“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

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!).

And We Do This....Why?

Most of the time I know with every fiber of my being why we keep this farm
and all of the work that goes along with it.

And then there are the occasional moments, as you watch your Hubbs
go diving across the sheep yard into the muddy (and sheep-poopy) ground
that I wonder...
"Are we crazy?"

We might be, but that's beside the point.

Every few weeks we have to do basic maintenance on the animals.
You see, feeding and cleaning up after the animals is the easy part.

It gets just a little dicey when we have to do the "extras".

"Extras" are those little things that we do less frequently,
like hoof-trimming and deworming, etc.
to which the animals are less accustomed.

I swear they know as soon as they see us that "something is up"!
They must be able to smell intent in the air...
because from that moment on, they are hyper-vigilant and completely non-trusting...
running away if we get anywhere close to them!

Yesterday was hoof-trimming day for the sheep.
Hoof trimming is a completely painless procedure...
much like clipping your nails is for you!

The trimming is never difficult.
The catching is another matter!

Again, the sheep know our intentions even before the trimmers are visible...
and they run, and they...

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Daphne and Sam Come To An Understanding

Yesterday afternoon the dogs and I spent some time cleaning the front pasture.

I love being out in the pasture when the equines are out as well.

The combination of dogs and equines usually adds up to some fun.
Yesterday was no exception.

I had just parked the gator under an old pine tree in the middle of the pasture,

when Daphne and Chloe walked up to see what I was doing.

Before I knew it, Daphne had chased Sam right up into the passenger seat of the gator.

Generally our donkeys get along fine with the dogs.
However, if one of the dogs is unsuspecting, the donkeys will give chase.
I swear I see them laughing as the dogs jump, startled, into the air and start running.

With Sam a captive audience in the passenger seat,
Daphne decided to give him a good sniffing.

Sniff, sniff, sniff....
nibble, nibble...

"Hey, why'd you do that?"  Sam seemed to say.

And then Sam began to do what he always does to us when he wants attention.
He began pawing at Daphne.

I have no idea what he wanted...
maybe more attention?

but the two of them seemed to come to some sort of understanding.

Chloe and Daphne finished checking out all sides of the gator

 and then sauntered off
satisfied that they had seen all there was to...

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The First Snow Comes Late

We awoke yesterday morning to the first snowfall of this winter.

It's late this year.
Usually by this time we have had snow on the ground for weeks.
I am not complaining...we've had a mild winter...
and mild winters are much easier for farm chores.

Still, it's nice to see a little of the white stuff...
and a little is about all there is to see this time.
A dusting, but one that didn't melt throughout the cold of the following day,
is all for now.

It's been very cold in the early mornings, so we all wear winter coats as we head out
to feed and water all of the animals.

I love these dog coats by Weatherbeeta.
They offer wind protection and have a quilted lining for warmth.
With three thin, short-haired dogs, 
a little extra warmth is needed for a couple hours of morning work!

Doesn't Oakley look handsome in his "smoking jacket"?
He is, after all, "the most interesting dog in the world!"
"Stay thirsty, my friends!"

We took a little trip down to the creek earlier this week to place our game cameras.

The cameras in the woods have yielded this...

and this...

and this...

and many more just like them over the past couple of months.

It's time for a change.
In the past we've caught some interesting species down...

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This Is What Happened To My Homework....

The dog ate it...with three dogs, it could happen.
I spilled dinner on it...possibly, what a mess!
It was in my pocket and it went through the laundry.
All plausible reasons....

But the real reason that I don't have a formal blog post today is this...

The dogs needed me on the couch with them!

Seriously...forgive me.
Yesterday was a busy day off from the farm...
filled with dentist appointment and then in the afternoon,
I donned my nurses' scrubs and worked at the office for several hours.

And when I got home....
the couch, oh, the couch...
it called my name.
And with a three dog blanket, it's hard to move.

Yes, friends, it was a Three Dog Night!

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On The Beaten Path

The donkeys are not the only critters living life in single-file.

It seems that quite a few of our friends are traveling the beaten path these days.

The Nigerian goats are enjoying the trails that we blazed for them after the storm...

and have added a few of their own trails.

As for the chickens...
not a one of them will stray from the main thoroughfare...
often resulting in massive traffic jams!

With the exception of a couple of brave souls,

the guineas are roosting in the chicken house these days.
These two brave rebels spend their nights on top of the yard.

For the past several months, the chickens in this lone henhouse have
only been laying an average of 4 eggs daily....
until the snowstorm.

Ever since they have been "cooped up" they are laying almost a dozen daily.
This leads me to believe that prior to the snowstorm
they were laying elsewhere.

I am thinking that perhaps there is a rather large clutch of eggs 
somewhere in the woods, maybe.

The pond is mostly frozen these days,
with the exception of an area kept fluid by an aerator.

Here is where our 5 domestic ducks spend their days...

along with 6 to 10 wild mallards
(several of which have come to call the pond their permanent home.)


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Life, Lived Single-File

Right now, for the donkeys, life is being lived single-file.

As for who goes first...

and who follows...
It doesn't matter.

Turns are taken as they make their way around their narrow world.

The massive snowstorm slowed life way down for Daphne and Chloe.
Originally, in order to get them out to their water, 
I shoveled a path from their house to their water.

And then, realizing that their world was way too small,
I shoveled another walkway out to an area by the fence...

for sunbathing.

