“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

November Morn

It's hard for me to pick a favorite time of day,
but first thing in the morning is definitely magical.
Everyone awaits our arrival at the barn...
which seems to signal the start of everyone's day.
Sunrises are spectacular... 
full of promise for a day that will unfold in ways we've yet to imagine.

Here is a peek into our morning....

If the above video does not play, please use the following link to access it
via our YouTube channel....

I have been busy making new additions to my Etsy shop,
and my big knitting project is finished.
This was super fun to knit and I am in love with the finished product.
Sadly, I must let it go...
hoping it will find a loving home.
It is currently up for adoption on Etsy.

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Tin Can Sam

It's been our philosophy that a well-fed cat makes a better mouser.

And so, aside from always having a dispenser full of dry food

for our barn cats, we give them some canned cat food each morning.

I know... they are completely spoiled barn cats.

Wet food has made the difference between tame and feral when it comes
to our two black Beatrixes, however.

It's a morning routine.
Upon our arrival at the barn, one of us heads into the workshop
to feed the cats.
Cans are opened, food is distributed in each cat's dish in their designated
dining spot.

The dogs patiently wait.

It's their favorite time of day, as well.
After the food is distributed,
the dogs get to lick the cans.
Annie takes her can out the back door of the barn.
Sammie takes his can out the front door.
Chester gets to lick both lids and the spoon.
All three are in heaven.
Happy dogs... happy cats.

Yesterday morning we had a defective can.

It's "key" popped off and we were unable to open the can without a tool.
Hubbs grabbed another can in its place and set the defective can aside.

Apparently at some point during chores,
Sammie stole the can and claimed it as his own.

When I found him, this is all that was left of the can.

He had somehow managed to...

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Never Lonely

It seems that Halloween's frightful weather...
torrential rain (that flooded our pond),
thunder and lightening,
and fierce winds (that knocked out our electricity)...
(all of which postponed Halloween festivities until Friday)...
well, it seems that this horrid weather was just the preamble to winter's early arrival.

From Thursday's temperate 72 degrees we fast-forwarded to Friday night's
frigid 28 degrees.

The weekend, though cold was beautiful.
The animals were energetic with the colder temperatures.

They never seem to mind the cold.
(The heat... now that's hard on them.)

With all of the insects gone, the horses were able to spend the days in the upper pastures.
Oh how excited they were when the lead ropes were unclipped and they were allowed to go
off in search of grass... bucking and kicking and farting their way into the neighboring pasture.

After eight hours of freedom, I called them back to return to the barn.
They ignored me... each and every one of them...

[Link to video]

I have to add... on Sunday, Moonbeam was not quite the good boy that he had been
on Saturday.

Instead, he went for a walk about with no intention of returning to the barn.

I eventually had to track him down...

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Yesterday was just as predicted... horrid weather...

with torrential rain showers and strong, gusty winds,
it was not a fit day for man nor beast.

It was only fit for ducks.

I believe they enjoyed every last stinking raindrop, too!
With the puddles inside their yard, they had no desire to venture outside.
(That pool starts the day crystal clear, and an hour later is a mud bath - every darned day!)

Not a single one of any of the other animals left the shelter of their roofs.
Ok, well, the horses were in and out... as is obvious by their unkempt coats.

I sat on the floor of the barn for a while, knowing that it would only take a matter
of moments before a cat would be in my lap.

Hello, Beatrix (One or Two?  Who knows.)


Count to five... and the lap is full!

Moll is always first to fill and empty lap.

Halloween festivities were cancelled,
and with Hubbs golfing in South Carolina,
I had no choice but to hang out in this room.

My sewing room is one of my most favorite rooms.
In here I am surrounded by everything by all of the hobbies that I enjoy.

There is always plenty to...

and my mind goes wild.

My sewing machines sit on desks in front of the biggest windows so that I
can look out at the...

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Happy Halloween!!

We're having a rainy Halloween here on the farm.
Of course, we had to dress up for the occasion,
but our partying will have to be indoors today.

I'll be seeing the Grands tonight....
although, I think their Trick-or-Treat may be a wash-out due to wind and rain.
Nevertheless, we'll have a good time and dress up just the same.

May your day be filled with treats...
and a minimum of tricks!

