Signs and Cycles

Hello and happy fall!

In my opinion, this is the most beautiful time of year in the Skagit Valley! The colors, the morning light, gourds of all shape and size cropping up all over the place. The sheep take their time going out and back from the pasture. We are close to breeding season, but for now there is not much for the sheep to do except graze.

September to October is also our transition from lambing, milking, and cheesemaking to tending the farm in slower and quieter ways. We have adapted to this seasonal lifestyle and the pros and cons of following our sheep’s natural lactation. This year our lambs we born a bit later than normal, due to the extra time it took to get our new rented pasture ready, so that shifted out schedule a bit. We actually had lambs born on Mother’s Day. Emily and her daughter Esme, both game birth to beautiful twins, which was a special addition to our family brunch that day. However, getting the lambs out on warmer May pastures had its own special challenges. So, we learned a lot and stayed very busy this season. (I see my last post here was in January, which tells me a lot!).

In May, I also published an article about lambing season and motherhood. You can read Lessons from Lambing Season online. Coincidentally, this issue of Literary Mama came out on my birthday this year. The year before on my birthday, my poem “Latch” from Feeding Hour, which was inspired by the farm came out in an anthology called (M)othering as well. I might be overly superstitious, but I find these reoccurences interesting and reaffirming. It is hard to balance my farm life and my writing life, but the moments where they come together in a burst of creative inspiration feel important to acknowledge. I would like to take it as a sign to keep writing along side our life on the farm. Motherhood, as well, remains a constant teacher.

While the farm blog is often neglected (sorry, there are only so many hours in the day), I have started a new Substack page called Her Deepest Ecologies. It is a place where I think about ecological grief and mothering and I share writing prompts as well as interviews with people I admire. It is my “winter work” as I say and if you are interested you can follow me there as well. Life continues to grow and expand. I have no complaints about the weather in Western Washington this summer, but it has been very hard to watch extreme heat waves and floods around the world from our little farm. We are safe here, for now, but it is hard to know what future environmental changes are to come. As a mother and shepherdess, this keeps me awake at night.

Thanks for all of your support this year and for reading my sporadic Farm Journal. I do like sharing what we do in this space–it feels a bit cozier than social media these days. Take care enjoy the fall!