pictured, not pictured

I haven't had the baby yet. I hope I'm not misleading anyone into thinking I have by the silence on this site. Just in the throes of summer. A very rainy rainy summer. Also, just generally massively pregnant and uncomfortable.

So, because there is much to do and because sitting has become unearthly weird and sore for me, I will give you the farm update in the traditionally more succinct pictured, not pictured.

1. Fiona and Nick and I made a belly/boob cast of my pregnant self. The babe kicked the entire time....so it has its lumps. It is hanging on the mantel. I imagine it won't be long until the puppy jumps up and destroys it. Must find a safer place.
2. The sheep were shorn yesterday. When they were shorn in October they looked like the tiniest little girls. I was expecting the same last night, but they are fat and lumpy. Its incredible what grass can do with a growing body. They will be bred in the fall and hopefully shed some of this summer weight making little lambs over winter.
3. The milking crew. Chickadee in the foreground. Winnie as caboose. The doelings are in training for next year when they are in milk. So, they come in every night with Chickadee. Nobody needs leadlines anymore. They know the drill. We are insulting them by implying otherwise.
4. Hawkeye. Successfully helped in herding sheep once this week. Successfully helped herding goats once this week. Unsuccessfully helped in herding both about 86 times. He's learning, we try not to dwell on the failures.

1. The chickens have been moved to the northern pasture across the brook. We miss them only a little and are thoroughly enjoying the new peace of the front porch and garden.
2. The pigs, living off milk and milk by products (whey, buttermilk, skim). They emerge from their forest pen only for food, like two small black dinosaurs. First you see the foliage on top move from the rumblings below...then you hear their grunts...then they come, spilling out of the underbrush and dive into their milk bowls.
3. The rain. The rain. The rain. Fucking Vermont.
4. My surprisingly suburban obsession with lawn mowing. It is my only real sweat exercise lately as running and biking weigh too heavily on my bladder and most farm chores involve carrying things too heavy for my long-ago disappeared abdomen. It is the most fuel intensive workout I've ever come up with but I'll be damned if I don't feel high on endorphins and a neat lawn afterwards.
5. The definition of "lawn" gets a little hazy with 30 acres of open grass.
6. Fiona is in Colorado for a wedding this weekend. We both sank deeply into a despair yesterday when she left.
7. Despite feeling a little short on help we are looking forward to what is most likely the last weekend of just Nick and Kate. Dump run, flea market, bluegrass festival, in bed by 8:30pm. The possibilities are limitless.
8. The anticipation of labor. I've been reading as many inspiring home-birth stories that I can find. I've replaced all bathroom reading with Ina May Gaskin books, imposing my reading list on the entire household. I just wish I could know when it was going to start and have the smallest idea of what it was going to feel like.
9. The kindest care packages for the little babe arriving from friends and blog readers alike. The thoughtfulness makes my belly swell with excitement and love.
10. The very beginnings of musing about a bed & breakfast here on the farm. While our house is quite small, there is another cabin in the woods on our property. It has two big bedrooms and two bathrooms, a wood stove. A great wrap around porch. It is occupied with renters until September, but after that we aren't sure what to do with it. I (naively) think I would love to run a B&B and (naively) think we'd have full occupancy all year round.
11. The way a fellow very tired farmer friend, Alex, signed off an email to Nick and I last week. "Miss you both. Anxiously waiting for winter."



My sister, Hawkeye and I took the goats for a walk this morning. I am slowing way down. Fiona arrived for the summer four days ago. She is here to help us with the farm and the baby. As I said to Nick this morning I really don't know what I would have done without her. She is throwing herself right into the thick of it all. She milked the goat morning and night yesterday and again this morning when I wasn't feeling well enough to go to the barn. She chased sheep yesterday and corralled them back into their pasture with only the help of our Shepard puppy.

This morning she went on a goat walk with me as we scouted a new pasture for them. While Nick cooked us breakfast she played a guitar on the front porch. After breakfast Nick and I lay down with the four farm dogs underneath the apple tree while she cleared the picnic table and washed up. As I write she is banging in the nails to the deck of the yurt we hope to erect by the end of the week.

She could honestly just sit here like a lump on the log that is our couch and I would be overthemoon happy to have her here. She is the other half of my soul in a way that only a sister could be. But she's also kicking ass and giving me a much needed opportunity to slow down, to stop carrying heavy things, to stop chasing four legged creatures. She is giving me the chance I wrote of last week to move inward.  And for this I will forever be in her loving debt.

