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

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

Your perfect garden: mulch landscaping

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

Home Secrets: Natural Cleaning Solutions

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

Home Secrets: Home-made Carpet Cleaning

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

Home Secrets: Useful Cleaning Methods

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

Great things about hardwood floors cleaning

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

Home Cleaning for Each Season

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

Home Secrets: Cleaning Tips

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

The Busy Days of Spring

The flies have arrived...
by the masses!


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


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


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


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


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


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


tender kale...


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

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

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The Spice Girls

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Meet the Spice Girls!


Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, and Rosemary!


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


Don't they have just the sweetest faces?


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


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

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Making Magic

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


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


And it always does...
happen!


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

Out in front of me Red was taking a snooze.


Watching him was entertaining in itself...

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


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



To my right was Moonbeam...


And behind me, Ollie...


hamming it up for the camera...


nibbling on my head...


messing up my hair...


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


where he stayed for quite a while....


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

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

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


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

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Cattails

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


Unfortunately, you cannot have one without the other!


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


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


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



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

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

Off the needles:


On the loom:


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

On the sewing table (and almost finished):


I will share pictures when it is...

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Mackenzie and the Three Bears

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


We spent time visiting all of the animals...


talking to the pigs...


and feeding the sheep...


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


feeling it between our toes...


and picking dandelions.


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

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

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


Second camera....
Wow!




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




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

What a day full of surprises!

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Philosophical Mowing

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


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


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


Why so philosophical today? you ask.

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

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

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


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


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


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

Inside the sheep yard is one of my favorite trees.

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


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

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Loss

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

Yesterday I received this photo in a text...



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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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Puppy Boot Camp

It's so funny how life works out.


In all of the world I cannot imagine a more perfect dog for our family.
Young Tucker has been with us a mere 4 days...
and yet it seems longer.


We are working on fattening him up a little.
His leg laceration (unknown origin... he arrived with it) is clean, but slow to heal because
he is so very active.
He's had his vaccinations thanks to Dr. Becky.
The future holds neutering and micro-chipping.
He's currently enrolled in puppy boot camp.


He's learned so much in four days.
He's learned to "sit",  "come", give his paw, "drop it" and he's beginning to understand "stay."
He knows his name as if it's always been his.

He's learned his place amongst the pack...
and gives the others the respect they deserve.

Mom and four dogs on the couch... there's always room for one more!

He's learning that although life is full of fun,
he is also learning that there are times to be serious.

He's beginning to understand that...
"we don't chase chickens,"
and 
"cats are to be respected."


Potty training....well, that is coming along... a little more slowly.
He's smart.  He'll get it.


We had a super fun weekend taking walks and playing ball.



Please excuse Sam's behavior, but this is always his...

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A Week Of Surprises

Remember a couple of months ago...
the potential dog adoption that ended up not happening?
It just didn't feel right.
And many of you told me that the right dog would come along.

Fate is a funny thing.

This fellow showed up at our neighbors' house.
They suspect he had been there for about 2 days 
judging from the disappearance of their cat's food.


Yesterday they called me and asked if we were still looking for a dog.
And so I went to see the fellow.

Filthy, covered with ticks (about 15 of them),
injured on his front leg,
skinny...


But oh so friendly, loving, enthusiastic!
A real keeper.


Jim and Kathy and I pulled off the ticks, bathed him, and I took him home to meet the crew...
which went splendidly.

I called the local vet...
I called the local shelter...
looking to see if anyone had reported him missing.
No one had.
There were no identifiers on him...no tags, no microchip.
He was neutered, however.


Guessing from size... he is maybe around 5 months old.
Puppy teeth all in tact.
We think he's a Fox hound.

So.....Meet Tucker...newest member of the family....
for now, at least...and hopefully forever!


We have a few things to work on...
like how to properly ride in the gator.


There, that's better.

So, with...

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More Excitement in the Wilds

There was so much excitement in the "wilds" of the farm
lately...
too much to post with yesterday's bear photos.

That camera that brought us those wonderful bear photos
has in it's sights an area of our woods that is an open meadow
and a hotbed of animal activity.


