“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

Highlights of the Past Week

We're home!
As always... it's great to be home.
The beach vacation was everything I had hoped it would be.
We had a blast... doing just what you do at the beach... four generations of us.
A few highlights...


Our weather was dynamic... from this...


to this...


and back and forth.

The Littles and Not-so-Littles filled my heart with joy... more times than I can count.








I took hundreds of photos of everyone... but will skip all of the adult photos.

While we were gone,
the farm was well cared for by our neighbors... Anna (from down the road)
and Jim and Kathy (from across the road).
We had special house-sitters.
Danielle and her girls, Maggie and Macy enjoyed a farm vacation while we were gone
and spent the week loving our cat and dogs in our absence.
(You might remember them from previous posts... 
they gifted us with four white roosters two years ago!)


I think they may have had a really good time,
as I heard they are hoping we go away again next year.
(We just might be able to work that out!)


I know the dogs were happy to have all the attention they were given.



A few highlights from their week at the farm...


Bobby was Maggie's sidekick for most of the week.
Obviously, he didn't mind.
I think he needs his...

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A Weekend, Filled To The Brim

Do you remember the beginning of June,
when we went to the auction and brought home 7 adorable ducklings 
that we were told were Ancona ducks?


I might not have mentioned how excited I was to have a new breed of duck
join our family.

Well, those duckling have grown up into fine adults.
However, they are definitely not Ancona ducks.
I just noticed in the past week how their faces are changing,
and red, knobby skin is now growing above their bills.


Our sweet fluffy ducklings are growing into Muscovy ducks.
I have to mention here, in a very hushed and whispering voice...
that Muscovy ducks are definitely not the cutest duck in the pond.


They have faces that only a mother could love.
Thankfully, I love them all.

The good news is... our sweet little white Muscovy down at the pond,
who is never looked upon as an equal by the other pond ducks...
(I have witnessed them often looking down their bills at her!)
...is about to join a group of ducks that are just like her.


We are moving her up to the duck house at the barn to join the others.
She never joins the other ducks in the pond, but prefers to remain on land.
The duck house at the barn will be just right for this little misfit.
Here she will have lots of...

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Something to Crow About!

She did it!!!
Finally, after 28 days of sitting through all sorts of weather,
Mrs. Guinea successfully hatched out 5 new baby guinea keets.


They are the tiniest of tiny... little yellow and brown striped puff balls,
about as big as a cotton ball on long orange legs.


Apparently guineas co-parent, as there are three adults tending to these five hatchlings.
It's a tough world for little keets.
The adults don't slow down, but go running through the grass
with the little ones struggling to keep up.


This poor little one keeps getting left behind.
When Mrs. Guinea loses track of it she sounds the alarm,
and the little one runs to catch up to her.


There is no way for us to catch them and get them to a safer environment,
so we are letting it up to the guineas to keep the keets safe.
I am sure it will take a village to raise these five youngsters.
Hopefully some of them will survive.
It's a tough world out there!

We had planned, yesterday, to pick up some young geese for the pond.
A local couple, Homer and Lettie, have a rather large flock of geese
that they are trying to down-size.


Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful at herding the geese into a fenced-in yard.
Looks like we'll have to try that little...

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Living In Wellies

Rain is definitely a mixed blessing.
Without it, nothing grows.
With too much, however, certain things grow like crazy,
and others drown.


Right now, it feels as though the farm is located somewhere in the tropics.
Perhaps at some point in late July I went to bed
and some sort of cosmic magic happened... changing the earth's axis so that
we are now spinning around the sun somewhere near the equator.


Normally, by this time of summer, we are watering profusely,
and mowing duties have ceased.


This year it is just the opposite.


Early morning hours are the most pleasant, with the thermometer hanging right around
the seventy degree mark.
It doesn't take long for the sun to send the mercury speeding higher up that tube, however.


In spite of all the rain and torrential storms,
Mrs. Guinea remains glued to her nest...
looking more and more bedraggled by the day.
I sure hope she has some babies as a reward for her faithfulness,
at the end of all this weather torture.


And although she wasn't thrilled with it, I reached around her to pick 
these two patty pan squashes.


Much of my garden fence is now covered in vines...
trumpet vines, grape vines, and loads and loads of morning glories.


I love how morning glories...

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When It Rains, It Pours

Quite literally and figuratively this week!


Mornings, this week, have reminded me of autumn.
The sun rises through thick fog,
while a curtain of misty moistness hangs in the air above the ground.
The dew lingers until noon... the earth saturated from the rains of the previous two weeks.


I was caught quite by surprise yesterday as the mid-afternoon sky darkened
and thunder rumbled.
I was inside working on a new embroidery project and had no idea that a 
storm had moved in.
Then the rain started... and it poured and poured....
dumping 2 ½ more inches onto the already soggy ground.


The water ran in rivers through the farm,
running from high ground to low ground with nothing in between to soak it up.
The lowest point of our farm is our pond.


Needless to say, it swelled until it almost crested...
rising to almost a foot above its normal level.


Of all the animals on the farm, the ducks are happiest when it rains.


(And by the way, our five remaining young mallards are still with us,
and doing great.... seemingly adopted by the domestic flock.)


The runner ducks and Ancona ducks can be found just about anywhere these days.
Their boundaries are widening daily.


The sight of anything different sends them...

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Home

I've got to admit, there were times on the beach as I would sit,
watching the tide ebb and flow....
that I thought to myself, "I could live like this."


There is something about the rhythmic sound of the waves as they
roll into the shore that touches something deep within me and makes me feel
as though I am home.
It's not that the beach feels like home right now, 
but rather home from a long, long time ago...
another time, another place.
Perhaps its because of all the hours spent by the sea as a child...
perhaps it was another lifetime.... who knows.


I caught myself thinking about how nice it was to wake up and have a whole day in front of me...
that I could call my own...
with no responsibilities.
No need to awaken with the sun... although I did.
No need to follow a schedule.


And then, I tried to imagine a life other than the one I lived,
and I felt a profound feeling of loss.
I tried to imagine a life without the responsibilities...
and I felt a loss of purpose.
(These are my feelings alone... with regards to my own life... no one else's...
after all, we all walk our own paths and each path is different.
It's supposed to be that way!)
Honestly, though, the thought of having to re-home all of our...

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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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This Is How We Roll...

With three of us competing for the passenger seat.
It's first-come-first-served... and occasionally old Sammie beats me to the seat...
and then I ride standing up, bent over, in front of him...
when I am feeling generous.
If not, I ask him to give up his seat for a lady.
And he obliges... thankfully.


The rain continues to fall on those of us who are outside.


That would be the horses and we humans who must clean up their manure!


They never seem to mind being soaked to the bone.
Can you see how svelte everyone looks this summer?


Grazing muzzles have been the ticket to slimmer, healthier equines.
Come winter with more hay to keep them warm, they will once again put on a little weight.
For now, though, I quite like the way they are looking.
I only wish it were that easy for the donkeys.


This extra rain will assure that our soon-to-ripen blackberries
will be plump and juicy.


Of course we will also need some sunshine to ripen and sweeten them.
All things need to be in balance.


That just might be my new mantra.
Maintain balance.... in everything.

Between the raindrops, my gladiolas decided to blossom.


Gladiolas... make me glad!


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If They Can....


Then, so can we!
Seriously.
The most powerful force in the universe is simply...
love.


If two animals as different as these two
can co-exist with tolerance and acceptance...
then shouldn't we humans be able to do the same?

See?  I told you that animals have much to teach us!

We had a quiet weekend on the farm...
and I got my wish.
It poured on Saturday and quenched the thirst
of our parched, hard-as-concrete ground.


Then on Sunday, we received a few more brief drizzles.
And it looks like there is more in store for us this coming week.

The pouring rain could not have been much fun for these two vigilant nest-sitters.


And has made it impossible for me to pick that patty pan squash growing right next to her.


They have been sitting for a couple of weeks now.
I don't know exactly when they began their vigil...
but hatching should occur 28 days after they began.
We'll keep you posted!

By the way, this gal is sitting on at least 35 eggs!


Wowzers... that's potentially a lot of guinea hatchlings!

The cool that has accompanied this rainy weather has been a welcomed relief
for these two gals.


I used the rainy days to do some baking.
We are heading to the beach with our family at the end of this week,
so I have...

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A Feeling

There are days when I haven't got much to say.
That may shock some of you who know me well...
but, it's true... some days are less about words and more about feelings.

Have you ever taken a selfie with a pig?
Yesterday was one of those picture perfect days...
not too hot, not too humid, slight breeze, sunniest of sunny days...
almost cloudless sky...
the kind of day you want to copy and put away in a safe place...
so that you can pull it out and visit it at any given moment...
(like the middle of January!)


I was filled with a very strong feeling throughout most of the day...
extreme, profound gratitude.

