Solemn Cows

I have spent much of the last four days in airports and planes and cars, (mercy America is a big country)  helping out John’s Mum who needed assistance to come back home to Illinois from California after a fall.

Due to hold ups and time changes I feel like most of that travel was in a state of sleeplessness and I arrived home on Sunday shattered. Yesterday was a very physical, hard day getting the barn cleaned up after my absence and getting the pigs up to date. The nicest part was working with John’s mum getting her settled back in her own home.


At the farm: fences had failed and gates had been broken, waters had been depleted and it had been wet the whole time I was away so there was mud tracked all through the house from the dogs and someone’s boots so even the clean up in the house took ages. All the animals had been fed and watered with buckets so all was well in that department. They were ok. And the hard labour was a good thing after all that stuffy flying and hotels and travel. It is tangible and satisfying to work hard.

Also, another section of John’s family is on their way to live here too, and will arrive in a few days, a very young little family in trouble so there is much to do to prepare for their arrival.  The poverty line is a dangerous place in the United States and the boy is right to come home. But this arrival brings difficulty and troubles and anxiety that are not my own, nor of my making and out of my control.

I have lots of food in the freezer though so no-one will go hungry.

But I don’t really want to write about John’s family here in my farm journal  –  this blog is about the farm.


But all these things are clamouring for attention. Re-settling John’s Mum and dealing with the rehab from her fall will be the easiest to assimilate into my routine.


Dealing with the family dynamics of your spouses broken home is more difficult. Tension and unrest are building. Anyway – that is not your business.  Nor mine actually. Our business together is the farm and we will remain focused on that.


But this is how I feel.  (See LOUD bellowing calf below).


And that is OK. No-one has to be feeling good or even doing particularly well all the time.  In fact no one person can. We are all a little broken. All a little damaged. The body is made up of soft tissue and soft emotions. Humans are incredibly badly designed actually – with a self-destruct button very close to the surface. Some people are more broken than others and more susceptible to causing breaks than others and as they slowly self-destruct the shrapnel burrows into the organisms who are close by.  Some seek to break people on purpose, some damage others by mistake and never notice.   We must all be gentle, gentle and as forgiving of them as we can. But, be sensible, build a good shield and wear a life jacket. calf12-015

Kindness is prized. But forgiveness and mercy and kindness are not the easiest path by any means. Put your own oxygen mask on before seeking to help others.

I warned you last week that I may not be able to blog every day over this period.  Please heed this and don’t be worried.  Being pressured to blog defeats its purpose.

I have a lot to do at the moment, though I will not speak of any of this family stuff again nor discuss it in comments.This is a farm journal. A farm blog. Our safe place. And in a month it will be a travel blog. That is something to look forward to.

Today after other chores I am going to try and fix these gates. Gates are not my best. Tima that fattie broke one of them, it was her interior door, and so late yesterday afternoon, that I had to leave her and Tane out in the tin shed for the night. So that is the one I will fix first.

Then I will have to work on picking a pig house up with the tractor and getting it through the mud and into the vegetable garden for Molly. Her babies have to be weaned and I am still waiting on another gate being fixed over at the West barn so I can shift Poppy over there and put Molly in with Sheila.  (Plans within plans within plans)  But that is one gate I cannot fix myself.  So  Molly will need to go into temporary quarters away from her babies.

I hope you have a lovely day.


WEATHER:  Strong Nor’west winds – moving swiftly down past freezing.

Tuesday 11/21 10% / 0 inA mix of clouds and sun in the morning followed by cloudy skies during the afternoon. Morning high of 45F with temps falling to near freezing. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.

Tuesday Night 11/21 0% / 0 inClear skies. Low 23F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.

6:47 am 4:29 pm
Waxing Crescent, 11% visible9:20 am 7:11 pm


74 Comments on “Solemn Cows

  1. You must be glad to be home and no doubt John’s mum is too – I hope she mends soon.
    I love the bellowing calf!

  2. I see your weather pattern…..brrrr! Is it normal for y’all to be 23 in November? (maybe you are in Montana after all :))
    Good to hear your voice again.

      • And you have to water some/ all of your animals by hand with buckets? Or do you just not have the winter hoses set up yet?

          • You are very sweet to your pigs. Ours just have to make due with warm-ish water from the water heaters. We just make sure the water fonts are full and the water heaters keep them from freezing. They DO, however, get warm oatmeal in the mornings (and sometimes at night if it’s going to be a cold windy night). They LOVE that and honk with delight to see us coming their way with a bucket.

  3. This paragraph deserves a writing award! I wish I had one to give you.

    Humans are incredibly badly designed actually – with a self-destruct button very close to the surface. Some people are more broken than others and more susceptible to causing breaks than others. and as they slowly self-destruct the shrapnel burrows into the organisms who are close by. Some seek to break people on purpose, some damage others by mistake and never notice. We must all be gentle, gentle and as forgiving of them as we can. But build a good shield and wear a life jacket. Be sensible.

