“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

Cleaning after Your Pet

Much we might love our animals however, cleaning up after them may become a nightmare in the event that you don’t understand how to take action properly. From rogue canine tresses to cats marking their territory, being truly a pet owner could be hard work. Pet waste materials that hasn’t been recently cleaned up may also turn into a potential health danger for your animal as well as your family.
Clearing up Pet Hair
If you own a dog or cat, shedding hair can be an inevitable reality. This problem can be as bad if your dog includes a long coat twice. Brushing your animal will lessen shedding regularly, and can protect your cat from hairballs. But with the most rigorous grooming routine even, your property is still more likely to have tresses scattered around it every once in awhile.
Hair on Furniture
Because animal hair is holds and static a power charge, with the ability to stick to every surfaces. While just a little dog tresses never hurt anyone, getting your preferred chair covered inside it is not the easiest method to entertain guests.  Among the best answers to this tricky problem is really a portable vacuum cleaner. These devices imply that you can tidy up hair without needing to drag around an enormous vacuum quickly.
If you need to remove pet tresses from wooden furniture, utilizing a soft cotton fabric with some furnishings polish shall take away the static so the hair won’t re-stick, rendering it a breeze to completely clean away
Hair on Floors and Carpets
Pet hair may become a nightmare when it starts accumulating on your own carpets and floors. It’s not merely ugly, but may also hold allergens and dirt that can be dangerous to your family. When vacuuming up after your dog, you’ll discover that often regular vacuums aren't that effective since they don’t have sufficient lift. Look for a vacuum that's specially designed to grab hair either by way of a brush roll or beater brush. It’s also vital that you use one that includes a filter to capture all the dust mites, pet and pollen dander.

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.
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.
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!
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.
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!).

Mixing Things Up

Providing food, water, and shelter for our animals is just the basics of care.
I believe that offering our animals mental stimulation is just as important.

And although animals do like their routines,
I think is is also good to mix things up a bit...
just to keep everyone on their toes.

I thought it might be fun to let the donkeys graze while the pigs and sheep
were also out in the pasture.

I went to the pig house to call the pigs.  I called them.
But what I heard was the sound of frustration.
Note in the following picture that there is a sheep leg in the doorway.
Apparently the sheep were visiting the pigs in their house and blocking the door.

Eventually they all got things sorted out and came running as I opened the gate to the pasture.

Everyone found their grazing spot and settled in to eat.

I then walked through the pasture up to the donkey pen and called the girls to come out.

One by one, they ventured through the gate...

cautiously observed their pasture mates...

and set about to nibble grass.

Curiosity got the best of them in no time and they sauntered down to get a better look...
and smell!

I worried that they might try to stomp on the pigs, so I stayed very close
and reassured the donkeys...

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Liberation Day

Finally, enough time has passed.
Fred has grown to full size, and the Roos have lived in their present house long enough
to call it "home."

Yesterday we opened the doors to the Rooster/Turkey yard
and allowed everyone to roam freely.

The Roos thanked us with a hearty song...

and happily did not try hunting me down and flogging me.

Perhaps now that they are free to roam they will be better behaved?
We can only hope.

As for the turkeys...

they investigated the area around the barn and soon moved on to the chicken houses.

Fred found some free food...

while Ethel found Tom.

I could almost hear Tom's heart pounding in his chest
as he puffed himself up as big as could be in order to impress this young lady.

There will ultimately be a bit of a battle between Tom and Fred for Ethel's affections.
Pecking order....it's a real thing....
and it will need to be established.

As for other developments around the farm....

Sadly, we lost a goat on our second day home.
We found Audrey on Sunday morning, gone... it seemed a peaceful passing,
as there were no signs of anything unusual.

Poor Ash, Audrey's momma, did not come out of her house that day.
The two of them were always very close...usually sharing a house.


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Being On Vacation

Taking a vacation is simply this:
(route of the word vacation is "vacate"...to leave) 
leaving the day-in, day-out experience of our lives behind for a given time
in order to experience something new.
Vacation can be as complex as foreign travel,
or as simple as turning off the electronic devices and opening our senses.
There are oh, so many ways to "vacate"...
and doing so lifts our spirits, renews us, and helps us to open our hearts 
to something bigger than ourselves.

