A Gentle Day

Thanksgiving is my favourite American holiday. Mainly because there are no expectation of gifts or silly songs or garish decorations and you only have to eat once that day. It is all about the food and family and friends. Of course as I am a New Zealander I don’t have to cook a Thanksgiving lunch. My food would be ALL WRONG, thank goodness.

So with my woolly hat firmly on my head I worked almost the whole day with a break for lunch and I did not go into the kitchen once.  This IS a holiday for me believe it or not.  To be able to muck about in the barn – this is what I love.

My mother in law cooked a lovely local turkey (not one of mine) and all the associated family dishes. I just worked happily on the farm in the morning, had a long boozy lunch, then worked all afternoon on the farm again and right into the night. This gave me plenty of time to watch and observe all my animals.

Not having to feed any people at all is as good as a rest for me.


Carlos is out in the field with the big cows and holding his own quite nicely – we are having a spell of warmish and wettish weather and the grass is actually growing.  So all the cows are munching as fast as they can.

Tima was her usual self this morning, (much to my surprise after the tough delivery of a still-born unfinished piglet the night before).  Though she was not terribly chatty.


I kept her and Tane in the clean pen for most of the day so she would be forced to rest. Mostly (as usual) she just wanted to eat.  Imagine being able to live so completely in the moment.

I don’t know if it was my imagination or not but the barn seemed calmer yesterday – gentler – everyone seemed to have settled down a notch. cows

I spent quite a bit of time observing Alex the new Dexter heifer. She is timid but she does not lower her head or threaten me at all. (Not like Elsie). She would just rather I kept my distance. She has not been handled since she was a calf. So today I am going to get a halter on her (which might be a drama) and begin to get Close and Personal with her. That coat of hers is going to be getting lots and lots of brushing. And she and I will get to know each other better.  She is a heifer (has never had a calf) and was confirmed pregnant by a vet and if this proves correct she should be having a calf in early June.  And I need her gentled for the milking. And familiar with the areas she will traverse in her milking career here.


So if all our pregnancies go to term ( and there are no guarantees about anything, ever, at all, as we know),  next years calving calendar might look like this .

  • May 1st – Lady Astor
  • June – Alex
  • July 10 – Aunty Del

Not too bad.  The gestation period for a cow is a little over nine months – give or take.


Poppy will go to visit Manu in January – hopefully giving us piglets in May ready to wean by the middle of June.

The gestation period for a pig is three months, three weeks and three days.

This coming Wednesday the two little Holstein calves will be sold.  They will never be healthy enough to live on an organically managed farm. So they are being sold on to a larger more conventional farm with a warmer barn and a  nice farmer and medicine.  I do not have the space to keep them separated (they still cough)  and adequately housed in the cold.

December 9th the Plonkers will leave the farm for the abbatoir. They have got quite chubby on their vegetarian diet.  I am very pleased with their progress.

At the end of the winter /early spring Queenie’s Bobby will go to the abbatoir too. He is about ready and completely pasture raised and all the families will be needing the beef. I am a small farm.  And we must not lose sight of the fact that we are raising food here. It is not a petting zoo –  though everyone loves to be petted (except Alex but she will learn that a little loving is good for the soul).  And we do have some pets!


But I make sure that every life is treated with respect and care. Even short lives can be good.

I can’t remember if I told you already but I am giving myself a treat and on December 11 I am going to fly out to Canada and spend a few days with my eldest son up in the mountains. Jake and John will take over the farm for those few days. And you and I will have some different adventures. He trains avalanche dogs so I will be paying close attention. And YES – I have checked my passport!

I just need a wee getaway. And you know how I LOVE to travel.

I hope you have a good day.

Love celi







72 Comments on “A Gentle Day

  1. Have a very calm Thanksgiving myself – just cooked for me (oh and the dogs/cats). Had a Rib Eye steak from a local farmer, with salad and chips (double cooked in lard). with chocolate ice cream for afters! So unlike a lot of people today I do not still feel stuffed to the gills LOL.
    So glad you have everything mapped out with the animals – I expect you keep a chart somewhere?
    Yes you do need a break – what a lovely chance to go watch dogs being trained for such a good job. Wish I could come with you!

    • That sounds like a perfect dinner to me – I LOVE a good rib-eye.. I don’t have a chart but I still use my old style teaching diaries.. they keep me in order but I really need to get next years set up – so far next year is all notes! c

  2. Great news that Tima is well. I was excited when I heard you were visiting Canada, thought if close to me we could meet. But the mountains are very far from me, the Farmy would be closer!
    I hope you have a wonderful time, that is only a week away!

  3. A lovely bit of holiday and an adventure to look forward to in the near future? Well deserved! You work hard.

  4. wow, there is going to be quite a step up for Carlos IV to Aunty Del 🙂 Good for you for claiming a wee break away, enjoy. Laura

  5. This is all good news, and a restored Tima is excellent news… You have your calendar well in hand, both for the creatures and for yourself: I just want to remind you about Melbourne in February before you disappear into the wilds of Canada. I am holding 29th free, so hopefully that will still work for you?

