Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Cosmos Chocolate Blooms

I've been broken hearted and in mourning.  Due to continued harassment of the sheep and declining health, I chose to give away my flock of Icelandic sheep.  Degenerative disk disease and osteoporosis made the daily chores of feeding and cleaning life-threatening activities.

I kept only the bummer lamb.  He still thinks that I am his mother, only now he thinks that he is the boss.  He has given me three bags of wool.  Each fleece is fuller, loftier, and softer than the last.  His first fleece was solid black.  Now it is more silver than black.

I so wanted a lamb from his mother.  MaJoie was thirteen and had never had a lamb.  She was a spotted gray badger face.  Her mother came from Yeoman Farm in Canada to Thistledown Farm in Portland, OR, and on down to my place.  She died at a farm in Fortuna.  I lost half my flock at that farm, one year when I was recovering from surgery.

The sheep are spirit creatures.  Like llamas, they want to get close to you, exchange breath with you.  My huge sheep dogs, the Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd, are the same way.  To keep peace on the farm, the sheep dogs become one with the flock and with the shepherd.  It's a special bond.

That is part of why I have been so sad.  I dream of the sheep and miss them but I can no longer safely muck out.  In fact, I can garden only in containers.  I have a number of pots on the deck.  One has the cosmos chocolate; it's blooming now.

Friends installed hand rails and, using a walker, I am able to make it down to Bummer's stall to feed him.   He loves to bang his gate and to protest loudly if I am late.  Then he will let me scratch his ears.

Sometimes the isolation here does get to me.  The neighborhood is car dependent.  During the rainy season, storms knock out electricity for days.  When there is no power, there is no running water; I am not able to use the phone or the computer.

When that happens, I talk to the dogs and live like the Amish folk who choose to live without electricity.  Electricity and running water, especially hot running water, are such great luxuries.

Of course Bummer doesn't care.  He cares only that his meals are on time and that he has clean drinking water.


  1. Hello, you don't know me. Your story is emotionally heartrending. It's a form I think of empty nest syndrome. My significant other has it over the separation at these holiday times from her now just become adult children. She used to parent them and now they're not there to be parented. it's tough.

    I would very much like to ask a few questions about Icelandic growers who you know and what they do with the wool they don't sell.

    I'm director of a new nonprofit called Wool For Worthy Causes. We collect discarded wool and scour it and then donate it to a non profit, state owned and operated sewing factory employing many totally blind people. This Icelandic wool would be sold to a rug maker for money to pay the costs of scouring. FFA and 4-H students are involved and becoming involved. This non profit is about stimulating them ot think beyond themselves, to see it's good to be selfless and to see they can turn their shearings into reasure for someone else. Their short clip will if we are lucky become weed suppressant in organic tree nut groves.

    You're no longer a "grower", but you have years of experience and insight. You can make a great contribution by simply sharing what you know, to me, and later to young people by email or phone. You know. They need trusted adults who have real knowledge. Possibly you could be a consultant to youth who choose to grow Icelandic, sharing what you know if they want to ask, and they will, as they must do socially contributive acts. One might be just communicating with you, like Senior Companions does, being on their part very needy friends as they need everything... knowledge encouragement and a way to reach out to their greater community, just to share and talk.
    While I use the name, I've kept my business life which name is used in a blog on investing, separate, but I'm 68 and don't get how to create a new name or ID. I just want not to be known by that group in this act of continuing generosity in which I'm involved.

    I hope you reach a good level of stability; your life is so different from mine here in an orchard in So Cal.

    To reach me, just look at the website, the full name, above, with the ending, org.

    It's Sat aft, and gotta run.

  2. Also, I have your number from the Icelandic growers list and could call if you ask me to.