Gratitude... 
for this life, this day...
my family, my friends... the people who make up my wonderful, wacky world.

Gratitude for my home...
a home that we dreamed of, designed, built from wood and filled with memories...
a place that feels like a living, breathing entity of its own.


Gratitude for the mutts that have found their way into our lives...


For the animals who are always happy to see us....


And even for the ones who could care less...


For garden goodness which nourishes our bodies...


as well as our souls...


Gratitude for having all of the senses that we are blessed with...
so that we can...

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Morning Busy-ness

Our mornings are cool and lovely right now.
Our first chore of each day is to bring the horses down from the upper pastures
where they have spent the night grazing.


We bring them in before the onslaught of flies and gnats begin...
and the horses are always ready for us.
As soon as they see us approaching, they trot down to meet us.


This is one of my favorite morning chores...
especially when everyone is happy and healthy and nothing crazy has happened during the night...
like last week's muzzle debacle.


Peace has returned to the herd.
Everyone is sound and getting along fine with everyone else.
Thankfully!

It's hard to believe that just a month ago,
we had several tiny Mallard rescues in our barn.


And now... those mallards have grown mature feathers and are just about full sized.
And with that, comes time for freedom...
time to just be a duck.


Yesterday morning we opened the door to the duck hut and allowed the ducks
their freedom.


We did not wait to see if they would emerge,
because this group of ducks is very wild and very timid.
(We purposefully tried to allow them their wildness...
knowing it would serve them well once released.)

It's good for prey animals to retain a healthy dose of stranger...

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I Love A Rainy Day

Yesterday morning we were greeted by two wonderful things.
This fellow....


and drizzly rain.


After weeks of dry, with the ground starting to feel like cement...
a little rain was just what we needed.
I used the indoors time to do a little attic clean-up.
I have to tell you a little secret.
I save tissue paper.
Yes, I iron it and re-use it.
And so, yesterday I ironed about 50 sheets of used tissue paper and
re-organized my gift wrapping supplies.
Crazy, right?

Noontime brought the mail carrier to the door with a surprise package.


I entered and won a contest on Farm Made's website 


for this picnic hamper


stuffed with Farm Made goodies.


goats milk lotion, soap, bath balls, and washcloths.
What a great surprise!


It's been a very long time since I have won anything,
so I was super excited to receive an email telling me that the picnic basket was being sent to me.

I can hardly wait to pack a picnic in this sweet ole' hamper
and head out to some remote spot on the farm for an old fashioned picnic!

******

Our poor birds are all on lock-down in their yards...
no free ranging for ducks, hens, or turkeys for a while.


Mr. Fox has been very busy shopping for his dinner amongst my birds of late.
(I know this by the...

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An Explosion

It's hot and humid right now...


which makes for the perfect weather for a garden explosion!


Tomatoes have started ripening; and with almost 40 plants,


we should be enjoying tomatoes over the next 3 months.


It's been the perfect summer for the garden.


I have more cucumbers than I can use.


This was just what was ready yesterday.


Squash and peppers are also abundant.


 With almost 100 blueberry bushes that have finally reached a mature size,
we have enough blueberries for a village!
Next year we may have to open our blueberry field for a pick-your-own day.
We picked 20 pounds of blueberries yesterday and there were still many more left on the bushes.
(Needless to say, the freezer is full of blueberries!)
What to do with so many blueberries and zucchini?


Make blueberry zucchini muffins! (recipe here)
They are delicious... and I substituted one of the cups of flour with whole wheat...
and used coconut oil for the vegetable oil.


I also made this recipe of blueberry bars.


And my recipe of blueberry buckle.


All of this went into the freezer for later consumption.

With regular watering, we have been able to keep our flower gardens blooming.


Showers are predicted for today.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


Last...

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Road Trip

The "worry list" has shrunk considerably.
By Friday morning, Red's stomach upset had passed and he was
eating and pooping normally.
Donnie's sore fetlock was recovered and he returned to the herd...
not without a fair amount of drama, however.


Scarlet proceeded to re-initiate him into the herd by kicking the snot out of him.
Luckily, he was once again able to run to escape her taunting.


The thing about Donnie is...
he would never kick her back...
he's too much of a gentleman.
He's a very peaceful, gentle horse.
His sister... not so much.


I was so relieved that everyone had returned to normal,
because this weekend was our annual sojourn to the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay...
to visit our friends.


And this year...


WE TOOK THE DOGS!!!!