There were the typical turkey photos....


And several deer photos...


Turkey....


Deer...


And then the most surprising occurrence..,
just before dusk...
(Before the time that the bears become active.)

This interaction between deer and turkey...



Deer:  "You better find your friends and get the flock out of here.  
I hear there are some hungry bear in the area!"
Turkey:  "Gee, thanks!"
Deer:  "No problem...I've got your back."

This groundhog did see his shadow...or maybe he see's somebody else's!


When combing through all of the photos,
it seemed that whenever the bears left the area,
the raccoons then came in.


I suppose everyone is hungry right now.


And of course no group of nature pictures is complete without Mr. Fox
scurrying by!


PS... (To Rita.... check out www.sewtinagivens.com for sewing patterns like I made this week)

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Why Do They Call It Cruise Control?

Because I spend a portion of just about every day mowing,
I have mowing stories to share with you.

The upside of mowing is the "quiet" time that it affords one for pondering and reflecting.

The downside to mowing is the fact that it aggravates a little sciatica that I have 
been trying my darnedest to ignore.


The other day while mowing the blueberry field and upper orchard,
where these beautiful flowering crabapple trees grow,
I decided to give my leg a break and try the mower on cruise control.
(Or as Dr. Becky now calls it... "Cruise out-of-control!")

I was mowing along around these crabapple trees when I suddenly lost control of the mower.
Not used to mowing in cruise-control, my reaction time was a little slow 
and I ended up mowing right through the middle of this white poultry fence.


(You see, we put this little portable fence up to keep the chickens from digging up
the mulch and compost that we put around the blueberries...
and also to keep the turkeys from eating the blueberries.
The fence does a great job keeping this field bird-free.)

Back to mowing...
The mower sucked the wire and plastic mesh fence into its blades and immediately shut down.
What a mess!
I hopped off the mower to find...

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Learning to Share

OK...
So let me first just say that you guys are the bestest!!
What a wonderful birthday I had with so many well-wishes.
Hubbs and I spent the day doing all of the things that I love to do!

I feel a little bad, however...
I selfishly stole the day and forgot to mention that it was also Faith and Hope's birthday as well.


Yes, our sweet "little" lambs turned one yesterday.


Faith ( as I look at this picture now, I realize that she has a hornet on her nose!)....


and Hope....


Remember last year when they came to the farm?
Oh my...nothing cuter than a lamb....


Remember that?
Oh, how I miss having babies on the farm!


But...the exciting thing is..
shearing is ahead.


Monday the girls are getting sheared.
Their wool will go off to the mill for washing and carding,
and then back to me as roving for spinning.

The spinning is going well.
I have built up my speed and am learning to get a more even yarn.
I still have to work on getting a thinner yarn...but that will come in time.


Next on the list of things that I want to learn.... weaving!
I am going to begin teaching myself to weave.
The loom is on it's way...not a big loom... a reasonable size for a beginner like myself.


"Hello, my name is Beverly, and I'm a...

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It's My Party.... I Can Smile If I Want To!


I am at that age when many stop celebrating birthdays.
Not me.
No.
I LOOOOOVE Birthdays!
I am not going to tell you how old I am...
but I had my first legal glass of wine 38 years ago...
you do the math!!!


The way I look at it is the more birthdays,
the longer I enjoy this big beautiful world of ours.
So... bring 'em on!


As you can see...
there are always many around here who will party with me!


So, Happ Birthday to me !

PS...if you have any idea why dear Chloe shed out the hair on only her right cheek...
please enlighten me.

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Back In The Garden...And Happy To Be There!

Yesterday was one of those spectacular spring days that makes one
eager to chip away at the "To Do" list.

Whatever I am doing...the turkeys are always there to supervise!
With white wash hung on the line to dry and bleach in the sun,
my trusty help and I headed out to the garden to begin spring planting.


As you can see... it's hard to find good help.
Oh, and how wonderful a nap in the sun must be at this time of year!


Years and years of gardening have taught me that just as important as the plants that are tucked into the soil is the soil itself.
It is important to think of the soil as a living being.
Healthy soil helps to assure a productive garden.