  6. This is such good news Celi. I’m so happy that the drama is behind you and you were spared yesterday’s traditional cooking nightmare. (Although that is one thing about America that I love. Our Canadian Thanksgiving is sort of lost in October and doesn’t herald in the Christmas season) I’m so glad you’re getting away…although Alberta is not the usual, tropical sort of get away, it’ll be wonderful for you to catch up with your son and his family. You made me chuckle about the passport. I checked mine too, as I’m off in a few days. Isn’t that the way though? You come to Canada and close to me, just as I leave for the other end of the old globe. Figures! 😀

    • Do you remember last time I went to canada and found to my horror a week away from flying that my passport was out of date and Chicago John driving the new to me at the airport! just before I flew out – mercy that was a close call!.. c

      • yes that was a mighty close call!! I think I lost a few hairs then too!! but thankfully you made it to the wedding!!

      • Oh boy do I ever! We were all on pins and needles for you! 😀 That’s what made me chuckle and now I’m going to be a serial passport checker too! PS. mine expires in 2016!

      • I remember that, there was much holding of breath, finger crossing and a multitude of prayers, we don’t want to do that again 🙂

  7. This post was a welcome update today. It can be quite easy, with so many in the cast coming and going, to forget which way is up as a reader. Knowing that some of the familiar faces will be gone soon (Queenies Bobbie in particular) is rather sad, but then we have all these new faces to become accustomed to. It has come to my notice that you have an uncanny way of writing mostly about the animals that are long term guests on the farm, and conversely, spending less time telling and showing us about those who are destined for food or other homes. Rather intentional or not Miss C, I appreciate this plan. I am less likely to become virtually attached to one of the group when you post infrequently about their days and nights and shenanigans for as you note, you are running a farm with a purpose.

    • I think it is an extension of how I work. I tend to feed and gently care for the animals destined for the table and photograph and EXtend the animals I will keep for a while.. I also do not allow too much of an attachment. Selling animals on is one thing but growing specifically for our food is another. So I think I am looking after my own heart and yours. it works.

  8. It’s good to know the programme for arrivals and departures. I will miss the plonkers and the bobbies, but quite understand the philosophy of the Farmy. Producing food has to be the most worthwhile aim. I hope you have a wonderful time with your son, and pray for a smooth term of office for John and Jake.
    ViV xox

    • Not for a few weeks yet – and by the time I leave everyone will be in their winter quarters for good… at the moment it had warmed up and everyone is out in the field! In the rain! c

  9. What a perfectly lovely day!! Question – what types of sides did your mother-in-law serve yesterday? I find it rather interesting how each state…and even areas within a state… have their own ‘traditional sides’ for Thanksgiving. Being of French Canadian heritage, we always serve both a meat stuffing and bread stuffing, for instance. ++ Looking forward to your posts when you’re in Canada visiting your son!! ; o )

    • I’d love to visit your farm someday and rent that adorable ‘guest area’ AND I would LOVE to do the cooking !!! As well as help around the farm! ; o )

      • she makes a bread stuffing that she calls a dressing and turkey and salad and fruit salad and mashed potatoes, beans. And I would love you come to be our cook too! There is always plenty to do. Let me know when you get closer to making a plan! c

  10. oh I’m relieved to hear you had a good day yesterday ~ just spending the day in the barn with all the “Kids”. They all had a day of Thanksgiving with just having their Master around them. And life goes on for Tima ~ I’m glad to hear you took a break and enjoyed a “long boozy lunch”!! Made me chuckle!!

  11. There is nothing in the world like the hugs from a much missed son. Or daughter. I so understand. No matter how old they get, they are still children of your heart. I have both of my children close now but remember the days that was not so. And I’ve lived continents away from my family.. I did the cooking this year for the first time in many. It was crazy, hectic and absolutely wonderful. My daughter was so impressed that I could gently remove myself while the adult women did their own things in my kitchen. Hey, have at it I said, sitting and resting my weary bones. It’s the most fun I’ve had in years. I like your kind of Thanksgiving too. A gentle one. I’m delighted the day went so kindly for you.

  12. It’s good to have a plan and thank you for reviewing it for us. I remember the farm days and being aware of who was up next for the pot. I’m glad the fringe players are the ones who will touch and go, while the creatures you’ve shared will hopefully be around to brighten our day. Have a great trip!

  13. I love that Alex is a dun. We had our first dun heifer a few weeks ago. They’re harder to come by than the blacks or reds. My entire herd is black except now for this sweet, wild little thing. Dexters are fast learners and friendlier than a lot of breeds so Alex should gentle in no time. It only took our 4 year old bull a few months to warm up to full body rubs and brushing. He’s a real attention whore now! I think you’ll be very please with Dexters. By the way, we butchered our first Dexter calf this past September and the meat has been the best we’ve ever had. Tender and beautiful. I can’t imagine not having them.

