Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Huzzah for 2009

I have a vague optimism about 2009.

Given the start we've had so far I could just as easily be sad, I guess. New Years day meant the end of the line for our 2 remaining hogs. But I didn't really hang out with them that much, so we weren't exactly close. Some of the breeding hogs we've had have been like big, coarse-haired, stinky dogs. They talked to you and loved to be scratched.

So the pig pen is currently empty.

And much sadder yet, my Buddy is gone. CalfLac, too.

I've known this was the outcome all along of course. I've been through it before with BoBo and Seven and others. I've had their entire lives to prepare myself for the end result. But I still cried. Mainly because Buddy didn't just drop quietly like CalfLac. I didn't have to watch any of it, but I did. There's that intimacy of death, just like birth, and I did it out of respect, if that makes any sense. We don't take the stewardship of our animals lightly. Family functions, vacations, even trips to town all revolve around feeding times. Every day is mindful of their shelter, fresh water, good food, safety, and health.

And we love them.

So I cried a little. I stopped crying in front of Mark because I know he loved them, too, and I didn't want to make him feel worse. He had a job to do.

Later that day when I went out to feed it was just plain lonely. I find comfort in numbers when it comes to the barnyard. So I had to bury my face in Admiral's fluffy winter coat to keep from crying again. He hugged me with his neck and made funny little nickering noises. Then I hopped up on his back and let him wander around with me as his parasite until I was feeling better.

And life goes on.

We took a ride down to Deep Creek Lake in Maryland on Sunday. One last hurrah before the kids returned to school. There's a decent family-friendly hiking trail and we did an approximate 5 to 6 mile circuit.
It was colder than I'd expected, probably in the 30's, with a pea-soup misty rain. Warm enough for the snow and ice to be melting off the trees and dripping on our heads though.

The scenery was pretty in spite of it's winter barrenness. It looked an awful lot like home and Reas' Rocks. I'm not sure why I was expecting it to look different.

We've never really gone on a formal hike as a family and I was apprehensive about Lily. I was pretty certain she'd be griping at some point and she exceeded my expectations. It only took her about 200 yards before she started sitting down on every stump or rock she could find, complaining that she was tired, asking when we were going to 'get there.' She asked me why we couldn't drive the car to where we were going. Was it because it was too icy or because we might run over an animal? She couldn't comprehend why we would be walking. With our own two feet. Why? I think I was finally able to explain that the purpose of the hike was exercise and being together and enjoying nature. I think I may have also convinced her that the same energy she uses to run across the kitchen and launch herself over the arm of the sofa could be used to hike up the hill. Once she got warmed up and quit purposely lagging behind she kept up a good pace. Oh, and we saw some black bear tracks. And one squirrel.
On the way home we stopped for ice cream cones. It was 'research' for our addition of a small ice cream dipping cabinet to the fruit stand. I'm already spoiled by having the market right next to the house. I can walk out at any time of day or night to get whatever I need. Milk, an onion, head of lettuce, and soon ice cream. That can't be good! I'll be 'researching' all the flavors until I have to wear sweat pants all the time. Going to have to do a lot more hiking.


kate said...

I feel your pain about Buddy and Calflac. I went through it once with a pig. My parents made the mistake of letting me name him Piglet. It was kind of traumatic, even though I knew it was inevitable. It must take a lot of energy to go through that again and again.

Like the pics of Deep Creek Lake. We just recently visited there and to Swallow Falls, which is a park right by Deep Creek. Very pretty.

Becky said...

I'm sorry to hear about Buddy! I think 2009 will be uphill from that.

Belle said...

Oh. How sad.So beautifully written though. I don't know if I could go through that again and again. I do understand about you watching though.

Jannie said...

So I curious - who took the picture with you all in it?

And what a beautiful family.

Annette said...

I'm sorry about Buddy and Calflac. I've been told you should never name them. But you HAVE to. Hey, you gave them all a really wonderful life while you had them.

Ice cream at the market? Oh, dear. I can see we're in big trouble.

Sara said...

Thanks for the condolences all. Really.

And thanks Jannie-one of the few functions I know how to use on my camera: 15 second timer.

Annette, they have such awesome flavors to choose from, too. Danger!

Better Than Machines said...

Agreed: Beautiful post.

Deep Creek is a cool area. And I would call five to six miles in a cold, misty rain no small feat.