“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

Painting Trees

 As I sit writing this, the sun has just set.   Outside, I can hear the wind howling and raindrops, as they land on the windows.  The summer-like weather that we enjoyed a week ago is long gone and Winter is just around the corner.  

The days are short and the evenings - long and dark.  And although I love the warm months with their outside pleasures, I do look forward to this time of year when I turn my attention inward to my nest.

For most of you, I am sure, this season will be quite different from previous years.  2020 has been an aberration... and hopefully a year we never have to repeat.  Thanksgiving is just a little over a week away, and we have made the decision to forgo the normal family gathering.  We are trying to keep our "bubble" quite small these days in order to decrease the potential for illness.  And while it is sad that we will not all sit together at the same table, we feel that it is prudent in these times.  Sacrifice for the greater good, in the hopes that all of our loved ones remain healthy.  There will be more Thanksgivings in the future.  We have much for which to be thankful, so that is what we will concentrate on in the coming weeks.

And.... we are...

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Staying Sane When The World Seems Crazy

My very favorite days are ones in which we rise early, before the sun, and head out in the early morning twilight.  Darkness covers the ground, but the sky holds the promise of the rising sun.  In the Eastern sky, Venus shines down upon us; the stars that had kept her nighttime company fade away.   It's windy and chilly, but not yet bitter cold.  Mornings like this are invigorating... the perfect start to the day.

We walk the horses up the the upper pastures across soft, rain-soaked ground as the sun paints the morning clouds,

and set about tending to the rest of the animals and the barn chores.  I can't help but think that the animals must also have an appreciation for the rising sun - knowing that with it comes warmth and light.

After the work is done, we head back to the house.  Passing by the pig yard I am aware of the sheep bleating their complaints about something.

It's obvious what has them so upset.  There, in their yard are two wayward donkeys - two invaders bent on   consuming the spoils of their peaceful pillage.  How they manage to eat hay through the grazing muzzles is beyond me, but the donkeys linger there for a while, so they must be somewhat successful.


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Good Monday to You!

We have reached the "grey days" time of year, here on the farm. 

 Winter is just around the corner and it feels tangible now.  There are no leaves left on the trees, and the migrating birds have all passed by on their travels to warmer climes.

With the exception of green grass, the local color palette has drifted off into the monochromatic grey and brown scales.  And though I love the brilliance of summer's color, I enjoy the peaceful solitude of winter's muted shades. 

 The dramatic sunrises of this time of year offer an almost daily reminder that grey is just a temporary state of affairs.

We had a lovely weekend that started with the treat of spending a couple days with our Littles.  Mackenzie and Easton came to the farm for an overnight visit and spent Friday here with us. 

 Our day was filled from sun-up to sun-down with tiny voices delighting us with their descriptions of how they see the world.  There is nothing more genuine or precious than the thoughts and opinions of these little people.  

The remainder of our weekend was spent here on the farm (of course, because... in the middle of this pandemic... there is no place we need or want to go!)

I had noticed over the past week...

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Patient Updates and A Little Food For Thought

 I am happy to report that all of my patients are doing fine. 

 Daphne's hoof abscess has cleared and her hoof is filling in nicely.  

Chloe is back to her usual self again, although her neck looks a little traumatized.

 I am so hoping and praying that these injections help to eradicate her tumor.

Since yesterday, I fear that Griz has been replaced by another cat who also had his face shaved.  This new cat is very affectionate and asks to be petted constantly. (Quite a difference from the Griz that we came to know in the last couple of weeks).

All kidding aside, Griz is definitely like a new cat.  He obvious was in quite a bit of discomfort from his abscess.  Dr. Becky explained that abscesses are common in feral cats because of fighting.  I don't know that Griz does any fighting... I have not witnessed any fighting.  He has a chronic (incurable) herpes virus which is also common in feral cats.  So, the other possibility is that he had an infected lymph node due to the chronic upper respiratory infections.  Griz's life will never be easy... he has the burdens of some incurable conditions that his feral life caused.  But, hopefully, he will have a peaceful, happy, and comfortable...

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The Infirmary

Yesterday brought a blustery, wintry day here on the farm... complete with snow flurries.

I arrived at the barn to find everyone warm and toasty under their heat lamps.

With frigid winds blowing, I kept the pigs' and the donkeys' heat lamps on so that they might have a refuge from the cold.

Donkeys are not especially fond of cold wind.

While feeding the cats, I noticed that the side of Griz's face was swollen.

Really swollen!  He's been a little grumpy over the past few days, growling when anyone comes close.  I think we have the explanation for that behavior!