    • Thank you Jennifer – this is great to hear. I was offered Alex and had no idea that the dun was hard to come by – Just luck for me. She is quite lovely. Does your dun heifer have these golden eyes? They are amazing. c

  14. With all the hullabaloo that comprises Thanksgiving around here, I had a small thought in the back of my mind for you, Miss C, worried that Thanksgiving was akin to Christmas for you. I’m very glad to hear it is not. I just love the new mini cattle, btw, and our Del is all grown up!

  15. So great that you had a day off and you could enjoy it that way you liked it. I’m glad that everything is ok at/on the Farmy. Being content and grateful – that’s what Thanksgiving means, no?
    It’s the second time these days you mention that “living in the moment” (in connection with Tima). I like this, it talks to me. Loudly.
    I like Naomi’s belly and fur. Love, that she’s around and close by Alex. Helps her that way to accomodate…
    That is me a breeding clinic here….. 😉 – Lots of work and lots of news lying ahead. Great. I like your plannings and your forsight.…
    I love that you have this trip to Canada looking forward to – it’s around your birthday, isn’t it?

  16. One of the I things I like that the Farmy demonstrates well is that food production cycle, the animals have good lives, hoisting the standard of food production done with care and ethics… as opposed to CAFOS. You don’t shout it but it underpins what you do.
    Nice that you are taking off for a bit 🙂

    • And there is no reason why we cannot buy meat and vegetables grown with care – they are more expensive but honestly we don’t need to eat AS MUCH as we do. The sheer volume of food consumed now is crazy!

      • It once was the case that farmers markets were overall more expensive but we’re just back from the local Saturday inner city farmers market and our shopping cost less than when we had no time last week and went to the supermarket and bought their premium priced version of organic and free range. And what a sad food week that was for us but this week we can look forward to real food 🙂

    • Kim, it’s not you – I have had no end of problems on Celi’s site for the last 10-odd days: have to print everything out at least twice!

  17. Oh so we ever remember that wedding trip to Canmore and holding our collective breaths that passport would arrive in time from London! Don’t think you ever realized how many worried emails sped across the world 😀 !! But your diary both home and abroad does sound smile-creating . . . . probably won’t get to Melbourne myself but a local phone call we can surely arrange . . . don’t seem to get around taking a photo but a voice I can ‘produce’ . . .

      • * big smile* Am a practical gal: just want to hear your voice and however long we have time to chat and laugh it won’t cost the price of an air ticket 800 km south!!

          • Thanks to Grannymar and you as a very new mobile owner [never have been phone-friendly and love my ever-so-cheap landline !] have now read up on WhatsApp 101 . . . interesting!! And fingers and toes crossed Grannymar for a long quiet period with your heart : with three incompetent valves and afib I’m kind’of ‘in the zone’ myself 🙂 !

  18. You deserved a calm quiet day yesterday after the difficult one the day before, Tima sounds like a ‘get up, dress up and show up’ kinda gal, so pleased she is doing well. A little break is what you need with special hugs. I am looking forward to special hugs tomorrow, when Elly & George come for the day. Alas I gave them a bit of a fright on Thursday.. a few quiet days have given my old ticker some time to settle down again. Only the good die young! 😆

    • Yes , well, grannymar darling the good may well die young but I am not quite ready for you to join the throng. So take it VERY easy until Elly gets there. And tell her to tell me if you get ill again so we can send well wishes!! merciful heavens.

      • Poor Elly has no siblings to share the burden of her mother! She wants to see me for herself before heading off on another work trip to China on 2 December. Alas, ischaemic heart disease and angina have rented space in my heart for over twelve years now, I know when to rest and when to call 911. Thankfully I was due for a cardiac review, and the problem showed up on the tracing (it does not always do so). Just like the animals of the farmy, we all have an allotted time and none of us are promised tomorrow, I come from along line of ‘heart problems’, mammy and her five brothers all succumbed and several of my younger cousins have lost the battle too. I don’t dwell on it and am grateful for each new day and being able to laugh. I have often said: I have so much to be thankful for, and on the days I cannot run the roads, the world comes in to me through blogging and Facebook. WhatsApp gives immediate access to Elly without intruding if she is busy, she always comes back to me as soon as she can. Life is good.

          • The last time Elly was in China, WhatsApp was her only means of keeping in contact, the major firewall blocked skype, email and facebook. Now I must settle down to sleep – it is 02:00 here and I don’t want bags under my eyes when the youngsters arrive. Celi, dear heart, enjoy the remainder of your day.

        • As much as I got now, Grannymar, you do not feel very well. I’m sorry for that. I wish you well & fingers crossed that soon everything will be in order again. – Have a good night, Marie!

  19. That does free up one’s day–not having to cook. Dec. 11 is not far off, so glad you are able to fit in the trip to your son’s.

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