Thursday, March 26, 2015

Goats, Lent, Aunts, Spring

The lenten spring has come!

Let us begin the time of fasting in light!

Preparing ourselves for the spiritual efforts.

Let us purify our soul; let us purify our body.

As from food, let us abstain from all passion and enjoy the virtues of the spirit,

So that perfected in time by love

We may all be made worthy to see 

the Passion of Christ and the Holy Pascha

In spiritual joy!

~from the Lenten Triodion

We are all basking in new light and the appearance of grass in certain sunny places. Spring soon baby! Shortly after the winter solstice Will and I noticed a wonderful phenomenon: our chickens started laying more eggs and our goats started giving more milk. Our theory: the sun just makes everyone happier. Look at these happy animals soaking up photons...and slowly taking down our lilac. They killed some of our most beautiful old apple trees. Frankly I'm ready to strangle them.

But the milk they give us (nourished by our valuable plants) is lovely—creamy and sweet and healthy for my babes. And Will seems to enjoy the daily rituals of feeding and milking and moving hay. 

At our house the goat milk we can't drink ourselves goes into cheese and yogurt. See my high-tech operation, the cloth bag and wooden spoon method....

We pregnant people and small children are still eating dairy (our own homegrown) even though it's Orthodox Lent around here for everybody else (Will). It's a new kind of austerity for him, and he's handling it very well! In fact, we are both marvelling at how fasting, even our small sad attempts, strengthens the spirit and opens the heart. We eat a lot of hummus, black bean tortillas, salad, soup. We also went into a season of gluten-free (yes, again!) after a season of colds and flus. So that rules out bread from our diet. I'm no cook, so this latest restriction was stumping me until Will bought me this beautiful baby (see Still Life With Tortilla Press below) and we've been churning 'em out. Our children are slowly warming up to the idea of beans.

We had another magical, wonderful visit from my sister Elizabeth. Here's a bunch from her camera:

Elizabeth, rockstar goat-milking sister...what would I have done without you?
While Will was away, Elizabeth and I attempted to take over his chores for a few days. Yeah, yeah, I can do it, I told Will recklessly, thinking to myself—Booyeah, who's a rockstar genius pregnant feminist? Well I threw my back out the first morning carrying a big, man-sized water bucket. If Lizzie wasn't here to bail me out, chores would have been endless misery. 
Me and Cow (the cat)
Auntie Lizzie, being a delicious, doting auntie and all-round fun adult, took the boys treasure hunting around the farm for hours until, finally, what should they unearth under the floorboards of the duck house but a chest full of pirate treasure! Who would have dreamed it? Pirates or robbers have been stockpiling treasure in our duck house!

Anyone who knows Hugh understands that this is a new standard of unrealistic prayer-request-granting that we'll never be able to match. Hugh loves treasure. I was tempted to say, See how much God loves you, Hugh? How he hears your prayers? But then I thought, what happens when the mask falls off and Oz is revealed for the religious hypocrite he is, so to speak? 

Sometimes I'm tempted to sympathize with the manipulative religious authority figures of my childhood. It's so easy to trick people into faith. But more often I find it's better just to be quiet. It's enough to savour the magic. 

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