With Oakley's passing, taking the dogs away with us became a possibility.
You see, Oakley had a fear of the car and once arriving at the farm,
he never left.
He was happier that way.
Luckily, vet care is already here on the farm... thanks to Dr. Becky.

So, Friday we packed our three canine kids into the back seat of the truck and
drove 3 hours to the Bay for a perfectly wonderful get-away weekend.
All three of them travelled beautifully.


We learned that Chester likes...

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We're Off!

We are celebrating, the animals and I...
celebrating the return of the sun...
and the approach of vacation.


Yes, we are leaving tomorrow morning for a week at the beach...
a week of play with our family,
and we can hardly wait.
It's been 7 years since our last beach vacation...
way too long!


We have friends staying here at the farm in our absence,
and neighbors helping out with farm chores.
Everyone here should be well cared for in our absence.

There will be plenty of eyes to keep a watch on our guinea mommas and their egglings.
And to make matters even more exciting...
we have found yet a third clutch of eggs amongst the echinacea next to the greenhouse.


Apparently this momma is not finished laying, 
because, although there are lots of eggs....
she has not yet begun her vigil.
Time will tell.



I will be gone from the blog for the next week.
However, you can follow along with our travels and vacation
on Instagram @beehavenacres.


Have a wonderful week... keep smiling!
We'll be back on the 6th of August with more tales to tell.
Truth be told...
I am going to miss you!
But... we are going to have a blast!!


PS...
I found the pineapple headband at Walmart while picking up a prescription for Hubbs.
As I was...

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Will Somebody Please Turn Off The Sprinkler System?

With nothing but a squash leaf as a flimsy umbrella,
Gertie Guinea has been sitting on her clutch of precious eggs...
with patience in her bones and hope in her heart...
through almost 6 inches of rain, now.


It came as gentle sprinkles and torrential downpours, that rain,
and continues to come...
challenging every fiber of her constitution.
And yet, stalwart, she remains...
ever vigilant, lovingly tending to the potential that lies in the eggs beneath her.

At least one more week remains in her confinement.
And then, I wonder what kind of mother she'll be.
Will she be as patient with her gaggle of tiny, active guinea keets as she has been with the eggs?
It all remains a mystery...
a mystery that I hope to witness in due time.


Yes, the rain continues.
Our world is soggy.
And although it is not hot outside, we had to turn on the air conditioning for a period of time
just to reduce the relative humidity within the walls of our home.
Otherwise, I fear we will all end up covered in mildew.

The horses have finally lost their patience with the precipitation,
and prefer to remain under cover.


After days of indoor boredom, 
the pigs and sheep have given up on remaining dry and have once again
returned to the...

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Between the Drops

It's still raining... just ask the sheep.


They stay inside to avoid shrinkage.


It seems these days are the ducks' favorites, however.
They can hardly wait to get outside and enjoy the puddles.


And so, it would seem that Pennsylvania has a monsoon season this year,
and we are in the midst of it.
The rain may continue til the end of this week...
and possibly into next week as well.
I am so thankful that our house sits on the top of a hill.

As you can see... there is no need to water the gardens.
Fortunately, with above-ground gardening, the garden boxes drain quite nicely
and keep me from getting water-logged vegetable plants.


We do need a little sun to balance out this rain and help things to ripen.
The tomatoes above are a new variety for me.
They are known as "Little Smurfs" and are a blue (purple) variety of cherry tomato.
Although tiny, they take forever to ripen.
When ripe, their base will be red and their shoulders will be purple.

I took a walk up through our upper orchard yesterday to check the trees.
It's been a funny summer for fruit... perfect for berries.
And, as you can see, we have peaches ripening...


and pears...


and billions of blueberries...


but not a single apple in our entire apple...

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January, February....


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


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


And yesterday? It was 74 degrees and thunderstorms. 

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





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


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



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




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

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Final Farm Fotos of 2013: A Look Back


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







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
















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


















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



















Summer of 2013 will be...

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Christmas Eve Preparations




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





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




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



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


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A long time coming....

So much time has gone by.... where do I start? If anyone is still out there, I'll just say for the record that although I've been away from my blog for what seems like forever... I never forgot about it- or all my blog friends either.
I'll try to give an update on what's been going on around the Fraker Farm for the past year... I almost always talked to my dad several times a week, and in February of 2016 I had tried to call my dad for a couple of days but he never answered his phone. It was not unusual for him to not to answer on the first few tries because sometimes he just didn't hear the phone ring or he was outside when I called, but he always called me back after seeing my number on his caller ID. When he didn't return my calls, I started to worry. I drove to his house to check on him the next morning (I live almost an hour away) and found him on the floor. He had been there for at least 24-36 hours, judging by the condition of his clothes. He was alive, but very disoriented and dehydrated. It was terribly sad to see him in that condition....
After a week in the hospital and another two weeks at Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center in Knoxville, my husband and I brought him...