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I'm Going Back to Bed!!

For those that have this option,
cloudy days are good for this....

[Link to video]

For the rest of us...
there is much to do.
I have been sewing like a fiend the past few days...

and will continue to do so for the next few.
Hubbs is on a golf trip with the guys...
so, while the cat's away...
the mouse will sew her little heart out!

I have a few backpacks to finish and then I am going to do some clothing pieces.
It seems that as soon as I get one idea finished,
another pops into my guinea brain.
It might be a disease!!

Hope you have a great day, wherever you are.
Ours is grey once again.
Maybe I'll just go back to bed.

[New bags have been added to my Etsy Site.]

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Case In Point

I talked, last week, about how we stagger our grazing times in the front pasture...
saying that I separated the pigs from the horses only as a matter
of logistics.
The pigs graze after the horses...
or, as in the case of yesterday...

The horses were out in the upper pastures for the morning,
leaving the front pasture free for the pigs, sheep and donkeys.

It was a spectacular autumn morning.

As the sun rose, the early morning sun warmed the earth,

and before long the air was quite temperate.

When grazing time was over (several hours later),
no one was in the mood to return to the dry lot.
We approached the horses 

and they took off bucking and running to the opposite side of the pasture.

Eventually, they acquiesced and we all walked back to the barn together.

After everyone was situated at the barn, we called the donkeys in from the pasture.
Of course, the pigs came running as well.

The solution to this logistics problem is to get the donkeys in,

and then lure just the pigs back out to the pasture with Ritz crackers.

As Hubbs treated the pigs to their crackers,

I removed grazing muzzles and set up the donkey's hard feed
(basically just a vitamin and mineral supplement).

I quickly shut the front gate...

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An Early Winter?

By all appearances, it seems that winter has arrived on the farm.
From the stories that I see on social media,
I believe that it has arrived for a few of you as well!

Each year I wonder :
Why is it that Autumn usually arrives late,
and Winter usually arrives early... making my favorite season the shortest?

Temperatures were quite cold yesterday
with highs only in the thirties.
(Night-time lows in the teens.)

It's that time of year when we can dispense with grazing muzzles
on these cold days, and the horses are free to stuff themselves.

They happily oblige.

Later in the morning, back in the dry lot,
it's time for a nap.

Moonbeam, Red, and Ollie tell me that muzzle-less grazing is exhausting work!

For Red, nosiness wins over fatigue every time, 
and he heads to the fence to have a chat with me.
He's such a personable little man.
What a great "big" horse he would have made. [whispering]
Shhhhhhh....he thinks he is a big horse!

For the next hour or so, snow flurries fall from grey wintry skies.

A few errands need to be done, so I say goodbye to my friends and take off in the farm truck.
(Still our only functioning vehicle... the deer-scrunched Prius is still in the shop...
 one month later.)

We are lucky...

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Simple Pleasures

It's a cloudy, grey morning (yesterday)...
and Jack gave me the morning off from barn chores.
After a very short night of sleep ... after arriving home from Pittsburgh at 
an exceptionally late hour... I awoke having succumbed to chest congestion
that had been brewing for a couple days.

I spent my morning, indoors, vacuuming, doing dishes and laundry.
So when it was time to go out and bring the donkeys in from their morning's grazing time,
I jumped at the chance to go out and visit everyone.

I went from pasture to pasture just to see how everyone was occupied,
and this is what I found:

At one moment in time,
the donkeys were busy grazing...

as were the pigs...

the sheep were resting - who knew that chewing your cud could be so exhausting!

Annie and Chester stood watch.

The horses were busily munching, 

through their grazing muzzles,

in two of the upper pastures...

while Dr. Becky's Sid and Shirley were in the third pasture.

They all seem to enjoy having neighbors with whom to chat!

The ducks and guineas were busily patrolling

the fourth pasture,

while the goats and the chickens looked on...

Our one lone rooster, who has recently figured out his duties,

was trying his best to woo (any of) the ladies.


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A Tale of Tails

We had such a busy weekend...
so busy, that, if you had caught up to us,
this is all you would have seen....
our tails!

We had a great Saturday... a visit from kids and grandkids.
I must add... winter arrived this weekend, with temperatures in the teens.