And before this snow gets any heavier with melting, I will probably shovel a few
more paths, just to make life a little interesting.

After all, what is life without options?

You see, it would probably kill these two to step into the snow...
just ask them...they'll tell you!

No, these two long-eared divas prefer to be waited upon...
a coat-thrown-over-a-puddle so that they can pass by kind of waited upon.

Donkeys have a narrow margin of what they find acceptable...
and are willing to live their life in single-file, straight-line order 
so that their narrow parameters remain intact.

Adventure?...  "Who needs it!"

Danger?...  "Over-rated!  Scary!"

Mystery?  Intrigue?...."Not interested!"

 You'll get these answers from just...

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A Record Breaker!

Apparently we had the storm of the century this weekend.
All I know is...
it snowed and snowed and snowed.
And then it snowed some more!

By the time all was said and done,
we had around a foot and a half...more in some spots.

It's no surprise that we spent the weekend shoveling.

And shoveling.

And shoveling.

I had to rescue the donkeys on Saturday in the midst of the snowstorm.
These two gals refused to leave their house...
and they certainly were not about to walk through deep snow.
(donkey photos tomorrow)

As for the horses...
what snow?

It's amazing to me the difference between donkeys and horses...
especially when it comes to weather.

Perhaps donkeys are more evolved than horses...
they've acquired a bit of common sense.

Aside from the back-breaking labor that goes along snow...
it was a spectacularly beautiful weekend.

Saturday morning I found the sheep standing, snow covered in the elements.

I added more hay to their houses,
and they spent the rest of the storm indoors.

Amazingly, the snow that had accumulated on their wool did not melt.
(That's just how insulating that wool is!)
Now that they are all snow-colored, it's hard to tell who is who!

The dogs had an absolute blast running through deep...

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We're Ready

It's the calm before the storm...
and we're ready.
The animals have fresh bedding.
The feed bins are full.
The snow shovels are out.

We are ready for whatever Ole Man Winter has in store for us.

The latest forecast has lowered our predicted snowfall to just several inches.
Higher accumulations are predicted south of us.

We'll be fine with whatever comes.
Personally, I am excited.
This will be the first time this year that we will be able to use our cross country skis.
The snow is to continue through Saturday...
so we hope to ski on Sunday.

This little gal came for a visit yesterday and brought her puppy, Sam.

Black Sammie will be enjoying the snow with us for the next several days.

This is one little girl who will always love dogs.
She reaches out to touch the dogs with both hands...and open mouth, too!
Gotta love those dog germs!

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Snow Day?

There was a day (long ago) when the mere mention of 
sent fluttering butterflies of excitement through my soul.

Those were the days when a snow day meant...
no school,
playing for hours on mountains of snow left at the curb by the plow,
snow forts, 
then warming up with hot tea with lots of milk and sugar and cinnamon toast.

Life is so simple when you are a child...
no wonder all of the memories are sweet ones!

Nowadays "snow days" mean something altogether different.
Although, I still feel a twinge of anticipation at the thought of deep snow...
along with the excitement comes a whole lot of responsibilities.

As I sit here writing this blog, the weather forecast for the end of this week is
a major winter storm named "Jonas"... a Noreaster.
(I don't recall winter storms having names when I was a child.)

Although predictions are known to change,
at this point snowfall accumulation is to be somewhere in the range of a foot to two feet...
depending upon the tracking of the storm.

"SNOW DAY!!!!"...oh, right...I'm not in school any more!

Regardless, with the potential out there, the next few days will be spent
readying the farm for snow.

Chicken houses are getting a new layer of bedding,

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Old Man Winter has cast his icy stare down upon us,
pointed his finger and frozen our world.

We still have not reached the record cold temperatures of the past two winters,
but, it is the coldest to date for this year.

This is not a complaint.
I've got to say that with the right cold weather attire,
even the coldest temperatures are tolerable.

Truth be told... give me a frigid winter day over a stinkin' hot summer day anytime...
and I will give you a big smile and a hot pot of soup cooking on the stove!

I have much to be thankful for these days...
cold weather gear not withstanding.

I am thankful for animals who have their own cold weather protection...

lush, winter coats that block out the icy winds.

None of our animals actually seem to mind the winter winds,
with the exception of the pigs...
who stay safely tucked away in their bed of hay beneath the warmth of an infra-red heat lamp...
just like two bacon cheeseburgers under the lights at McDonalds!
(Who said bacon in reference to Ginger and MaryAnn!!!)

I am thankful for adequate stores of hay to feed during the winter...
fueling internal furnaces.

I am thankful for heated water tubs (and so are the animals)...

I am thankful for warm beds for...

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If You Wondered About That Apparently Pregnant Goat, This Post is For You!

Contrary to popular belief,
this goat is not pregnant.

Some of us, you see, just never get our waistlines back after pregnancy.
Shhhhh!  Don't tell her... she thinks she's svelte!!
Our Nigerian Dwarf goats all look a little stout.
But since we have no buck in the herd, 
I am pretty sure that none are "with kid."

The past few days have given us temperatures around 40...
so the snow is starting to melt and slide off the barn roof.

It's always interesting how as it melts it curls down around the overhang.
I am sure there is a scientific reason for this phenomenon...
but I have yet to discover it.

Everyone is enjoying the warmth of the sun.

Right now everyone sleeps standing up.

