Monday, November 24, 2008

"Alfie" comes to Donegal Farm.

Today, November 24, we welcome "Alfie", a purebred Jacob ram to our flock. He took a look around and got right down to business so we should have some lovely lambs in spring.

We took poor little Spooky back to Wilno for some TLC...he's lethargic and weak and not looking well at all. My theory is that he's getting short shrift in the hay department and we've gotten him all settled in the haybarn at Pete's with the best hay we have and a handful of grain...hopefully he'll gain strength and we can take him back to the flock...otherwise, there's obviously more wrong with him so we might be looking at the vet bills....crossing my fingers!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thinking of Spain

The first snows in the Ottawa Valley inspire me to start looking for a short-term winter home in sunny Espagne. We have had such wonderful "homes' in Andalucia...from our very first apartmento, Los Arcos de Almona in Frigliana with Javier and Rosario and their incredible the red-tiled roofed casita in Capistrano Village...the top floor of Lola's house in the very heart of old Spanish Nerja.,..with all the noise of moto's and shouting Spaniards in the street below our rooftop terrace...and last year, a bright sunny terrace at the very edge of the sparkling blue Mediterranean.

On our first visit to Spain we discovered the Nerja Book Centre...a used books store with thousands of used books at bargain prices. We make the trek with our Mercadona plastic grocery bags filled with books to be returned for half price at least three times a week. Two years ago, reading my way through various travel literature, I discovered a book called I Bought A Mountain by a Canadian named Thomas Firbank. It's the unlikely tale of a Canadian serviceman after WW1 who buys a Welsh sheep farm and embarks on a sheep raising adventure along with his amazing feisty wife Esme. Well Sir Jesus!!! as they say locally. For some reason, I read and reread this book...marvelling at the sheep, at the sheer woolly adventure of it all and then I read "Driving over Lemons" which detailed some more sheep farming in the Axarquia and then a tale which I can't even name any more about a spinster school marm who moved to the Hebrides to live amongst drunken sheep herders and for no reason I can discern, I became obsessive about sheep. I started to think affirmatively, as we new-age feminists are wont to do... I saw myself with sheep and a farm...a farm and sheep...white sheep, black sheep, a farm in Spain, a farm in France, a farm in Italy...even a farm in New Mexico....but at no point, did I see myself with a farm in fact, the very farm I had left in 1992...until a moment of revelation occurred on Thanksgiving Day 2008 that made it very clear that this was indeed the farm I should have and the farm where Agnes and Carmelita should come home with their family flock.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A beautiful sunny November day when we brought our new flock of Jacobs and Navajo Churro home to Donegal Farm. Life spirals on...ever deeper and deeper.

This farm, on a hill in the old Irish settlement of Donegal outside of Eganville, Ontario, was my home for eleven years from 1981 to 1992. I first saw this old farmhouse on a spring day in 1980 and fell in love with it at first sight. My then husband Hal and I moved in and commuted to Ottawa for over a year. In 1981 our son Matti was born and the old house became our permanant home. In time we renovated the ancient kitchen with its huge Belanger President wood stove and brought in the running water and the indoor bathroom.

Matti was born with a rare genetic disease which turned his muscles into bone and much of our lives was spent at CHEO and the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre where Matti learned to cope with his physical limitations.

In time, Matti's electric wheelchair demanded more space so we added a bright sunroom with French doors to the living room and that became the favorite play space for friends Jesse and Lydia and Adrienne and Matti's cousins, Jesse and Benji and Kirk. Ever the supportive and creative dad, Hal turned the sunroom into a playroom with two huge train sets running through villages and mountain passes and tunnels and over bridges. Such fun! And the hockey net with a bungeed Patrick Roy cut-out in full Canadienne uniform to take shots on.

Matti died suddenly at eleven years of age in 1992 of complications from his rare disease, Myositis Ossificans Progressiva and life took a different direction for me for the next fourteen years. Hal and I divorced and I moved to Wilno and became a restaurant owner and innkeeper, immersed in food and art and music at our Red Canoe Cafe at the Wilno Station Inn.

In early summer of 2008, a series of serendipitious coincidences brought Carmelita and Agnes...two woolly little sheep into our lives....and now, barely half a year later, here we are with 22 sheep in the barnyard of my beloved house in Donegal. I think An Adventure is unfolding and I will be writing about it here.

Return to Donegal Farm