Rhubarb is up!
One of the benefits of raised bed gardening, with care to amend the soil as needed,
is light and fluffy ground that does not pack down over the winter.
Each spring I weed the boxes and lightly fluff the very top layer of soil,
taking care not to dig deeply and disturb what lies beneath the surface.


This helps to preserve the health of the soil and all of the beneficial organisms that live within.
No tilling is needed and thus no earthworms are sacrificed.

Annie needs doggie sunglasses!
It felt good to get my fingers in the soil......

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We're Shedding Our Winter Clothes

Winter is over.
And although the chilly winds of March are roaring through our treetops as I write this,
there are so many visible signs of Spring's arrival here on the farm.


Besides the verdant hue to the underbrush, 
the daffodils with their joyous faces turned towards the sun, 
 and the eruption of tiny blossoms on most of the trees...
the animals are giving us signs that the warmth of the sun is not just a fantasy.


The fainting goats are changing out their winter vestments for their summer attire.


These peaceful grazers are well equipped for surviving frigid winters,
as they are amazing cashmere growers.


As you can see on Sally...


her cashmere coat is starting to shed,


hanging like blond dreadlocks from her normally red sides.


This is just the beginning of their shedding.
In a few weeks, they will look as though they've been attacked by moths...
their fine winter coats hanging in shreds across their backs.


Each year as this super soft undercoat begins to loosen,
Becky pulls it from the goats and saves it in a bag.
(Eventually I will spin this cashmere into yarn for her.)

There is a specific goat breed that is raised for cashmere,
and fainting goats are not that breed.
However, any goat can grow...

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Shear Delight

I am happy to say that sheep shearing day when off without a hitch.


The sheep had spent the previous night in a stall in the barn...
which was good...
as we had a bit of rain and their fleeces remained dry.


They were, however, covered in pine bedding...
which we had to brush off before shearing.

Amanda took a day off work and joined in the fun.


Gracie was the most difficult to shear.  
However, once she decided to stop fighting it,
she relaxed and the shearing began.


We got a lovely grey fleece from her.


Isn't Gracie sweet without her fleece?


Hope was next and was quite well behaved.


In no time, a lovely white fleece was lying on the aisle floor.


The most surprising of all was Faith.


Underneath all of that brown, was a luscious black fleece.


Each girl lost about 5 pounds in fleece...
all of which has gone to the mill to be cleaned and carded.


In about 6 weeks I will have lots of wool roving to begin spinning into yarn.

Shearing was great fun to watch and
the sheep were not bothered in the least by the whole procedure.

As for the girls...they are ready for warm weather.
And they can see again!!


Don't they look amazingly different now??
Now when you touch them your hands get covered in lanolin.
If only...

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A Big Day For Grace, Faith, and Hope

The BIG DAY is finally here!
Today the sheep lose their fleeces.
After a year of growing and growing and growing the wooliest of wooly pajamas....
they are going to be sheared.


This will be the first shearing for the lambs.
Gracie is an old pro.


Unfortunately, today is supposed to be a rainy day and tomorrow is to be our last cold day.
In preparation, we moved the sheep into the barn yesterday.


This way we can do the shearing in the barn aisle... out of the rain.

And afterwards they can stay in the relative warmth of a barn stall until tomorrow's
cold spell is over.


Amazingly, the transfer went without a hitch...



As for the rest of the weekend...
it was wild and crazy!
Saturday started like this...


Sunday started like this...


with a woodsy hike.
Hubbs had found some interesting mysteries in the woods earlier this weekend.

First was this hollowed out tree...
newly dug out ( two weeks ago it did not look like this.)


We suspect that a hungry bear woke up from his hibernation and was in search of insects.
You can see the claw marks.


He made a hole in the trunk of this tree large enough for a nine year old!


And then we found this on our platform tent in the woods....


Muddy bear paw (claw) prints!
There was...

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Wow! What a Ride!

Yesterday, being a cold and damp day was the perfect day for staying indoors.


It's always good to snuggle with a friend on a cold, rainy day!


The dogs and I stayed inside most of the day and only ventured out to care for the animals.