Red's on to something...
If you sleep next to the fence, you can actually lean against it 
and it's almost like lying down!

With the brightness of the sun and the reflection of the snow,
I believe that Moonbeam could use a pair of sunglasses over those squinty eyes!

Here is one of Moll's favorite perches when the sun is out.

Ahhh...nothing like a good stretch in the warmth of the sun.
Kitty yoga.

It's hard to believe that Groundhog Day is right around the corner....
and Spring will follow in about 6 weeks.
We've been very lucky...

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A Little of This and That....Before the Old Year Passes

Spending time with my whole family for our Christmas celebration was wonderful.
But, at the same time, it was difficult to spend the amount of quality time with Tyler individually.
So, I scheduled a day after Christmas for just us two.
Yesterday was that day.

Sadly, the mud was a bit of a hindrance when it came to helping Grammie with farm chores.

But, we still visited all of the animals.

"Look Grammie...look what's in the wheelbarrow!"

We spent the day out of the mud... playing trains, and playdoh, reading books,
and pretending.
And although it wasn't long enough... it was magical!
5 year olds are very funny little people....the things they say!

The hat that Tyler is wearing is one of several that I knit over the holidays.

And now to answer a couple questions from yesterday...

You can find the baby sweater pattern on Ravelry.... HERE:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby--toddler-tiered-coat-and-jacket

How do I knit so fast?
I don't actually knit all that fast.  That baby sweater took me a few days.
For me, knitting is a winter thing.... as that is the only time that I have enough extra time.
Evenings are spent with needles in my hand.
I am not one to sit and just watch TV or a...

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Why I Don't Go To The Gym....

I have always said that I get plenty of exercise just going about my normal chores.
You see, I live in a family of exercise enthusiasts.

I, on the other hand, prefer to get my exercise doing functional activities...
like farm chores.
Exercising for the sake of exercising is boring to me.
I would much rather have an accomplishment at the end of my exercise...
another task completed.

That is why I was thrilled to open my Christmas present from Hubbs this year...
to find a Fitbit.

This little device on my wrist not only tells me what time it is,
but it also confirms that I walk a lot of miles in a day's time.

It has read-outs for heart rate, steps taken, stairs climbed, miles traveled by foot,
calories burned and hours slept.

By the time I finished the mid-afternoon chores, I had already taken 13, 758 steps...
walked 5.9 miles, burned over 2000 calories (which doesn't include the calories burned
while shoveling manure, or cleaning out goat houses...because I wasn't walking at the time)
and climbed 25 flights of stairs.

I rest my case!

Hubbs also gave me this wonderful cast iron tomato pot...
functional and beautiful!!

"Great gifts, Hubbs!!"

And.... fresh off the needles...

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In The Meadow We Will Build A Rainman?

To date, this has been the most unusual winter of my life.
As far as the record books go, it has been the warmest.

It's nice to not have to suffer the polar vortices that beat down upon us the past two years...
especially in the morning, when heading out by the light of the moon.

Along with these warmer temperatures has come tons of rain.

I can't even imagine how this amount of rain would translate into snow if it were colder!

For this we are lucky... although I have to admit I am getting a little tired of 
trudging through the mud.

But here we are in the midst of winter...
and winter is all about trudging...
at least here in Central PA.

I cannot complain however...
as many in our country are suffering with horrendous winter storms this week.

One upside of the warmer rainy weather is the life that remains in the garden.
Swiss chard has made a comeback...

and kale continues to produce...

new lettuce has emerged from Summer's leftover seed...

and the herb garden is bursting with rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley...

not to mention a ton of Sorrel that remains green.

Have you ever tried sorrel?
It's quite delicious and I would highly recommend adding it to your herb garden.
It grows leaves that are...

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Happy New Year, Friends!

The Happiest of New Years filled with
warm memories and good health...
that is our wish for you!

Thank you so much for stopping by each day and visiting with us.
Your kind messages and comments bring us joy the whole year through!
We look forward to sharing another year of stories from the farm.
Much love and hugs to you...
from all of us at Bee Haven Acres!

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Like much of the country, we've plunged headlong into the cold, cold, cold
of winter.
Although it is not nearly as cold as other places,
I find myself with frozen fingers and toes each morning as I work through my list of chores.

The days come and go...
punctuated by the times during the day when I venture out to check on my friends.

I thought I would take advantage of this quiet time of the year to
re-introduce the inhabitants of the farm.
Some of you have accompanied me on this farm journey for several years
and know our animals intimately.
Many of you have joined in along the way.

For the next few weeks, when there is nothing newsworthy,
I will spend a little time re-introducing the "stars" of this blog.

Today we'll visit with the Nigerian Dwarf goats... 

and take a little trip down Memory Lane.

Originally, our Mamas, (sisters) Star and Ash came to us pregnant.
(Star has the larger white patch on her head.)

Within a few months, their kids were born...
each giving birth to triplets.
We kept three of the kids... Stella, Audrey and Spider.
The other three went to live at a friend's farm.

Stella, born to Star, above.
Audrey, born to Ash, below....

And Spider, born to Star, below....

All six babies are...

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Bi-Partisan Turkeys

Ordinarily, when there are several turkeys together they are called a flock.
However, here on the farm where there are only two,
we call it a congress.

You see, these two boys are very often on opposite sides of the fence...
fighting back and forth.

