Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!
It was a lovely day here in Vermont, after an extended rainy period, and it was wonderful to see something other than this for a change:
Today was picture perfect and I enjoyed almost every minute.
After a lovely breakfast out, we came home to finish up a project that has been going on for weeks now. It has to do with these two:
Our two beef cows, Sam and She Who Remains Unnamed. My husband has had it in his head that they must have more pasture, and since we have some acreage that we don't use that needs mowing anyway, nothing would do but that we spend every weekend for the last couple of months extending electric fence around this whole field. (The idea is that the goats can use it, too, but since they're petrified of the cows I don't see that happening.)
Bottom line: Until the fences are done, there will be no rototilling of my garden, no building of my next raised bed, no nothing. So my husband's priority has, by necessity, become my priority. Today was the final day of fencing -- or what my husband calls "something fun we can do together" -- and fortunately the weather was so beautiful I could hardly complain about being outside. Plus I took some pictures.
A small fraction of many millions of yards of new fencing, partially wired:
The apple trees:
The view from under those same trees:
We got the last run of fencing taped, though not electrified, and decided to let the cows come investigate. Which wasn't that easy. As soon as they got into their newly reopened but old, familiar pasture, they decided that was good enough. My husband had to do a little coaxing.
Eventually they followed him.
But they refused to walk between two fenceposts that had previously held an electric fence.
And then, the girl daringly broke the plane:
Sam wanted to follow but there was a post in his way. (Brilliant, that one.)
Soon enough, however, he got the idea and came into the new pasture.
And then the cows went crazy with the excitement. While my husband continued to run fencing, I stood on the tractor to avoid getting trampled by two very elated but gigantic beasts. Joy!
They charged from one end the field to the other for about a half-hour.
And then they had to come inspect the tractor and lick the tires.
So as far as the cows are concerned, this was the best Mother's Day ever.
Calvin liked it, too.
And we capped off the day with a yummy dinner featuring our own asparagus and burgers (from our own beef) with homemade buns (which you should make if you want something that will turn a hamburg dinner into a great meal without a lot of fuss).
My 12-year-old daughter made the dough for these buns today, her first foray into the world of kneading dough, while we were out in the field. She did great except for one thing that almost caused me a heart attack.
I was out in the field taking the above pictures of cows cavorting in the grass when she let out a piercing shriek reserved for when she is seriously scared or hurt or bleeding. I could hear her screeching what I thought was "Help, there's a fire in the kitchen!" but only dogs could hear what she was hollering at that frequency. The panic and fear I myself felt as I had to leg it around and through miles of fencing, picturing her on fire or possibly cut or maimed or otherwise near death, is hard to describe. That particular scream is something that turns my blood cold.
When I got back to the house, sucking wind, heart pounding, close to passing out from the sprint, I found her perched on the porch railing hanging out the laundry, not bleeding or even injured. What she had actually been yelling (in a pitch I haven't heard since Jamie Lee Curtis used it in the original "Halloween") was "I'm being attacked by a chicken!"
In fact, the completely mild-mannered chicken had hopped onto the porch looking for corn. She gave the chicken corn. All was well.
Except I didn't stop shaking for ten minutes.
Anyway, back to the buns. If you have ever wanted to get away from those yucky, overprocessed, textureless storebought hamburger buns, you can make these quite easily. Sometimes I knead up the dough in the morning before work and put it in the fridge to slow the rise. In the afternoon, I divide the dough into 12 and shape the rolls and bake them while I'm getting dinner ready. You haven't enjoyed a burger until you have tried this.
Overall, it turned out to be quite an enjoyable day except for the non-emergency emergency but hey, that's part of being a mom so I guess it was fitting. My faraway stepson and his wife remembered me today, and my nearby stepson and his girlfriend did, too, and even brought me a new addition to the farm: a grape vine to plant (and irises, too).
I do have to go back a few weeks however, and call out the rotten cats in this house. See, months ago, I made a wreath out of pinecones I picked up last fall in our yard. (Give me a hot glue gun and I'm unstoppable.)
I hung it on the porch next to our main door.
A pair of birds (finches, I think) took a liking to it and decided to use it as a nesting spot, despite their panic every time the door opened (30 to 40 times a day). They would fly away every single time, making the wreath not the most suitable spot for raising a family, especially with two bloodthirsty cats passing by numerous times each day.
Lovely. Until one night at dark when I let the cat out and startled the mother bird. It was too dark for her to fly away so she employed the genius technique of flitting around the porch about 3 feet off the ground, while Milo leaped through the air trying to take her down.
On the bright side, I tackled him and dragged him back inside. On the down side, the next morning I saw her standing at the edge of the nest looking in as if -- I'm not kidding -- she were counting her eggs. She flew off and never came back.
I feel pretty bad about ruining a happy bird family. But knowing birds the way I do (at least chickens and turkeys), I'm confident she found another place for a new nest and started over within a day or so. Birds know when to cut their losses, and trust me, they don't live in the past. It's actually not a bad mentality.
Anyway, I hope she had a happy Mother's Day.
Sam hopes you did, too.