The past two weeks we left our beloved farm behind and set out to experience
a world we had only dreamed of.

Just it's name conjures images of romance, of history, of art, of abundant life!

And Italy did not disappoint us.

We saw breathtaking countryside...

Walked through ancient ruins...

Saw the wonders of inspired art...

And architecture...

Marveled at the skillful hands

and incredible minds

of the Renaissance.

 We ate amazing food...

and were greeted by the warmest of people...

We zigged and zagged our way from the Amalfi Coastline on the western shores of
Italy's Mediterranean Sea

northward through Rome to Florence, then Venice, situated on the eastern coast
of Italy's Adriatic Sea.

We were fortunate enough to have close...

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Although most of my days are spent with no human interaction,
I am seldom lonely.
There are always several of my "friends" to keep me company.

Yesterday I took advantage of a beautiful cool autumn day and worked on 
winterizing the flower gardens.

Annie and Oakley don't stray far from where I work.
Sam usually finds a comfortable place for a nap.

As soon as any of the dogs gets comfortable,
Bobby arrives to crash the party.

He rubs himself up and down,
using Sam as his own personal masseuse.

Once he has rubbed his entire body on Sam...

he finds a cozy spot and settles in.

Sam never minds.
He is the most tolerant dog in the world.

As for Bobby...
I am pretty sure he thinks he is a dog as well.

No matter what occupies my hands...
I always have lots to occupy my mind.
There's lots of entertainment around here!

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Loving Autumn

Autumn winds came rolling into our little hamlet this weekend
and with them a chill that I believe is here to stay.

We still don't have much leaf color, but it's early.

Don't you just love the sound of the treetops in the wind?
It's one of our favorites.

It's soon time for fires in the fireplace and warm pots of soup on the stove.
(Did I tell you that I currently don't have a stove?
A small accident precipitated the need for a new cooktop, which was ordered and received.
However, upon installation it was realized that the hole in the granite is just a tiny bit too small
for the new cooktop.  It should be fixed sometime this week.)
And believe me, when the cooktop if fully installed, there will be a pot of soup cooking!

Yesterday we spent a little time raking up walnuts that fell in our front pasture.
(Walnuts are toxic to horses.)

There is one tree in the pig pen that has a habit of throwing its nuts over the pasture fence.
Looks like that tree will have to go.
I love walnut for firewood... it burns nice and hot.

In the mean time, however, we will continue to rake up the walnuts
and transport them by gator to our 100 acre woods.
It is our hope that the trees (hemlock) that are presently dying...

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Week's End (And A Few More Italy Pics)

We've been home for a week now,
and I've got to tell you that as far as time zones go,
I am still somewhere out over the Atlantic.

I am about 3 hours ahead of the rest of the Atlantic coast...
and if I don't soon get back on schedule,
I will be 4 hours ahead when Daylight Savings Time Ends.
This week I have woken up between 3 and 4 AM each morning.
(Of course, then, bedtime rolls around between 8 and 9!)
You cannot imagine how much I can accomplish before 6 AM.

But seriously... this has to stop!

While the south east portion of our country braces for Hurricane Matthew,
we in PA are enjoying beautiful blue skies and 70 degree days.

And although I am glad to be right where I am....
I am truly concerned for those who

will have to weather this hurricane...
as well as those who already have.

What a world we live in...
beautiful, yet treacherous at times.

I am happy to share that our three free-ranging turkeys are getting along famously.
We are in the process of trying to train the three of them to return each evening
to the turkey pen.
At this point it is a nightly parade...
and not without a bit of humor!

I am also happy to report that I have had no floggings by our three randy roos...
hoping things stay...

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Garden Shame

Summer's color lingers,

but fall is in the air none-the-less!

The days have shortened considerably...
making chore time later in the morning.

I head out to the barn when the sky is just beginning to lighten...these days around 6:30.

I walk the horses to the upper pasture where they can comfortably spend the morning...


and fly-free!

Garden season is winding down.
There are still fall vegetables that will hopefully develop over the coming month.

Tomato harvest has slowed and the basil has flowered.
How sad I will be when these two are gone for the year.

I hate to admit this, but I have let the garden be overtaken by weeds.
This is a transitional time for the garden.

We are in the midst of making plans to build new garden boxes.