Tom is a Republican.

Chuck is a Democrat.

It happened several times this weekend.
The squabbling was so bad, that one of the turkeys actually got his leg stuck in the fence.

At that, I untangled him, swooped him up...

gave him a little advice...

and carried him back to his house...
the other one running along behind us!

(If you are new to our blog...
Tom and Chuck are Bourbon Red turkeys and are almost 6 years old.
I have had them since they were just hatched.  
Tom and Chuck were originally named Thanksgiving and Christmas...
until we realized there was no way we could eat them!)

 I continue to rack up a lot of mileage on my Fitbit.
Unfortunately, walking and walking-while-carrying a 30 lb. turkey
count the same.
I'd recommend walking-while-carrying a 30 pound turkey for those of you 
who feel you need a little extra work-out!
I cannot believe there isn't an exercise app for that!

Needless to say, when evening came....

The Pink Fairy spent the day with us...

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For those of you who enjoy videos from the farm...
this post is for you!
For you, who would rather a quicker post...I apologize.

While out and about this week I captured a little video in several of the animal areas.
And because I think my critters are just about the most adorable
and precious beings on the earth... I just had to share a little time spent with them...
with you!

I am taking the easy way out today, as yesterday was quite a busy day for me....
housecleaning, closet organizing, cooking a big pot of chili, cleaning the front pasture,
laundry, changing sheets and the normal farm chores filled my day from beginning
to end...
thus, no time left for writing a story....
so I am serving you...

In my opinion, the animals are way more interesting than anything I could write,
So.... here you go....your very own visit....

PS....check out the Pink Fairy in her new sweater...

Happy Weekend, friends!
I hope yours is everything you hope it to be!!
We'll be back bright and early on Monday with more Tails From The Farm.

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Puttin' On The Ritz

Yesterday was a frigid winter day...
the kind that makes everyone seek a sunny spot.

The grass remains an amazing shade of green for this time of year.
We've had no snow as of yet, and until this week, not that many frosts.

The sheep's yard is on the northern slope of a hill,
with woods to the south, so they rarely get much direct sunlight in their yard.

This works out well in the summer...helping to keep them cool.
As for winter...I doubt anyone would feel a chill wearing winter coats as wooly as these!

Nabisco...if you find this blog....
please send more Ritz crackers!
They get eaten as fast as we buy them (and not by humans!)

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A Tale Of Two Piggies

Once upon a time there were two porcine princesses...
two shapely sisters with extraordinary tassels on their necks 
(a true mark of beauty in the piggy world.)

These two beauties were as kind as they were lovely,
and everyone in the kingdom (and beyond) adored them.

They lived in a castle (at least they thought it one)
in the midst of a beautiful farm kingdom.

They spent their days playing outdoor in their yard
and visiting with the neighboring sheep.

Occasionally one of the local kitties would stop by for a visit.

Life was simple and happy for these two girls.
They rarely ever fought... except perhaps over which of them had more dinner...
and of course neither liked to share!

One day, a bitter cold one that kept them indoors, their father, the King,
came to bring them their supper.

As they ate, he tidied their room.
(two girls can be a little messy when playing indoors all day long.)

As he cleaned, he happened to bump into one of the princesses named MaryAnn.
Well, she lost her head and started to squeal and grunt at the king and push 
him out of the way just like she occasionally did to her sister (on a daily basis).

The king was so surprised by this grumpy behavior, 
that he raised his voice...

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The Thing About Sam

I suppose that the ending of yesterday's mystery was no surprise to you.
Am I right?
Those of you who have visited the farm for some time now
are well aware of Sammy (aka "Bad" Sammy)'s shenanigans.
This sweet, gentle, lazy dog who everyone wants to take home with them...
has quite an adventurous side to him.

Yes, this Yoda-like canine creature is somewhat of an enigma.
He has taught me many lessons.

"Now pay attention."
The most significant being that on the Road of Life,
it is not the destination that matters but the trip itself.

Sharing the passenger seat of the gator.
An example...

Yesterday morning (a brisk 25 degree day), we caught Sammy licking and licking the 
water bowl outside the barn.

It, being frozen, was not offering any drinks.
Sammy licked and licked,
chewed and chewed...
seemingly trying to get through the ice to the water beneath it.

I broke the ice and refilled the bowl with fresh water.
Oakley and Annie quickly came for a drink.
Not Sam....no... 
this fellow who had spent the past several minutes trying to get through the ice
had no interest in taking a drink.

You see....
to Sam, it was not about the drink...
but instead, it was about the challenge of trying to get through the...

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The Great Carrion Mystery

You might remember that during the first week of hunting season
we found a dead fawn in the woods.
I assumed it had been shot.
Upon inspection, Becky felt it had died of natural causes.
(which is sad, but makes me feel so much better about humanity!)

Over the course of the next week or so, the carcass disappeared.
Then, later, we found it at another spot in our woods...partially eaten.
I know this sounds gross, but it is nature's way of taking care of carcasses...
they become food for other hungry animals.
There is a sort of wild beauty in this.

Curious about what had carted off the remains, we located one of our game cameras within
sight of what was left of the fawn.
You can see the head and shoulders at the bottom of this picture. (right above the number 12)

We had imagined that perhaps a coyote or a coy-wolf had drug it away.

When we went back out to retrieve the memory card from the camera, the fawn was gone...