Easton got his Gator rides (he requests them on a daily basis...
reports his parents and his day-care teachers.)

Then, on Sunday, Jack and I drove to Pittsburgh to visit with family and 
go to the Steelers game.
We were gone all day.
Hence... no tale for today.
But, we'll be back tomorrow with one... I promise!!
Have a great Monday!

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Another Tale

a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

It's funny, the things you come to understand about yourself.
I have grown to love rainy days...
so I am adding this descriptor to my bio.

There is a certain peace here on the farm when the sky is grey,
and the rain plays its calming refrain.

Chores still get done, but less time is spent playing.

On rainy days we are content to watch the world from our shelter.

On my rounds around the farm yesterday,
I thought about how this is the wild season...
when all that was tamed over the summertime and neatly manicured

now gets a little wild and wooly!

The old log cabin changes with the seasons...
each season different and beautiful in its own right.

I so look forward, each autumn, 
to the pink popcorn that appears on this European Spindle Tree, (Euonymus Europaeus)
 in front of the old log cabin.

The duck pond is re-populated with last winter's mallards and their families.
It's nice to know that we provide a winter habitat with ample food and 
un-frozen water (thanks to the aerators that bubble in the middle of the pond.)

I so enjoyed all of your comments regarding yesterday's post.
It was a fun post to write and I am...

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Not Your Average Bed-Time Tale

I often speak of the importance of our woods in my life.  
They are truly my inspiration - and call to something deep within me. 
 As I walk down the forest trails, sheltered by the high canopy of branches overhead,
 a sense of calm washes over me.  
My brain shifts into neutral and my senses take over. 
 The woods offers a buffet of sensorial experiences: 
sounds and smells and sights to sample, contemplate, and digest. 
 I am offered a large portion of these delights and my soul is nourished.

I’ve taught my grandchildren that the woods are a place where magic happens.
 As we walk across the soft, crackly forest floor we look for fairies and elves and trolls
 in all of the obvious hiding places - sleeping inside a hollow tree, 
having tea on a moss covered stump or seeking shelter amid an assembly of toadstools. 
 We try to avoid detection by dragons as we tip-toe down the well-worn stone paths.

What they have yet to learn, though,
 is that fairies often take the form of tall, strong oaks.  
Their companions, industrious squirrels and chipmunks, run to and fro - 
as task-oriented elves are prone to do.  
Unicorns hide their glistening horns amongst the stately antlers of a stag;
 and mice and...

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An Autumn Weekend

It was a perfect autumn weekend here on the farm...

made even more perfect with a visit from our Littles on Saturday
(we went to a pumpkin patch)

and a surprise visit from Tyler on Sunday!

(I snapped this photo earlier in the week at his soccer game.
His mom is the coach.)

Every moment between those two visits was filled with farm projects.

We had our first frost of the season, 
so I ended up harvesting all of the remaining hot peppers.
With them I made and bottled two batches of hot sauce.

We dug the sweet potatoes... 60 pounds worth!

They are currently drying on the dining room table and will be packed
away in saw dust and stored in a cool corner of our cellar for winter.

While in the garden, I noticed that my saffron crocus is back up again.
Soon I will harvest the tiny saffron filaments from inside each blossom.

I thought perhaps a video might make you feel like you, too, were with us this weekend...

[Link to Video]

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O'Dark Thirty

Yesterday was a day for turning one's sights to the indoors.
It was one of those grey, misty days that made farm chores
a little less than their glamorous norm.

We started the day, as with most, before the sun came up.
No one was in a hurry to get out of bed.
I'm ready for Daylight Savings Time to be over...
so that we can once again do morning chores in the light.

As I opened the doors to all of the chickens and turkeys houses,
they looked back at me as if to say...
"Really?  You want us to go out in that?"

By the way... these young chickens have not started laying yet.  
We are only getting three eggs a day right now from our handful of old hens.
"It's about time you girls think about pulling your weight around here!"

"Good morning, turkeys."

Every morning when we open Tom and Fred's front door,
we find them in their roosting places.
We change their water,
clean up their overnight droppings,
 fill their food dish,
throw a little scratch for them,
and then give Tom his daily loving.
We rub his head and wattle and talk a little.
It's the daily routine and he doesn't seem to mind it one bit.