The original boxes (some of which are only 5 years old) have rotted.
Although at one time cedar was a good wood for this purpose...
those were the days when old-growth cedar was available.
Sadly, when we built our boxes there was nothing available but new growth cedar...
which does not have weather-proof qualities of the old stuff.

Back to the drawing board.

Next spring we will be starting from scratch,
I have decided that I will plant grass between the garden boxes...

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A Nose By Any Other Name...

Yesterday, being Wednesday, was my day off from farm work.
(Thank you Jim and Kathy!!)

Typically on Wednesdays I catch up on things that I don't have time for routinely,
or I take care of errands.
Yesterday's activities took me away from the farm.

Upon arriving back home, I decided to take the dogs for a walk.
After all, no day is complete without visiting my friends!

We stopped by the pigpen and were happily greeted by Ginger and MaryAnn.

A little rub on the neck and MaryAnn melts into a clump on the ground...

just begging for a belly rub.

Of course I oblige.

I'll bet you've never taken a selfie with a pig!

It's chestnut time... one of the pigs' favorite treats...
and with two chestnut trees in their yard, 

there are lots of bristly, prickly balls laying around.

I gingerly broke a few open to retrieve the tasty nuts hidden inside...
which made the pigs quite happy!

One of the advantages of Kunekune pigs vs. a standard farm pig is
the fact that they are herbivores and prefer grass and hay.
Which, ordinarily, means that they do not dig up the yard.

On occasion, however, Ginger likes to make a liar out of me...
using her snout like a shovel...

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Farm News...Slightly Chilled

Why is Hope smiling?

She's smiling because finally her wardrobe matches the weather!
We awoke to 33 degrees yesterday morning.
I'm not complaining... I like the cold.
It's just that I have not had a chance to ease into cold like that.

We had a heavy frost the previous night,
so I did a final harvest of our tomatoes and peppers.

I cleaned and chopped about 30 peppers for the freezer.
I also spent a little time laying out the new garden design.
It looks like we will be building new boxes out of HDPE...
after reading all that I could find about raised beds,
it looks like this will work nicely.
HDPE, though very heavy, does not leach anything into the ground...
and should last forever!
Also... it is made from recycled plastic bottles.
I like using a recycled material.

The rectangular boxes will be 3' by 12'.
The x-shaped boxes in the middle will be for flowers.

Apparently the Roos are not a big fan of cold weather,
as they spent the entire morning in the greenhouse...

perching on benches and nosing around the ground.

And seriously... I have no clue how these fellows stay so clean and white!

I am happy to report that all is well in turkey land.
Tom and Fred and Ethel are a team now.

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Friday Farm Fotos: Bad Girl

It was getting dark and someone was missing; one large red hen with a pair of big yellow feet and an attitude to match. I looked up and down and in every nook and cranny with my flashlight there was no sign of her. The only clue was a red tail feather I found in the grass near the barn, and that is never a good sign. Most of the time if there has been a predator attack there is more than one feather on the ground, so that made me think she could still be out there somewhere, but as darkness fell and my batteries started getting weak, hope of finding her alive faded with my flashlight. 

I was sad.... I never like to lose any of my birds.....

Morning came. It was unusually foggy.... I didn't think it would ever get daylight. I had just poured a cup of coffee and was staring out the kitchen window, when....

I saw her.

Meandering across the back yard, looking over her shoulder as if she was hoping nobody would see her sneaking back to the chicken coop before dawn. My heart was happy!
But then, I chuckled...
At the thought that her hiney was safe but her reputation was ruined.... :)

Happy Friday!

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Friday Farm Fotos: Random Birds

Lily enjoys the autumn sunshine.

Well, the hummingbirds have finally moved on... *sniff*... the last time I saw one was on Tuesday, and I'm pretty sure the cool nights this week have alerted them to the fact that it is time to go south. I will leave the feeders up for a couple more weeks in case some more pass through and need a drink. I'll miss them and their chatty little squeaks, but I'll still have lots of company at the seed and suet feeders to make me smile. Here are some of the different birds that visit on regular basis and will continue to do so through the winter.

Next to the hummers, I have to say that the nuthatch is near the top of my list of favorite birds. 
Their acrobatic moves amaze me, and I love their quirky little raspy call.