Watch, as the mystery is solved...
(you can switch this video to full screen size by hitting the "four corners" button in the bottom right corner of the video...
you will want to watch it in full screen size to see the mystery unfold!

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The Hows and Whys of Being A Zoo Chef

One of the favorite parts of my day is reading your comments, questions and emails!
I try to answer each in some form or another,
but every so often a comment becomes the next day's blog post.

And so it is, today.

Yesterday Tee asked:
Can you tell us why you have each animal?
Like is it for pleasure or breeding, etc?

And.....Patsy asked:
"I know about Dog Chow and Cat Chow.   
Is there Goat Chow?  Horse chow?  Turkey Chow?  Pig Chow?
Just wondering."

Reading that I realized that so much of what I do is foreign to a lot of you.
I think the subject of why we have and how we feed the animals deserves its own post.

The most important question of all is "WHY?" do we do this?

The farm was originally a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city/suburban life.
Then when it came time to downsize, we decided the the quiet of the country
was to be the second half of our life's story.

The end result is what happens when two animal-loving dreamers find themselves
in the middle of the country with lots of acreage and a barn.

A dozen chickens for eggs and a handful of ducks on the pond
soon turned into
125 free-ranging chickens, 
several generations of ducks,
three two turkeys,
an ever-changing number of guinea...

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Daphne, The Rednose Donkey

Shhhhh.....stay very, very quiet and still.
There behind the hay...
it looks like Rudolph has stopped in at the farm for a visit...
and we wouldn't want to scare him!

What's that you say?
That's not Rudolph... just Daphne in disguise?

Those silly donkeys!
Looks like everyone is getting into the holiday spirit.

Amanda came on Monday for her weekly farm visit and brought
some new costumes with her.
Naturally, the animals were eager to try them on...
everyone is deciding what to wear to our Christmas party this Saturday.

I'll be spending the rest of the week cooking and baking...
putting the finishing touches on our huge family Christmas.
The presents are wrapped.
The decorating is almost finished.
The food is planned.
The kitchen is going to be a flurry of activity for the next three days.

While I am busy cooking and baking,
the animals will all be trying to decide what to wear.

Don't worry, we'll share lots of photos of the animals' Christmas pageant in the coming days.

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A Visit With Gracie and the Girls

Afternoon in the sheep yard...

When afternoon chores were finished,
I delivered hay to the sheep for the evening and night.

The weather forecast and the sky both told me that rain was coming,
so I put their hay inside each of their houses.

They immediately went inside to snack.

Meanwhile, Annie and I played ball in the sheep yard.
As luck would have it, the ball rolled right between Hope's legs and ended up in the house.

Annie circled and circled...
unable to find her ball.

There was no way she was going to look inside the house...
not with Faith and Hope inside.
Eventually the sheep left the house and Annie grabbed her ball and 
exited the sheep yard as quick as she could.

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It always brings a smile to my face
when I see my equines sleeping in their dry lot.

Horses and donkeys take many cat-naps during the day while standing up.
It's only when they feel completely safe and secure that they allow themselves
the pleasure of lying down to sleep.

Because they are a prey species, they are wary and cautious about their sleep habits.
Occasionally I will find 4 out of 5 asleep in the dry lot with one standing sentry
beside them.
For me it's a wonderful vision to behold....knowing that my loves feel safe!

Once I approach the fence, however, their sleep is over...
replaced by a good old fashioned roll on the ground.


Back and forth...

Then once again on their feet to shake all of the dust and dirt from their coat.

We had a wonderful weekend, Hubbs and I.
A visit from Miss Mackenzie and her Daddy on Saturday, two Christmas parties,
and a quiet Sunday at home were the perfect combination.

We awoke on Sunday morning, however, to find that we had no power.

Sadly, this is an all too common occurrence here in the country.
We are well equipped to handle a power outage...
as we had a large generator installed when we built the house.
It keeps the freezers cold, the...

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Merry Christmas!

In our best farm voices...

"We wish you a Merry Christmas....
we wish you a Merry Christmas....
we wish you a merry Christmas....

And a Happy New Year!!"

Warm wishes for a joyous holiday season....
from our farm to you!

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Ups And Downs

Life on the farm is real life.
Real life.
And with it comes ups and downs.
Luckily, the ups outweigh the downs...
by a mile....
maybe by a hundred miles.

But still, an occasional day comes along where we suffer a loss.
We shed tears.
We wonder if there was something more we could have done.
We grieve.

Christmas evening delivered a sad loss to us.
We lost our little Leo.

Our Leo the Lionhearted...
who arrived at our barn a few short years ago
as a scrawny kitten.

He made fast friends with the other animals

and soon became an integral part of life in the barn.

Every morning at breakfast time he would hop down the hayloft ladder

and land on top of the refrigerator to receive his breakfast.

It was his picky tastes that determined what flavor would be served each day...

chicken and tuna (mixed) being the only item on his preferred menu.

 As a tiny kitten, he was quite adventurous.

 As he grew, however, he seemed to prefer the barn over adventuring.

Most of his day was spent in and out of the hayloft,
and only occasionally out of the barn.

He preferred the cushy life...
keeping himself as spotlessly groomed as a house kitty.

Last week, he stopped showing up for meals.
We searched the barn to no avail.

Then on...

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It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

There is nothing quite like Christmas in the barnyard.
All of the animals are buzzing with excitement...
talk of Santa and his reindeer is heard for days before the big event.

