“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

The Pain of Clinging - The Peace of Letting Go

 If you read yesterday's post, you undoubtedly now know how uncomfortable runner ducks are with change.  They like their little world exactly the way it is.  We added some rejected (by the horses) hay to the muddy ground in the duck yard and you would have thought lava was streaming through the yard.  They wouldn't touch the hay - wouldn't even go near it.

Today?

Today they have adapted... so much so, that they are cozily making little nests in the hay and picking through it in search of insects.  Today the hay is perfect.  And they like it exactly the way it is.   "Please don't change it, by the way."

We humans are similar to ducks in this manner.  We don't much like change.  We love the security of knowing that our own little world will stay the same as it is - right now.

And yet, the only thing in life that is certain is change.  Change happens every day - to the world, to us... everywhere.  Change is constant.  Our task is learning to adapt, to accept what is - even when what-is isn't what-used-to-be.  And then.... hang on... what-is is never what-will-be.  Right?  That's life.  Life is change.


As I worked around the dry lot yesterday afternoon,

I stared out into the front...

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Busy As A Bee

 Many years ago, we had ten robust beehives.    We'd feed the bees, check the hives, add new supers when needed; and at the end of each summer harvest the excess honey.  We'd leave enough honey behind in each  hive to assure that our bees had adequate food for the winter.

   It wasn't long after we began beekeeping that the honeybees throughout the world began declining.  There was a lot of "buzz" about colony collapse  disorder... and sadly, at that time, no understanding of what was causing it.  As it turns out, pesticide and herbicide use plays a major role in the decline of these precious creatures.


It was during that time that our own bees began to dwindle.  Each year, only a percentage of our hives would make it through the winter.  Eventually (over 10 years or so), all of our hives had perished, despite starting new colonies when old had died.  It was during the life of our last hive that we found out that Hubbs was deathly allergic to bees.  His intolerance to stings had begun to increase over the years, culminating in a sting that put him in the ER with an anaphylactic reaction.  It was at this time that we decided that we would start no more beehives.  Within a couple years,...

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A Decorating Tip

 Shearing day is right around the corner.  Temperatures are to dip pretty low Wednesday night and then begin to warm up again.  It is almost May, after all.


Though it is always a struggle getting the sheepy girls to the barn for shearing day (it takes a village!), it is always such a relief for them to shed their winter's growth. 

 It looks like this year's growth has been almost two inches!  These two were built for arctic conditions.  I never worry about them in the winter.

Lately, I've been working on trimming their hooves whenever I can catch them lying down.  As you can see, Faith has both her feet tucked beneath her.  That's because I just trimmed both of her front hooves and she is telling me that "enough is enough!"  The sheep shearer will finish trimming their hooves when he shears them.

For some reason, this winter they grew a lot of hoof.

I've been working on trimming pig toes as well, lately. 


Evenings seem to be a good time for this activity, as the girls are more likely to lie down for me.  As they lie there (usually with a cat on their belly... the perfect masseuse) I work on their feet.  They never seem to mind me fussing with them, but are more apt to stay lying down...

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Weekend Adventures On The Farm

 This weekend proved to be adventurous from beginning to end.  It all began Friday evening as I went outside for barn chores and nighttime tuck-in.  As I walked out of the garage, I was met by a black bear standing across the driveway from me.  He slowly looked at me as I looked at him.  Neither of us was in any hurry to move.  (He was about 50 feet away from me.)  We stood there looking at each other and I gently said hello and suggested that perhaps he just keep going.  After a few minutes, he slowly ambled down through our front yard, stopping every few yards to look back at me and ponder.

At this point, I ran into the house and grabbed my camera.   By the time I reached the driveway again, he was gone.  I knew which way he was headed (towards the pond), so I took off in the gator and drove down the length of our long driveway to the pond.  I searched the woods for Mr. Bear and found him, hiding behind some bramble.  Sadly, this is the best photo I could get... he wasn't about to leave the shelter of his "hiding" place.


Saturday morning we found this in the yard beneath the bird feeders the hang from our front deck.  Yes, this is bear scat.... way too big for any dog, and...

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Presently.....

