A Farm? - An update  April  2012  by Mary

Do we have a farm somewhere, or is it just a dream? I had not been there for 5 1/2 months and Larry for 5. If you remember, Larry and Todd worked hard into the late fall to get a new roof on the barn before winter. Then, two days before Thanksgiving, Larry had surgery on his big toe. After two weeks, he recovered enough to shed the crutches and be able to have shoulder surgery. The doctor fixed a two thirds torn rotary cuff, removed a large bursa sack, removed a large lipoma under the muscle, and filed a bone spur. Little did Larry know about the recovery process of his shoulder. It took four months of physical therapy with an hour twice a day of exercises at PT or at home. He was off work at the post office for 16 weeks, and on light duty for 8 weeks. After being housebound for so long, Larry tired easily at first, but the unusually nice weather has allowed him to build up strength as he slowly catches up on yard and garden work.

Finally, on April 14th, (and after being asked if we needed directions!) we headed for the farm with thankfulness that it had been taken care of by Todd and Nancy. This winter, Todd spent time working on a computer project instead of house repair as he had the previous winter. Lately, though, both he and Nancy have been cleaning up from winter storms, doing thistle patrol, and getting the gardens ready for planting. It was raining lightly when we arrived, so we all sat on the screened-in porch enjoying the view and quiet sounds. A nice way to become reacquainted.

After the drizzle stopped, Todd and Nancy showed us some areas they had cleared as they replenished their firewood supply. How nice to see the improvements they had made and to check out the orchards and berry beds.

We wanted to lighten the spring work for Todd and Nancy, and the four of us pulled the weeds in the asparagus/ strawberry/horseradish/gooseberry bed and did thistle patrol. The men also mowed and trimmed around the other beds and individual trees. In checking out the bees, we mainly realized we had neglected to learn what we should be doing for them. We did have the pleasure of harvesting a little honey for the first time, and marveled at how sweet and potent it tasted.

The highlight of our trip was that it coincided with the neighbor coming to shear Erin's three sheep. He was not only skillful, but kindly taught Erin as he worked. One of the things we learned was that sheep don't recognize each other after being sheared, and may smell and butt each other. Rams may even become mean and territorial. I especially got a bang out of Hershey who changed from a round brown ball to naked. She resembled a large calf wearing a sheep's head, and I certainly wouldn't have recognized her if I hadn't watched the transition!

Pictures by Nancy:  Rosemary, the Columbia is getting sheared. The shearer started on her belly, and most of the wool came off in one piece. Sheep secrete lanolin from their sebaceous glands to coat their wool, so if they get nicked while shearing, they heal quickly.  Also, the shearer's hands are always soft!

Info:  Erin sold her two young lambs earlier at auction for an excellent price.


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