Annie looks a little like the Grinch's dog!
Each and every one of the animals knows that special treats await them
during this wonderful season!

And there is nothing they like better than dressing up.

It's quite a process...

picking out their Christmas attire.

So much to choose from....

At first the jingle bells seem a little scary.

But after a few moments, curiosity takes over and the costumes start flying!

Without a mirror to view themselves,
they are all heard shouting "How's this look?" over one another.

Eventually, they each try on several and swap them for their favorite...

and after just a little bickering...
everyone has the perfect outfit to wear.

If you listen closely to the disguise of braying and neighing, you will hear
the teasing and laughter and gleeful banter that might otherwise go un-noticed.

Dressed and ready to party, they await their special treats of apples and carrots.

And if I know these two, a couple of carrots will be put away for Santa's reindeer, too.
Daphne and Chloe are always willing to share!

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A Very Merry Celebration

I know that I said I would be back yesterday....
I needed a day to catch up with farm chores, laundry and errands
once our weekend guests departed on Monday.

We had a wonderful family celebration this past weekend...
a four generation celebration.
I count my blessings each and every day... ever thankful that I have such a big,
loving, fun-filled family that spans four generations (we had 16 adults, 4 children and 5 dogs).

Our huge dining room table has gradually become too small,
(with 16 adults around the table)...
and so this year we added a "kids" table.

Our menu included some family favorites (not the traditional Christmas meal, however)...
buttermilk fried chicken (the absolute best ever...we only eat it once a year!)
lasagne, all sorts of roasted vegetable sides, fruit salads, twice-baked stuffed potatoes,
with cookies, cheesecake, whiskey cake, and nut roll for dessert.

The day was filled with conversation,



and games (we are a family who loves to play!),

(some absolutely amazing feats of athleticism were witnessed!)

There were quiet moments as well.

Miss Mackenzie was a bit under the weather with a cold.

Tyler was in his glory challenging and beating the adults in Wii...

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Is That Snow? Why No, It's Flour Flying!

You would never be able to tell that Christmas is upon us by the weather.
It's been in the 50's and 60's this past week...
no chance of a White Christmas this year.

I awoke yesterday morning at 4:45 and jumped right in to Christmas prep.
By 5:30 a cheesecake was in the oven.
By 9AM I was at the grocery store.

I am taking today and tomorrow off from farm blogging.
Every hour will be filled with cooking and baking.

Family begins to arrive tomorrow...
so I will be busy with the festivities.

I will be back on Monday to share our family celebration with you...
and with stories of our critters.

Have the very best weekend.
Be sure to take some time to just enjoy the season...
be good to yourself ('cause I already know that you are good to everyone else!)

Christmassy hugs and kisses from all of the critters here on the farm!!!

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My Least Favorite Day of The Year

Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote to you of my favorite day...
the end of Daylight Savings...
that wonderful day that gifts us an extra hour of life
(only to be taken away from us in the spring.)

So, I am sure you would guess then that my least favorite day is the beginning of Daylight Savings.
It would stand to reason...
however it is not the case.

No, my least favorite day (yesterday) is the first Monday after Thanksgiving.
"Why?" you ask.

Because it is on this day that the peaceful life that I live here on the farm
is disrupted in a way that I find quite disturbing.

It happened at first light yesterday...
the repetitive sound of rifles in the not-so-distant countryside...
and the knowledge that no deer would be safe for the next few weeks.

Yes, it's hunting season again.
That time of year when the countryside is dotted by hunters in fluorescent orange
hiding in all manner of homemade tree stands,
just waiting for some poor unsuspecting deer to step into their shotgun's range.

With each shot that rings out through the morning air,
I silently say a prayer for the white tails.

Yes, you guessed it.... I vehemently dislike hunting.
I'm one of those crazy "Far Side" tree hugger types who think that...

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I Am More Thankful After Thanksgiving Than I Was Before!

Thanksgiving continues to be my favorite holiday...
it's just one that never disappoints.
And this year was no exception!

After three days of baking and cooking, we had a feast.
There were 13 around our table this year...4 generations!

I will attest to the fact that roasted Cinderella pumpkins are superb for baking projects,
as ours became pumpkin pie, whoopee pies, and pumpkin spice donuts.
Mmmmm - mmmm!

We brined and smoked a turkey this year...
it was out best turkey ever!
With that we had stuffing and lots of veggie side dishes.

I made these little burlap pockets for our silverware.

Sixty degree weather brought us outdoors for an after dinner walk.
We headed out for a family portrait on the pirate ship...

From left to right....  Muppy, Grammie, Ryan, 5 yr. old Tyler, his Mommy- Jenn and Daddy- Bryan, Baby Mackenzie,
her Mommy- Ashley and her Daddy- Andy, and the newlyweds Tim and Amanda.
We stopped to visit with Ginger and MaryAnn...

And then spent some time playing in Hubbs' home-made batting cage in the indoor arena.

We tried to get some holiday photos and learned that this is an activity for earlier in the day
when cooperation is at a peak.

But still, it's always nice to catch a photo of...

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Why Is This Goat Smiling?

"Why is Jill smiling?"  you ask.

Because after what seems like forever, 
the sun emerged yesterday from behind the fog bank.
(And not because she has an obvious underbite.)