I've noticed lately that he is growing another "horn"... this time on the top of his head.
You might remember a...

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Transportation Options

What started as a cold, grey, cloudy morning...

ended up a beautiful autumn day.

Because temperatures were colder yesterday morning,
(no flies would be out to bother the animals)
we walked the horses up to the upper pastures.

With grazing muzzles on, they would be able to spend most of the day
up there.

It was obvious they were quite happy to be back in this pasture
As we unhooked each of them from their lead ropes,
they left in the air, bucked, farted and happily ran off to the furthest reaches
of the pastures.
The running continued for a few minutes before everyone settled down
to the task of grazing.

The donkeys were turned out into the front pasture with the sheep and the pigs 
for the morning as well.

Not entirely happy with the donkeys' old grazing muzzles,
I ordered new muzzles... Thin Line muzzles.
They are clear pieces of tough, rubbery plastic
that attach to the donkeys' halters with zip ties.

The soft plastic is easy to bend, making munching
through the quarter-size hole in the base quite easy.
The sides are well vented and the muzzles are very light.
These might be my favorite muzzles yet.

And though I wish we didn't have to use them,
with seven equines who are all easy keepers,
(ie... they...

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Weekend Adventures

Life slows down a bit on rainy days.
Yesterday, it drizzled on and off all day long.

The goats and the pigs spent the day inside their houses.
Of course, the prospect of cracker treats always brings the pigs running.

They get their reward...

Meanwhile, the sheep are hunkered down in the woods next to their houses.

If it were raining hard, they would stay inside.

We don't want to shrink our sweaters, now do we?

The horses take the rain in stride... as long as their meals are on time,

they have nothing about which to complain.

As the rain falls, some huddle...

some cuddle...

and some just enjoy a big puddle...

Each and every day has something wonderful about it...
sometimes you just have to search a little.

We had the Littles for the weekend.
Of course we spent the required amount of time out adventuring on the "GoGo".

We hiked in the woods in search of magical mushrooms...

for where you find them...

you also find the fairies!

We had some outside and some inside play.

One of Mack's favorite activities is baking.
"Cookies or cupcakes this time?" I asked.
"Cupcakes!  Princess Jasmine cupcakes!" (from Disney's Aladdin) was the answer.
Knowing I couldn't pull off the required artwork, I suggested we make...

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Me And My Shadow

Yesterday was my favorite type of autumn day.

It was cold and cloudy and windy.
I'm not sure what I love about a day like that,
but for some reason it is just comforting to me.
I suppose it's that emphatic statement that Autumn is making,
"There!  Summer is gone!"
And with that I snuggle deep into the sleeves of my sweater and think
about baking goodies full of pumpkin or apples and spice and nuts.

Yesterday, however, we ventured out into the chilly (54 degrees),
 and windy (20 miles/hour with 40mph gusts) day...
for an 18 mile bike ride through the countryside.
It was too cold to take photos.
With the wind at our backs, pedaling was quite easy....
but heading back the rail trail into the wind proved no easy task.

Luckily the ride ended at our favorite brewery/restaurant where a hot
bowl of soup warmed us.
But, not before I rode back into the parking lot, hit my brakes to stop my bike,
and promptly fell flat on the macadam with the bike on top of me.
Anything bruised?  Only my ego.
(Nothing that a hot bowl of smoked tomato bisque couldn't heal.)

It's not been the most colorful autumn ever,
and many trees have already lost their leaves.
The pond is half covered in fallen leaves.

It's still beautiful...

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In case you were wondering,
I am not the only one here on the farm that spoils the animals.

Hubbs is definitely "Spoiler-In-Chief" around here.
Not only does he readily dole out hugs,
he also embellishes meals with lots of treats!

Not only do they get their chow, but the pigs get treats as well.
No wonder their breath is always minty fresh!!

No wonder they are so eager to start the day!
Of course, the sheep have already invaded their stall...
looking for leftovers from last night's hay.

"Why don't we get peppermints?"  they ask.
Uh Oh, Hubbs.... your secret is out!

Yesterday morning's clouds were just the foreshadowing of what the rest of the day would be like.