  4. I’m glad you’re OK and safely home. The Farmy and the Fellowship have both missed you but my word, you’ve been busy! Good luck with the fence building and piggy family moving…

  5. “And that is OK. No-one has to be feeling good or even doing particularly well all the time.” Nothing truer has ever been said. The only thing that really matters is that we care about the life we are living.

    I’m glad the pigs are still being naughty. Life on the farm wouldn’t be quite right if a pig wasn’t causing some kind of mischief.

  6. This was in my inbox– sharing: May your coffee be strong enough to help you through anything thrown at you today. But if not, remember you must not throw your cup at anyone… you need it for refills!!
    If those smart pigs could learn to repair what they break 🙂

  7. That image of Inky is priceless! I wish so much I could bring Forrest with me to help you with those gates (and fencing). He’s an excellent carpenter too… kind of a jack-of-all-trades kind of fella. I keep hoping he and I can drive up to visit sometime and lend some helping hands. You’ve got yours full at the moment!

  8. In spite of a little breakage and a little damage, you are building fences with gates instead of walls. You are made of stern stuff with a self destruct button buried deep within. While the armor you wear is fragile, you have the ability to see the important details, and the wisdom to keep your eyes along the skyline. Still, the entire fellowship wishes to give you a warm hug.

  9. Sending good thoughts. You are smart and sensible and kind and I’m very sure things will work out. Life does have its way with us though, despite our attempts at control (ha!) Reminds us that we all need to stay flexible and put on our life jacket for sure!

  10. All that traveling and coming back to broken gates and mess. Deep breaths and count to ten, a lot! I hope Johns mum gets better soon.

  11. I am so glad to hear anything from you. My mind goes into overdrive when I begin to worry about people I care about. I’m sure you have been pretty wrung through and are on the road to normal wear and tear. I loved that paragraph as well. it speaks volumes. Had to laugh a bit at the mud in the house. Not surprising those things happen when you are away. Hope you have a gentle day and all goes well.

  12. Love the pic of ruminating cattle gazing into the distance. You must do a fair amount of rumination yourself while flying about the farm; such lovely, wise words to remember. Thank you C.
    Meanwhile, check the tanks before donning mask and body armour; (we’ll) be thinking of you as things are rearranged, propped up and pasted back together…

  13. Something life throws things as me that make me want to so screaming out the back door into the night….therefore, I loved the symbolism of the bawling cafe!!!

  14. I’ve missed the blog but want to express appreciation for your willingness to just jump in wherever you are needed. You are good people, Miss C. Bless you for your tender heart and willing hands.

  15. I think EVERYONE needs a good bellowing moment from time to time! Lets the steam out of the pressure cooker. I love your advice to “put on your own oxygen mask before seeking to help others.’. So glad to see you home and in my computer – thought I had pushed the wrong button AGAIN! Rest, regroup, and be well, dear Ceci!

  16. Oh my….a very big sigh. Family can be a challenge- glad John’s Mom is home and obviously in good hands. The calf bellowing is perfect for how
    we all feel from time to time. Take care and do have a lovely week.

  17. As I have gotten older I’ve found that the only way I can handle my place is to make these easier for me to do my chores. A concrete path or two, where I can walk when the dirt is too slick, and pull a wagon full of feed sacks is a big help. Electricity to the outbuildings. Water lines instead of pulling hoses around. Secure roofs on the animal sheds, fences and gates that work and aren’t patched with anything I can get hold of. I inherited those from my cowboy stepdad who was a master at using baling wire. There is no baling wire anymore, only twine. Useless twine. I used to be strong and fast, I could work at a job all day and still take care of everything. I simply can’t do that anymore. You still can, Cecilia, but it limits you. You end up being the only thing that holds it all together, and it takes your constant presence and attention to make it work. Don’t do that to yourself. Things that work okay in the summer of our lives can be overwhelming in the fall and winter.

    • Oh you BETCHA, Jan; well said!
      Injuries can also happen at any age – especially for those who work their bodies hard…
      Saving yourself for life’s necessary things is so much more important!
      (Yup, useless slippery plastic – Binder twine used to smell so good: )

    • sadly all that costs more money than I will ever make. And if I spend more money than I will make then I make my farm a hobby. And I cannot afford this kind of hobby. I am more of a baling twine stepdad I think. My barn is so old and dilapidated they will not even insure it. I agree with working on not being the only one who holds it all together though – I do believe in transparency and for that I need one other person to show a real interest in the management of my wee farm. But I don’t have this person. If I do not take responsibility for the farm there will be no farm. I hear all your warnings and they all point towards me stopping before I am overwhelmed by age.

      • I can’t help but wonder if you mightn’t just get “that person to show an interest” yet… (Fingers tightly crossed that you get what you need, m’dear)

  18. “Put on your own oxygen mask first” that is just what it is! We who care for everyone need to remember that we can’t help anyone if we don’t care for ourselves. I learned an interesting phrase yesterday, “compassion fatigue”. Thanks always for your cheer and words of wisdom. xo

  19. I didn’t worry too much about you since I knew you had a very busy schedule of planes, trains, and automobiles, but I missed you terribly all the same. I too love the big bellow! I still hear the sounds you have recorded and am always so surprised to hear how loud cows are. I’m remembering too when you had goats.
    This is just a thought–would any of the family coming be able to give you a hand? Hard physical work sometimes relieves depression. And being around animals has to lift the spirit. (Squirrels cheer me up every day.)