I wasn't the only one overjoyed to see its fiery presence back in the sky once more.

Even Oakley commented that he thought his shadow had permanently disappeared!

The chickens were quite chatty and excited as they snacked on their scratch 
in the afternoon sunshine.

Everyone spent some time facing it, soaking in its rays.

It still remains too muddy for the equines to go out to pasture, however,
but I can't help but think just the presence of blue sky was a pick-me-up for them
as they munched on their afternoon hay.

The sheep pen is situated on the northern slope of a hill, so they rarely get 
direct sunlight.
This works out well for them since they are stuck wearing wool pajamas in all seasons.

And by the way....
those wool jammies are about two inches thick right now.
I am so excited for spring shearing!
It will be fun to see how much fiber I end up with this year.

 It will also be nice to see clean sheep once again (though short-lived!)

I have been using this foggy week to knit, knit, knit...
sadly, though, I cannot share with...

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The Wilder Side

It's our fifth day in the midst of a fog bank.
Visibility has been negligible for days, now....
which makes photography difficult at best...
unless, however, one is in the mood for fog photos!

I thought today might be a good day to take a walk on the wild side and see what
has been happening in our woods lately.
Yes, that's Annie way out in front of us.

Come on, Sammy....let's take a ride!

I love having the game cameras in the woods.
It's so much fun to see what happens there when we aren't there.

A handsome young buck...

curious doe...
(There is a red light that blinks when a photo is taken...I believe that is what attracts curious deer.)

a couple of raccoons (see the eyes behind the first one)...

Late in the afternoon...

Everyone comes out when it's dark...

There are always foxes in the woods.

And feral kitties...

Becky and Sid...out for a walk in the woods...

And someone pranking us...

A piece of artwork.... canoe on lake.
If this trickster had held the picture just a little closer, we might have thought it were taken elsewhere.
Good try, trickster!!
(Not sure who this was.)

Hopefully our fog event will soon be over and I can get back to taking photos once again!

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Hay...It's Not Just For Horses

It's an integral part of life on the farm.
I spend a good portion of the day delivering it.

For meals...



and supper...

for bedding...

And I spend a bit of time raking the wasted hay back up...

and spreading it in the chicken yard 

for footing.

So, it's no wonder that every evening when I change out of my work clothes,
I find hay inside every layer...
not to mention in my underwear!

I wear hay like most women wear jewelry.
There are usually hay leaves attached to my clothes,
just like Ollie has in his mane.

It's no wonder that I choose my outwear based upon what won't attract hay.

So, it's no wonder that I dreamed this silly dream yesterday morning as I was awakening...

I awoke with a start yesterday morning...
the memory of my last dream of the night still in my thoughts...

You see, I dreamt that I was stopped on the interstate by a state trooper.
I had been driving quite tired and had swerved a bit.

He pulled me over fearing me intoxicated.
I rolled down the window as he approached,
and our eyes both caught the dried green hay leaves attached to my sweater.
The next thing I knew he was arresting me for the possession of marijuana.
"But officer," I tried to explain,...

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Annie, The Activities Director

"Ok, guys, here's the game.  I run and you chase.  Got it?"

"When I crouch down like this...that means ready-set-go!"

"Ok....come on....chase me...now!"

"Look guys, the game is really simple.  I run.  You chase.  You win!"

"Isn't anyone interested in playing?"

All:  "You don't understand, Annie.  Goats don't chase.  We only run if someone is chasing US!"

Annie:  "Well, that's not fair, cause I'm not allowed to chase you.  You have to chase me...
or there's no game."

"Ok, I give up. Goats are boring."

Let's take a little peek into the greenhouse.
It looks as though our greenhouse veggies are growing.

We might even have sugar peas in time for Christmas!

We have had no sun for the past few days.  It seems we are in the midst of a pretty impressive fog event.  Yesterday's high was only 38 degrees.
And yet, down in the city it reached 55 degrees.

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It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like.....Winter!

Winter arrived this weekend,

and we plunged headlong into the holiday season.

Despite the calendar claiming it still to be Autumn,
our world was a frosty wonderland Sunday morning.

Nighttime fog had enveloped every bare surface and frozen there by morning...

making the farm look as though it had been sprinkled with crystal sugar!

Cold and crisp outside, but warm beneath our work clothes,

we tended to our critters with rosy cheeks and frosty breath.

I do love this time of year and find the cold exhilarating!

The cold is made even more tolerable, when knowing that this awaits us at home...

Hubbs' work party was Saturday night...
a chance to shed our farm clothes and dress up for an evening of merriment.
The party was well attended and great fun...
just what we needed to put us in the holiday spirit.

Sunday I finished decorating our two live trees.
In the family room... our Snowy Wonderland tree...
decorated with silver and white...balls,


and all sorts of glittery ornaments.

In the living room...

our Woodlands tree...

and mantle...

I have so much left to do before Christmas...
knitting projects, baking, wrapping!
December is always such a flurry of activity.
I am hoping to get done as early as...

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Please Excuse Me....

Please excuse me while I take today off from blogging.
We have out-of-town guests with us for a few days.

And....I am busy consuming this pie!

Peach crumble pie....best pie ever....in the history of pie...ever.
The secret?  peaches frozen from this past summer's harvest...
yummy crumbs with pecans on top.
Every once in a while, everything comes together to make....

I can brag about this pie, because for this one perfect pie, I have made many imperfect ones.