We enjoyed a brief time outside early in the day before the rains came...
 and stayed for the rest of the day.

While it rained and poured outside yesterday afternoon,
I sat at my computer and set up an Etsy shop for my bags and whatnot.
I hope to add some handmade and hand embroidered clothing items over the coming months
as well as a few knit items.

You can find us HERE from now on....
and I will put a permanent link on the sidebar of this blog.
There is also a link in my old marketplace.

I am happy to report that our two groups of runner...

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Second Shift

Every morning before the sun comes up,
the horses go out in the front pasture for a few hours of grazing time.
As soon as cooler weather comes along and all of the flies are gone,
they will spend much of the day in the upper pastures
with grazing muzzles.

When the horses come back to the barn, 
it's time for the sheep and pigs to have the front pasture for the rest of the day.
Second shift.

There is nothing I love more than sitting on the ground in the pasture with
the sound of munching animals around me!

It's my idea of a perfect moment.

Of course, all I need do is sit down,
and there is immediately a pig in my lap!

I'm greeted with the special "hello" grunts
and I immediately cover her with piggy kisses.
MaryAnn flops down beside me for a belly rub...
and of course I oblige.
Then we lay there together soaking up the sun...
just me and my pig pillow.
(It's hard to take a selfie when your head is resting on a pig!)

Next it's time to take the donkey girls for a walk.
We are working this into every day's routine.
Getting halters on them both is no problem any more.

We sneak out the back way between the barn and the duck hut,
and down the driveway we head....

[Link to video]

A little housekeeping....

 1.  ...

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The Thing About Sammie....

Sammie is our very own Pied Piper.
Everyone loves him...

especially the cats and the pigs.

MaryAnn loves to follow him around.

Sam's not so sure he likes this game

"Stop following me!"

One of the unusual things about Sammie is that he will stare you straight in the eyes...
something that most dogs don't do, as it is seen as a sign of aggression.
Not Sammie... no, he stares you straight in the eyes and paws at you 
until you give him the desired amount of attention.

Whenever we have children visit the farm, Sammie is right in the middle of them.
Most visitors express that they'd like to take him home.

We always say..."Sure, but you'll bring him right back!"
Sam has his quirks.
He hates to be left alone...
and will break through a screen window or door to gain his freedom.
We can never leave the house with any doors or windows open...
the screens aren't safe.
In the past 8 years, we have probably re-screened doors at least 20 times.
We could seriously open a screen repair service... we've had so much practice!

I took the donkey girls for another walk yesterday.

This time it was a long walk and other than patiently convincing them 
that they actually wanted to accompany me...

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Our Weekend

Our weekend was the perfect blend of busy and slow.
And the weather was as varied as our activities.

Saturday was a cloudy day... with rain threatening.
By Sunday morning, it was a deluge... just in time for morning chores!

We went out in the dark, as usual... but, this time with torrential rain.

The barn gutters were overflowing, so Hubbs climbed a ladder 
and cleaned out the fallen leaves.
(He's such a trooper... soaking wet!)

Farm breakfast was at Dr. Becky's this week,
and when we arrived home from that we were treated to a visit from our Littles.

In anticipation, I had baked a batch of cookies on Saturday night.
Tyler had been in the area for a soccer tournament this weekend.
We watched one of his games on Saturday...

Then on Sunday, because they had a little extra time before the next 
tournament game was to start, Tyler and his Mom joined us for lunch.
I had slow-cooked carnitas and then caramelized the meat in a cast iron skillet...
for tacos.

Luckily, with the Grands arrival... came the sun's arrival,
so we spent a bit of time riding the GoGo and exploring the farm and woods.

Mack and I worked on grooming the miniature horses

and she learned to hand graze them as well.

She loves to give...

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Defender of the Realm

You might remember a few weeks back that Sammie
had a tussle with a fox that he found in the turkey house.
One good shake by Sammie, and the fox had a broken neck.

Exit - one fox.
I know... it's sad... but, he was eating my chickens... which is even sadder.

The good news is, we have had no more chicken pilfering since 
said fox met his maker.

Thank you, Sammie, Defender of the Realm!

The bad news... foxes carry all sorts of nasty parasites that can affect dogs...
like scabies and mange.
Dr. Becky pointed that fact out to me when I told her that Sam
had effectively taken care of our fox problem.