The horses spent a little time in the front pasture...which still has not bounced back from winter.
It's trying, but we've had a lack of the sun and warmth that it needs to grow.


The horses don't seem to mind...
I think they just enjoy the change of scenery.


And of course they enjoy the chance to run!


I finished my first weaving project and planned my next one.


And although it looks pretty good from this angle...
don't be fooled...
there are plenty of "goofs" in this first try.
I hope to get better with practice.

Before beginning the second, however, I am going to finish a knitting project.
(I am not even going to tell you that a sewing project has been whirling around my
tiny little brain as well!....no, I won't tell you that.)

You all ask...how do I accomplish so much.
Well, my life is pretty simple from day to day...
animal chores and household chores...but surprisingly, they don't take as much time as
one might think.
There is always time left over to do the...

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TomTom's Big Adventure

TomTom says..."Adventures like this make one want to stay home forever!"


You might remember that I talked about TomTom's nasopharyngeal polyp regrowth.
We took him to our local veterinarian who didn't feel comfortable doing the surgery.
So, we made an appointment for yesterday at a surgical veterinary practice.
Unfortunately, in the time between appointments, he has developed conjunctivitis, and an upper respiratory infection.


Needless to say, he is on medications for the next week to get him in better shape for surgery.


TomTom is one of the easiest kitties to manage.
He is pretty cooperative and takes his antibiotic pill with a little wet cat food...
gulp....right down!

The eye drops...takes two people.
The nasal saline...might not be happening!
But, we'll keep trying.


This poor little fellow has become a mouth-breather due to his polyp.

Life will be good again after surgery is over.

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Of Warp And Weft

Just when we thought that winter had left and spring was here to stay...
Mother Nature decided to play a cruel trick on us.
She swapped out March for April and vice-versa!


Looking at Ginger lying here in the sun, you might think it a sunny warm afternoon.
You'd never guess that it was only in the 30's when this photo was taken.
No wonder this gal is soaking up the sun's rays!


Although MaryAnn had been sunbathing as well, curiosity got the better of her
and she decided to check out the new ball that I brought them.


These two are always interested in the dogs' balls...
so I thought they needed one of their own.

The sheep are not complaining about the cold...as their fleece coats remain intact.
Hopefully things begin to warm up by next week, because after that they will only be wearing lightweight wool pajamas!


I sank my fingers into their fleece yesterday and found that my entire fingers disappear into wool before touching flesh.
I am so excited to see how much wool comes off of these gals...
and also what they look like without their fleece.

Since it's too cold to work in the garden, I have been trying out my loom.
With a merino/alpaca/silk mix I am weaving a scarf.


I've got to say... weaving is...

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Under The Watchful Eye

I have often wondered why my barn kitties eat their food so darned fast.


And then this weekend we discovered one of the reasons....


It seems that the Lucilles have learned where a fresh meal can be found.


There is nothing more annoying than having beady little chicken eyes staring you down
as you try to enjoy your breakfast!
Pause... and you just might lose the rest of your meal!

Look what arrived in yesterday's mail...


My loom!
I put a coat of finishing wax on it and assembled it yesterday afternoon.
Hopefully today I will have time to put on the warp.
I'll keep you posted with the progress.

I am still awaiting the arrival of its stand, so that I don't have to leave it on the table top.

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A Weekend of the Unexpected

Well, as it turns out, today will be a quiet day on the farm.
We had originally scheduled sheep shearing for today,
however, an Arctic blast moved into our area making our nighttime temperatures dip into the 20's...
a bit too cold for our sweet little sheep to be out without their warm fleece.


We moved shearing day to next Monday instead.
And, yes...they will definitely be able to see much better after that!


We had a bit of excitement this past weekend due to our wild weather.
Strong winds blew through on Saturday night.


We awoke on Sunday to a little unexpected snow on the ground! 

Sunday morning, while doing AM chores, we found this tree...


half up-rooted and laying across the top of the chicken yard.


The wind was still blowing fiercely, and each time the wind blew the ground would heave
and the roots would lift up.