And of course, bluebirds always make me smile.....

Blue Jays are noisy birds, but I like having them around. 
They are beneficial when you have chickens in that they will alert you when danger is around, such as a hawk or a cat.

We have an abundance of male and female red birds (cardinals) that feed every morning at the sunflower feeders.

Doves are also plentiful, and since they are too big to perch on the feeders I scatter a little bit of seed...

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Friday Farm Fotos: Is that Fall I see?

It's still a little early yet to say Fall is here in all its glory, but it is definitely in the air.
Cooler days and even cooler nights have arrived, and all the creatures around here (including me!) are breathing a sigh of relief that the summer heat is finally over. It's always amazed me how the earth seems to undergo so many changes this time of year, and how the animals just seem to know what to do to prepare for the winter ahead.

We still have hummers visiting the feeders; just not as many as a couple of weeks ago. 
I know they are preparing for their long journey southward, 
and I always feel sad when they leave.
Godspeed, little one.... I wish you safe travels when it's time for you to go....

My vitex is starting to lose its blooms, 
but there are a few creatures still enjoying what little bit of goodness they can get from it.

For the entire summer I've had a doe feeding along side the fence around our pasture, and she has become quite attached to the sheep. And likewise, they have grown accustomed to her daily visits, and will actually come out of the barn and walk to the fence to "greet" her. I'm not sure if she feels there is safety in numbers, or if she is just curious about...

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Happy Thanksgiving....

Hubby and I and the critters are still alive and kicking and all is well.
And thanks to those of you who have checked in on me.
After an unexpected blog break, I will be back next week with some updates. I promise.
Until then.... have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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Friday Farm Fotos: Fog Ice

It's 8:00 a.m. and 20 degrees~ and a thick fog rolls in.

 Strange icy formations start to appear.

Ice forms on everything.... even the fence.

The coating looks almost fuzzy.

Lily is unimpressed with the fuzzy fence.
She has done her business (which probably has ice on it, too) and now she is ready to go back inside.

Edie, who loves the cold weather, thinks foggy fence ice is delicious.

Daisy thinks it is delightful! :)

Happy Friday!!!

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Autumn Scenes and Other Things

I have to say it out loud and let it soak in for a minute before I can grasp that it is already December.

It begins the season of no pasture for the sheep, with the exception of a green sprig here and there.

And the start of unexpected winter weather, like this snow the week of Thanksgiving.

Fall was pretty this year... Lily took time to pose in front of some leaves for me.

This time of year there aren't many outdoor chores to do, 
so I keep busy indoors where it's warm.
Mostly sewing..... 

I made a few things on my embroidery machine for our little nieces, who are 5 and 2~
a couple of trick or treat bags for Halloween:

And some Thanksgiving shirts, too.

We took our yearly trip to the apple orchard for my birthday in October....

Also for my birthday~ I finally got the sewing studio of my dreams; complete with robin-egg blue paint on the walls and brand new cabinets made by Hubby. *squeal*

I'll save the pictures and details for next time. ;)

Oh, and I went to market and bought a piggy.... 

Happy Tuesday!

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Three and a Big Surprise

Lily loves our mail lady.
Probably because every time she comes up the hill, she has a package for Lily.

This time it was from one of my dearest friends in another state.....

There were two sweet cards inside~ one for Lily, and another one for... Lily's Birthday!!

Yes, you heard me~ its all yours.

The box was pre-inspected.

Each gift and the adorable wrapping paper were also pre-inspected. *Sigh*

Apparently this one met approval even before it was unwrapped. :)



Treats!!! *YUMMY*

I told her to smile for the camera, Angie~ this is what I got. 

And that smile says "Thank you."  

So, how did she spend her 3rd Birthday?

Uh, lets just say it was.... uneventful.  ;)

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Final Farm Fotos of 2013: A Look Back

Since this is the last Friday of 2013, I thought it would be fitting to take a look back at the farmy highlights from this past year. Last Christmas Hubby gave me a brand new camera and I didn't realize just how many pictures I'd taken with it until I went back into my archives. I ended up spending a couple of hours just looking through them all, enjoying the change in the seasons through the lens of my camera.