I felt certain that said fox was not infected with any nasty creatures,
as he was actually a very lovely (but dead) fox.
I know, because I examined him as I buried him (in the compost pile).
Still, the potential for creepy crawlies sat in the back of my psyche.

And then, one day last week we noticed that the hair over Sam's right ear was missing.
We called Dr. Becky, and she stopped by to look at Sam.
Apparently, the lack of hair on his ear was secondary to an ear infection,
and he had spent the day rubbing the hair off of his sore ear.
She gave us meds for the infection and for the irritation on his ear...

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Fuzzy Coats, Curly Tails, and Other October Delights

There is nothing like a bright, sunshine-y, autumn day to fill the soul
and lift the spirits.

I am banking these beautiful autumn days and filling myself with as much sunshine
and fresh air as is possible.

It's hard to ignore the signs that winter is approaching.
What was once a rainbow of color is now just brown and dry skeletal remains.

And though we have beautiful sunny days in winter, as well,
it's hard to soak it into your skin when you are covered with layer upon layer of warmth.

With the shortening days, 
the horses have all begun to grow their winter coats.
It always amazes me how fast they morph from sleek summer coats

to wooly winter jammies.

For some reason, their wooly coats remind me of fleece pajamas
(with feet!)

The ducks have adapted to the change in the length of their days
and make their way back into their yards by late afternoon.

This is one well-trained flock of ducks.
They are now a single flock...
young intermixed with old....
traveling the farm as if of one single mind.

Their comical to watch as they march in procession.
Suddenly, as if an alarm goes off, they all run, quacking, in one mass to their next location.
They move as one organism...
darting here and there in...

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It's The Most...

Wonderful Time of The Year!!
I find myself singing that Christmas tune, but applying it to Autumn.

Yesterday was a most spectacular day out.
What originally was predicted to be a rainy day,
turned out crystal-clear, blue-skied, and perfect.

Morning chores continue to be done in the dark.

Yesterday the pigs had a couple visitors while they ate their breakfast...
the sheep finishing off the pigs' hay from the prior night.

The garden has just a few things still producing...

hot peppers top the list.

I harvested a lot of them yesterday and will make hot sauce
with the lot.
I fear that I will have one more harvest after this.

"Fear".... because I have made every conceivable hot pepper condiment that I 
can think of already this year.
If we find out that hot peppers are the key to a long life...
we should be good for another 50 years!

Kale and chard are still growing nicely.
Kale seems to find its way into almost everything I make these days.

I steamed a pumpkin from the garden 

and plan to make a Pumpkin Buckle in the style of my Blueberry Buckle.

If it is a success, I will share the recipe with you.
I so look forward to all things pumpkin at this time of year, don't you?

I am back to riding my bike...

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Drying Out

We've had a few soggy, grey days around here.
It's been cool... perfect for all of the animals.

The trouble is... they are all looking a little like nobody loves them.

Of course, they are well loved, but it's hard to do grooming when everyone is a little damp.

Yesterday afternoon things had dried out a little
and everyone was out enjoying the front pasture
and stretching their legs.

I was on the ground with the donkeys grazing around me
enjoying the peace and quiet.

There's nothing like the sound of gentle munching.
It just fills me with happiness because I know that all of my friends are content.

Moments of peace and quiet don't always last around here, however.
There's always someone trying to stir things up a little.

That someone is usually Chester... and this time was no different.

He and Annie were playing chase and wrestling...
instigated by Chester (of course).

When asked about our dogs, we always say...
Sam is an enigma... more cat than dog.

Annie is a machine... the ultimate athlete and a hunter at heart.

Chester... well, Chester is completely socially inappropriate.
It's not a bad thing, actually, because Chester loves fiercely and wants
to show it all of the time... mostly with his...

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Time Traveling

Although our bodies traveled through six time zones,
it seems our internal clocks are still set for France.

We awoke before 3 AM yesterday morning... fully awake and ready to go.
I've learned in the past that it's no use trying to fight it -
eventually time gets sorted out and the body returns to normal...
just not immediately.

Instead, we got caught up on our favorite shows...
(yes, I am a huge This Is Us fan and find myself crying with every episode).

