Oh, April…

April is such a goofball month. She stretches her days out and teases us with warm afternoons that invite lazy siestas, while whispering: Hurry, hurry – everything needs to start growing Right Now, don’t waste a moment of sunlight! And we race to get everything in the ground, planted, mulched, trimmed, caged against the deer, and then…

…yesterday morning she wakes us with snow. Yeah, April, if I don’t call you a goofball, I’m gonna call you something less kind.

But it’s hard to stay angry with April – she’s so beautiful, so earnest, so bursting with possibility, so honestly unaware of the wreckage she leaves in her wake. April is the Bad Girlfriend they keep making movies about. (Hell, I think I might have dated April back in my Seattle days). And so what if she makes me feel old – there are worse things to feel, especially when April’s around.

But I didn’t mean to fill an entire post with awkward anthropomorphizations of the weather. I wanted to drop drips and drabs of all of the crazy April-induced activity going on around the farm. First and foremost, we’ve got a new species poking at our pastures.

We all love the Natembea goats. Goats are the absolute bestest ever. But from the start we’ve wanted to diversify our roster of ruminants, and last month Brendon and Lydia were gifted a ram named Marco by Sunfield Academy.

Here’s looking at ewe

Now, Marco is a stately gentleman of a sheep, but he was clearly unnerved to not have any company of his own species. We’re hoping to acquire a slew of Icelandic lambs from Compass Rose, but they won’t be arriving for a few months yet, so Brendon and Lydia have arranged for the loan of a ewe, Thorvy the Psycho Sheep. No, her full name is just “Thorvy,” but I think we all add the epithet silently, under our breath.

Thorvy apparently reacts to any human attempts at interaction with one of two moves: 1) backing into a corner and voiding her bowels and bladder while staring at you in terror, or 2) running headlong at you as fast as she can. (Note to Thorvy: “ram” is the taxonym for the male of your species, not a life strategy). I haven’t had to move/feed/deal with Thorvy myself, so I’ve only observed strategy #1. But I understand that non-trivial amounts of our barnyard fencing and animal handling equipment are worse off for their experience with her.

Thorvy, strategy #1

But let me not complain about that – it’s wonderful having the sheep here, and there are so many other good things happening on the farm. Nevermind the snow, the grass is growing luxuriantly. Our super-secret (sssssh!) patch of morels has popped up a new crop of unearthly little delights. And the trees, oh, the trees are all waking up. Buds and little blossoms and (with apologies to Lynne Truss), shoots and leaves. 

Of course, all those deer lurking in the north woods absolutely love those tender little shoots and leaves, necessitating that anything we don’t want eaten be caged in woven wire to a minimum of six, and preferably eight feet in height, and flagged prominently.

If you’ve never spent time in Port Townsend, you can’t possibly understand the deer situation here. They…they roam the town like the packs of stray dogs you see in some Central American towns. Except they’re the size of deer, because, well, you know. They don’t care about cars in the street or pedestrians – if you interrupt them nomming on your hedges they’ll consider you inquisitively for a moment, then return to their business. They’ll jump a six foot fence if they think there’s enough of a landing pad behind it. They’ll jump an eight foot fence if they don’t realize it’s eight feet, and then it’ll be a somewhat mangled two foot fence that the other deer will just stroll in through. So…

Wait…that’s me complaining again. I just meant to say that all those lovely new apricots (apricots!) that went in last month needed to get fenced before they got nibbled to the ground. And the figs, too – did I mention we’ve planted figs? We’ve planted figs. And pears – almost three dozen new pears. Thanks to Logan, Lydia, Brendon, Pierce and cameos by the Compass Rose gang, they’re all in, they’re all fenced and mulched and caged, and they’re ready for anything. I mean, anything except another April.

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