Approaching Spring.....


....with snow storms and then huge amounts of rain.

At least for a while it looked picturesque and magical around here. Now we are entering the months of mud - mud everywhere,including in your face.

I was feeling stuck in the mud,too.First coming down with some flu like feelings,then the young master caught it,too. Now we are back at life full throttle,which is still relatively easy going at this time of year.

Our geese have declared their intentions of taking over the farm world via their offspring. The females are sitting on huge nests of eggs,which I will have to inspect today and whittle down to more manageable sizes. Nothing like trying to steal eggs from underneath a momma goose-it is not for the faint of heart.

My most recent foray into cheesemaking has been immensely educational,mainly in the field of realizing how much knowledge I am lacking! Reaching out to more experienced home cheesemakers was also a bust, since the only advice I received was: "I follow recipes-exactly. I have never had a cheese turn out in which I didn't follow the recipe to a t"

Well,see, that to me shows a fundamental lack of understanding in the cheesemaking process; and I am going to apply myself to learning more. Due to unforeseen circumstances I had to leave my curd sitting for a substantially longer period of time than needed. If I truly knew the art and processes of cheese fabrication, I would have been able to make an educated decision as to how to proceed given my changed time circumstances. It is amazing how little the cheesemaking books I have, speak about the variables in cheese making and how they affect it. In my research that ensued this experience, I came across Gianaclis Caldwell and I have high hopes that with her book, I will be able to further my cheesy education! I was also extremely happy to read her latest blog post about being a vegetarian butcher - her comments about humans seeing themselves apart from and outside of Nature,really express my sentiments on that issue. You can read about her here (and wow, I figured out how to hyperlink!)


          Then there is this young lady here...

adorable and going through one of her many growth stages of being unruly. Back in a hotwire enclosure she is,since she managed to break out of her pen three times in one day; a pen that was wired shut and she somehow managed to break the wire. Daily training should set her straight,and then she will probably forget most of what she learned (again) when she hits a year of age. Ahhh,those youngsters! But she is FILLED with love to the brim! 



Bowl shaped week.....


I am a day late with my newest post,but I am still here.

Struggling to find something to share about the farm this week,as I was polishing my banged up copper bowl. Today is a bright and sunny day - a day that stirs sleepy memories of a warm Spring afternoon. As I gazed into my bowl and its increased shininess ,I became enchanted with the way the light reflected. Little swirls of steam rising from its surface; a whole secret Universe of imagination beckoned from the deep and gentle shelter of the bowl's curved sides. It goes with the week we have had at the farm; gentle cradling of all the seeds and intentions planted for the upcoming hustle and bustle of Spring. Coming out in the mornings,wondering if I hear a new goat's voice yet. Allowing life to unfold and appreciating it as it does.

Therefore,today,merely a few photos (the geese started laying-yay and yum!) from this week.

Farming the dream -dreaming the farm

Dreaming- some of you who know me personally,know this topic is close to my soul heart. 

An exhilarating ride on coincidence,dreaming, vision and ,ready or not, stepping onto the perfect wave that presented itself,led us to growing this Farm. Winter- the season in which Nature shows us how to incubate seeds,dreams,small ideas that might grow into big visions,always points me back to Dreamtime. 

My original dream of making cheese and then feeding they whey to our pigs,is finally part of my daily farming reality. 

I love how the more attention I pay to night dreams,day dreams and even recurring movies I play in my head,the more I realize how all these just-below-ordinary-consciousness-going-ons,shape and inform my waking reality. Which characters do I want to experience more of? Who less? Where exactly do I focus my gaze and energy? There are seemingly infinite stimuli that we are exposed to every day,but I have the experience of gravitating and paying attention to the familiar? I love taking even just one moment,30 seconds, of looking at a scene I feel I KNOW; one I see every day, and find something previously unseen. What do if find? How do I feel about my discovery? Paying attention in that way,and attending to my daily doings,helps to,for example be ready for when the cow decides to try and kick me while milking. 

Dreaming and farming also work well when trying to avert potential chaos. The other day I awoke from a dream in which my pigs had escaped their pens. It wasn’t an emergency in my dream,but they were running around on the loose. Come to check my pigs’ fencing the next morning and yes,there were a few spots they could have gotten out of,had we not fixed them that day. A friend of mine,last year, dreamt that my t-posts would collapse if we stretched the fence the way I had planned..... we managed therefore to augment the plan and construct a sturdier enclosure. 

