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Christmas Ewe by RonChristmas 2007...

It is less than a week before the official arrival of winter, and the weather is still delightful.  Work­ing out­side in a short sleeve shirt sure beats the heck out of bundling up like Nanook of the North!  Unfortunately, our “Indian Summer” days are about to vanish with a forecast of chilly days and freezing nights.  We have had a busy year.  Andrea took a new job with Marriott International’s Legal Department and has re­located to the Washington D.C. area. Snoopy She was bump­ed from her original flight from San Francisco the day before last Christmas, so we rescheduled our holiday for January 21st.  Both Andrea and Alex arrived to join our belated Christmas celebration.  We had even put up a second tree for the occasion, and kept all the outside decorations up as well.  Andrea flew east with her cat Max, who spent the next month with us until Andrea had completed her relocation.  A stranger cat co-existing with seven pseudo-house dogs… an interesting time!  Andrea and Max are now settling into her new digs in Hagerstown, Maryland and her new job.

Hay equipment rolling out of here...Early in the spring, Ron decided that, this year, we were really done with making hay, planning instead to buy feed hay as required.  We had already cut back on the number of breeding ewes and we were just not up to making our own hay.  True enough, we had made that same decision before, but this time Ron meant it.  He spent a few weeks reconditioning all of the haying equipment and one Saturday April morning, he sold the whole kit and caboodle!  Bon Voyage!  He knew that if the equipment was still sitting around the place we would end up back in the field, once again making hay!  We now have our equipment bay in the stock barn filled with 25 large round bales.  Now all we have to do is feed it to the critters!

TripletsThe first lambs of the year start­ed arriving in early April… quite a busy time but it is fun to watch those first halting, adventurous, steps.   These triplets seem to have worked out a dining plan, since mom only has two teats!  We ended up with fifteen lambs, eight girls and seven guys.

 

Alex and Andrea re­prised their Christ­mas visit in April and Andrea got her first real taste of farm life by bottle feed­ing one of the triplets!  The Mician clan also arrived in April in time for Eva, Gina and Adam to pitch in with feeding more of the newborn lambs. 

AndreaWriggle worm lamb... Gina and Eva.Adam also had an oppor­tunity to prac­tice driving the Path­finder, nav­i­gat­ing about the farm, and Gina reprised her role as the leader of the “wolf pack!”  The dogs truly relish the atten­tion she be­stows them.  More dinner time... Adam and Gina

 

Vlad, chef du jour, cooked up several tasty meals on his port­able rotisserie.  Good stuff!  We en­joy­ed every­one’s visit and apprec­iated their efforts in making the trek this year.

In early May, Elizabeth made it to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, spending two leisurely days at the festival, no racing up and back in the same day, thanks to Andrea’s hospitality.  Thanks Andrea!  Elizabeth’s brother, Allen, and his wife, Nancy, also rendezvoused with her at the festival for brief mini-family reunion.

Brodie ClanAlex visited again in early July for the annual VMI Alumnae Cook­out and 4th of July fireworks: a relaxing evening.  Alex was able to connect with his Music Stand restored...honorary brother rat, Col. John Brodie.  The two waltz­ed down memory lane, recalling some of the Class of 92’s antics, home and abroad!  Both pledg­ed to make the 15th reunion in October (which they both did).  In the mean­while, John needed some repairs to a music stand Ron had made fifteen years earlier as a ’92 Regimental Band Class gift for John.  He visited the farm with his three young daughters to drop off the music stand for repair.  The girls enjoyed feeding the lambs and once again, the music stand is now as good as new.  Enjoy!

Elizabeth’s nephew, 1Lt. Allen Avery, is serving with the 2nd Stryker Calvary Regiment in Iraq.  Our thoughts are for his safe return to his wife, Denise, and the family.  Their daughter Sarah Elizabeth’s debut is scheduled for January 2008!

Dodge Daytona... Bob's baby!Several other old friends stopped by for visits through­out the year.  Bob and Theresa O’Neill spend some time with us on the way to and return­ing from a July MOPAR Car Meet in Carlisle, PA.  Bob has restored his 1986 Dodge Daytona: does he love that car or what!  We hadn’t seen them since well before we came here to the farm.  A pleasant surprise!  We thoroughly enjoyed re­hashing the good ole days before they headed back home to Tallahassee.

This feels so good... Thanks, Betty!Don and Betty MacDonald also stopped by on their way to warmer climes in Florida for the winter.  The four of us had a lovely dinner at Café Michel in Lexington.  Thanks for the treat, Don!  Ron and Don were colleagues and have stayed in contact since both retiring from their respective companies.  Thy have visited the farm on several occasions and, during one visit, they brought along their granddaughter Emily, who insisted they all spend the night in the farm bunkhouse for the experience of being “up close and personal” with the critters.  We understand that Emily wants to return for another visit to commune with the critters, particularly Dora, here in ecstasy by an ear rub!How does Wil do that?

Andrea and her friend, Chris Dowdell, came by for a weekend visit later in July.  Chris, a city lad, was visiting Andrea from the San Francisco area.  We treated them to a home cooked veni­son dinner, a first for Chris!  We gave him a good measure of the farm life and rearing critters.  He was particularly taken with the "wolf pack." Wil had demon­strated his swimming virtuosity by drinking water while simul­taneously stroking across the catfish pond!

This past year, we again supported several events and organizations in town, such as the Rockbridge Historical Society Open House, the 4-H Farm Day and a visit to the seniors at Kendal at Lexington.  We enjoy the happy smiles that just a few minutes with a couple of our curious lambs can evoke.  

Historical Society... ye olde spinster!     Kendal... Mary Francis and friends Kendal friends... Good stuff! 

We’ve missed some of our old friends this year but we’ve also seen some first timers visiting the farm.  Of course, we are anxious to see all of you, but we know how hectic life can be… we hope you are all well.  We frequently think about each one of you.

We are hanging in here, having regular check-ups and both of us are in relatively good health, although each of us are continuing to move a little slower each year.  The current drought has made life difficult for the livestock and, consequently, for us, but things could be worse, we suppose!  So far, so good! 

Andrea sent this thought to Ron a while back…

“But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?”

  Albert Camus

“To a dad who keeps it all in perspective and takes so much joy in the simple life,” thanks Andrea, I’m trying!  To all of you, we add… have a great Holiday Season, a prosperous 2008 New Year and come see us some time!

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