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March, April.... May? Hey!


*tap tap* Hello? Anyone still out there?


Yes, it is I.... slinking back into this blawg after neglecting it for, well... all of 2014 so far. *Sigh*
No excuses, really... just can't seem to cram enough into each day lately, let alone post updates on here.
But that is all about to change! (Really?) Yes.
I have a rather large and growing collection of pictures from the last three months I'm just about to bust to share. With anyone. Just not today. *Insert evil laugh* I'll be posting them on Friday Farm Fotos over the next few weeks, spreading them out so it will be more exciting that way. Kinda like a cliffhanger. Or not.
I'm also going to start something new around here; I started writing in my journal again back a few months ago, and I'm thinking of sharing some of my short stories from it with you. Sometimes I just write nonsense~ well make that most of the time~ but some of them are memories from my childhood and other musings that I want to put on here if for no other reason than to put it out there for someone other than me to read.
Oh, and something else~ I'm trying to familiarize myself with all this social media stuff by posting a picture every morning on Twitter or Instagram or...

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Normalcy

Happily, peace has returned to the farm.
We made it through another day without incident.



Jack is fine... barely even bruised.
Donnie is healing... his swelling is down and he is walking normally.


I will keep him on relative rest for a few days, however,
just to ensure that he can defend himself if Scarlet decides to "off" him again.


Our fabulous weather continues, but I would like to place an order for a little rain.
It's quite dry right now.
The grass has stopped growing and is getting brown.
I did, however, have to mow the weeds yesterday.


I have to say... I am loving these Profusion Zinnias.
The were recommended to me this spring and I am so glad I jumped right in.


They are a hybrid zinnia that is disease, drought, and heat resistant...
and they don't need any dead-heading.
Just plant, and water, and wait for the eventual explosion of color.

All of the coneflowers are blooming now.


Echinacea are one of my many favorites, and I search for new colors
whenever I happen to visit a greenhouse or nursery.


My favorite two, so far, are these fancy pink ones...


and these green ones...


The guineas continue to spend a good portion of the day within my garden walls.
They have been good guests...hunting...

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Kicked In The Butt

Yesterday taught me a huge lesson.
When you think your life is idyllic... keep your mouth shut...
because it just might be an invitation for chaos to move right in!

Yesterday morning, early, we headed up to the upper pasture to bring in the horses.
They had been out for the night in their grazing muzzles,
and it was time to come back to the barn before the insects started to get annoying.


We walked up through the fields to get the horses...
since no one had yet made their way down to the gate.
As we clipped lead ropes to halters, I noticed that Donnie Brasco
was standing next to the fence with his head down by his feet.

"I think he's stuck on the fence!" I exclaimed to Jack.
Jack ran over to see... and found that Donnie was indeed stuck...
but not to the fence.
Somehow, during the night... presumably while trying to remove his halter....
he had gotten his foot stuck inside his halter...
essentially tying his face to his foot.
And there he stood for God knows how long.
I was distraught.

Jack got him untangled and began walking him back through the field.
Donnie was slow and stiff, but not in any great distress.


Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, Scarlet (Donnie's sister) came running...

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This Might Be Heaven

There are often moments that I think...


"Maybe I actually died, and didn't know it...
because this sure feels like heaven!"


Yesterday was one of those days.


Perfect weather... abundant sunshine, cloudless sky, gentle breeze...
perfect.


In every corner of the farm there was melodic birdsong...
carefree tunes filled with joy.


The sunflowers turned their happy faces toward me.


The breeze carried the faint perfume of blossoming Mimosa trees.


My heart felt light and carefree as I tended to afternoon chores...
just happy to be surrounded by my little piece of heaven.


After a busy morning...

(Bug Patrol)
chores, 
harvesting, 


grooming horses, 


farrier visit, 


 and laundry...
I took a little time to sit on the front porch and begin a knitting project 
with yarn that I purchased in a local yarn store this past weekend.


"Humble Stitch" in Newport, PA.

Humble Stitch's owner and her daughter and husband.
I am so excited.
A new fibre arts store just opened in our little local town.
It specializes in yarns, fabrics, and embroidery... all my favorites!

I mentioned yesterday that the runner ducks were going to be liberated yesterday.
First thing in the morning, we opened their door to the outside.


