So, I guess we’re all caught up. We are now in the present. Which is a good place to be, because the present is very good. A little exhausting, but very good. The kids are happy and busy and love their world. Saedy is head-over-heels for her kittens–Sunrise, Grey and White, Mystery, Fat Cat, and Carson. We have 20 sheep, and will have 5 yearling lambs for sale in the fall of 2016. We just butchered 120 broilers (meat chickens) and have about 50 laying hens. Our pigs are in the freezer and the ham tastes great. We just added our first cow– a black angus who proved to be a very poor mother for her former owner, and will live out the rest of the summer in our pasture and then provide for our red meat consumption over the winter. At the end of August, we will be learning a new skill: cow milking. We are purchasing a Jersey and will start making our own cheese and butter and ice cream. We have dogs and cats, and plenty of swallows flying around, too. The moose (plural) will likely be back in the next couple of months, and before them, the geese will be flying over by the thousand. Life isn’t perfect. The journey so far has had plenty of tears, frustrations, and lots of sweat and tears (even some blood). But through all of the seasons and the learning and the struggles, there have been plenty of moments of wonder. Like when you straighten up from the pile of dirt and lean on your shovel while a dozen huge white swans fly low overhead. Or when the kids catch a frog. Or when you find the first egg layed by your own chicken, or when you crack it onto the pan and see how outrageously orange the yolk is. Or when you commute home into the northern lights. Or you watch a bull moose walk straight towards your house from across the field. Or your kids collect a whole menagerie of dragonflies from the grilles of all the vehicles in the yard and make a giant dragonfly family. Or when you walk in to the barn and hear the first bleats of a new lamb. Or our silent, snowy driveway in winter. Or the beavers on the creek. Or late evening chores. Or the peace and quiet. Or the meal you made just from food that you grew yourself. There is wonder in everything and beauty and truth everywhere you look. There is so much goodness in this world. If you have eyes to see it. We are living our dream. We are. It is easy to see how some of what we wanted didn’t really turn out. It is easy to hold up your expectations alongside the way things have turned out and only see the differences, the imperfections. But so much of what we had aimed for is happening. We fall in to bed exhausted most nights. We spend more time doing, and then redoing things than I like to admit. But we are learning as we go. The next series of posts will be a little less narrative and a little more topical. We will share with you what we’ve learned about sheep, chickens, hogs, cows, and dogs. We will go in to a little more depth with regards to the Care Farm model that is currently waaaay on the back burner, but which still surfaces occasionally. We will talk a little more about how we have come to see food: what it is, what it’s not, and how we like it. And I’m sure there will be some other twists and turns along the way.