May was both a difficult and comforting month for everyone at the farm. As we entered May it was often cold and wet. The pastures were slow to green up and grow with the result that it was not possible to get the flock out onto pasture as soon as we would have liked. Eventually it did warm up and the pastures exploded in growth. The spring wildflowers were late in blooming, but when they started it was a dramatically beautiful display. The Marsh Marigolds in our Cedar/Ash wetlands were spectacular.
Finally with the last week of May, we were able to get the flock started on pasture. As always, the first day out is very special for the sheep and for us. The first day out began in heavy fog, but that did not deter the ewes from sampling their first green grass of the year. The only thing missing from this special day was the presence of new lambs. They are still deeply missed. Nonetheless the ewes were happy. Velveeta seemed a bit serious about everything, but that is her way. On the other hand Cha Cha was definitely smiling. And Calamity Jane seemed to be a bit more reserved.It was also reassuring to have a number of regular May events occur, seemingly as if perfectly timed. The first Monarch butterflies arrived at the farm in the last week of May. It was a pleasure to look up from working in the vegetable garden to see the first arrival fly by.
As also seems to be the predictable case, the next morning we spotted a newborn White-tailed fawn disappearing into deep grass in the pasture outside our breakfast window. I regret not documenting the frequency of the event, but it now seems like many, many years that we have always had fawns born within the confines of what we call the Orchard Pasture. I am a firm believer that the mother finds some degree of security within that pasture and its close proximity to the house. It would not surprise me to learn that we have had at least 3 or 4 generations of White-tailed Deer born in this same location.
On the less than positive side of life in May, Gretchen and I made the difficult decision that we would not open our B&B nor our Gallery in 2020. The uncertainty of our safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is too great. In addition, the suggested guidelines for operating a B&B and/or a gallery make it almost impossible for the two of us to realistically operate either business at present. There are just too many constraints and unknowns to make the effort worthwhile and enjoyable. As we get into this coming winter we will re-think our position and decide whether we open either business in 2021. On a more positive note, we are thinking of offering more of our fiber productions online, including our finished woven productions and naturally dyed yarns. If we figure out a plan we will announce in here in the Ewe Turn blog.
In the meantime, as we enter June, we can at least enjoy views of the flock on pasture, accompanied by our barn swallows cruising through the foggy morning.
I know how you enjoyed all aspects of your farm and its visitors which must have made your decision to close the B/B and gallery very difficult.My husband and I remembered our visits fondly. Now that Dewey has passed on, I especially treasure those memories..Good luck and happy days to you both. You certainly deserve more time to enjoy life on your farm. I hope that we will still receive updates from time to time regarding your future activities. The pleasant times Dewey and I had with you are still among my treasured memories.
Dear Georgiann, Thank you for your kind words and our shared good memories. And fear not, we will continue to post to the blog whenever we feel the urge and have something to share.
Hello, Dick and Gretchen, Thank you for your wonderful photos and writing. I love every single post. I am sorry that you will not be able to open this year, but it is certainly the wise choice, given the time we are all experiencing. I expect that Door County is quiet regarding the civil unrest, but here in Oakland, we are surrounded by it, and rightfully so. We miss seeing Door County and getting to see the two of you once again. We had hoped to travel to The Clearing for a birding week this spring, but of course, that was cancelled, also. We remember you both fondly and are grateful for your presence and also,for the presence of your wonderful sheep during this time. Here in Oakland, we have deer, just a few hundred feet from our home, and turkeys, also! And we are grateful for our wonderful city yard, lots of green and an abundance of other colors. Please stay well. On behalf of us all, we hope you can reopen your inn and shop in 2021. Blessings, Mary Elyn and Jeff
HI Gretchen & Dick,
It’s wonderful to hear from you and know that life at the Farm continues with the flock (so cute!) and natural events that bring a sense of comfort and joy. With so many aspects to consider about opening I think you have made a good decision (though not easy) and I trust that this will provide many new creative opportunities to be together in spirit until we can be together in person again. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. Claire
Thanks for the wonderful photo of my buddy! This is definitely a time to be serious.
Hello Dick & Gretchen,
I nodded my head as I read your email. This pandemic continues to touch many aspects of our lives. Some we can manage, some are major changes in our lives, and some are disappointments that we hope to be part of our lives again in the future. I now realize I was one of your last B&B guests when I came in mid-October 2019. I am so glad I came then.
My best wishes are with you for 2020 in every way as you spend this “different” year. I have only fond memories of visits over the past 15+ years and I will reminisce occasionally just to enjoy a happy moment. Know that Martha and I will be back in 2021.
Janet & Martha
Hello Gretchen and Dick,
I just made Gretchen’s Zucchini Bread 1 and now I’m having trouble resisting a third slice. I loved reading Dick’s blog and was reminded of the spring we saw a one-day-old fawn in the pasture. Dick knew it had just been born because the previous day, mama was still pregnant.
My visits to your B&B have stretched over 20 years and I have loved how different each visit has been (with my mom, with a between-husbands-boyfriend, and with my forever husband several times). You have had hundreds of guests, but you always make us feel special.
I am thrilled with the wool blanket Dick wove for us and I think of you both every time I wrap myself in it. Your decision whether to reopen when the air clears will be difficult, but you will be guided by the wisdom and experience that has gotten you this far! We’ll be following your blog and making your recipes. Love, Anne & Ted