And we waited.
And...

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Blue Skies... No Clouds

After a week of heat and humidity, the weekend
brought us two spectacular cloudless days with temperatures in the low 80's.
We quickly opened all the doors and windows and allowed the outdoors
to come back into the house.


I prefer to live with the doors and windows open, however
some days make that almost impossible.


I mentioned on Friday that Hubbs had sustained a shoulder injury
while riding his bike through our woods.
An x-ray revealed nothing fractured, just an AC separation of his shoulder.
It's not a serious injury and requires no treatment...
it's just inconvenient and will keep him from enjoying some of his more vigorous activities.

We entertained a group of ten friends on Friday evening in the picnic pavilion.


Everyone brought delicious side dishes and we had the fixings for make-it-yourself pizzas.


The evening ended up a bit chilly, so we all sat around the fire pit beneath the stars.
It was a truly great evening.

Saturday was spent with Tyler at the farm.


Most of his time was spent in the pool,


 however, we did make a little time
for animal chores and visits.


It's hard to believe that he'll be going into third grade this fall.


He constantly reminds me, "Grammie, you're really old!"

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Two Weekends in One Week?

You may have noticed, I got a little carried away with the Fourth of July,
and treated it like a weekend.
Wednesday was mowing day for Hubbs and I...
we did the whole week's mowing in a single job and it took several hours
with both of us on mowers.


It was hot as blazes and soaking myself with the hose was the only way to survive
the heat as I drove back and forth on the mower.


Later that day we enjoyed the yearly neighborhood celebration...
a covered dish picnic, the traditional "white elephant" bingo game, and fireworks.


It was the perfect summer celebration.
A quick rain shower in the afternoon cleared out the heat for a few hours.

Chester (Pester) stealing goat food.
Yesterday, the heat returned.
Luckily, our "littles" came for a day of swimming and grilling,
so we stayed cool in the pool.
It was Easton's first time in the pool and he loved it.


Mackenzie is, at almost three, quite the little fish.


After dinner, we visited with all of the animals.
I couldn't wait to show her how big the baby ducks had gotten.


We spent a little time with her beloved horses,
where she proceeded to tell me "Grammie, Moonie has a really big penis!"
Out of the mouths of babes... so matter of fact.
(I hope I haven't...

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Something to Crow About

Happy 4th of July, friends!


Independence Day is definitely something to crow about.
And that's just what one of our new little chickens did, yesterday.

I was picking black raspberries just a few yards away from the brooder house,
where the young "hens" were out running around in their yard...


when, to my surprise, I heard that all-too-familiar sound...
"er-ga-derg-a-der".
Surprised, I listened for more,
and sure enough I heard it two more times.


I believe the "hen" in question is this one (front and center)
with the larger comb.
Time will tell if it is her/him.
So, out of 24... it seems I have at least one rooster.

We spent quite a bit of time harvesting yesterday...


about 10 pounds of blueberries
and two pounds of black raspberries.

It seems we're not the only ones fond of our blueberry bushes...


We find all manner of insect creatures within these bushes.
Luckily, there's plenty to go around.


It looks like ole Peter Rabbit was busy in Mr. MacGregor's garden...


This was last evening's pickings.
And we are soon going to have a bean and tomato explosion.

Happy Independence Day, 
whether you're picnicking, swimming, watching fireworks, or just staying inside to keep cool...
I hope your day is perfect!
We...

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Stormy Skies... No Rain

As dark clouds gathered in the West,
I found myself hoping for rain.
Although I had watered just that morning,
the parched, dusty ground could use a little refreshment...
and the animals and I needed a break from the heat.


I listened in the distance for the sound of rumbling thunder...
but my ears were only met with the "rat-a-tat-tat-tat" of a drumming woodpecker.

It was 97 yesterday, with a heat index into the 100's.


I worry about the animals on days like this.


They expend little energy... pretty much the same as me.
Unfortunately, although everyone has shade available, there is no retreating from the heat.


The pigs are quite resourceful, however.
Even though their "pool" is filled with fresh water daily,


they look for a cool spot wherever they can find it.


Often times they knock over somebody else's water to create a mud puddle.


I am pretty vigilant about keeping water buckets filled with fresh cool water...
so I scrub this one out and refill it.
Very soon, the sheep will return from the pasture and I will close the gate to the pig yard...
preventing any further additions to the mud puddle.


There is a chance of storms the next several evenings.
I'll keep my fingers crossed that one crosses our...

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