Sadly, Hubbs had to get the chainsaw and sacrifice the tree...
as we risked the collapse of the chicken yard.


Forty-five minutes later the tree was down and the chickens were safe again.
Unfortunately, this tree provided a lot of shade for the chickens in the heat of summer.

The kids cooked Sunday dinner for me as a birthday treat.
My kids are great cooks!


Mackenzie's Daddy made...

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Our Pair-adox

These two...
these cuties...


are two of the most unusual animals I have ever encountered.
Bobby is more dog than cat...
comes when he's called...
goes for walks with us...


Sam is more cat than dog...
doesn't come when he's called...
always on his own agenda...


Soulmates.
They understand each other.
Thank goodness, because they are both a mystery to me!


I am happy to say that Spring has arrived... again!



I moved the sheep back to their yard this morning after the rains had finished.


They are settled back in...
contented and much happier without their winter attire.


And the pigs were quite happy to see their next door neighbors return...
although at first they didn't recognize them!


I received a lot of questions about the sheep after yesterday's shearing post.
I'll answer them as best I can.


Shearing takes place once a year...in the spring as soon as the weather warms.
It takes the entire year for the sheep to grow their fleece.
The fleece is shorn off in one piece...preserving the length of the fibers.
The best fiber is found on what is called the "saddle"...
and so the belly, legs and face fibers are discarded, as these are too short and too dirty to use.


The entire length of the fiber is used....and...

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Rainy Day Fun

Decisions decided....on with life....
and thank you so very much for all of your input....it was greatly appreciated
and tremendously helpful!
You all always come through when I need a little help.

It's been drizzly here this week.
Warmish and drizzly.


I am eager to get out to finish the garden clean up started over last weekend
while the sun shone, but I am not fond of gardening in mud.
So... seeing how it is still very early in the season, the garden can wait for sunnier days ahead.

I've busied myself with a few projects.


Polymer clay plant stakes were something I came across while trolling the internet.
I love DIY projects and dove headlong into this one, as I already had all of the supplies 
in my craft room.

I assembled the polymer clay, rubber alphabet stamps, and an ink pad...
as well as a few common kitchen tools...


and in a matter of minutes had several herb markers hardening in the oven.
Roll the polymer clay, cut your shape (I used a pizza cutter and a ruler),
stamp whatever you want into the clay....bake as directed on package.
That's it....easy peasy!!!


Quick, easy... I love this!
Good gift idea to make for one's favorite gardener!
(Mother's Day is coming.)


I have also been sewing my...

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Chewing It Over So Long...I Now Have A Mouth Full of Mush!

Personally, I am not a fan of Daylight Savings Time.
I am a morning person...and being robbed of an hour of morning daylight
is not a fair tradeoff for an extra hour of evening time.


After all, by evening I am tired and ready to sit and knit.


But because daylight lasts until 9 PM and later in the summertime,
I don't have time to sit or knit.
I know.... I could make myself sit.
But when the sun is up I feel like moving.
Truth be told, by 9 PM I am ready for bed.



I awaken early...too early to go out and get to work, because now the sun isn't up.
Why do we need to let the sun sleep in?
Will somebody please answer me that one?


Oh well, I suppose this isn't going to change just for my convenience,
so enough said.


Thank you so very much for weighing in with your opinions about
this potential dog adoption.
I've got to say, this is the hardest decision I have had to make.
And at the time of writing this blog post, I still have not made up my mind.


Why, you ask?
I'm scared. (And I am rarely ever scared of anything.)...scared of making a bad decision...
a decision that can potentially affect a whole lot of other lives here on the farm.
Gosh... I didn't have this much trouble deciding to adopt Oakley....
I...

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The Decision

I am not generally someone who takes a long time in making decisions.
I weigh the pros and cons and quickly make up my mind.
With issues of lesser importance I throw caution to the wind and decide
without much ado.

However, when it comes to adding a new "being" to the farm...
I take my good old time....
chewing it over and over...
making sure my final decision "feels right" from every angle.


I know, I know....cut to the chase, you say.
But that's just the point.
I can't.
Not quite yet.

We had the visit.


