James & the pigs.

Since April our household has counted another person! Mr. James is from New York, is on a journey through Europe before starting his university degree, and has landed here with us to live and learn from Norwegian farm life before heading back to civilisation (i.e.. Portland). Earlier this spring we signed up as a host farm on two websites who deal with this sort of business: workaway.info and WWOOF.org - and along came James. It has been great in every way; both to get more stuff done, but equally important to us as a family. James fits right into this kooky family and it has felt very natural to include him in our daily life. We shall be sad to see him go next month.

And speaking of farm stuff and James leads me over to the event of the day: We picked up two piglets today! Mr. Payne still thinks he is hilarious when he names them, I'm not so impressed, but anyway; Meet Francis and Kevin Bacon, still very cute and now happy little pigs foraging around in our field.

Planting for the future.

Earlier this month: My dad (aka Bestefar) has wanted to buy apple trees for the children for a while - one for each; trees that would grow and stay and symbolise our family's life on the farm. That this is really our farm now. So 4 little trees were bought. Yes, 4, because when the little one comes out, there must be a tree ready, and the placenta will be buried under it to nourish it, just like it has nourished the baby for nine months. And with joy the four trees were planted, and now they are in bloom already, and guess what: The first one to bloom was the baby's. Like it said, You belong here, baby, we are waiting for you. 

There is definitely something very beautiful and special about planting a tree, it's like dipping your toe into a little piece of eternity.

DIY greenhouse: Making use of old windows.

This husband of mine keeps impressing me. After one of our cheap plastic greenhouses fell apart in the autumn storms, he has now built a new one with old windows from our house plus some of the leftover plastic sheets from the previous one. The tomato plants are already thriving in there. Summer, here we come! 

Gone fishing.

There are many ways to spend Norway's national day. 

Hope the rest of you had a good one! xxx

All good.

Sorel's arrival brought many good things: Not just that we are in cuddle heaven again, stroking her supersoft fur and getting to know her, but also the fact that we have milk again! Mother and calf are together, so Sorel gets her share of the goodies, but there is more than enough for us, too. So today I made raw milk pudding, made from the colostrum which is the very nutritious first milk the cow gives after a calving. It was lovely!

Meet Sorel!

Our wonderful cow Daisy is a mother yet again! Almost a year after she had Pål, she gave birth to a heifer calf (female) - lovely Sorel! And ironically, this birth photographer missed it all! We knew she was in labour, it was obvious when she wandered restlessly around the field today, but she chose to birth in private while the rest of us were peeling potatoes and napping. Regardless, it is great that she did it all herself and didn't need help to pull it out, like last time. Second time mama-bonus!

Welcome to us, Sorel, we hope you'll like it here.

Portraits of Freja.

You are five, and you get to stay up a bit later than Falk this evening, and the light is beautiful, the temperature just right, it's an evening in late April and you are free. Your hair is wavy and your eyes sparkle and your movements are strong and light at the same time. You are pure beauty and life, you are like spring itself. Free and fierce and crazy, my wonderful girl.

First lambs!

The lambing started last night! Dandelion was first, and she birthed two beautiful lambs during the night - a blonde female and a black male. It was odd, because when I woke up this morning, I had a feeling that something had happened. Then, during the day, Veslemøy had two as well, but so far she is struggling a bit with grasping what has happened, it being her first time and all. Hopefully she'll land and let her lambs drink from her; thus far we have to hold her still so they can latch on. We are positive that it will be okay. And, yep, as I wrote this, Mr. Payne came in and said that Cottonsocks has had a lamb, too. That marks the beginning of the first lambs born here by mothers born here (if you get what I'm trying to say) - second generation Zoo Payne sheep, that is! Yay! 

It will be exciting to see what the night brings. 

xxx

Yesterday.

Some days are like that: The light is gorgeous and the everyday moments too beautiful to miss, so I bring my camera with me most of the time. I try to save the moments. Yesterday was one of those days, with spring bursting out from everywhere, nature cracking at its seams with life, and my babies enjoying it to the fullest. Love!

(portraits of me by Ronja)

It's all happening.

