Coming Out of the Shell

I wasn’t even sure if I’d still have a blog, after leaving it dormant for 2 months. I feel rather like Joseph, exclaiming in surprise after (how many years?), “Ha-od avi chai?!” “Is my father still alive?!”

I see I have comments in moderation, too, and that’s good but also confusing, since I don’t remember getting notifications about any of them. Have to check my junk-mail settings, I suppose. (Now the puppy wants to lie in my lap while I type. I have all kinds of excuses for not writing!)

The comments do matter, because getting none is discouraging. Want to know that someone in addition to my mother is reading this. (Though thanks, Mom.) The Times-Union knows how many hits a day/week/month this blog gets; I don’t.

OK, so a quick catch-up on the last several months. Got a cat before Pesach. Got the goats 4 days before first Seder. Not the recommended timing. Went to see 3 does, came home with 3 does and the 2 kids one had dropped just that morning while we were on our way there. Got a puppy about a month later. Yes, our lives have been turned a bit upside-down. No sleep, new chores, milking twice a day.

Eldest Son’s naming was 5 weeks ago, much friends and family, good time, powerful climax to his journey joining our family. Younger Son’s family Birthday Brunch was the next morning but got a little upstaged because that was the morning that our second pregnant goat gave birth. I’d say “chose to give birth” but I don’t think that even goats have quite that much control over the timing.

Our Goat Guru is a church organist, says that the Lord has been good to her: She’s never had a kidding on a Sunday morning. So we’ve figured that our goats know that we’re Jewish, kindly waiting till after Shabbat (and such a big Shabbat for us too!) to give birth on Sunday.

And it turns out that the third one is pregnant too. I expect another kid or two within the month. It’s kind of nice — she was skinny, skittish and scared when she arrived, and she’s clearly feeling much safer and she’s mellowing out as time and her pregnancy progress. We have her up on the milking stand twice a day — she’s a “first freshener,” so we’re getting her used to jumping up, being handled, etc. Sweet feed (grains with molasses) is a powerful incentive!

We let a couple of hens set on a clutch of eggs and right on schedule checks started hatching late last week. So we built a nice little pen for the mama hen to rear them in, and they’re running around being their small and adorable selves. Pictures of all these to follow.

The bees are doing their thing, the puppy (Dreamer) is enlongating in both nose and body toward the grown dog that she will be, the boys are in summer camp, and after two weeks of vacation I guess I have enough mental and emotional “space” inside me, enough quiet time and routine and mostly manual tasks and only home-based crises, that I’m ready to venture outside of the small space of daily concerns and put myself “out there” a little bit.

I’m an introvert. I love people, I’m often energized by my interactions with people, and being rabbi is wonderful for that; but I rejuvenate alone or quietly, not by going out and being with people again. That’s just the way I’m created.

By the time I was getting ready to go on vacation in June, I was just too full — of emotions, of managing my time, of doing the impossible juggling of taking care of family and farm and taking care of work, of tracking the life stories of so many people.

Now I’m quieter. Ready to come out of the shell of solace and solitude that lets me grow again. Like the chicks, who have 3 weeks safely inside a thick shell (and the shells on our eggs are thicker than store-bought) before they have to emerge and start foraging for themselves.

Now I’m going to do something that’s really hard for me: Post this without letting it sit. Good writing, I was taught long ago, requires editing and revision. But the essence of a blog is “dash it off and let them see it.” I can dash off pages and pages — I’ve kept a journal, intermittently now, since I was in 6th or 7th grade and I read “Diary of Anne Frank.” But letting you see it unedited? That’s another matter.

But it’s what I have time for, if I’m to begin the blog again. The goats have to be milked and the kids (human kind) will be awake soon. So here goes.