Dr. Becky was due to make a call at the barn for Chloe's second round of Mycobacterium Cell Wall Extract injections into her sarcoid tumor.  Examining Griz, Dr. Becky felt that he had an abscess on his cheek.  She felt that it needed to be opened and drained and we decided to do that as soon as we finished with Chloe's treatment.

We Heavily sedated, Chloe stood very still.  The injections were given without difficulty.  She will likely have to have one or two more treatments in the coming weeks.  Fingers crossed that this takes care of the tumor.

Next, Griz was sedated and Dr. Becky shaved his cheek.

I'll spare you photos of the...

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Oh Deer!

 Every time we take a trip over to our Hundred Acre Woods, we see many deer.  Every time, I take my camera, and every time, the deer are way too fast for me to get a photo focussed and snapped.  Whitetail deer are lovely, lithe creatures.  They are tall, but oh, so graceful.  By the time we spot them in the woods, they have turned to run and all we can see is their bright white tail sticking up like a plume, dancing across the bramble as they run and jump over logs.  They are almost silent as they nimbly escape through the woods.

I am sure that if I just parked myself in the woods, quietly, for an entire day with camera in hand, I would have a much better chance of snapping a photo.  However, a trail camera is a much more efficient tool and the price is definitely worth a day of sitting still, waiting.

This past Saturday, we placed a trail camera on one of the upright posts of our platform tent in the woods. The tent sits in a clearing, at the edge of our Field of Dreams,  that is frequented by our deer population.  In the summertime, the naturalized patches of thick grass, thistle, honeysuckle, and milkweed are the perfect bedding areas for the deer population... offering a safe...

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Pumpkin, Anyone?

I was touched by the outpouring of sentiments for our Moonie and his recent "crisis".  He's a tough old soul with a heart of gold.  Happily, he is doing really well.  Your care and concern touched our hearts.  And with all of the hugs sent his way.... Moonie was touched as well!

Dr. Becky came to check on him yesterday morning and was pleased that he seemed to have no inflammation in the surgical eye.  We've been putting antibiotic ointment in his eye every 8 hours and giving him some pain medication and with that he is doing really well.

Who is that handsome man behind those Foster Grants?

His new UV protective fly mask is to arrive today, so he will be sporting the latest in protective eyewear... sunglasses for horses, basically!

Life is a little boring for all of the equines right now.  We are keeping them in the dry lot for a while so that Moonie is not out running in the pasture.  Secondly, everyone has gotten a little fat... I swear they have ribs, but you can no longer feel them!  So, staying in on hay rations will help them drop a little excess weight.

Our second recovering patient is doing most excellently.  

Griz's face is healing nicely, and he is a much happier cat these...

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Moonie's Rough Day

 If you read Monday's post, then you are aware that Moonie, my Haflinger, developed a squamous cell carcinoma of his left eye.  Apparently (I learn new things all the time with my animals) Haflingers are prone to squamous cell, and some Haflingers more than others.   Hopefully, he's not in the latter group.

Dr. Becky paid a visit to the barn yesterday afternoon. (Perhaps we should just schedule weekly visits, as it seems to be working out this way of late.)   We haltered and led Moonie, unaware of what was on his schedule, into the stall aisle.  He is used to being here for grooming and farrier visits, so this was nothing out of the ordinary for him.  

Dr. Becky gave him an injection of sedation and he very quickly became sleepy.  

She injected his facial nerve, right above his eye, to temporarily paralyze his eyelids so that he could not blink.

 Then she trimmed his eyelashes.

 Next she applied a topical anesthetic to his eye ball.

All of this was done with Moonie standing up, his chin on a special sling.

I stood on the right side of him and helped to hold his head at an angle, while Dr. Becky removed the tumor.  Hubbs held Moonie's eyelids out of the way and illuminated his eye with...

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Happy Thanksgiving From The Farm (And A Little Something Extra)

If you have followed along with our farm adventures for a while, then you will remember that a couple of years ago, I made the decision to start writing a book.  Many of you urged me onward, and so, I gave it a try.  Seven chapters in, I ran out of steam.  I was fearful that there was nothing interesting enough to add to what I had already written in order to have enough for a book.  I also feared that what I wrote would not be good enough to sell a book.  And so I stopped.  Now, I must also tell you that I carry guilt for having stopped.  I have never been one to give up on anything, and there is a part of me that feels like a failure with this project.

But then, I consider the fact that I spend a good portion of time, daily, writing a blog, taking photographs,  and making and editing videos, so my guilt is assuaged, for the most part.  Still... there are words that I have painstakingly, and lovingly written that have never been read.  