I started a new knitting project  ( ←link to pattern with photos).

It's one that I have been salivating over ever since it was published.
This will be my ongoing evening project now that days are shorter.

With the sun taking her time making an appearance,

we donned our headlamps and headed out to do morning chores before six.

We were greeted by four tiny sets of glowing eyes when we reached the barn...
the barn kitties demanding their breakfasts.

Bigger, glowing eyes watched us from the dry lot,
and I quickly opened the gate so that the horses could enjoy a breakfast of pasture grass.

It was still pitch-dark when we finished chores...
the horses and donkeys quietly, and somewhat blindly, munching grass in the front pasture.
The great thing is......

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Life... An Adventure!

Good morning!
It's so good to be back here in my own comfortable little corner of the world.

I've missed visiting here in this space, but tried my best
to share our experiences by posting photos on social media.
(Instagram or Facebook)

I took a ton of photos, of course, and plan on having them printed into a coffee table
book as a keepsake.
I've done this after the last few adventures and find that we look at the pictures
more than we would in just a photo album.
The best part of having them printed in a book is that it prevents the pictures
from deteriorating over time.

There's nothing like travel in a foreign country to push and pull you
out of your comfort zone... resulting in personal growth.

The last few times that we have travelled, we have chosen to make
most of the arrangements ourselves and travel either by ourselves
or with friends.
Driving a rental car in a foreign country is an adventure
(sometimes a little dicey... narrow roads, fast drivers, and signs that make no sense)
that gave us the opportunity to get off the beaten path and find
hidden treasures that we might have otherwise missed.

We spent half of our time in Paris.
And yes, it is a spectacular city, with so much to see and...

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Pedicure, Anyone?

We had a visit from the farrier yesterday.
It takes about an hour and a half for all seven of our equines
 to have their feet trimmed.

All of the horses are always well behaved while we fuss over them.
I seize the opportunity to brush through manes and tails
while the farrier works on each foot.
As you can see, Sammie serves as assistant to the farrier...
responsible for clean up (tasty hoof trimmings!)

When finished, I gaze proudly on my cleaned-up herd of horses.
Everyone is spit shined and polished.
Of course it never lasts long....

After the horses are finished, it's time for the donkeys.
Last time the farrier came, I wasn't home and Hubbs had to help the farrier...
which isn't a problem until it's time to do the donkeys.
It seems that the only person for whom the donkeys truly cooperate...
is me.
Jack approached the donkeys that day with halter and lead rope in hand,
and they promptly said "No, thank you!"
And that was that.
Two naughty donkeys didn't get their feet trimmed.

Yesterday, however, when Chloe looked at the halter and thought about rebuffing
my advances,
I reminded her that I have the patience of Job,
and that if she wanted a peppermint treat she would have to acquiesce.

Meanwhile, I...

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Oliver Twist... A Story

From time to time I like to share stories of how
our animals came to live on the farm.
Today I am sharing Ollie's story.
You can read it HERE.

It's hard to believe that this little fellow has called the farm home
for over ten years...
as has his brother Red.
At 34 inches, they are the tiniest of our herd.
Their personalities, however, are the biggest!

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To Ithaca And Back

The weekend took us to Ithaca, New York,
for the wedding of our friends' son.
(His parents are our close friends and often our traveling companions.)

The bride and groom, both graduates of Cornell,
are truly special young people who are going to spread a wave 
of positivity wherever they go in this life!

The wedding was truly a joyous celebration of friends and family...

held at a lovely farm venue...

complete with chickens!!

There is nothing like crowing roosters to provide the perfect wedding backdrop!

Cornell University has a spectacularly beautiful campus.
We spent the few free hours that we had before the ceremony
strolling the campus botanic gardens.

Knowing that Summer's colors are soon to fade,
I snapped a few photos... also as a reminder of plants 
that I would love to add to my own gardens.

This was a tree whose center was cut out and a bell was hung inside.
The tree continues to grow seemingly unaffected.

I loved this metal sculpture.

I took the opportunity to absorb all of the color that I could...
knowing that soon our world will transition away from color.

We came upon a few critters who were willing to pose...

I fell in love with this flower and will be searching for my own specimen.

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