  20. Sending love and warm thoughts. Just think you’ll soon be in Godzone where it’s warm and you can hand over the animals and all those other things to John for a short time.

  21. Just think. In a few short weeks you’ll be in Godzone where the sun is shining and you can hand the animals and all those other things over to John for a short time.

  22. farm work is wonderfully healing to a sad worn soul. It is truly tangible. WE too have problems with our gates, those wicked goats keep jumping on them, right now they are held closed with straps!

    • Oh goats! I had goats for a very short period – they would climb on ME and the noise! I sold then fast. Gates are my biggest problem it seems the very ground under them shifts and they latch wrong. The freeze will rearrange things again.

  23. I’m glad that you are fixing fences with gates instead of building walls. You are right in your assumption that everyone is a little broken or damaged and that we all can be carelessly wound or be wounded. However you are made of sterner stuff than most and have the capablity of providing endless compassion and kindness to those in need. Please remember to wear whatever armor you need, but I do believe that your self destruct button is well hidden and buried deep. Remember that every member of the fellowship has got your back and instead of just walking in your footsteps every day would love to provide your own footsteps with guidance, shelter and a warm hug on a cold wet muddy day.

  24. Good to see you back, Celi. I know how having those unexpected family matters can disrupt the status quo. I love the paragraph – certainly is appropriate for the situation I’m in. It would please me greatly if I could come and help, but my mobility is lousy, and if I could talk my spouse into coming too, he’s a good carpenter and handy with available materials. All the best to you and your John’s family.

  25. It has occurred to me in the past and just recently, as a member of the G.O.’s family deals with their own life experiences, that our early lives and collection of experiences give us useful skills & perspectives to be part of the support team.
    What makes it interesting is being the generation in the middle, caring at the same time for those who were once the support team for ourselves.
    All this happens regardless of the other focus/es of our lives, what we blog about, whether we blog, or not. Life goes on, and on. Take care ♡

  26. Eleanor Roosevelt said that women are like tea0bags, they get stronger in hot water… or something like that !!!
    Sending love and strong thoughts to you from NZ … go well…

  27. Oh my, all that flying to and fro, you must be wiped. I always find that the return to my routine goes a long way in helping me settle. Maggie O’C, I like the term ‘compassion fatigue’ I believe I’m ailing from that right now! Families are fraught with joys AND challenges. When the challenges are winning all you can do is help as best you can and try to avoid doing harm while still caring for you and yours. I’m sure a nice chat with Sheila will help keep things sorted! Or you can just go to the ‘back 40’ and bellow like Inky.

  28. So good to be back and offer comments; missed doing that; i have had wild two months. C, i love your wisdom and your writing; homelessness is desperate nowadays; i will say prayers for the situation; i just had to quit my job teaching writing to homeless women; noble souls; i love them. I go through my kidney crisis and don’t have cancer, and then two weeks later or October 21 to be exact; i tripped over something and fell, gettng up with a broken pelvis in one place and a hair line fracture in another; it has been a saga of pain and warm hearts reaching out to house me; i said to a friend i am receiving many slivered miracles; i am now in my town again, but at a friends and it is very comfortable. i have to sleep in a recliner; it takes a good full 3 months to heal, and i am learning to slow down, to heal, to be mindful, and i tend to move in the fast stream and give my all to everyone; new concept putting self care before other matters; and so it is; life continually unfolds and during these times i find vulnerability rises up when i am alone and in my room but then i go out and am filled with joy, despite these troubled time, and am filled by the end of the day by all the loving exchanges which occurred in just chugging around my town. i can’t walk well; so indoors now stay wonderful everyone e

    • Merciful heavens Esther – you have gone through the wringer – and still as wonderful as ever. My sister broke her pelvis once and that was a long recovery (in my spare bedroom), so I do sympathise. Take good care and thank goodness for recliners – that must be so helpful. Vulnerable – a word we need to unpack. Talk soon… c

  29. Indeed, we are all doing the best we can. Some days, it has to be said, that is better than others. Perhaps this does not extend to the animals – Tima is doing her worst to knock down all of the barriers meant to keep her safe! Wishing you all good things.

  30. Dear C. Such insightful, wise words and feelings when you probably just want to do like Inky is doing in the last photo! BELLOW! I have no doubt that the Farmy will work it’s magic to help heal whatever traumas are coming it’s way. Look at Wai Wai…look at the Cadet…look at all the other souls that have been in it’s (your) care…
    You’re right..all you can do is is feed everyone right now and in turn you will be feeding their souls…Just be sure to tighten that life jacket and wear that lippy!

  31. There is something eternal about a cow up close. Life itself–patient, peaceful–right there before your eyes. And then, lying down in a field together looking out, they seem so confident in each other and in the day itself; everything just fine just the way it is.

Welcome to the Lounge of Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: