“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

Your perfect garden: mulch landscaping

mulchIf you would like great curb appeal, a refined turn to your landscaping, and dollar for dollar increased worth for the home, then you’re likely to like these mulch landscaping suggestions to give a polished contact to your trees, shrubs, and beds. While mulching is essential because of its aesthetic appeal, it is a necessity for the ongoing health of your plantings, as well.
Various kinds of Mulch
Mulch could be either organic, as in the full case of shredded solid wood with compost, or inorganic, while in a variety of decorative stones. While inorganic choices will longer last, there's some maintenance to take into account still. Weed seeds shall blow and discover their method into any surface, so some weeding, either yourself or with Roundup chemically, is necessary. Every couple of years, the top ought to be restored with a lighting layer to pay for the settling and sinking occurring as time passes. Inorganic materials ought to be pass on at a depth of 2 - 4 inches.
Organic best mulch needs to often be replenished more, either each full year, or almost every other year. The organic parts breakdown, which enriches the soil for nutrition. A preexisting mulch bed ought to be top-dressed with 2 - 3 ins of mulch. A fresh bed ought to be established with 4 - 6 inches. Make sure to leave area at the bottom of vegetation, you don’t desire to bury them. In case you are laying Playground Chips for a recreational region, 6 inches may be the recommended depth, since it is to become a cushion for falls.
Form Follows Function
Consider the design that you will be landscaping. A formal design dwelling would reap the benefits of a formal landscape strategy, which may include symmetry. Think about sheared low-developing hedges, such as for example boxwoods, or holly. Include defined designs, such as for example shaped evergreens.  Geometric designs prevail in this design. A  Casual, or Modern, abode would look greatest with informal plantings which are asymmetrical. Pruned junipers or forsythia would achieve a natural look lightly, aiming for a nice variety of texture. Curved edges and walkways will be the norm because of this style.  Some landscape programs can achieve a distinctive combination, with an official approach toward leading yard, then tapering to more natural ranges on the borders, sides, and back of the house. Some home owners adopt a concept, like a Japanese water backyard, or a Rock backyard planted with succulents.

Home Secrets: Natural Cleaning Solutions

clean_houseMost store-purchased cleaners contain chemicals that may cause not eye and pores and skin irritations but even malignancy just, birth and asthma defects. They could be ingested by children and pets accidentally.
Thankfully, nature offers provided us with the necessary ingredients to help keep our houses spic and span without killing ourselves, wildlife or the surroundings. Just use these healthy household cleaning solutions - most which you probably curently have in the kitchen-for an all natural cleaning that's much better for your health insurance and for the air flow, soil, water, vegetation, and creatures around you.
1. Lemon
When life offers you lemons, help to make lemonade-or an ideal non-toxic household cleaner. An all natural bleaching deodorizer and real estate agent that may give your home an excellent fresh scent, natural lemon fruit juice cuts through grease, removes stains, gives hard surfaces a lovely shine and eliminates fungus even. Dilute some lemon fruit juice with water to completely clean staining on trimming boards and destroy germs. Dip a vintage toothbrush in lemon fruit juice to eliminate grout. Then add salt and you have a highly effective cleaner for metallic grills and a polisher for chrome. Soak plastic material meals containers in lemon fruit juice overnight to eliminate smells. Put diluted lemon fruit juice in a spray bottle to help keep your kitchen countertops clear and smelling great. Who requirements toxic chlorine bleach for the laundry when you're able to just add a mug of lemon fruit juice to your load for brilliant colors, whitened whites and a lemony new scent? The set of things that could be cleaned by lemons will be impressive.
2. Olive oil
Not for cooking just, olive oil is an excellent natural cleaner and polisher. Then add salt and you may scrub pans and pots. Rub it into natural leather to obtain scratches out. Then add lemon fruit juice or vinegar and there is a great natural solid wood polisher. The citric acid in lemon juice helps it be ideal for dissolving tarnish. Work with a cotton fabric to buff stainless and brass to avoid streaks and rust and obtain a brilliant shine. Work with a halved lemon dipped in salt to brighten copper cookware. Plus, it can be used by you to lubricate all your kitchen appliances, from blenders and grinders to any cookware with movable parts-or fix a squeaky door even. And before you begin your springtime gardening, spray some essential olive oil on your own garden tools to lessen dust buildup. With all of this value (not forgetting its culinary, health insurance and beauty programs), it's no question that for the historic Minoans, essential olive oil represented wealth.
3. White vinegar
The natural acidity in white vinegar helps it be an excellent natural antifungal and antibacterial. Not only is it a fantastic nontoxic degreaser, it eliminates soap scum. Placed on a white natural cotton glove and dip your fingertips in a 50/50 solution of whitened vinegar and warm water and all of a sudden cleaning Venetian window blinds and piano keys is really a breeze. Dip a natural cotton cloth in a 50/50 solution of whitened vinegar and essential olive oil to eliminate water rings from solid wood tabletops. To completely clean and brighten floor coverings, dip a drive broom in a remedy of just one 1 cup whitened vinegar and 1 gallon of water. Utilize the same treatment for clean brickwork. To eliminate tough odors like tobacco smoke, leave a plate of vinegar in the available room overnight. There are over 100 different ways you may use white vinegar throughout the house.
4. Baking soda
You probably understand that an open box of baking soda in the fridge absorbs odors. But additionally to being an efficient deodorizer wherever you would like to eliminate stinky smells, it is also a highly effective antiviral agent and surfactant that eliminates grease and grime. Utilize it as a scouring powder to completely clean countertops, sinks, tubs, bathing room floors and your outside grill. To unclog drains, pour some baking soda down the drain, and slowly pour in a few whitened vinegar until it foams. Flush with warm water and repeat before drain is clear. To keep floor coverings fresh, sprinkle on some baking vacuum cleaner and soda after 15 minutes. Maintain your combs and hairbrushes clear by soaking them in a few drinking water with a teaspoon of baking soda. And create your tile flooring sparkle with a mop . 5 mug baking soda in a bucket of tepid to warm water. You can find so many makes use of for baking soda throughout the house you'll would like to involve some handy all the time.
5. Club soda
For an effective and safe window cleaner, fill a little spray bottle with club soda and work with a soft cotton fabric (a clean T-shirt can do the trick). If you want to cut through grease, put in a little lemon fruit juice. Being an added bonus, club soda is an useful stain remover and polisher. You may also water your interior and outdoor vegetation with golf club soda once weekly: they love the nutrients in the soda, which assists them grow. To help keep your valuable gems sparkly, soak them in one glass of club soda overnight. Plus, the carbonation in golf club soda makes it a perfect rust remover. For cleansing cast-iron cookware, pour in a few club soda as the pan's nevertheless warm therefore the food contaminants don't stick. With one of these and more surprising home uses, it's obvious that golf club soda isn't only for drinking.
6. Salt
You wouldn't pour salt in a wound, but pour it in white vinegar and there is a powerful cleaner with a deodorizing impact. A remedy of salt and golf club soda will clear and deodorize the within of your fridge. For wines spills on natural cotton or linen, blot out everything you can and pour salt on the stain to suck out the others. Then soak the material in cool water before throwing it in the clean. Mix some salt into lemon juice to eliminate mildew and rust staining. To brighten coloured curtains or washable dietary fiber rugs, clean them in a saltwater solution. Work with a cloth dipped in exactly the same treatment for brighten rugs and carpets and rugs. Use it alone for a smooth but effective scouring real estate agent. With over 14,000 utilizes, salt is just about the world's most flexible mineral.

Home Secrets: Home-made Carpet Cleaning

Carpets keep their elegance if deep cleaned at least one time a year longest. This working job will be one where it will pay to create in the pros, because they have muscle, methods and machinery not available to home carpet cleaners usually.
If your allowance won't stretch to top notch services for a very reasonable rate, you can find do-it-yourself alternatives that produce a good job of home rug cleaning, so long as you carefully work, use the best equipment and observe these cautions:
Know your carpet. Make sure to understand the sort of cleaning method suggested by your carpet's manufacturers.
Adhere to steamers, not shampooers. Once you buy or lease a carpet cleaner, select a carpet steamer. Old "carpet shampoo" units make use of rotary agitators to use detergent solution and could overwet carpets. The hair shampoo film could be difficult to eliminate, causing resoiling.
Vacuum first. Water plus dust equals mud, which is extremely difficult to eliminate. Before cleaning the carpeting, vacuum completely to remove just as much loose dirt as you possibly can.
Choose the right cleaners. Stick to cleaning products designed for home carpet cleaning, and follow package instructions to combine cleaning solutions.
Pretreat. Work with a traffic-lane cleaner or pre-spray to take care of areas of higher soil before cleaning.
Keep it dried out. Over-saturated carpets and rugs aren't cleaner, wetter just. After extracting, create a second dry move over the carpeting to remove just as much dampness as possible. Keep traffic off cleaned carpeting until it really is dry freshly.
Looking after Hard-Surface Floors
Much like carpets, routine cleaning is the greatest way to keep up with the elegance of hard-surface flooring. Regular sweeping, vacuuming or dust-mopping removes abrasive dust and grit from the ground. Establishing a "shoes-off" plan and using entry mats helps prevent road soil from getting into the home and becoming tracked onto floors.
When it's time and energy to clean, thoroughly clean with a light hands. Hard-surface floors look greatest when clear and clean, but detergent make use of or cleaner buildup can make a hazy movie that dulls flooring - and attracts and keeps more dirt. Depend on these cleaning ideas to keep hard-surface flooring looking clean and gorgeous:
Linoleum and vinyl Floors
To look after linoleum and vinyl, sweep, vacuum cleaner, or dust-mop every day to eliminate surface grit. Damp-mop with pure water to remove dust and restore shine. For more heavily soiled flooring, vacuum first, after that wet-mop floors utilizing a very light answer around 1-2 teaspoons liquid dishwashing detergent per gallon of tepid to warm water. Rinse the ground with clean drinking water before drying it with whitened cleaning cloths.
If you can find depressions in the ground, work with a scrubbing pad to loosen any soil in these certain areas as you clean, then wash with fresh pure water.
Hardwood Floors
These floors are vunerable to abrasion, are often dented and may be broken by moisture or incorrect cleansing methods. Remove dirt and surface area soil from hardwoods every day, preferably with a large-headed microfiber dirt mop. Alternately, hardwood floors could be vacuumed but make sure to change the beater pubs off in order to avoid scratching the ground. When required, damp-mop with plain drinking water to get dirt, using a hardly wet mop. Avoid any drips or standing up water; the mop mind or terry mop protect ought to be wrung till nearly dried out before it touches the ground. A solution of whitened vinegar and drinking water will up the cleansing ante, so check it out for stubborn dirt.
Even more intense cleaning will demand a cleaning item formulated for the floor's specific finish. Usually do not use essential oil soap on hardwood flooring; it'll develop a dirt-trapping sticky film also it can hinder recoating or refinishing flooring later on.
Ceramic Tile Floors
Keep ceramic tile flooring looking their finest with daily sweeping or even vacuuming to eliminate surface grit. If using a vacuum cleaner, arranged the beater bar to the off placement to vacuum. Every full week or so, damp-mop with a remedy of 2 tablespoons liquid dishwashing detergent to at least one 1 gallon of tepid to warm water. Use a cleansing toothbrush to scrub stained or unclean grout. Rinse with pure water. Buff the tile with a clear, dry towel to eliminate any water spots. In no way apply wax to ceramic tile flooring; it can be hard to remove, could cause slip-and-fall injuries and could hinder resealing grout.

Home Secrets: Useful Cleaning Methods

To help with making your spring cleaning much less frustrating, here are some tips from the cleaning company serving durham:
·When you do severe cleaning, it is possible to kick up lots of dust by moving things around just. Open the windows to obtain as much oxygen in the homely house as you possibly can.
·Start at the very top and work the right path down. Dirt and dirt have a tendency to settle in lower locations if they are disturbed, so save the carpets and floors for last. Vacuums like the Hoover WindTunnel II upright consist of features like a telescoping wand and extend hose with a complete 20 ft of combined cleaning grab cleaning those hard-to-reach locations at the tops of areas, such as shelves, draperies and ceiling fans. The machine really lifts and traps dust, so that it won't scatter back to the room.
·Nearly eight in 10 grownups who do annual cleansing rely on equipment for cleaning hard-to-reach locations, such as for example under and corners home appliances, or for cleansing curtains or rugs.
·Use vacuum cleaner wands and hoses to completely clean cobwebs, walls, blinds and drapes.
·Clear miniblinds by hanging them in the bath with suction cups, spraying them together with your favorite rinsing and cleaner them clean with a removable showerhead. Vacuum clear between washings with a dust-brush attachment.
·Clean windows with an assortment of 1/2 mug ammonia in a bucket of drinking water.
·Use vacuum pressure cleaner with a brush device to clean dust and lint off baseboards, and follow-up with a wet towel then.
·To look after hard surfaces, like a hardwood flooring and tile, consider a cleaner like the Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub difficult floor cleaner. This 3-in-1 device is made simply for those tough work: vacuuming, cleaning and drying hard-surface floors. A remedy of Hoover FloorMate Floor-to-Floor hard ground cleaner and water is preferred on marble, ceramic tile, vinyl, laminate and sealed hardwood floors along with other surfaces throughout the house.
·To tidy up spills on the carpeting, first dab up just as much of the spill as you possibly can. Next, have a damp, absorbent cloth and lay it on the spill. Finally, location several heavy books on the cloth for approximately 24 hours.
·Steam cleaning carpets and rugs is considered one of the most challenging tasks of heavy cleaning. That's where a machine like the Hoover SpinScrub SteamVac multi-surface cleaner might help, providing professional high quality deep cleansing that keeps your carpeting looking better longer. We advise that you first vacuum cleaner the carpets, and clean the carpeting with the SteamVac and Hoover Deep Cleansing carpeting/upholstery detergent for an ultra deep clean.
·Before performing any wet cleaning, ensure that you possess vacuumed your complete home, including drapes, furniture and walls.

Great things about hardwood floors cleaning

A shiny and sparkling hardwood floor will be able to bring classy elegance in virtually any available room. This is a great expense because it is lengthy lasting yet quite appealing. Any homeowner with hardwood flooring in their home will need to consider refinishing it at some true point.
Heavy traffic, dirt, animals and moving of furnishings round the room are a number of the things that may wreak havoc about the finish of one's hardwood ground. As a result, you might have to refinish it to be able to restore the natural luster and beauty of the wood.
Although they're very appealing within a glance just, a bit is required by them of maintenance. Luckily, refinishing hardwood floors isn't a big challenge, unlike what a lot of people think. You can find professional contractors always open to quickly complete the complete job, efficiently, and affordably. Here are a few of the primary benefits associated with choosing the maids new london for cleaning hardwood floor and in addition refinishing tips.
Improved Appearance
This is the biggest benefit of hiring a specialist contractor ultimately. These professionals have yrs of encounter in the flooring industry. Therefore, they know the very best answers to hardwood problems.
They know what must be done to provide your floor a better appearance. A better look of the ground will reflect on all other top features of your room and house nicely.
Affordability and Disruption
Refinishing is certainly less of a headache and cheaper than replacing the complete floor. An upgraded project will take a longer span time also, disrupting your entire day to day existence in the home. Lots of points should be moved because the entire floor region will most likely need to be done.
Professionals can refinish your complete floor in just an individual day often, which is a great deal less invasive. You wind up reducing the quantity of hassle you have to offer with, and you also save a substantial amount of money by devoid of to displace your floors.
Here are a few factors that needs to be considered while budgeting:
·The situation of the floor.
·The colour of the floor.
·Whether it’s on a new staircase or the top is flat.
·Any additional services.
Value
Floor refinishing is really a worthwhile investment for just about any homeowner. It adds worth to the true home as a whole, and can especially attractive to prospective home purchasers whenever it really is set to become sold. It does increase the chances of the house being purchased in the true estate market.
Risk
Refinishing the hardwood ground all by yourself could be very risky, particularly if you don’t have much encounter in it. This risk may not be worth taking based on your situation. After all, in the event that you up mess it, chances are you will undoubtedly be hiring a specialist anyways as well as perhaps paying extra to repair up the mistakes.
Rebuffing the Finish
A professional can rebuff your floor end effectively. If you opt to do it on your own, you’ll need to buff it as you strip off any staying residue.
Reduced Maintenance Costs
Once your ground is refinished by way of a professional, you are certain to get many years of service as a result before having to repeat. Refinishing furthermore reduces the probability of the floor learning to be a harbor for termites or some other kind of pests.
Unless you have the proper machinery and sufficient experience, hardwood floor refinishing isn't something you need to do by yourself. Doing therefore could be messy, and time-intensive. Floor refinishing is really a process that should be done precisely, the result will never be appealing otherwise. Hiring a specialist refinisher can save you lots of time and money in the long term.

Home Cleaning for Each Season

Winter Cleaning YOUR HOME
Cozy nights simply by the fire, holiday entertaining, snowfall and rock salt all around the homely house -- winter season brings its own group of specific housecleaning challenges. This season is more about organization and preparedness than cleaning actually. Sustain your regular cleaning routine or let cleaning organization to provide you with superior maid services.
Inside, you need to change your furnace filter systems a little more in the wintertime regularly. The furnace often runs more, so - particularly if you've got a fireplace - there's more particles in the air.
Winter is a good time to clean your personal computer also, since you have significantly more downtime. Energy the pc down and unplug it. Remove the trunk panel -- it's simple and generally just a few little screws. You don't have to touch anything. Simply make use of some canned compressed air flow to blow out dirt and pet tresses from the parts. Turn your keyboard ugly right into a trash bin -- you will be surprised at just how many crumbs and points lodge within the keys. Wipe down the table and keys with a damp cloth. You can use compressed air to obtain between the keys also.
In the event that you enjoy decorating for the holiday season, make sure the homely house is clean when you begin. And at the final end of the vacation season, take the extra time and energy to dust and clean down all your decor and ornaments as you put them away. That way, next winter season, you'll focus on a clean slate. Are you experiencing an artificial Xmas tree that's obtaining a bit dingy? Put it in the tub and spray it with the shower gently! Let it dry and it'll be exactly like new completely. Of course, please avoid doing this in case you have a pre-lit tree.
If you reside in an area where you get snowed in often, you might like to come up with a little "survival package." Add a few days' well worth of energy bars, batteries and flashlights, blankets, non-perishable food it doesn't require cooking food or refrigeration, and powdered milk. Remember a can opener, utensils and a gallon of drinking water per person, each day. Don't forget meals for your pets.
Pull your cold-weather equipment out of storage space -- sleds, skis, snow scrapers and shovels. Make certain everything is in operating order and all set. Create your coats, hats, scarves and mittens handy.
Outdoors, there's less cleaning to accomplish; plan the weather instead. Put your snowfall shovels within an easy-to-reach place. Buy salt or some other de-icers so you are not caught unprepared. Search for nontoxic compounds for the security of your as well as your neighbors' pets. Make certain all your vehicles possess ice scrapers and brushes to eliminate snow. Check your wiper antifreeze and fluid levels, and keep your gas tank close to full in order to avoid freezing always.
Deposit waterproof floor mats close to every door leading outdoors to catch melting snowfall and salt. Grab some large baking linens - the type with an elevated edge - and utilize them for shoe and shoe storage. It'll keep dirt and snowfall from spreading and melting inside your home. Look for the baking linens at garage product sales or flea marketplaces for real savings.

Home Secrets: Cleaning Tips

Whenever we transfer to a new place, the very first thing I do is help to make note of all plain things that have to be cleaned. Since it's uncommon that people move locally, we generally don't possess a chance to execute a thorough clear before our things arrives; instead, we need to clean close to our things, that is not perfect, but does work. It requires a little more patience just.
The Kitchen
Maybe because I hate a dirty kitchen actually, plus I discover that people's cooking smells nevertheless linger long right after they're gone, I first tackle your kitchen. It's also where I actually spend lots of time and power making certain I've cleaned every surface area. Again, this is specific to me and you also might discover that the prior owners barely utilized their stove or kitchen area cupboards - lucky you!
Appliances
This is where you might need to use a heavy-duty cleaner, which might include appliance cleaner, like a paste or wax.
Kitchen Counters and Cabinets
Work with a mild cleaner to completely clean the within of cabinets, particularly if they're painted or lined. Should they aren't lined, contemplate using a liner to make sure that the insides are prepared for your dishes. Lining paper can be bought at any true home store. I have a tendency to you the type that doesn't stick, so that it can be removed at any right time.
Clean the very best of cupboards, and cabinet doorways. If the top is wood, work with a wood cleaner or a moderate soap. For grease-stains, make use of baking drinking water and soda. Create a paste and use it, allowing it to sit for some minutes. Also clear handles and inside drawers.
Counters require less work usually, just be sure you clear between cracks utilizing a putty knife to eliminate any debris. Clear back-splashes with a moderate cleaner or baking water and soda.
Sink
I take advantage of a chlorine-free of charge bleach to completely clean the sink by putting quite a few in a spray-bottle and adding drinking water to it. Spray the sink nicely and allow it soak for some time. Then rinse thoroughly. Furthermore, bleach the plugs by putting them in handful of bleach-water and permitting them to sit for some minutes. Rinse well. Sink odors could be removed by combining baking soda and water collectively, pouring it down the drain then.
Cleaning Walls
I clean the walls following, because they are usually a larger work, one that I get I'll leave easily don't take action before we begin to unpack. Unless the prior owners had lately (and After all, very lately) painted the inside, you don't necessarily need to clean them. Whether it's a house that is occupied by small kids, look for fingerprints nearer to the ground and around lighting corners and switches. Liquid stay cleaners from businesses such as for example Tide work nicely to remove a few of the even more stubborn stains. Another excellent solution for sticky places, the one that requires hardly any elbow grease, would be to apply handful of material softener to a sponge after that rub it on the region. Whatever has stuck to the wall shall disappear. This is effective for eliminating wallpaper or papers borders really, too.
Step-By-Step Cleaning - Walls
·Remove all dirt and cobwebs, especially inside corners and around heating system vents.
·Grab a new sponge, or when i prefer, a new sponge-mop to attain those hard to attain areas, and fill up a new bucket with comfortable, soapy water. You may use a moderate detergent or dish soap. Detergent is effective for just about any hard-to-remove stains.
·Wash the walls ensuring any dust or cobwebs that linger behind are usually wiped away.
·Clean the molding and baseboards.
·Clean the light change plates and along any doorway frames.
Cleaning Floors
Whenever we transfer to a new home which has carpet, we generally hire a specialist cleaner to steam thoroughly clean them ahead of our move date. If that's not possible, or the prior occupants claimed that they had the carpets cleaned, in that case your new home probably requires a thorough vacuum. Be sure you ask the prior owners should they had any pets; if they did, you might want to drive back possible fleas, particularly if you have pets of your.
For wood flooring or faux wood, hand wash the floor, making sure to completely clean under heating system vents and under home appliances. Work with a mild soap to completely clean its surface; solid wood soaps, such as for example Murphy's, work nicely to remove dirt and present it a polished shine (smells great, too!).

Big Otis

All the hens are crazy 'bout that big orange rooster.
(Must be the eyebrows.....)


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7 - 2016-06-14 04:43:05 -

Sadly, Blogger was having technical issues last evening and I was unable
to upload photos...
which makes for a very boring blog.
Hopefully today will bring better luck!

If all goes as we hope,
we should be back tomorrow with another Tale from the Farm.

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Ok, Well, It Seemed Like A Good Idea...

I remember reading somewhere that sheep do not challenge fences.
I read it... and I tucked it away in my memory bank for future reference.

This weekend, I retrieved that memory and decided to try moving the sheep around
from spot to spot for a little help with landscaping.

Remember that white portable poultry fence that I use to protect the blueberry field?
Well, that same type of fence is what I used when the lambs first came to the farm...
back when they lived in the barn and went out for the daylight hours and it served our needs then.
We decided to use that fence to section off an area around the picnic pavilion that needed
a bit of trimming (weeds and brush, i.e. sheep delicacies).


Well, whoever wrote that sheep don't challenge fences
never met Grace, Faith and Hope.
Or, perhaps Grace, Faith and Hope just never got that memo.


We painstakingly spent about a half hour placing the fence where we wanted it...
braving thorns and poison ivy...
pushing each of the upright supports deep into the earth to stabilize the fence.


With Ritz crackers in hand I led the girls to their new buffet...
a smorgasbord of green delights.
Curious, they explored every inch of the area and then set about munching.

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Peaceful Pastures

The horses were quite late in going out to pasture yesterday.
And every chance they had, they let me know it.


The power company had sent tree trimmers to trim the trees in our front pasture
away from power lines.


Each whinny and bray let me know that the equines were losing patience with the tree trimmers.


The funny thing is...
you'd think they would run out of the gate as soon as I opened it.
Nope.
As soon as they reached the grass they all just stopped....
and started eating.


Gradually they made their way (ate their way) a little further into the pasture.


I had thought that perhaps they would kick up their heels with joy
at having the gate opened.


They had other things on their mind!

I received a questions regarding our two ponies.
It was pointed out to me that we rarely have any stories about our
two sweet bay ponies, Donnie Branco and Scarlet.


So... I thought I would tell you a little about their history today.

Scarlet and Donnie are brother and sister
(one of their other sisters is Shirley... Dr. Becky's pony who looks just like these two!)

Donnie joined the farm crew in 2007,
while Scarlet came to us in 2010.


They were given to us by a friend (Nancy) and colleague of Dr. Becky who
at one time...

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It's about time.....

I started blogging again. I've really missed it. I've just been... hmmm... whats the word I'm looking for...
Lazy?
Yeah, that's it. *sigh*
Actually, I've missed YOU. I need to get caught up on all my blog friends and hope they remember me.
No point in trying to catch up on almost a years' worth of news from around the farm, so I'll just put some pictures on here.

Big Otis and his girls are on a mission to rid the world of every single June bug in existence. I'm not going to tell them that's pretty much an impossibility because watching them chase their prey across the yard at full speed is too hilarious.



The sheep are very happy to be rid of their winter sweaters. Oh, and Tiny says howdy.



It's been too hot to do anything outside for the past few weeks, so Lily and I have been spending the days inside in my sewing room. Oh, and Lily would say howdy if she wasn't so busy snoring.





Speaking of sewing, I embroidered this little t-shirt for my great-nephew, who will be turning two in November. He's heading to the beach with his mom and dad this week, so I thought the crab was appropriate. *grin*



Speaking of family, we were blessed to celebrate Father's Day a couple of weeks ago with four...

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Catching Up....

Wow!
Has it really only been three days since we last chatted?
It seems like longer.
What a fun and busy three days it was....
I can hardly wait to tell you about it.


Let's start with Friday.
You might remember that Friday was our scheduled visit from the preschoolers.
I had hoped for a nice day, weather-wise, but Mother Nature had other plans.


Amazingly, the rain did not put a damper on our day.
Thirty-five or so three to five year olds arrived with their parents or grandparents...
with raincoats, umbrellas, galoshes and lunches.


Amidst drizzle and small showers we visited all of the animals,


stuffed the goats and chickens with Ritz crackers
and hugged the donkeys.


In spite of, or maybe because of the rain the kids seemed to have a blast.
 They were oh, so sweet and so respectful of the animals.
Each of them used his/her very best manners... 
making it truly a joy for all of us...
especially the animals.


Our entire weekend was filled with the weirdest of weather.


Sun, rain, sun, hail, sun rain...
it seemed to change every fifteen minutes


When the sun was out (and also while it hailed),
we worked in the garden.
(Amanda was here on Sunday to help with gardening.)

lettuce
Most of the garden boxes are...

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My Peaceful Place

There is nothing more peaceful and satisfying to me
than taking a break from mowing and weeding...
to sit quietly with the donkeys.


I'd have to say that of all the animals on the farm,
I feel a deep inner connection with these two girls.
Spending time with them is good for the soul.


We just may have found the cure for just about anything that ails you!


Wow!  Another Friday has arrived already!
We have an exciting weekend planned.
We are heading to Maryland on Saturday to go to the Preakness.
The weather is not in our favor... but we'll have a good time anyway.
Tim and Amanda are holding down the fort for us.

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Let's Take a Walk....

Would you like to take a walk with us?


I am hoping that the following video uploads with no issues....
although, as I write this it is past my bedtime (last night) and there are over three
hours still to go on the upload to YouTube.
If it were a perfect world, I'd have nothing to worry about.
So, I am crossing my fingers and going to bed with the hopes that this video is present
when I awaken.
If not, check back a little later and it will be up and running for sure!!
Technology.....
Oy!

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Tom and Chuck... Surprise!

I've been busy...
busy mowing and sewing...
more mowing than sewing.


And in-between all of that I have been gardening and spending time with my critters.
Last evening as I finished up the day's mowing (there's more to do today!),
Tom and Chuck spied me and came strolling down to visit.


These two good ole boys have been pretty good about walking back to their house
each evening at dusk...
putting themselves to bed in the right location.


All it takes is for something out of the ordinary to happen...
like them finding the gate to their yard closed...
and we have to start the training all over again.


If they happen to walk home and find their gate closed,
then they look for accommodations elsewhere and virtually forget about their home.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Then begins the task of walking them home night after night until they get back in the habit again.


Bird brains!
There's truth to that phrase.


I can scarcely believe that these two old boys are 7 years old.

When they finally reached me,
I switched the camera to video.
Here is our visit...with a surprise ending...


Yesterday morning, for some odd reason, I awoke at 4 AM...wide awake.
I was ready to take on the world...
however the world was not...

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This is Worth Waiting For!

It seems that so much of our year is spent wading through ice and snow...
skies cold and grey,
earth brown and grey.

Each day passed with the promise of warmth and color to come.


That time of year seems so long... days pass slower then
(which is not a bad thing!)


Suddenly, though, we find ourselves in the midst of an explosion of color!


All of the rain of the past three weeks coupled with the recent sunshine
has brought world back to life.


Every square inch is teeming with life.


Greens, so green... almost unimaginably green.


Is it any wonder that this is my favorite color?

After the work is done...
feeding, mucking, weeding, watering, mowing...
it's time to sit and just enjoy the beauty of our world.


Puffy clouds float overhead in a crystal blue sky as I lie back with cat on lap,
surrounded by friends.


This is heaven.


This is what gets us through the cold and dark days of winter.


This!

Do you remember a few weeks ago...
I showed you a few messy looking goats?


A couple of our goats looking as though they had fallen on hard times...


Now they are looking quite lovely...
all of the old shedding matter removed.


Dr. Becky mildly sedates these two and combs all of the shedding fur,
trims their hooves,
and just...

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Sound The Alarm!

Sound the guinea alarm!!


There's a new face on the farm.


This morning's appearance of a new face sent the guineas into alarm mode.
Squawking their usual disapproval...
"Stranger! Danger! Stranger! Danger!"
the guineas announced the newest addition to the Bee Haven neighborhood.


Meet Buddy.
He was just adopted from a shelter in Kentucky (or maybe it was Tennessee)
by Dr. Becky (Hubb's sister who also has a house on the farm).

Buddy, of unknown age and unknown breed mix,  (and sweet as sweet can be!)
was out for morning chores with Dr. Becky...
meeting the farm animals for the first time.

He was quite interested in Tom and Chuck...


as they were in him as well!


The dogs were highly interested in playing with him.


Sam and Oakley had to be told to mind their manners.
Boys!


Buddy is still a little thin and his muscles are quite weak.
(Dr. Becky has no idea what his story was...
he is quite lucky to have been adopted.)
With a little time and tender loving care (and lots of treats)
he will gain weight and strength and be ready to give Sam and Oakley a run for the money!



Annie was quite happy with Buddy's arrival...
someone new to chase her!

I love happy endings to sad animal stories.
And although we don't know...

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How to Lead a Farm Takeover



We're Amanda and Tim, we're the "kids", and we took care of the farm this weekend.


We've hung around here a bunch!

Sorry, pun, couldn't resist!

Most of the time, we venture up during holidays, pizza oven parties, go-kart races, and one notable wedding 
(...that was us, last summer, getting married and stuff).

So when it comes to things like hanging with Minerva, 
we're expert at spending quality, rainy time in the garden 
with our closest inanimate human. 


We made a few attempts at garden quality control too... i.e., an excuse to eat spring rain garden fresh produce (side note: that could be a laundry detergent scent).


And, if you want to successfully play farmer for a weekend, 
the ability to summon animals is super helpful. 


Moll-Cat was not so excited about the summoning...


It helps to establish authority with the animals.
Rather, the animals will play along with your displays of discipline, 
knowing you aren't the real deal, plotting their escape at your expense. 


Alternatively, just show them love.
And make sure the gates are locked!!!


We had quite the time holding down the fort for the weekend.
Don't worry. Bev will be back tomorrow! 

Until next...

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We're Back

Technical issues with Blogger kept us from posting yesterday's story.
Thankfully the bug was fixed and we are back in business!

If you had stopped to see us Monday,
you would have noticed that we all looked like this...


smiling (but not in need of braces!)


It was one of those absolutely beautiful sunny days...
the sort of day where you can feel the earth vibrating with life.
The thirsty ground had been satiated by the recent rains;
and the addition of sunshine made for perfect growing conditions.

As I worked around the farm, the birds sang and flitted from here to there...
busily tending to their housekeeping...
tidying their nests in anticipation of little ones.

It was a truly spectacular day.
In light of the recent gloominess, a day like that was a welcomed gift.

*********************

The pigs and sheep are enjoying their larger areas now that they share their yards with each other.
The sheep have spent their time trimming all of the underbrush from the pig yard.


Gracie has learned that sharing a yard has its perks, too.


Because the pigs sleep in a bed of fresh hay...
(sort of like breakfast in bed)
Gracie has learned that if she ventures into the pig house
she, too, can snack on a little extra...

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Come On In....The Water's Perfect!

June has arrived... and with it... summer weather.
Our days are sunny and hot, our nights cooler.

Daily farm chores include making sure that everyone has adequate fresh water
several times daily.
We go through lots of water each day...
watering cans filled and hauled around to animals by gator.

Of all the animals, extra water is most appreciated by the pigs.


Because pigs have no way to naturally cool themselves...
(they don't sweat as we do, and they don't pant as dogs do)
we fill a small swimming pool for them each day
so that they can cool themselves off as needed.


And boy, do they love their pool!



To answer a couple of questions from yesterday's blog...

Joyce:  That beautiful orange painted turtle headed right back into the woods as soon
as our photo session was over.

And Portia, you asked if the roosters would fight.
What I have found in the past when we have had an overabundance of roosters is this:
If I keep them separated and far away from the girls so that they don't even know they exist,
they seem to get along pretty well most of the time.
That darned testosterone does make them occasionally challenge each other,
however with no prize to win at the end of a fight...
it's not worth...

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Garden Update

Weather conditions have been quite favorable for garden growth of late.
Hot, sunny days interspersed with an occasional shower,
augmented by liberal watering have caused the garden to explode in green goodness.


We've been eating fresh lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, radishes and asparagus
on a daily basis.
There's definitely no shortage of greens in our diet!


This year's garden has the following:
sugar peas, lima beans, green beans, Chinese red noodle beans,
purple and orange carrots, celery, onions, 
hot and sweet peppers,
cucumbers,
broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, chard,


heirloom tomatoes... red, yellow, orange and green


summer squash and zucchini,
winter squash and pumpkins,
herbs and lots of Basil,
beets, radishes,
spinach, eggplant, lettuce, 


ground (husk) cherries and strawberries.

I've been slowing working on all of the landscaping around the farm...
weeding flowerbeds and planting here and there.
As you can see...the weeds continue to gain a foothold!


One of my favorite plants is wisteria.


It can be quite invasive...
its vines wrapping around everything they encounter...


but if trained properly can provide a dramatic feature.

A few years ago I planted a vine on each side of this swing.
Every year...

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Moments

Most days are a string of moments tied together with various chores.
It would be easy to go through the day focussed on the tasks...
checking each item off the "To Do" list.
It would be easy to miss the little moments...
the magical moments.


Quieting my mind and opening my eyes is a gift that country life has given to me.
And it's a gift that keeps on giving.


I love that you stop by to share these moments with me,
because these small moments can remind us what an amazing world we inhabit.


This painted turtle came out of the woods on Monday evening after a thunderstorm.
He was quite shy when I came near.
I would have loved to show you his colorful face, 
but alas, he kept his best smile hidden beneath his shell.


Yesterday, while gathering eggs, I overheard Milford singing a tune as he strutted through his hens...
"I've got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle...." (please tell me you've heard that old song)


I looked down at his feet and noticed that indeed....
he has the biggest spurs of any rooster I have ever had!


His are even larger than the turkeys' spurs (seen below).


While we are on the subject of chickens...
If this is your first summer raising chickens...
do not be alarmed if you happen to...

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It's That Time Again

Well, "that" season is upon us again...
you know the one...
it happens every year...
without fail.
Some years it happens multiple times to multiple beings.

If you guessed this...


you were right!
It's skunk season again!

Miss Annie went out on Saturday morning for her early morning potty break.
I heard rustling outside our bedroom window...
and looked out to see Annie shaking her head violently.
And then the smell wafted in through the window...
sickeningly strong...
wretched...
vile.


Before long, Annie was at the door in obvious distress...
that acrid spray coating her face and neck...
several bleeding wounds accompanying it.
Apparently the skunk fought back very hard.

We grabbed our handy skunk kit, and Hubbs got busy de-stinking Annie.


And because I know that one of you will also encounter this problem in the coming months,
I am re-printing our trusty skunk kit.


I keep this bucket loaded and ready to go at all times.


Here is what we do:

Wipe down dog with liberal amount of Tecnu (available in the drug store)
(Tecnu is used in industry to scrub radioactive exposure off of skin. 
 It is also great for using with poison ivy exposure.)

Wash dog with the following:
1 quart hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup baking soda
2...

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Have A Beary Happy Memorial Day!

Just popping in for a quick visit.
We've had a lovely holiday weekend here on the farm....
perfect weather.

I will tell you more about it in tomorrow's post,
but I wanted to share something that Dr. Becky found in our outdoor riding arena this weekend.
It seems we have had a few visitors in the arena...

There are bear tracks of three different sizes visible in the sand....

(Largest paw prints)

I am sure that the largest and the smallest were a mother and her new cub.

(baby paw prints)

But, the medium sized would make me believe there was also a yearling.
Normally, cubs stay with their mamas for two years...
and the mamas only give birth every two years.
So, I am not sure why there are a third set of medium sized tracks with the other two.

(Medium sized paw prints)

Curious about these tracks, I headed back into the woods to gather the
memory cards from the game cameras...
hoping they might give me some clues.


By the way, you might notice that there are two distinct types of footprints here.
In these two photos my fingers are pointing toward the hind foot paw print.
A bear's hind foot leaves a print much like a human's footprint.
The front foot is to the left of my pinky.
The front foot print lacks a...

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And The Makeovers Continue....

I'm starting to believe that the "Littles" and the long-eared "Littles"
think they are living in a different latitude than the rest of the farm.


Every spring their shedding just cannot keep up with the rise in temperature.
They're probably more suited to life in Alaska.

And so, each late Spring I get out the clippers and start buzzing away.

Yesterday was clipping day (and mowing day, and laundry day, and vacuuming day).


Red and Ollie were the first to get clipped,
and I have to say they were perfect gentlemen.
They get clipped in the stall aisle of the barn...
held still in cross-ties.


I think they knew that they would soon be feeling much more comfortable.

Moonbeam is a great shedder and blows off his winter coat early in the spring...
saving me the laborious job of shaving him.


Donnie was a little nervous with the clippers,
but generous helpings of treats soon calmed him down.

Scarlet, I am saving for another day.
Just getting a halter on her is quite the task.
Scarlet always has her own agenda.


As for the donkeys...haltering them and getting them into the barn is another story,
so I tried it without tying them.

In their yard, armed with lots of treats, I waited for them to come to me...
Chloe...

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Fiber-Fest

It's been two months since the sheep were shorn.
They've been loving life since that day...


especially with the cooler temperatures we have had of late!


I have been so excited to share this with you...
I received an email this weekend from the fiber mill... that my fiber was finished!
Now, I have to tell you...
not only did they process my three fleeces,
but also 2 alpaca fleeces that a friend gave to me when her alpacas were sheared.


Yesterday I went to the fiber mill to pick up the end product.

What a great operation they have.... everything done by machine in no time at all!


I had originally thought that I would have my fleeces washed and carded and prepared 
for me to spin.
But then I saw one of the products that the mill could make with my wool and I 
immediately fell in love.
Core-spun...


where the wool is actually put through the carding machine 


and then spun around a wool thread core (wool yarn)...
making a super thick, super plush product that is perfect for weaving into rugs.

When I saw that product, I decided to have her make half of my fiber into core-spun,
leaving the rest for me to spin.
And then yesterday when I went to pick up my fiber and saw the beautiful core-spun that
had been...

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This is Why We Do This!

Oh what a wonderful day we had yesterday on the farm!
School is finally out and Macy and Maggie came to visit their chickens (roosters!)


They arrived in the morning with their lunches packed...
friends in tow...
and set off in search of a day of farm fun...
sailing off to a land of enchantment.


There were multiple visits with the pigs.


For loving...


And for treats...


Spectacular blue skies 


were the backdrop for a day full of magic...
where even the tiniest of farm dwellers came to the sound of children laughing.


A butterfly flit from shoulder to shoulder... offering her welcome to these precious visitors.


It was a happy reunion in the chicken pen.


It's amazing how docile these roosters are in the arms of little girls.


We spent equal time with all of the animals and by the time we were finished,


3 boxes of Ritz crackers were consumed.




The turkeys followed as they made their way around the farm.


They gathered eggs...
reaching beneath chickens as they set in nesting boxes...
braving the few hens that pecked at them as they carefully raided their nests.


Perhaps the most fun was had in the goat pen,
where goats were fed...


and scratched...


And when the goats tired of Ritz crackers, the chickens were happy...

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It's What's For Dinner

For us...
Broccoli....


Kale....


For the pigs...  carrots!


The wisteria on the garden fence is breathtaking right now....


The butterflies and bees are enjoying it as well.



Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day with a couple of cloudy episodes...
all in all a stellar day.
I happened to see this in the pig yard and wanted to share it with you...


what a lovely fungus!


And last night in the woods behind the farmhouse I spotted something
fairly rare...


A male Scarlet tanager.
Please excuse the poor quality of this photo...but I had to shoot it out of a window,
so as not to scare this shy fellow away.
He and his yellowish-brown mate were hopping from branch to branch.
This is only the second one I have seen in my lifetime.

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The Adventures of Ivy

My update of Ivy-cat, our newest member of the household,
was a little incomplete.
I spoke of how splendidly she has blended into the household...
ruling over all of the dogs.


But I forgot to mention that she is not just a house cat.
Ivy is an indoor/outdoor cat...
meowing at the door when she wants to go out on a hunting expedition.


She is hysterical to watch when she is outside,
for not only does she hunt,
but she makes up all sorts of adventures...
running, tumbling, climbing, and stalking imaginary prey.


This weekend she sprinted across the yard and ran right up a small tree.
I looked to see which of the dogs had been chasing her...
only to find no dogs even close.


It was an imaginary game of some sort.


And there she was just hanging out in a tree.
Maybe she was trying to camouflage herself while hunting birdies!

All of this happened while I was trying to get a good photograph of Mackenzie and Sammie.








I've got to say...
Sammie is one of the most tolerant dogs I have ever known.
Mack was very gentle with him.
I think this little one is definitely going to grow up loving animals!

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It's May!

It was an indoors kind of weekend.
Rain, rain, rain.
It seems our April showers have extended into May!


By Sunday afternoon things were quite soggy.
The rain had slowed down to just a mist,
so we ventured out to tend to the animals.


The goats came out for the first time in days.


We had to empty an inch of rain from their bowls in order to feed them.


In spite of the dreary conditions outside,
we had a perfectly wonderful weekend with our kids and grandkids.
Everyone stayed over and joined in Sunday Farm Breakfast.


Tyler, soon 6...
discovered that fruit is even better with fresh made whipped cream!


Mackenzie, 8 months...
who has decided that she wants nothing to do with baby food.


And despite the fact that she has nary a tooth in her mouth,
she insists upon feeding herself...
whatever it is that everyone else is eating.
We cut everything into small bits for her and she shovels it in by the fistful.
Precious!

I spent a little time in the sewing room on Sunday.
I have had so many ideas whirling around in my mind,
and I finally had a little time to work on them.
Lots of linen, homespun and laces being worked together....
and a little tea-staining as well.
Pictures later this week...

I am so glad Monday is...

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Another Escape

We are in the midst of Spring rains!


And these two girls are not happy about it!
They spent a little time out in the pasture grazing...
but when that was over were eager to get into their dry stall.

"Just look at these bangs!" complained Daphne.


I tried my best to finger-comb them for her...
but not much better.


Chloe, on the other hand was sporting a wet-look spiked top "do".


The horses and ponies, with their luxurious forelocks, are un-phased by the rain.


Tuesday afternoon I ran to the feed store for chicken feed.
Upon my return to the farm, our neighbors came running across the street...
waving me down, exclaiming, "The donkeys escaped!"

(a couple of bad words escaped my lips)
With very little effort, we escorted them back to their yard.
Apparently, when bringing them in from the pasture,
I passed through this gate...


and left the chain just looped over the gate.


Unfortunately, the wind blew the gate open
and Daphne and Chloe went on a walk-a-bout.
Oops!
The thing about donkeys is, although an open gate with fresh grass awaiting might be enticing...
they are quite insecure when not in their normal habitat...
and will quickly return home with very little coaxing.


"There's no place like home!" says...

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Makeovers Needed

It's been a month, now, since the sheep were shorn.


Their fleeces are beginning to grow again.


Most noticeable is Hope.  
Immediately after shearing, her pink skin showed through her fleece.
Now she's getting fluffy again.


Another thing that is noticeable is all of the tiny tufts of fleece that were missed
during shearing....
like Gracie's ear tufts...


and Faith's brown fluffs beneath her eyes.


I think the girls are in need of a little makeover... a styling perhaps!

And speaking of makeovers...


Perhaps MaryAnn would benefit from braces?

We are once again in the midst of another rainy week.
It's been great for the vegetation...
everything is very green and lush...
but tough on my "to do" list.
Many Spring chores are on rain delay!

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Cashmere Dreadlocks and an Elf Baby

Meet Missy.
She's one of our older fainting goats.
Normally Missy is quite a lovely goat.


However, at this time of year she is losing her luxurious winter coat.


Her face and chest and front legs have transitioned into summer...
the rest of her...stuck somewhere back in winter!
In the coming weeks she will lose all of this cashmere undercoat and be sleek again.


Now?....her very best Bob Marley imitation...
cashmere dreadlocks.


Well, I guess you can tell what she thinks of that!


We've had so much rain in the past two weeks...
the lilacs bloomed and I didn't have a chance to bring them indoors.
Yesterday I cut and armful.
What a delicious fragrance fills the house!

Yesterday we had a visit from Amanda.
Can you believe it's almost a year since her farm wedding?
Although the newlyweds have moved to Philadelphia,
she still works locally 2 days a week and so she spends a night each week at the farm.


Ginger is always so happy to see Amanda.
That's her favorite person.


I spent most of yesterday afternoon getting started on the week's mowing.


Thank goodness I have help!


It looks like Ginger's not the only one happy to see Amanda!


Look what she made me for Mother's Day...


An elf baby wrapped up in a flower petal...

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The Best Weekend Ever!

I spent Saturday in wool heaven.
Literally.


The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is the most amazing event.
It has become a yearly tradition for me and my Mom...
something we both look forward to all year!

There were tons of vendors selling anything and everything related to fiber and fiber arts.
I purchased some yarn to use in upcoming weaving and knitting projects...
enough to last through the wintertime.


There were demonstrations and shows,
music and entertainment,
sheep dog demonstrations...
something for everyone.


One of the vendors had the most amazing needle-felted animals
and I had to share them with you.


This lion's head was life-sized!


Aren't they incredible?


Sunday we spent at Mackenzie's house.
Mackenzie's Mommy and Daddy hosted a cookout for 4 generations
(on both sides of their family!)


It was a beautiful sunny day (the first after 12 days of rain),
and we reveled in the warmth of the sun!


Nothing is better than a day spent with (almost) all of my favorite people!


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And Then There Were Three....

Though cloudy and grey, yesterday's rains held off until late...
giving me a chance to catch up on the rest of the week's mowing
and weed whacking.

When I finished, I sat down with Annie at the door to the "new" chickens' yard.


All four of the "newbies" were out eating leaves and hunting for insects.


In my best rooster voice, I let out an "Er-er-er-er- Errrrrrr." 


Imagine my surprise to be answered back by not just one tiny rooster....
but three!


All three sounded like squeaky little trumpets with those damper things 
(mutes, I believe) in the horn.

Yes, Egg, Fish, and Jelly are all roosters.
Petunia has not declared herself/himself as of yet....
time will tell.

Once over my surprise, I gathered the dogs and headed into the woods


in search of more morel mushrooms.


Call me greedy, but...
while in the grocery store the other day I noticed that the morel mushrooms were $49.99 /pound.
Geesh!
Amazing.


These fungi-licious delicacies are hard to find and only grow this time of year.

If only I could train the pigs to search for them like truffles.
Knowing these girls, they'd eat the profits!


Sadly, we found no more morels.
There were however, lots and lots of these...


sometimes called umbrella plants, also...

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For Macy

Dear Macy,

We thought you might enjoy getting a letter from us
 now that we have settled into our new home.

Our new house is quite large and always has a big supply of fresh food and water.

We love our roosting bar...
we slept there the past two nights.



Yesterday when the rain stopped,
we ventured outside.


Our yard is full of yummy plants...
we ate some and really liked them!
There are lots of bugs to eat as well.


As you can see, our combs are still nice and red.
Don't worry, we aren't sad.
And we hope you are not sad, either.


You took really good care of us when we were babies,
and for that we are so grateful.
We will always love you.

Thank you so much for taking us to such a nice new home.
We are looking forward to seeing you again when school is over.

Your friends forever,
Egg, Fish, Jelly and Petunia

**********************************

Meanwhile, around the farm.....

We are enjoying an early harvest of asparagus.


And this year's morel mushrooms are huge!!


Sadly, half of our fairy morel tree fell in the sheep's yard Tuesday evening.


There was three times more tree limbs laying here...but we have started to cut the wood 
and remove it.

The last week's rains have given me a lot of time in the sewing...

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A New Chapter for Egg, Fish, Jelly and Petunia

There are four new souls on the farm.
They arrived yesterday...
brought to their forever home by two of our farm friends.


Meet Macy...


and her four chickens Egg, Fish, Jelly, and Petunia.


These four white chickens were part of a school hatching project.
At the end of the project, homes had to be found for these four.

And when Macy's little sister Maggie suggested that they come to live here on the farm...
I couldn't help but agree.


Yesterday, amidst tears and kisses (chicken kisses),


Egg, Fish, Jelly and Petunia moved into the brooder house...
our chicken house closest to the farmhouse.


At least one of these four is a rooster for sure
(we heard him crow).
One is a hen.
The other two...questionable...to be determined.


They are exceptionally tame as you can tell by the photos!


After the chickens were moved into their spacious new home,
we headed out with pockets of Ritz crackers to visit the other animals.



It was the hike of the walking wounded...
Macy, with a fractured leg,


Maggie, with a fractured collar bone.


These two are very active gals who love, love, love animals!


The animals were quite enamored with these little visitors.
It might have had something to do with the Ritz crackers that were
handed...

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The Nap Police

The sun came out yesterday just in time for afternoon chores.
The morning's drizzle had dried...
giving me what will most likely be the only opportunity of the week for mowing.


On my way to the barn I stopped by the pig yard.


The sheep were taking their afternoon nap right in the middle of the pig yard
and I observed that MaryAnn was quite curious about sleeping sheep.


The sheep were un-fazed...


that is, until she got just a little too pushy, as pigs can be.


Their slumber disturbed, Grace and Faith went back to grazing.


Hope, on the other hand went back to sleep.


Ginger decided, "If you can't beat 'em....join 'em!"


Believe it or not, before this area was mowed....


it looked just like this pasture....


we are over-run with dandelions this year!


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Thank You!

To those of you who heard my plea yesterday...
Thank you!
You sent us your sun and we thoroughly enjoyed it for several hours.


It's gone again today...
but while it lasted, yesterday, everyone reveled in its warmth.

As you can see, the hens enjoyed the fact that the earth dried out enough
for them to take the opportunity to have a good dust bath.


I can remember the first time I witnessed this phenomenon.
I found a few of my hens sprawled out on their sides moving as if they were having seizures.
Spastic movements of wings and legs as they covered their bodies in dust
gave me cause to think there was something seriously wrong with them.
Nope...it's just what chickens do.
Dust baths help to rid chickens of mites...
and so it is an entirely healthy practice...
albeit bizarre looking!


And while we are on the subject of "thank-you's",
Tom and Chuck would like to thank our farm friend Jim Legner
for this amazingly wonderful portrait of them.


We were all so very surprised when this painting arrived in the mail yesterday.
Mr. Legner thought that the boys might enjoy having it hang in their house.

I talked it over with Tom and Chuck and they agreed that this painting 
should hang in the farm house instead.

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Macy's Chicks Keep Growing

And so it is with kids of all sorts....
they keep growing and you cannot do anything to slow it down!
Macy's chicks are getting bigger by the day.


Every day they display more adult behaviors.
The little roosters challenge each other and jump at each other with their feet...
just like adult roosters do when they fight.


These three roosters are not fighting.
There is no aggression in their behavior.
They just cannot help themselves...
they are practicing for the future.


They spend most of the daylight hours out in their yard searching for tasty bugs.


What used to be a thick, lush, green carpet of weed 
is now trampled down and dying.
And so it is with chickens.


This is how it always is.
Chickens vs. vegetation = dead vegetation.


If you ever have the idea that perhaps having chickens in your garden will rid your garden of unwanted insects....you are correct.
However, you will also rid your garden of wanted plants!
I kid you not.

Just the other week I was telling you how we use those portable poultry fences to keep the chickens 
out of the blueberries.
Remember?

Guess who found their way around the fences.
Stinkers!


At least there are no blueberries yet.
(Note to self:  add more fence.)



Yesterday I spent...

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The Busy Days of Spring

The flies have arrived...
by the masses!


And so the fly masks came out of winter storage yesterday.


And our 10 amazing fly catchers are filled with bait and catching hundreds of flies each day.
If you have acreage and lots of flies,
I highly recommend these Arbico Solar Flycatchers.


Although they require a little work ...
(refilling with the most awful smelling liquid after each time it rains)
they are worth their weight in gold!
(There is a link to these on the right margin of my blog if you are interested.)


Consumption of chicken feed decreases quite a bit this time of year...
thanks to the addition of insect snacks.
The hearty return of insect life has our chickens smiling from ear to ear!


What?  You can't tell that Milford is smiling?
Trust me.
That's his happy face!


A portion of every day is now being spent in the garden...
tending to young broccoli...


tender kale...


and several other cool weather vegetables.
It won't be long now until our meals will be eaten out of the garden.
I noticed yesterday that the asparagus is beginning to emerge.

Spare time of late has been spent in the sewing room on a repurposing project.
I have been holding onto some vintage linens for some time now...
waiting for...

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The Spice Girls

Summer swooped in this weekend...
un-announced!
Sunny blue skies provided a beautiful backdrop for all of the trees,
whose leaves were beginning to open right in front of our eyes.


We took full advantage of the warm temperatures and got to work
chipping all of the piles of tree tops left from last autumn's tree trimming.
All of the pine chips are now spread in the horses' dry lot...
providing them with a soft place to sleep,
as well as to potty.


The donkeys were quite curious about the wood chips and spent a while
picking through them looking for edibles.


When chores were finished, we took a drive to visit our dear friends
at Tuckaway Farm...just a few miles away from us.


Tuckaway is home to Daphne and Chloe's boyfriend, Paco.


They've never met Paco, but I am sure they would find him quite handsome!


I especially wanted to share with you the newest members of our friends' farm.

Meet the Spice Girls!


Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, and Rosemary!


These four adorable young goats are Boer goats and have just come
to make their home at Tuckaway Farm.


Don't they have just the sweetest faces?


And how about those ears!
Who can resist those long ears!


I miss the days when Spring would bring a new batch of baby...

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Making Magic

There is no doubt in my mind that I live in a magical world...
no more magical than any other...
but, it's my world and I choose to see it in a magical light!


It takes quieting oneself...
sitting still...
and waiting for the magic to happen.


And it always does...
happen!


Yesterday, when I finished cleaning the dry lot and the front pasture,
I sat down in front of the barn with the horses.

Out in front of me Red was taking a snooze.


Watching him was entertaining in itself...

"Bed-head"
as he tried to find just the perfect pillow.


Right in front of me was Donnie...
with his head in my lap.



To my right was Moonbeam...


And behind me, Ollie...


hamming it up for the camera...


nibbling on my head...


messing up my hair...


then coming to rest on top of my head....


where he stayed for quite a while....


resting.
What you can't see is Moll curled up in my lap during most of this.
A truly magical moment...
that never would have happened if I hadn't taken the time to just sit amidst the horses.

There is magic in all of our worlds....
we need only to sit still and watch and listen!

I spent a little time yesterday morning finishing up my sewing project...


The cropped sweater is one that I knit last Autumn...
and gives this...

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Cattails

Mowing season has begun.
It's one of those activities that accompanies the warmer weather.


Unfortunately, you cannot have one without the other!


If only the goats were more effective lawnmowers.
Even their pasture needs mowing on a regular basis.


As I drove down the driveway on my mower, I passed these gals.
Seeing them shorn like that just makes me smile.
I am reminded of how cute they were as lambs
and I still cannot get over how different they look without their huge wooly fleeces!


This morning I watched Ivy on the window sill of our bathroom.
She was watching a squirrel on the bird feeder outside the window.
As I watched, I noticed her tail twitching.
I have seen this before with cats and always wonder why they do that.
I captured it on video...on the Go Pro...
so please excuse the toilet in the video...there was no way to tell how much of the room
would be in the video.
As for the toilet....we all have them, right?



Even her mouth got a little twitchy there at the end!

I thought I would share my spare time activities...

Off the needles:


On the loom:


I am excited about this project.
It will be a very lightweight wool wrap.

On the sewing table (and almost finished):


I will share pictures when it is...

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Mackenzie and the Three Bears

Yesterday was a day of surprises.
A visit from our little pink fairy started our day off just right.


We spent time visiting all of the animals...


talking to the pigs...


and feeding the sheep...


It was the perfect day for enjoying the cool spring grass...


feeling it between our toes...


and picking dandelions.


We took a ride over to the 100 Acre Wood...to gather the memory cards from the game cameras...
and to give Mackenzie's puppy, Sam, a bit of exercise.

I had a hunch, based on the bear-clawed tree and paw prints on the tent last week,
that we might see something pretty fantastic.
And we did!!
Look....

1st camera...
very suspicious for something very big...
and two somethings!


Second camera....
Wow!




But, the best of all was Camera #3...




It looks like we have a Mama bear and two yearling cubs.

What a day full of surprises!

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Philosophical Mowing

With each rising sun comes an opportunity...
the opportunity to be the best version of ourselves.


The beauty of this is that it is not something that is dependent upon external conditions.


No, instead, it is a choice to meet whatever the day brings with positivity.


Why so philosophical today? you ask.

Well...this is what happens when I spend a little too much time mowing.
And since we are in "grass-growing" season, there's much to be mown!

Thankfully the animals are all doing a good job of mowing their own yards.

The sheep are now grazing again.
However, during the warmer hours of the afternoon,
they lie in their favorite spots and nap.


Hope always naps in the same spot...
right next to this cement dog that marks the grave of a well-loved pet.


She lies here every day... most times using the cement dog as a pillow.


Isn't she the sweetest?
Her soft little mouth is always turned up into a subtle smile.

Inside the sheep yard is one of my favorite trees.

This craggy old fairy tree is what remains of an old dead apple tree.
(Perhaps planted long ago by Johnny Appleseed?)


Over the past few years it is in the grass at the base of this tree that we find our morel mushrooms.
And this year for the first...

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Loss

Today's post is brief.
As I write it there are tears dripping on my keyboard.

Yesterday I received this photo in a text...



from Dr. Becky's hubby who is our UPS driver.
He saw it on his route.

Sadly, I had to do the right thing.
If one of my precious pups were missing, I would want someone to contact me as well.
It would have been so easy to keep him... but that would have been wrong.
It's our loss.


His owner is just a young fellow....
he lives quite far away and was visiting his Mother when his pup disappeared.

I urged him to micro-chip Blitz (aka Tucker)
and to put an identifier on his collar.
He was grateful for the care we had given his pup.

So, I packed up "Tucker's" new toys and handed him over to his boy.


My heart is a little bit broken right now.
But, it was the right thing to do.

PS....Hubbs did text his owner and tell him that if he changes his mind about the dog,
or falls on hard times,
we would take him back in a heartbeat.

On an even sadder note, Dr. Becky's 12 year old Aussie Shepherd passed away yesterday.
Indie was a special soul... seen here in the snow this winter.
(Dr. Becky is Hubbs' sister...her home is on our farm as well.)


The snow has been replaced by clouds....because all...

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