We are having a bit of an egg situation around here these days.  How different things are from the days when we would gather 2 dozen eggs a day.  Now, we are lucky if we get a half dozen, with most days being a measly 3 or 4 chicken eggs. 

Perhaps the girls are on strike since their lockdown.  (They are still sequestered in their yard until the foxes are finished teaching their kits to hunt.)  


Happily, Old Tom has settled in to life with the hens quite superbly.  Elwood, our gentleman rooster gives Old Tom wide berth, which is good.  There is peace in the henhouse; and Old Tom has lots of companionship.

As for the runner ducks - they quite like the new hay in their yard.  So much so, that they save their egg laying for soft hay nests.  The ducks have become our most reliable layers... giving us 4 or 5 eggs daily.

  And though they, too, remain on yard arrest for the time being, they seem content to pick through the hay in their yard.  Eventually they, too, will be given their freedom... but not until it is safe!


Look what I found when weeding garden boxes yesterday morning.... a guinea egg!  


Last summer we lost both of these willow trees to a summer wind storm.  They blew over, or...

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Mysterious Happenings

 We've had a mysterious happening here on the farm of late.  Alongside our driveway is a wood shed.  Beside this woodshed are a few stumps that have been torn apart by some critter - perhaps a bear? A porcupine, or a raccoon, or some other critter looking for insects within the wood?  Every day, just a little more wood has been torn out of the stumps.  

And then, we noticed some areas of the surrounding trees that were "scratched" away.  Perhaps the critter was also climbing the trees?  So many questions to be answered!

We decided to investigate this mysterious occurrence by placing a game camera on one of the smaller live trees so that we might see the varmint in action.  And this is what we saw...

Now, the funny thing is - I have been wanting to catch a photograph of a Pileated Woodpecker for years, but they are quite elusive and shy.  It's one bird that has continuously dodged the camera lens.  Almost every day I see one fly across my path, or hear one in the woods nearby, but just have never been able to capture one on "film.  The game camera is great for evidence, but not great for quality photography.  Still... it was fun to capture this guy in action!

If you are unable to...

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Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles, Oh My!

 Yesterday morning, under sunny, blue skies, we took off for the feed store to pick up the chicks that they were holding for us.  The countryside is ablaze with color right now... the Eastern redbud trees making the hillsides pop.  

 The ride to the feed store was a a treat in itself.  Although the destination was important, the journey was indeed a treat!  

The previous day, over the phone, the feed store told us that they had about 19 Rhode Island Reds...

 and 17 mixed Black sex link and white Leghorn chicks left, but that the reds were reserved for someone.  

When we arrived at the feed store, we were told that if we wanted to, we could take all of the chicks, because no one had ever picked up the reds.  

So, naturally (because, as Hubbs says "we always have a tendency to over-do things"),  - we brought all 35 chicks home to the farm.  We have plenty of room in our henhouses, so... why not?  Our current flock is somewhat geriatric and no longer laying reliably.  

It looks as though we are starting over.

In a few months we should have plenty of eggs!  (Too many, actually.... but we love to share them!) We got them settled into their new house with a heat lamp for warmth, and plenty...

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Spring Arrives At Maven Haven

 You may have noticed that Maven Haven sits at the edge of our apple orchard.

It's the very coldest spot on the farm... its own little micro-climate.  Amazingly, Spring arrives about two weeks later in this particular spot than it does elsewhere on the farm.  


The daffodils in the front pasture have been blossoming for weeks, but, here in the apple orchard, they are just opening.

It's wonderful to see that all of the planting work that I did last summer is coming back again this year.

I will be adding a few more specimens to this garden in the next week... hoping that something will be blooming every day until the next snowfall (hopefully not for many, many months, though!)

Everywhere I look there are happy little flower faces greeting me!


The chickens are all a flutter right now.  Their world has turned upside-down - or so they'd have you believe.  Because our flock is small in size right now, we have decided to close off the upper chicken house and use it for new chicks.  The hens will have to roost in the lower house for the time being.


Today we will be picking up some chicks (hopefully all females) from the feed store.  Until they are large enough to move in with the larger hens,...