I enjoy fully immersing myself in life and experiencing the myriad ways in which these different experiences weave themselves into an utterly natural rhythm of communication and expression. It adds immeasurable richness and a sense of belonging to my life in the BeastWood


Thoughts on "abundance"


This week,

as it came time to milk Joy, our cow, I found myself grumbling at the prospect. Having to go outside into      the cold, milk, before milking cleaning/sanitizing, after milking cleaning/sanitizing, and then deciding that to make with the milk. Ugh!

It just seemed like so much effort,keeping up with this constant stream of milk. And in between internal huffing and puffing and grumbling,I heard this little voice,reminding me that I had asked for "abundance". You see, when I lived a life in which I always seemed to be lacking something, I meditated, invited, prayed for "abundance" and now that it is here,well,it is different than expected.

Because, "abundance" isn't just something static, one-dimensional; a one-way street. My experience of it is that it asks for engagement, creativity, attention and tending in return. It is not something that shows up, and I put it on my shelf and avail myself of it when it is convenient. Abundance wants to see my inner abundance: of energy, of inspiration, of commitment. It requires of me to show up fully in return.

I am so thankful to Joy and her milk,for giving me this moment of insight. It urges me to extend or be the cause for whatever I desire to experience in my life,in order to call  more of that quality close to my every day experience. This requires an active stepping into my personal river of life energy and momentum. Allowing myself to do so, then changes my outlook and attitude from (in this example) grumbling to being excited at the prospect to add my abundant and joyful qualities to the abundance of milking Joy.


The result can be...

some delicious cheese,or even a small stack of (now 9) cheeses, in my humble basement cheese cave. Happy friends, who love eating and sharing my abundance and a general increase of cheer and well-being.

A beautiful poem by John o'Donohue....take a listen if you can

In the beginning......


Thank you for following our farm page and being so incredibly patient while we finally catch up with all the varied stragglers that somehow fall by the wayside,as we tend to our farm and lives.

I received a most lovely email from a person,who had found us via the American Dexter Association. You should have seen my wide eyed look when the realization seeped into my bones that, wow, people can FIND us and contact us and, oops, there is also this thing called our "website". Well, this wonderful and engaging human,has now been the impetus for me to finally delve into writing some blog posts -who knows, maybe there will even be a newsletter in the future! 

First,just a sweet little rundown of what has been going on here at BeastWood.

2017 was really important for us. We have been on this land now for three years and last year was the first time we got the sense of a sort of rhythm between us and the land and the animals. The landscape is changing, the beasts have truly helped in making the soil richer. The apple trees, that formerly had tasteless, tiny apples, now have bigger apples, more taste and look overall happier. The almost impenetrable understory in our woods,is now a lot less dense; I feel we are quickly on our way to getting some respectable silvopasture areas within the next year. We also walked the complex road of sending some of our livestock to butcher for the first time. Tears were spilled,doubts wrestled with,prayers found....and,yes, delicious food for us and friends! Cheese production is in full force, now that we added an in-milk Dexter cow to our mini-herd. Milking Joy,in all ways, is definitely part of our guiding principle.

2018 hopefully will allow us to make some more headway on the aesthetic side of our farming life: a straw bale chicken coop, outdoor kitchen, sauna...and a more successful vegetable season!

This winter has been for dry-curing pork,processing Icelandic fleece into yarn, making cheese and enjoying the contrast between the bright cold outside and the cozy warmth inside.

So, my goal for this blog is to write it regularly, share things that inspire me,small snippets of what is going on at the farm and to share our passion for fully living on this Earth and tending to ourselves through tending to her......(I definitely need to figure out this formatting thing )


Ossabaw Island of the most delicious things we have ever eaten!

Ossabaw Island of the most delicious things we have ever eaten!

Icelandic fleece from our new ewe, Wildrose. Gorgeous and soft and extra long staple!

Icelandic fleece from our new ewe, Wildrose. Gorgeous and soft and extra long staple!

A few inspirations from this week:

A one hour podcast on the novelist, Barbara Kingsolver's experiment of living off the land for a year. I found it quite engaging!

Our son asked for lasagne....well, Marcella Hazan always obliges with the best recipes,and I had the time for the lengthy undertaking! It turned out beautifully and is well worth the effort. Below the recipe,if you feel like treating yourself to something extraordinary!