He's a really good boy.
The dogs liked him.


So, why did we not keep him on the spot?
This one is a really big decision.
REALLY big.

So, I am going to chew it over right here with you.

We took a walk with this fellow on a leash.
He's very strong...VERY strong, and pulled on the leash quite a bit on the way to the barn.
So, he needs work with leash manners.
He was afraid of the farm animals...barking, but wagging his tail the whole time.
He was quite fixated on the chickens, and being so strong was hard for me to hold...
but not impossible.
These were the only things that gave me pause...and they are not unfixable, right?
He is definitely part Staffordshire terrier...the "pit" in him is visible, both in...

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Spring Clean-Up

Yesterday was the perfect day for spring clean-up activities.
Number one on the list of outside chores was cleaning the sheep yard.


A winter's worth of hay, urine and manure were badly
in need of removal.
I hauled out four gators loads.


I scraped the floor of the sheep huts and removed everything.
Do you have any idea how heavy hay is when laden with urine and manure?
Heavy!!

The pigs, always curious, stayed right by the fence as I worked.


Ginger visited.  MaryAnn napped.


As I raked and scooped,
the sheep decided it was time to check out the spring grass.


Finally... they've decided to graze again!


Under the watchful eye of Annie, they headed out to the middle of their yard...
an area they had not seen in a few months.

Annie tried her level best to get Faith to play with her,
but with a thick coat of wool on... playing was the last thing Faith wanted to do.


So Annie resigned herself to fulfilling her guard-dog duties...
calling back to me asking, "Are you sure we don't have any wolves in sheep's clothing here?"


"You're safe Annie...
they may seem big, but they certainly aren't bad!"


10 minutes of grazing, and the sheep were ready for another nap.
With temperatures approaching 70, the sheep get very...

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Feathers, Feathers, Everywhere!

One thing that we never have a shortage of is feathers.
There are feathers of all sizes, shapes and colors to be found on the ground around the farm.
Right now there are more than the average turkey feathers.


You see it's molting season for the turkeys.


They've lost their tail feathers and a lot of their fluff.


It's a normal part of the life... they do it every year.
But still, for a few weeks, they look a little sad...
and are less prone to puff themselves up and strut about as usual.


It's funny, but they seem to realize that they are not their usual handsomely dressed selves right now.


Yesterday morning we found several piles of feathers laying about...
the tell-tale sign of a chicken attack.


These are the types of feathers we hate to see!
Sadly, Spring brings an up-tick in the predatory attacks.
Predators are raising and feeding their young... so this is a dangerous time for chickens...
especially chickens who refuse to roost in the henhouse.


On a happier note...I found these precious blooms alongside our lane
yesterday as I was doing chores.
Spring is definitely here!


And lastly, I have to tell you the truth about my sheep.

They are lazy.
Yes, they are the laziest sheep I have ever seen.
They...

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Boys Will Be Boys!

Yesterday was pedicure day on the farm.


The farrier's visit is always a highlight in the lives of the dogs.


There's nothing tastier than hoof trimmings...


and the dogs risk life and limb to grab these tasty treats!

Most times, while the farrier is working on the ponies and Moonbeam,
Ollie and Red dance and jump around the adjacent stall.


I'm not sure why the farrier makes these two so playful,
but they have the best time.


It may be the presence of the halters,
that makes them playful...trying to bite each other's halter off.


Who knows...
But they sure are comical...

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It's Spring!!!!

One of the last things I said on Friday was...
"I love wool, both on the sheep and off."

After this weekend, I might be a little less in love.
(not really)
It was a trying weekend in terms of wool...both on the sheep and off.


It all started Friday afternoon.
I drove to town to pick up Tyler to bring him home for part of the weekend.
Upon our arrival home, I received a text...
"Did you know your sheep are out?"


"#**&%^(&$"... said I, under my breath.
At that moment the phone rang.
It was Becky... "Hey, your sheep are out."


Tyler and I flew out the door and hopped in the gator.
We drove to the sheep pen...sure enough it was empty.
Further up the lane, there were three sheep standing outside the fainting goat's gate.
It was obvious they were not happy being out "on the lamb".