Speaking of the cycle of life (previous post):

Life is about to explode on the farm these days. Not just in the trees where the birds are singing like maniacs and the leaves are popping out, or in the ditches and meadows where new types of flowers show their beauty every day. As I write this, I can hear the chirping of baby chicks in the nesting machine next to me (yes, my office is both an office and a chicken incubator), one has hatched already and more will come during the night and morning hours. In the sheep pen, we have ten round bellied mamas-to-be, ready to pop any day, and our beautiful cow Daisy is again about to become a mama, any time during the next three weeks. Busy and exciting times!

Goodbye, Pål.

It was slaughtering time again here today. It's never easy, not for anyone, but today was emotionally harder for us than before. It was time for Pål - our first calf born on the farm - to go. As always, it was done in the most humane way possible; he was taken outside in the field, given lovely food from a bucket, and then, without any stress or fear, it was all over. Mr. Payne had great help from friends, and the kids and I watched it from the house. I had to turn away when the shot came, and yes, there were tears. The kids on the other hand, watched it all, and as soon as he was on the ground, ran out to have a closer look. Even though I find this hard, I still firmly believe that including the kids (and myself) in this, is good for us. It's about being close to the cycle of life, about making death a natural part of it, about not distancing ourselves from everything uncomfortable. (I have written more about this previously, here and here.) 

Thank you, Pål, and goodbye.

Five (and fabulous!).

The day has finally come - you are five!

Wonderful colourful strong beautiful sensitive Freja: You are an adventure. We are so happy and so lucky to share this life with you. You spice up our days with your feistiness, wicked sense of humour, creativity and uninhibited love. Your love of nature and the way you care for everyone around you touches our hearts. You are a magical mystery!

Happy birthday Freja, we love you so.

My growing heart.

Being over half way through this pregnancy, I am slowly coming to the realisation that Falk is going to be a big brother soon. My little baby! It feels like I just had him, he was just this tiny squishy baby and I was just recently born as a mother, again. And now, there is another one coming.

When I was expecting Freja, I struggled a bit with what so many second-time mamas do; the fear of whether there would be enough space in my heart to be able to love another baby as much as the first one. It's quite logical, really: The child you have from before, is someone you love and know and would die for - it's someone who has shaped your life so vividly already. The baby in the belly is still something abstract, an idea of someone, fragmented movements, physical sensations, dreams and wonders, but not yet someone whole and someone you know. So you just have to trust that you will also mother this baby as well as you did the first one - which is hard to believe, sometimes. But of course, when Freja was born, she was instantly my baby, just as much as Ronja, and my heart had space. My heart grew. The same experience with Falk, but I had less worry this time, I trusted my former experience and knew that my heart would grow even more, that he would be my baby, too. 

And now, I am going through these motions yet again. It feels like an enormous gift, and as the one in my belly grows and kicks and moves within me more and more, the wonder of what is awaiting fills me with such joy. I am one lucky mama.

37.

I have been on this Earth for 37 years today. I have wandered this planet while it quietly spun 37 times around the sun, and I can say with great clarity that I am at a good place in my life. No, it's not perfect - and it will never be - and what is perfect, anyway? - but I am where I want to be and with the people I want to be with. I am on a journey and I am expanding my ways of understanding this life all the time. I have my kingdom: This farm and the forest, and this is where we have chosen to live our lives. I am with a man who makes my dreams come true, who works long hours every day to really create this life that we want, who has the stamina of a titan and who loves us all very much. I have three kids who make my days wonderful, and chaotic, and colourful, and magical. And now I am carrying another child in my womb, another soul to make this family even more complete. I have friends who stick around, who share their journey with us, who open their arms and homes for us, who give us support, wonderful company and the best conversations. I feel blessed by fairies and have probably never been happier and more content. Now that's something, isn't it?

Happy birthday to me!

Working together.

Ok, sometimes it takes a liiiittle bit longer to get things done, but we still firmly believe that including the kids in our daily work is good and important. No matter the mess! (It is actually a very good zen exercise on how to keep calm in the storm; for example cooking lasagne with three kids helping.) This afternoon, moving wood into the shed was eagerly helped by strong, little hands. 

(notice Freja happily whistling away on the second to last photo)