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November  2008

I met Persephone for the first time in the parking lot at Lowe's. Probably it was the first time that parking lot experienced such an encounter.  She, a little doeling, sat quietly in the arms of her soon to be prior owner in his red vehicle.  And cried inconsolably while looking at him out of the window of Jeff Arnold's truck as she sat with me. It was a good thing that we had errands to do before she was introduced to my farm.  It gave me a chance to hold her, and for her to look at me.  I could pet her and talk to her and explain that although it would be different where she was going, that she'd like it in awhile, because I was so happy to have her join us.  She is a pretty and affectionate creature.  It will be a good thing for us all.  I put her in a pen with Cecelia Lycett-Green, who is about her age.  Cecelia immediately proceeded to bash Persephone against a wall. The battering stopped as soon as I threw in some second cutting hay and gave a stern lecture to Cecelia.  It must have been the lecture that did it. 


            There is something about bringing in a new animal to the farm that adds even more than simply its own life to the mix.  Perhaps that is it.  Within the equation is an expansion that equals to more than its own life.  I've only had three original (to me) ideas in my life, one of them is that two and two cannot possibly make four.  Each of the two is either diminished slightly by the impact of their joining therefore being a mere conjectural, three and seven eights, or are added to with the heat of the combustion caused by creating the combination.  On the farm, and in my life here, it is always equated as more than four.  Persephone Winterstall has added a little bit more than herself to the mix of young goats and to the combination that includes me.  For I, while I am the shepherd, and stand taller than the others, are simply equal, although different, from the rest of us.  And am greatly enhanced by that. This little goat, who cried so before I came into and after I left the carriage house, and who is only at rest when putting her face between my hands.  This little, little goat adds to me.  One and one in this instance does not make two. 


            The second morning that Persephone was here, I found Ethyl Merriman and her young daughter in the pen as well.  Doby Fitzgorman, young ram, was removed to the pen as well after I found he had discovered the hole in my vegetable garden.  I moved Ethyl Merriman out.  Left her doeling in and realized my next move would be to get all of the doelings in that pen.  A sliding bar needs to be made at the pen's outer wall to keep the goats from jumping  into it from the adjacent stairs but that can be removed quickly should I have to get in quickly. 


            The air is sweet today.  Soft.  Almost springlike this rainy afternoon. Late October.  The rain clatters where it clatters and drips where it drips and in all ways makes it a time to wish for a little more comfort and warmth.  The fires have caught, reluctantly, but caught nonetheless.  Windows that were open all summer and had become jammed shut and the two in the basement that were most flagrantly letting cold air and wind in from the north and west have been boarded up and sealed. 


            I made some scones today. Scottish ones.  On the griddle the way they were meant to be.  Fireside things.  To be eaten around the fire as well as to be baked over one.  I changed the recipe and found I had made something of a mistake in doing it.  Butter is my favorite food.  No harm in adding a little more butter to the batter.  But there was.  It promptly melted out and started to fry the little triangles rather than allowing them to bake.  I won't do that again.  They are good spread with jam and eaten accompanying a cup of tea, strong, without milk or sugar.  Irish Breakfast or Russian Caravan.  I could be so happy.  The new goat here on the farm is unmistakably a Nubian.  She has a loud voice, a very loud voice for a creature so young and small, and yells, there is no better term for it, when she hears me leave the house, at the top of her voice, and keeps it up until I open the big doors to the carriage house, rush in and take her face in my hands.  I've already told you her first name is Persephone.  I'm not certain of her last, but Winterstall keeps coming to the forefront of my mind.  That may be it.  That is it.  Persephone Winterstall.  I've wanted a Nubian herd forever, long before I inherited my Toggenburg for Candida Lycett-Green is a pure Nubian.  Her daughters, Cameron and Cecelia are half Nubian, as shall be her next daughter, considering the prolonged visit Cornelius has been making here.  Cameron shall only be the Nubian, but her first born carried the same characteristic markings as she.  The breed has more butterfat but less volume of milk than the Toggenburgs.  But I like them for some absolutely mystifying reason.  The color and markings of the Togs please one so.  And having a herd that is usually uniform pleases me as well.  The Nubians here, at least, are all piebald, if anything, and are not particularly beautiful to my eye. Those with Tog in them have cream stripes down their faces.  They look better to me.  The hay is sweet.  Square bales.  I love to  wind the string into compact balls and hang them on a row of nails.  Rows of round green balls.  Tidy and neat.  The windows need to be replaced there.  Soon.  Perhaps tomorrow.


             There is a peace in the carriage house farm that is almost palatable.  The order is simple.  Subject only to a modest amount of refinement.  Which is necessary in all ways here at the moment.  I have much of what is needed to make it work properly for us.  What is lacking is that illusive quality.  Time.  The will remains unstackable, although it almost seems as if it is simply obstinate stubbornness, a quality with which I am most familiar.  Once more there shall not be water this winter.  But electricity is a certainty.  And hay, square bales, shall be forthcoming.  The thought of carrying water all winter from the house is unbearable.  However, perhaps a new way can be devised.  It remains to be seen.  My plan for a number of years has been to house both goats and young sheep stock in the carriage house so they can be most closely monitored.  This year's variation on the theme is to keep the Horned Dorset flock and the goats ensconced in there.  And the donkey.  And the chickens.  I have a beautiful desk in there as well, so there also is room for me.  Hope combined with a sense of purpose and firm resolution is what is needed to carry the day.  What I've often said when I feel discouraged is that the only thing to do is buy a cow.  Perhaps Persephone Winterstall, goat, Melody and Bess Throckmorton, and the three yet to be named Horned Dorsets can equal a cow.  The wild creature who ran away by the way, rejoined the flock on the neighbor's lawn two mornings after she first headed off, straight to Treadwell, she is quite wild.  I expect that is why she was sold in the first place.  To date, I've not been able to separate her from my flock proper.  The moment I come near them she suspects me and tries to run for the nearest hill, mountain, valley and glen.  Anything to get back to Norwich.  If she comes to this farm bred, as I was told, I'll know soon enough.  However, if not, she may freshen with a Friesian cross.  The farm is entering its interesting stage.  Again.  It will be good.



Sylvia Jorrin

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