with a couple bouts of the flu or 'the diabolicals' as we call a certain symptom thanks to the colourful vocabulary of my brother.  At one point I made a comparison of Mark's ailments to Old Man Winter's case of the...er...dumps.  Then Mark went into a few days of the sweats as his body rid itself of the bug, the same point at which Old Man Winter happened to be warming things a little too quickly- hence the water in the basement.  (OMW has since gone on the warming strike however and we're back in frigid temperatures again.) 
I kept wondering why Mark was taking so long to recover and didn't seem to get completely over it the first time before it hit again.  Then I found this picture of him during a day of 'recovery' here at the house.
We're pretty much done lambing with two old girls holding tough and who may or may not be just fat rather than pregnant.  This is my first batch of lambs from my new ram and I had hoped to be able to sell some registered polled dorset breeding stock since quality breeding stock is in high demand around here these days.  Of course of the five lambs I've had up to now, only one is a girl.  I have my eye on one of the rams as potential breeding stock, but since I had wanted to keep a ewe or two for myself, this looks like a bit of a 'growing year' as they say. Thankfully I've had a number of requests for lamb lately, so when I ship these ones that were born at Christmas, I shouldn't have much trouble selling them.  

 As for that Local M.E.A.L that I attended, I am still shocked at how much fun it was.  I don't usually get very stressed about public speaking, but the format for this was really wearing me out.  I got there a bit early in order to get my bearings.   I was under the impression early on that it would likely be a small group of concerned young people so when I settled near the front with my friend and fellow presenter, Jen Campbell, we grew increasingly concerned as we kept turning around to a room getting fuller and fuller.  The organizers kept digging out chairs from all over the building and the noise level grew.  As the room filled up, we kept catching glimpses of pioneers in our respective agricultural fields who we felt had far more to contribute than either of us.  When I stood up to speak I would estimate that more than 200 sets of eyes were watching my pictures and trying to keep up with my quick words (I did warn them that I would be speaking fast so they better be ready to listen fast).  I was aiming for an overall message about the importance of organics using our farm as a reference and although I was obviously preaching to a choir of concerned eaters, the energy in the room was invigorating and impressive.  Apparently the presentations will be available online sometime in the future. 
  The precision timing required meant that I could not get off on a tangent or cut myself off prematurely.  And given the topic (organics) it was difficult for me to stay reigned in.  I actually made three different presentations before I settled on the one I went with.  I am happy with what I ended up choosing and got a great response from the crowd.  I had sort of asked to go early on and I'm glad that I did, because I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the presentations (8 in all).  And as a listener, the Pecha Kucha format is really ideal.  Six and a half minutes is just the right amount of time because if you don't like the speaker or the topic, it's only 6 minutes and if you do enjoy it, you're intrigued and wanting more.  There are no questions from the floor at the time of presentation, so it means the discussions afterward and very one on one and personal.  It was really an excellent night.  The organizers did an amazing job and I can't help but think that this event was more successful, attendance wise, than if it had been organized by farmers.  That's a whole other post though.

Despite the temperatures not really climbing, apparently the maple sap is running a bit at home and that always makes me wish I was in West Branch this time of year, sipping warm syrup from a bottle with a whittled wooden stopper and re-learning the rules for 45's, again.  I hope for a trip home soon, but with various church activities tying up our weekends and the weekdays starting to ramp up it's never a sure thing.  For the sake of family here's a few pictures of the kids. 
Climbing trees is much easier in the winter!  Hard to believe this was only taken a few weeks ago. 

 I had asked Wilson to go entertain Thayne one day as I was trying to do something in the kitchen.  This is the sweet scene I found when I peeked around the corner. 

Some smiles from my boys. 

Hope this finds you eating some locally produced, free range eggs purchased from your favorite farmer.



  1. Thank you for my morning smile. MLM

  2. Great write up!!! And we are enjoying fresh eggs...our own; a sure sign of warmer weather when the old girls start laying again yipeee! Keep me updated on when those M.E.A.L. presentations will be available online. Sounds like it was an awesome experience for everyone involved. Oh and by the way,let Mark know that we have a new 'toy' in our yard... the beast has arrived!