I recently came across the picture below via Pinterest and I was instantly in love.
It is so mystical and magical, and yet completely unglorified. The animals aren't groomed and the sun isn't shining gloriously. It makes me feel like it's... real. Like the dirty parts of the glorious every day life... like it's a glimpse into the beauty that is the messy chaos of (my) life (yes, my life can be very messy, but beautiful).
It reminds me of a book I have called Morgan and Yew, about a sheep who wants to be a unicorn, like her friend Morgan, and makes a horn out of sticks and mud, only to realize in the end that her friendship with Morgan is worth far more than a silly horn. I look at that photo above and I can almost see a unicorn's horn on top of that sweet and dirty sheep's little head.
I love sheep and goats. Love them. I want sheep and goats on my little farm. and by "my little farm" I mean in my yard, surrounded by our big farm. I sort of have this differentiation - the fields (a.k.a. the "farm" belong to my husband and the yard (or "my little farm") belong to me. On my little farm I want free range chickens and a couple of goats and a couple of sheep. I want lilac bushes full of blossoms and wild plum trees heavy with the spring scent of wild plum blossoms and little kids with dirty little cheeks, wearing little red rain boots, riding sheep and chasing chickens... brown chickens and speckled chickens and shiny blue and brown chickens that lay blue and green eggs. The chickens won't bother my gardens because they find so many worms to eat on their own and don't need to scratch in my flower beds or peck at my vegetable seeds. Oh, and the little lambs...
Mares eat oats, and does eat oats,
and little lambs eat ivy.
A kid'll eat ivy too,
Every time I see a little lamb, I think of that little poem. When I was a kid and my older sisters and brothers (all eight of them) used to sing that little chant, I used to think it was "maresy doats and dozy doats" and I never once wondered what doats were or what made them maresy or dozy! Oh, and "little lambsy divey"... have you ever seen a little lambsy divey? I imagine the little lamb up on a diving board in a little pink bikini jumping into the pool water. Some things, many things, are lost in translation when you're a kid. Cliff and I crack up at Gavin's interpretations of some pop songs... oh the thoughts of a five year old! One of his favorite songs is "The Ceiling Fan Holders", also known as "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Another of his favorites is "Like You're Gonna Tie a Yo-Yo (Yo-Yo-Yo), also known as "Die Young" by Kesha.
Enough about pop music though! Back to those adorable animals. I'm not one to fall for a well-groomed,
puntable small dog wearing bows in its hair and a handmade little sweater on it's back. I'm more of a big old mutt fan (that explains a lot, I know!). I'm a fan of the underdog... the sheep, guinea hen, the goat, the chicken, even the cow. Ah yes, the cow. My husband's family were dairy farmers. They sold their dairy herd around the time we got married. One morning I was lying in bed and I could have sworn there was a cow in my living room. What you should know about our old house was that it was roughly the size of the average person's garage, it had very little insulation (plaster and lath that we later gutted and sheetrocked), and what insulation was there, was completely useless because you could see daylight around the perimeter of the old windows (not to mention the bedroom window sash had completely rotted away so that the pane of glass literally slid down out of it's place and the opening had to be stuffed with a bath towel. Ahhhh, I loved that house. My point in telling you all of this, was that there was absolutely zero noise-barrier, and zero white noise created by the house. In modern houses, there are so many electronics that the house has it's own hum and you can't even hear the crickets at night or the coyotes yipping at the moon! So... when I say it sounded like there was a cow in my living room, that's not saying too much, since everything outside sounded like it was in the living room, except the mice, who were in the bedroom ceiling... they sounded like they were in my bed. The cow was not in my living room, but darn close! The cow was standing right outside my living room window, directly below my bedroom window. It was actually the neigbor's cow, and now that I think about it, it was probably a steer. But, a steer is a cow too! Well, not really. If you don't know the difference between a steer and a cow, you can just stop reading now. Just kidding. Keep reading! I will tell you. Although "cow" is the term most of the population uses for all Bovine animals, a cow is technically a mother bovine. A cow has had a baby in it's lifetime, a heifer is a girl cow who has not yet had a baby. A bull is a boy cow who still has his... "bull bites", and a steer is a boy cow who has received the old "snip snip" or has "been neutered" so to say. It's not that different from horse names if you're a horse person... stallion, gelding, mare, etc.
My memory of that cow (or steer) being there under my window mooing his
little big heart out is a fond one, one of those that really sticks although you can't for sure say why. Was it the smell in the air that morning? Was it the sunshine streaming in the windows? Was it the time in my relationship with my husband that marked it as memorable? I don't know. But I have such a soft spot in my heart for that morning that I think I might want free-range cattle on "my little farm". Except they poop. a lot. Maybe not free-range cattle. Unless I inherit an un-tillable hill of beautiful pasture land! Who am I kidding? Untillable? It would be sold in a heartbeat, I believe! Untillable land has little value to my farming family, unless, of course, it's huntable. Farming and Hunting... yep.
So, since I don't have my happy little hillside pasture, I live vicariously through the neighbors. We have a neighbor with the sweetest, picture perfect grassy pasture of just a few cattle inside a white split rail fence, and a neighbor with free-range chickens pecking along the roadside, and a neighbor with llamas, yes llamas and I love them!!!
We visit the llamas whenever we can and they're so much fun to watch. They also have chickens. I wish they had goats. I would love to visit goats.
On top of the cuteness of those Llamas (and the chickens who are not pictured here), they have a little shop with some vintage treasures, handmade items, llama wool, and home made canned goods, jams and jellies, pickles, etc. as well as frozen home made soups, home made breads, artisan cheeses, and even hand made soaps.
Hooray for the small scale farmer!
Now gimme some chickens and goats of my own!
In my dreams...