Lots of spring rains brought the pasture out early, and the sheep couldn't wait to start chowing down after eating dry hay all winter. This picture was from April and the wildflowers were popping up everywhere. That was perfectly fine with the sheep, they just ate them too. :)

Speaking of the sheep, they made it through 2013 very well, with the exception of me getting a late start on shearing them. Poor Tiny had to suffer through the humiliation having his wool halfway off when the clippers fell apart in my hand. The job was soon finished once the clippers were fixed, but I'm sure he was not happy about the other sheep laughing at his half-done hairdo.
(Which I have no doubt they did.)

Also in the spring~ fuzzy bottoms were hatched. *squeeeeeal*

Summer of 2013 will be...

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Christmas Eve Preparations

Christmas Eve is here and my day will be filled with baking and some last minute gift-wrapping while waiting for Hubby to get home from work. The utility company he works for lets them off a half-day with a full days' pay, so he doesn't mind having to go in for just a few hours. :) Once he gets home, we will be traveling to spend time with family, then on the road again tomorrow.

I made a big batch of hot tamales for my family get-together... I've been asked before if this is some way we celebrate a family heritage and the answer is no~ it simply started many years ago when my mom and her two sisters wanted a break from the usual holiday ham and turkey, so they started making huge pots of chili with cornbread and hot tamales and the tradition has continued for over 30 years. As you can see in the background, the food inspector approves. :)

Speaking of Lily, she got a new sweater for Christmas.

And to all who read this blog: 
A wish for a safe Holiday season along with much love from all of us here on the Fraker Farm~ 
Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

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Friday "Festive" Fotos: I saw Lily kissing Santa Paws

Lily met Santa Paws for the first time a couple of weeks ago.... 
We took her to the local animal shelter to have some pictures taken with him. 
The shelter does this every year to help raise funds for their daily operation 
and we were more than happy to help, especially if it means finding good homes 
for all the poor doggies and kitties with no families of their own. 

When she first sat down beside him, all she wanted was to smell his beard. 
"Hmmm... whatcha been eatin'?"

She couldn't seem to get comfortable for a few seconds...

Then back to smelling the beard....

She got distracted by the sound of dogs barking...

But finally her inner supermodel kicked in and we got some good ones.

And our Christmas wish is for all the animals at Young-Williams Animal Center to find 
loving homes for the holidays. 

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A Dream Come True

Time sure flies... it's hard for me to believe that we've been living in our home for 8 years now.
All this time I have longed for my very own sewing/craft room. I'm certainly not complaining, because most of the time I've been fortunate to have a room with my sewing machine set up and ready to sew, but the spare bedroom it was in has always been shared with lots of other stuff- a kind of "catch-all" room; things that we didn't have space in the closet for and didn't want to throw away found their way into this room, at one point even a huge treadmill and stereo with CD collection were crammed in there as well.

A couple of months ago Hubby told me he would build some wall cabinets for me and help me paint, and my new sewing room would be ready just in time for my birthday. (Yep, I think I'll keep him. *swoon*)
So, after some planning and several trips to the local Goodwill with old clothes and what-nots, the room was cleaned out. The walls were painted and the cabinets started going up....

And now my dream has come true.
Here are the before and after pictures~

The "before" was a mess of this and that with no place to put anything, 
but now I have a place for my computer and large work...

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January, February....

Time has a way of getting by without realizing.....
I haven't written anything on here since the first of January, and now I'm wondering now where the last seven weeks have flown to. *Sigh*

Everyone around here is okay, including the critters; but the weather sure has been keeping us on our toes lately. 
For instance, this was what it looked like here last Thursday~

And yesterday? It was 74 degrees and thunderstorms. 

Warm enough that even the bees came out of their winter slumber 
and were venturing away from the hive, looking for water.

A few weeks ago everything was covered over with ice as the temperatures stayed in single digits and teens here for several days.... here I am trying to thaw the sheep's water out with a torch.

The sheep did not like my torch and ran out immediately. 
(No doubt fearing I would blow up the barn...)

The chickens got to stay inside for a few nights in the Holiday Hen (laundry room) 
when the temperatures were near zero.
As you can see, Lily is checking on them to see if the accommodations were to their liking. 
(She did this every few minutes until I finally had to close the door.)

The weather has been a great excuse for spending lots of time in my new sewing...

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