I thought you might get a kick out of the sign that hangs above my stove....

There is just one problem...
dogs cannot read!
The kitchen is their favorite room.... of course.

I'll be back Monday... with more Tails From The Farm!
Have a great weekend.

And remember, if life gets you down....EAT PIE!!

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Cabin Intruders....These Guys Are Nuts!

The gloomy, damp weather continued through yesterday and into this morning.
Needless to say, the farm is quite muddy.

I had a lot of time to knit yesterday, as Hubbs had shoulder surgery.
I spent the day away from the farm
and finished this....

I started its mate last night.

While leaving the farm and driving out of the driveway the other day,
I happened to notice a grey squirrel making his way up the side of the old log cabin...
in a vertical climb.
Intrigued, I stopped to watch.

Higher and higher he went...until he disappeared under the eaves of the roof.

This all happened before I could get my camera out and focussed.
However, I have recreated the scene for you...

Upon closer inspection I found this....

perfect access to the attic of the log cabin.
That explains the abundance of walnut shells that we constantly find in the cabin.
For years I have wondered how the squirrels found their way inside.
Now, I know.... first hand!

These creatures are quite resourceful!
I might add, too, that our squirrels here on the farm are quite plump!

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Has Anyone Seen The Sun?

We are in the midst of a rainy week...
stuck between a couple of nor-easters that have traveled up the coast.
Any one with any sense has stayed inside and sought shelter.

Even Kenny decided to forgo his usual trek out to see Lucille 1, 2 and 3.
Luckily, the Lucilles came to him!

When it wasn't outright raining, the air was thick with moisture...
so foggy that even the clouds were not visible.
And I'm not sure that there even was a sun behind all that moisture!

Everyone is patiently awaiting sunshine and drier conditions...
and taking their meals under roof.

The sheep don't even seem to notice the rain.
I suppose when you are wearing such a thick wooly coat,
the rain is not an issue.

I put the sheep's hay inside their houses, though,
hoping that might convince them to go indoors.

Looks like two out of three understood.

While the rain fell, I stayed inside knitting and making Christmas ornaments.
These snowflakes will dry over the next day and then I will cover them in glitter or fake snow.

This is such an easy project and one that children can easily do.
Simply roll out the dough with a rolling pin, cut out the shape, poke a hole for a hanger,
and allow to air-dry.

I'll take a photo of the finished...

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Tongue Wagging and Blubbering

I was a little late getting to afternoon chores yesterday.
As I drove up to the Nigerian Dwarf goats' yard,
they were standing on high alert awaiting their dinner.

As I walked to the gate they came running at top speed.
And then all of a sudden launched into the most comical behavior.

All four (all girls) began head butting and blubbering.
Now, if you have raised goats, then you know that blubbering is a phenomenon seen
during mating season.
And although the time of year is right, there is not a buck amongst them.

I grabbed my camera and turned on the video hoping to capture their raucous behavior.
I captured a little of it...but not as crazy as it had first been.
I think they realized that dinner was imminent and so they became focussed on that.

Did you notice the funny grunting and how they stick out their tongue and wag it at each other?
There was also a little humping action that accompanied the tongue wagging.
These goats are the most comical creatures....really!

Why was I late for chores you wonder?
Because I was playing with this little lady instead!

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Annie's Job

I've mentioned before that this little girl loves to play chase.
It's not that she likes to chase the animals...
no... her idea of fun is for them to chase her.

(Sadly, photos do no do this little girl justice.  Her personality more than makes up for her beady little eyes!)
A few weeks ago I thought I might turn this game into a job for little Miss Annie.

Every day when it's time to bring in the equines,
Moonbeam and the ponies come running.
The Littles... well, they need a bit more coaxing.

So, Annie has become the perfect working dog.
Here she is at work yesterday afternoon...

Some days I only have to tell her once 
and she goes running down through the pasture to gather the Littles.
Yesterday she needed a little more coaxing.
Still, it saves me a lot of footwork and headache.

There is never any issue with these two coming in.
They are always quite happy to be wherever I am...
so as soon as I call them, they come running.

We nuzzle and smooch and just hang out for several minutes.

I stick my nose into their coat and breath deeply.
There's something wonderful about the way that donkeys smell.

And something even better about the way they love attention
and give it right back!

Just like babies, they...

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Feeling Chipper

Donkeys, as well as turkeys, have an eye for beauty.

Daphne and Chloe stood facing this sunrise as they ate their breakfast yesterday morning.

It's hard not to look at the day with much anticipation
after seeing a sunrise like this!

When I went into the barn, I heard TomTom mumbling.
Before I could grab my camera, I saw Lucille standing in TomTom's bed...
right beside him.... TomTom with his back to her.

I am pretty sure he was muttering, "Chickens make very strange bedfellows!"

Luckily the day proceeded with perfect weather.
I had much on my list to accomplish.
When morning chores were finished, I took the gator and began to load it with cut wood.

34 trees makes for a whole lot of firewood.
And that firewood needed to be stacked.

Although I was working alone...
you can see that I am never every entirely alone.

There is always a friend or two willing to keep me company.

"I'm staying up here," uttered Bobby.  "I hope she doesn't expect any help!"

"Not from you...you shady character,"  I replied.

Here is what was next on my chore list...

I spent the entire day working outdoors.
By the end of the day...
bed never looked any better!

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