What would we do without our sisters?

photos: 1. Fiona and one of the still nameless doelings. 2. Hawkeye and me, at 36 weeks.


moving inward

Our house really only consists of two rooms, so here they are, in their splendor. Kitchen-livingroom-diningroom. And bedroom. We also have a bathroom and a cellar. Both of which Nick and I find infinitely convenient and fun, but neither of which are particularly photogenic. Actually, the bathroom is quite pretty. But who wants to see a photo of a bathroom? It is small. Remarkably so. As though it were built for a very small man. The shower head was placed so the stream of water hits you square in the chest. Very European we say, under the perhaps misguided impression that all European conveniences (including showers) are small by American standards. The bathroom was also bestowed a skylight. So, while bathing you can spy on the how the cows, chickens, and sheep are all doing on their respective plots of grass. You can't see the pigs nor the goats from that vantage though....every skylight has its limits.

This is our home, in two photos. It is slightly bigger than our former. It was built, 25 years ago, as the beginning of a man's retirement home. Sadly, his wife was struck with a tumor in the brain and the two were never able to realize old age here. Since then, few have really lived here but for the occasional caretaker. So, in many ways it feels like a new house, virtually unlived.

It is within the walls of this little house that is now Ours (with that very capital 'O') that I have been cocooning. Moving inward as I try to describe it to friends. It is not for a lack of outdoor activity. Between the garden, the forest work, the milkings, the fence moving, and the growing number of animals I have been spending in fact a good number of exhausting hours outside. But the house has become my womb as I move inward. As I reach 36 weeks I have been making the concerted point to slow down. To give myself the head space to reflect on the arrival of this baby boy. How I envision the birth. How I envision my future as his mother. How I see Nick and I now, and who we will be with our son.

I haven't been able to give this pregnancy much reflection in the past couple of months as we moved farm and home and as the tremendous responsibility of the spring thaw fell upon us. Before we moved I had a belly and I felt the flutter of his kicks but now I can hardly put socks on without Nick's help and we can feel our son's feet kicking my ribs. He wakes me up nearly every morning with hiccups. He starts moving (or dancing?) whenever Nick picks up the guitar. He has become a real human being in this third trimester. He has become our son and I his mother and Nick his father. We have worked frantically in the past two months to prepare home and farm for his arrival. We are still working frantically, though Nick more so than I. His car seat is promised to arrive today. His bassinet is in place. I even got a couple packs of newborn disposable diapers for the first weeks.

My sister arrives for the summer on Saturday. And once she does, perhaps unbeknownst to her, I will be slowing down even more as she helps me with my chores and Nick with his. No matter how much the farm needs me, I won't be going full steam from dawn to dusk much longer. If this means the garden has to go to the weeds, so be it. I want to lay on the hammock outdoors or snuggle up in our bed next to his bassinet. At least once a day. Just maybe for 20 minutes to talk to him and to prepare myself for his coming.

So, my apologies for the speckled silence here. I have no intention of letting this blog go as it is the only place I record anything in any kind of consistent manner. But everything will gradually slow down in the coming months. The farm work, the emails, the blogging, the visitors. Our attention must naturally be allowed to focus on the importance of this summer; the safe and healthy birth of our first son.

Ok, enough babbling, I must go move milk and then play with the goats in the forest as we four try to save an old apple orchard from the encroaching woods. Nick is picking up lumber this morning to start building the platform for the yurt. My sister is going to need a place to sleep after we run her exhausted with all these farm chores every day.


back and home

This is just to say that we are back to the Internet-ed world. We went 2 blissful weeks without telephone and 3 without Internet at the new farm. We got our phone back a week earlier all for Nick mentioning over and over that his "wife" was 8 1/2 months pregnant and we needed some way to call our midwife or the hospital, heavenforbid. We use the terms "husband" and "wife" when we feel it would garner us more respect than "babymama" or "babydaddy".

It was so wonderful to be so unreachable. It allowed for mornings and evenings to be left sacred. Instead of watching Netflix at night we've been reading baby books. Our due date is fast approaching with me at 35 weeks. I realized this week I have one onesie, a bassinet, and a little hat. Not a single diaper, or carseat, or wrap. So this weekend is devoted to the accumulation of the necessary so that when baby comes, he can be warm and safe and clean.

I'll put more photos of the new farm up soon. For now....

1. View at dawn from the porch.
2. Nick and Winnie walking in for morning milking.
3. Our pond where I've spent most of my late pregnancy days.
4. Fiddlehead in the crabapple outside the house, taunting a puppy who can't climb.
5. A warning of frost last night for our chilled little town. I wrapped each tomato in a bedsheet as I could think of nothing else at 9:30pm when I checked the weather report.
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