It took next to no coaxing to send them scurrying back down the lane and right 
into their own yard again.
As I've said before... sheep are not party animals...not by a long shot.

Remember the mosaic knitting project?
I was really enjoying it, until I realized that the project had strayed just a tiny bit from
the pattern... but enough to completely ruin the design.
Ugh.... I ripped it out and started over.... this was Saturday...

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Under The Weather


Poor TomTom is a little under the weather these days.
He is suffering from nasopharyngeal polyps.
He had them surgically removed 5 years ago...
and they've grown back.
If you remember TomTom having surgery, then you have been visiting the farm for at least 5 years!


He is going to have more surgery in the very near future.
Poor boy.
He has become a "mouth-breather" lately, and no longer meows.
So.... it's time.

And speaking of the weather...
yesterday was the craziest of days, weather-wise!
Conditions seemed to change every half hour or so.
We had sunshine, clouds, wind, rain, thunder, hail and sunshine....repeat!


In the afternoon while the horses were snacking and I was cleaning up manure,
the sky turned the darkest shade of grey and thunder rumbled in the distance.
The horses kept eating.


All of a sudden the skies opened and rain fell.
The wind blew wildly.
The horses kept eating.


It thundered and blew.
Hail began pelting the metal barn roof and the backs of the horses.
The horses kept eating.


Five minutes later the sun was shining again.
The horses kept eating.


Weird and wild... this Springtime has been so far!
Oh, and by the way.... while all of this schizophrenic weather was happening...
the donkeys...

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The Luck of....

The Irish!
I don't believe that any Irish blood flows through any of the veins of Bee Haven Acres.


And from the look on Sammy's (humiliated) face... I'd say there's no Irish in him!
Or Annie!


The donkeys are from Sicily...


However, for treats they are willing to claim any country their home!


The pigs are from New Zealand...


And they don't care what holiday it is... they just like to dress up!
(That's obvious given MaryAnn's toothy grin.
I think she's just happy to be the Princess!)



The closest to Irish are the sheep...
and they are party poopers!  (literally and figuratively!)


But still, on St. Patty's Day we are all a little Irish, aren't we?


And because we never miss the chance for a party...
we did our best to be festive!


We got out the party hats and costumes,


 poured the green beer...


and danced into the night!


"Please,"  says Audrey..."I'd like an audience with the queen."


And she whispers "Erin Go Bragh" into Ash's ear, "Isn't Nigeria close to Ireland?"
Ireland forever, Audrey

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Always Happy To Have Visitors

We had a wonderful Easter weekend... spent with good friends...
great food, lots of laughs, and lots of time outdoors.

It all started with....
Friday...
when a dozen high schoolers from one of the local schools
came to the farm for a photo session.


A couple of photographers took a lot of photos of these kids and our animals
to use for a slide show for their May Day Dance.


These adorable girls and their dates were all on the "court."
Because their dance had a Farm theme this year,
they inquired as to whether they could use our farm for their photos.



And of course we were excited to have them.
The critters had just the best time with all of the attention.


They all seemed to truly enjoy the animals.
And as personable as our animals are... the feeling was mutual!


This was such a respectful and kind group of kids.
We thoroughly enjoyed their visit.


And I think they got some good photos.


This one reminded me of Amanda and Tim's engagement photos.


Things are just beginning to "green-up" around the farm...
and before long it will be beautiful and colorful once again.

In preparing for our weekend guests, I baked a few loaves of Italian bread from
my favorite bread book.


I always have great success with the...

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Easter Bunny Try-Outs

Ok, kids....line up!  
It's time for the Cadbury Egg Bunny Tryouts.


Several of our crew were eager to try out for this role.

Ollie
So, tell us....who do you think deserves the role?
Red
MaryAnn

Ginger

Moonbeam

Daphne

Chloe
And last but not least...

Our little pink fairy, who is now 7 ½ months old!

Happy Easter to you all!
We are to have a beautiful weekend here on the farm...
sunny and Spring-like.

Our Colorado friends are welcome to come and join us!!

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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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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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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



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



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....


 Treats.....


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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