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The Poetry of Nature

 There are many times when I am immersed in a moment - caught up in the splendor of all that greets my senses - and I long to share the moment with you.  If I could find the perfect words it would be nothing less than poetry.  That's what Mother Nature gives us... a feast of sensorial poetry and artistry.  We need only to quiet our minds and open our hearts.

Yesterday afternoon brought a brief window of sunshine, as I was out tending to afternoon chores.  I seized the moment and headed into the front pasture.  Behind me, my herd was happily munching on their afternoon snack, after having spent a few hours in the pasture much earlier in the day.

 As I sat on the cool ground, my eyes scanned the pasture around me and I listened.  Above me was the soft chortling sound of a pair of barn swallows, taking a break from their nesting project.  

There was a gentle rustle of the young leaves on the trees in the woods behind me as a cool breeze tickled my skin.  I heard the shrill call of a pileated woodpecker approaching, then caught a glimpse of his lilting flight across the pasture... each rhythmic flap of his wings propelling him slightly higher, each recovery of his wings allowing the...

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Seeking Spring

 Looks like Spring...

feels like Winter!

I spent several hours outside yesterday weeding the landscaping, getting ready for mulching.  It's almost May and I was dressed in snow pants, wool top, sweatshirt, down jacket and rain jacket... with a hat and winter gloves.  It's crazy cold right now, but still feels good to be outside getting things checked off of the Spring To-Do list.

The farrier came to trim hooves yesterday.

Happily, I had a well behaved herd (as always).

Although, Chloe did protest when I asked her to put on a halter.  As is usual, she had to run around her yard acting like this was not something she could possibly do.  No, wearing a halter would be the most awful fate for a donkey... she tried to make me feel guilty.  I, on the other hand, have the patience of Job, and simply let her run around like a ninny until she finally acquiesces. 

  "There, now, was all that fuss really necessary?"

Of course, as the farrier was trimming her sister, Daphne,  (who, by the way, doesn't need a halter because she stands perfectly still like the angel that she is).... and who, while we were busy with sweet, cooperative Daphne, Chloe was trying her best to worm her way into the center...

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Don't Let The Sun Fool You

Don't be fooled by this rising sun.  It was not the harbinger of a warm, sunny day.  No, yesterday, the sun took a snooze and let Ole Man Winter come back for a visit.  He should know by now, that in April, he is no longer a welcomed visitor!

Were it not for the fact that I had to tend to our animal friends, I would not have opened the door for him and allowed his icy fingers inside my house!

Hopefully this week is the end of cold weather.  I have tiny plants emerging in the garden, after all!  

With cold winds blowing, yesterday morning was the perfect time for mass bread-baking.  Four loaves later I was ready to leave the farm... heading to town to make a few bread deliveries.

The last view of the farm was that of the horses and donkeys peacefully grazing in the front pasture.

It's a lovely sight and one that makes me eager to get back home again.  

Home is my haven, my happy place.

Oh, and before I forget... the donkeys have a little story to tell.  Since they are eating, and I have repeatedly told them to not talk with their mouths full, I will tell you the story.

You see, two nights ago as Hubbs was tucking all in and doing the last of the day's feedings (I was home working with...

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Breakfast Help and Weekend Fun

There's nothing more delightful than a beautiful spring weekend spent with our grandchildren.  And Spring has definitely arrived!

We had a farm weekend with Tyler (10), Mackenzie (5), and Easton (3).

It was a weekend packed with farm fun and lots of outdoor activity.  We hiked the Dragon Tree Trail and Tyler remarked that no matter how old he gets, exploring the trails never loses its appeal.  Saturday evening, we explored the woods via golf cart with a spotlight.  We do this whenever we can.  "Going on safari" is one of the kids' favorite nighttime activities, and gives them an opportunity to see the forest critters at night... their eyes shining back at us.


Part of spending time on the farm is dedicated to taking care of the normal farm tasks - like feeding animals, cleaning up manure, and helping with the garden.  I had three helpers planting the rest of our onion sets and then watering them.

I try to encourage all of the kids to participate in whatever activity we need to do... even to help with meal preparation.

Sunday morning, we made homemade buttermilk pancakes. 

 Mackenzie measured out all of the dry ingredients.  Easton cracked the eggs and measured the buttermilk.  And...

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Color My World

 At the risk of sounding like a broken record... I've got to say, I am so happy that Spring is here.  

Each day my eyes open before dawn and I am filled with anticipation. Every inch of the farm is teeming with new life and I am like a kid in a candy store.

Aside from the sunshine and warmer temperatures, I am astonished by the amount of color that has returned to the land!  And, amazingly, it is only just getting started!

Farm fields are purple and green patchwork.

Carpets of tiny birds-eye speedwell have appeared where, a month ago, the ground was barren.

Violets turn their smiling faces upwards towards the sun, their cheerful blossoms appearing almost overnight.

Our flowering quince is ready to unfurl it's fiery persimmon buds.

The forsythia, twice as tall as me, is in full regalia.

Even the stream flowing out of the old log cabin basement is oozing with plant life....green algae.  What a color! 

How amazing and beautiful is this planet that we call home.  How could one not want to protect its abundant life?

I've been gardening, and weeding, and puttering around the landscape from morning til evening.  It's glorious!

As I snap photos of Spring's offerings, I've been inspired to try to...

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To Be Just One of The Herd

Equines are a huge commitment.   Day after day, you feed them, care for them, clean up after them... always putting their best interest at the top of your list.  You worry when they have a malady.  You fret over their weight... always trying to keep them as healthy as possible.  You work your schedule around making sure they have enough exercise and diversion.  You brush them, bathe them, shave them, shed them, clean their unmentionables,  and keep their feet in tip-top shape.

When all is said and done,  there is no doubt that I work for a herd of pasture ornaments.  Yes, I am their own personal servant... but, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Over the years, I have developed a special relationship with my herd.  I have suspected that they view me as just one of the herd.  Yesterday, that suspicion was confirmed.  I have reached the most wonderful point in our relationship.  I'm sure that it has been this way for a long time, but, for some reason, yesterday it occurred to me just how much my herd trusts me.

I had gone to the barn to bring everyone in from their morning of grazing in the front pasture.  Their hard feed (breakfast) was served and eaten, so I decided to enjoy the...

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Hiatus

 I've taken Easter off from blogging this week... which means there is no post for today... as all posts are written a day in advance. 

We will be back tomorrow with all the latest henhouse gossip... you can count on it!!

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Subtleties

 Early Spring arrives like the footstep of a sparrow... soft and delicate... almost imperceptible, unless you are watching for it.  There is no fanfare, no percussion - just the faintest tinkling of a wind chime on a breeze.  It washes slowly over the land, developing daily.  If observed in a time-lapse, played at high speed, it would resemble an explosion. 

  In real time, however, It's as if Mother Nature, herself, is dabbing a watercolor paintbrush here and there, adding a little color...  and then a little more... and more, until - the countryside is teeming with life and color and vibrancy.

But it all happens so subtly.

And that's where the magic lives ... in the subtle, the barely perceptible, blink-of-an-eye moment-to-moment unfurling of life. 

There is one exception to this gradual "happening", however, and that is the grass. It's as if Spring arrives and announces that it's time to change the carpets.  A switch is flipped and, overnight, the ground morphs from winter brown to electric green.


Great things have started happening in the garden and the greenhouse.  Seedlings are emerging.  Shown here are some of the morning glories that I will eventually add to the garden...

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Grateful

Thank you for all of the birthday wishes yesterday.  They helped make it a very special day indeed.  Hubbs took over all of the farm chores for the day... which was great (and it rained, so I felt sorry for him.)  But, that left me with an entire day to do whatever I wanted.

Much of the day was spent in my sewing room happily working on painting projects for my class.  We worked on leaves and different styles of flowers.  I was happy as a pig in mud!

Before the rains (and later, freezing rain, not snow, thankfully) came, I took the dogs out for a walk-about. 

 Armed with scissors and a pitcher of water, I was intent on cutting the blossoming daffodils in order to keep them from freezing overnight.

There are still tons of un-opened blossoms, but most of the opened ones were cut so that I can continue to enjoy them indoors.  I hiked through the front pasture, past sleeping equines, to harvest the daffodils that grow in our locust grove.

While wandering around the farm, I was pleased to find more signs of Spring.  New life returning in areas that I had planted last summer....

and smiling violas peaking out from beneath a garden bunny.

As I crossed the little stream that helps to feed the...

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Goodbye March

 It's the last day of March.  Remember the old saying that "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb"?  Not this year!!  No, this year we have snow (yes, that's right... snow) predicted for tonight.   And just when I was getting used to 60-degree weather.

Well, we will survive, and Spring will continue.  As long as we don't need to shovel... I can live with another snowfall.

Today's blog is a Spring video... I may need to watch this tomorrow if there is snow on the ground!


And just in case you cannot view the video, above... here is a LINK to the Video.


Have a wonderful day!

As for me... Hubbs has given me today off from all work - for my Birthday.  Today I get to do whatever it is I want to do!  Goodness.....where to start......

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Ventures, New and Old

A bit of housekeeping first: Yesterday's video is now working... in case you could not access it.  It is not a typical video, but a really sweet capture of the determination of a three-year-old.

The magic is happening all around, right on schedule, isn't it?  Here, in our little corner of the world, with our very own little chilly microclimate, Spring's energy is bursting forth in an unbridled manner.  

The daffodils that randomly dot the front pasture are once again lifting their cheerful faces towards the sun.  I have developed a very personal relationship with these flowers.  Each spring I lie on my stomach, face to face with the daffodils, enjoying their bright yellow hues.  They bloom, each year, just in time for my birthday.  As as result, I feel quite tied to them. 

There is a huge jungle of forsythia that grows next to the old log cabin. 

Any day now it will be ablaze in yellow.  And not long after that, the flowering quince and lilacs will join the party.  Just the anticipation of all that color and fragrance makes my heart sing!

The grass is beginning to thicken and turn green. 

 And although I am not ready to add mowing to my chore lists, I love the fact that the animals...

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Another Difference Between Chickens and Ducks

For the first time, in the history of forever, my horses have been turning their noses up at their hay.  They pick through the flakes and leave much of it un-eaten.  Late last year we bought a load of hay from a different farmer and it seems that this particular hay is distasteful to our horses.  It's not a huge problem, as we still have lots of hay left in the barn.  The only problem that remains is what to do with the hay that they don't like!

Yesterday, Hubbs took a bale and split it between the ducks and the chickens.  With everyone on yard arrest (to keep from being eaten by hungry foxes) and all of the rain that we have had, our poor birds are relegated to muddy yards.  Spreading fresh hay gives them a dry surface, and something to do to keep from being bored.  At least for the chickens - who had a blast scratching and pecking their way through all of the blades of dry grass.


The runner ducks, however, are illustrating one of the major differences between the two bird species.  Chickens are outgoing and curious.  Ducks are shy and wary.  The ducks just stood there looking at the hay - certain that this different thing must be dangerous.

Once again, rain kept me from...

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Curse Not The Rain


 What is April without lots of showers?  Just as I get seeds planted in the garden, Mother Nature steps in and says "Don't worry... I'll handle the watering!"  Bless you Mother Nature.

It pretty much drizzled or showered the entire weekend.  

The timing was perfect as I had just finished planting lots of seeds on Friday.  Now the waiting begins.  Elsewhere in the garden boxes, pea shoots have emerged,

as have spinach, radishes, and onions.

We have learned, through the years, to embrace the rain.  So, we put on our rain gear and immerse ourselves in these much-needed showers.  As we work, the droplets make music on the tin roof of the barn.

Many spent the weekend staring out into the rain...

while others went about their daily routine completely oblivious.

Hubbs built a new perch for Old Tom Turkey to roost in the henhouse.  After spending all day with the girls, he typically flies up to their roosting bar in the evening. 

 If he spends the night clutching the bar, his feet are sore in the morning.  So, rather than carrying him back to sleep alone in his own house, Hubbs solved the issue by building a platform for him to sleep on here with his chicken friends.

Thanks, Hubbs.... brilliant...

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Pasture Moments

 Good morning!  What a beautiful week we've had here on the farm.  Every day has been sunny and 70 degrees... springtime perfection.   I captured a few photos yesterday morning as the herd was out grazing the front pasture.  

The sun was rising... promising another beautiful day.

It's been an amazing daffodil season.  

I love capturing photos of the animals as they graze amongst the daffodils.

Moonie, being his cheeky self - "hiding" behind the daffs - or was it the tree?

 "What horse?... I don't see a horse!"

As I lie on my stomach amongst the blossom, Ollie goes trotting by... in too much of a hurry to stop for a portrait.


Each morning, when I let the ducks out of their house, I check all of the corners for eggs.  Runner ducks are great layers and their eggs are delicious!  This is what I found yesterday -


It looks like someone is not giving it their best effort!  Most likely there will be no yolk in that tiny duck egg.  If I found them routinely like this, I could market low cholesterol eggs!

Yesterday marked the first day of mowing season.  A few years ago, when we built the present garden boxes, we planted all new grass in the garden area.  Hence, this area grows quickest and best.

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How We Start

No two days are ever the same, and yet, most days have an element of sameness to them.  We rise early, every day, and head out to the barn as the sun is rising.  No two sunrises are ever the same.


We tend to the chores... the same basic list each and every day... and yet, the air is never the same.  The sounds are never the same.  Each day gives us a fresh palette of sensory experiences.  I truly look forward to each and every morning and all of the work that awaits me.  It's peaceful.  It centers me.  Making sure that every one of my charges is taken care of in the best way possible starts the day off on the right foot.

Each morning, we open the door to Old Tom Turkey's house and bid him good morning.  We talk about the weather for a moment.  Then I pick him up and lift him down to the floor...trying to spare his feet from jumping down the four-foot drop from his night's perch.


Tom's feet are his weak point, so anything we can do to preserve them is essential.  At the end of the day, Hubbs will lift him back up to his perch for the night.

But the time between... the waking hours... are spent like this:

Good morning!  He stretches and shakes off the night... getting his feathers in...

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Passing The Baton

I am taking a little vacation this week - a chance to recharge my batteries.  We are driving to North Carolina to meet the youngest of our grandchildren tomorrow.  Before then, there is much to get ready so that our house-sitters and farm-sitters have everything they need.


  Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

From all of us to all of you.  We all have a little Irish in us somewhere, right?

We'll be back next Monday with tales of our travels and adventures.

Until then... 


To Karen:  You asked about my camera.  I use a Nikon D3500 with a 70-300mm lens for some of my photos.   The rest are shot with an iPhone 11 Pro Max.  Honestly, for anything close, the iPhone takes the best shots!

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Beauty In The Mundane

 The last half of yesterday's video featured a song that encapsulates my feelings about life on the farm.  "Beauty in the Mundane" is the title.  For me, it is the perfect philosophy for daily life.

After a year spent largely in quarantine, I have developed an even deeper appreciation for the myriad of ordinary moments that make up each and every day. 

 I have become more keenly aware of the beauty that lies in what, to some, would be mundane... to the point that I can no longer label any part of life as mundane.

Perhaps it is the realization that for so many there are no more beautiful sunrises, no bird songs, no buzzing of bees... none of the things that we often take for granted.

Just the fact that my eyes open each morning and I am here to greet a brand new day is cause for celebration.  

Each day is a perfectly wrapped gift that is meant to be slowly and carefully opened... the act of un-wrapping as important as that of enjoying the contents.  

 For me, the unwrapping of a day happens in the little acts of care and self-care - lighting a candle to chase away the early morning darkness,

 brewing a fragrant cup of tea, or hanging freshly laundered sheets to dry on a breeze, etc....

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Weekend Fun

 I thought I would share a few highlights of our weekend with a video:

Link HERE to video on YouTube.

As you can see, we enjoyed the company of our Littles who came to spend Sunday on the farm.  Days spent with any of our grandchildren are definitely my favorite days.  We went for a "safari" in the "deep dark woods" as they call our 100 acre woods and were lucky to see about a dozen deer.  Baby Eli had his first gator ride.

Helping with chores is always a big part of a farm visit. 

 Both Mackenzie and Easton are always eager to help.

Of course, every visit has a little fairy play as well!  And of course we all have our own wings!

 Even though our unseasonably warm weather has left us, it is so obvious that Winter is all but over.  In celebration of Spring's arrival, I did a little mantle redecorating.

We have an exciting week ahead of us.  We will be driving to North Carolina to finally meet our little Carolina Wren for the first time (other than via video chat.)



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Camera Crew

 Now that Spring has arrived, I travel around the farm with my "good" camera more frequently.  When not in use, it rests on the passenger seat of the gator.

Is it safe to assume that Griz is interested in being my photography assistant?

Meanwhile, I caught Beatrix saying her prayers the other day.  I wonder what was on her mind....

We had quite a rainy day yesterday.  I spent my morning baking more bread.  Each loaf gives me the opportunity to improve my top-slashing... the left loaf turned out pretty good.  The right... not so much.

While the bread cooled, I put the finishing touches on these two aprons for my Etsy shop.  I'll get them there later today.

The weather made it the perfect day for a trip to town.  With some family business to attend to, I was away from the farm for the afternoon.  Thus... I have nothing newsworthy to report!  

Today I will be making my first (of many) trips to one of our local greenhouses.  It's time to plant some spring flowers and bring some color back to the farm!


I am so excited for the Spring explosion of plant-life and will be making a Spring video sometime in the next couple of weeks.  You can be sure, I will have no idle time in the coming weeks....

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Who Needs The Orkin Man!

 Our pest management team is working overtime these days.  

After so many months, everyone is happy to be out patrolling the land.

Home grown eggs are the best... and the best eggs come during the season that the chickens can be out free-ranging - eating bugs and grass and all anything else that tickles their fancy.

Chickens are wonderful exterminators, but not quite as effective as guinea fowl.

Chickens have a tendency towards gossip - and gossiping mouths do no work.

Guineas, on the other hand are meticulous about their job... often combing through the grass in precise formation... no time for gossiping.  That's reserved for the end of the day when they finally settle into their roost in the maple tree by the barn.  For a solid 15 minutes they scream at each other the news of the day, squawking uproariously, before settling down to sleep.

Although the runner ducks are also efficient insect hunters, they take their breaks seriously. 

No one is overworked on this crew!

Break time comes to an abrupt halt, however, when a large farm vehicle passes noisily on the nearby road... sending the flock scurrying away from this perceived danger.

While the birds are hard at work,  the four-leggeds...

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Happy, Happy Spring!!

 There is something so energizing about spring mornings.  

 After months of silence, our farm is alive with the sound of birdsong.  All around us are the songs of sparrows, bluebirds, woodpeckers, wrens, and so many more... a list too long to write.  And although the early morning temperatures still echo winter, it doesn't take long before the sun warms us.  As each hour passes, I shed another layer of clothing... until, finally, by afternoon, I am in a shirt and jeans.  By the end of each winter, I so look forward to working around the farm without so many heavy layers on. After months and months, I am finally liberated!

We walk the horses up to the upper pastures where they run and buck and kick for the first five minutes before settling down to graze on the dry, leftover winter grass.  It won't be long until the pastures burst forth in shades of electric green - at which point the liberal grazing time will come to an end. 

Yesterday was an exceptionally beautiful day.  I rose early and did the laundry - it was the perfect day to hang it out to dry.  After being away for four days, doing morning chores was a treat.  It's good to be back in the routine again.  All is right with...

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Visiting Wren In Her Nest

 We are home from our adventure!  After almost an entire year of pretty much staying here on the farm, we left on Thursday and drove to North Carolina... an 8+ hour drive.  It was raining when we left and we carried the rain along with us the whole way south.  Where we were headed was predicted to have tornados... not something we were eager to experience.  However, luck was on our side, and by the time we arrived, the tornados had re-routed and we were met with sunshine and spring blossoms.

Our first stop was a quick visit with a dear friend.  Then on to visit our youngest grand baby who we had not previously met, except via video chat.

Meet Wren Marie.... with the most engaging smile!

 We call her our Carolina wren... because she is Wren from North Carolina... not to mention the Carolina wren is a favorite bird here on the farm with the sweetest song of all and a preponderance for making its (their) nests in our garage.

While visiting, we gave Wren's parents a couple hours off from parenthood so that they could run some errands without a baby - and we went out for a long stroller walk,

and found lots of ways to entertain her.

We spent the weekend with Wren and her parents trying to...

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