So, today I am posting one chapter... just to share with you.  As time goes on, I will post all of the chapters that I have written so that my writing was not in vain.  I am, however, committed to the discipline of daily writing on my blog and...

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Our Holiday.

Although different from most of our Thanksgiving celebrations, yesterday was a lovely day. 

 We opted for cooking just a small turkey and I made all of our favorite Thanksgiving fixings.  One whole pumpkin pie might be a lot for two of us, but we will do our darnedest to make sure every last bite is eaten!  

I only make pumpkin pie once a year, so, to us, it is a real treat!  And turkey sandwiches on homemade multigrain bread will be delicious!

We had a lovely quiet day.  We talked of things for which we are thankful.   The animals all got extra treats... carrots for most.  Even the dogs had a small special treat of plain turkey meat.

We spent a little time with our family via the internet and met our little Carolina Wren for the first time.  She slept through the entire visit with her face towards us, so we were treated to a varied repertoire of facial expressions as she peacefully dreamed.  Mom and Dad and baby are all doing well adjusting to this new life.

Between internet visits with family, we spent an hour riding our bikes.  It felt good to get outside for some fresh air and exercise.

Moonie continues to do quite well.  He greets me at the stall door three times daily- ready to...

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Farm Life - Fiesta or Siesta?

Stop by the front pasture on any given afternoon, and you will either see fiesta or siesta... depending on the moment.

Yesterday, while the guineas were squawking and running around as guineas do - fiesta-style,

 the sheepy gals were in the midst of their siesta.  

For a moment, I had to stand and watch Hope- just to make sure she was breathing.  She was, but she was dead asleep!

I sat down to snap a few photos of my wooly wonders, and soon became the object of piggy affection.  Oh, that MaryAnn, she loves me (quite possibly more than any other being on this planet.). I truly love this pig right back.  There is a good possibility that if I were alone in this world, MaryAnn would be living in my house with me. (Don't tell Hubbs!)

Afternoon chore time is typically when we spend the most time with our animals.  

Without the long list of chores that are done both morning and evening, there's more time to just sit and chat with my friends.

And though it doesn't happen often, yesterday I finally got all of my ducks in a row!

Yesterday was a gray sky day... no peek of the sun at all.

Don't be surprised if you see a little bit of our woods in the coming posts.  It's that time of year. 


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A Peek Into My World

 Our weekend was spectacular - sunny and warm - just the most perfect autumn time that you could imagine.  

I though I would share it with you...

You can view the video on YouTube HERE.

Last week was a tough one.  Now we all need to take a deep breath and begin anew...

Some thoughts that I wanted to share with you:

I wear my skin because it holds all of the inside parts in place. But I am not my skin.  I am not white or black, old or young, red or blue.  I am simply human.  My tribe is humanity - in every race, color and creed.  Dogma and ideas cannot separate me from my tribe.  And though I may not always agree with everyone in my tribe, they are all my brothers and sisters.

We all share this human experience.  We can either choose to flourish by loving each other, and lifting each other up so that we can all become better human beings -  or we can live a desolate life separated from each other.  We are more alike than we are different.  

I choose love.  I choose kindness.  I choose to do what I can to make this a better world.  

I look to the future with optimism.

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Friday's Food For Thought - A Break

It's been a week, hasn't it?  It's been a stressful week that felt like it would never be over... and it still isn't I imagine... at least at the time of this writing.  I am sure you are drained, as am I.  And so you will understand that I just did not have the mental fortitude to research and write a Friday's Food For Thought.

Fear not, I won't let you go hungry.

There is still enough fodder for a blog post just on the subject of daily farm life.

Yesterday began like this...

I love mornings, and especially the mornings that I reach the barn before the sun rises.  Nothing starts my day off better than witnessing the start to the day - as the sun peeks above the horizon and night's shadows retreat.  At certain times of the year, a cacophony of birdsong provides the soundtrack.  However, at this time of year, the sun makes its entrance without applause.  It silently moves to center stage almost as if in a dress rehearsal.  The audience is there, though, silently waiting.  Silently... appreciating.

The day progressed as all days do.  And as the hours passed, the mercury rose into the mid sixties again.

The farrier came and did his bimonthly hoof trimming for all of the equines.

Chloe had...

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Sweet Relief

I awoke yesterday morning, with a still unsettled feeling in my gut, but relieved that our country had made it through Election Day in a peaceful, organized manner.  Outside, our world was frosty and silent, with temperatures dipping down to 24 degrees.

It didn't take long, though, for the sun to warm us up to an unseasonable 64 degrees.  And the rest of the week is to be as warm or warmer.

I am happy to report that Dr. Becky checked Daphne's hoof yesterday morning and did indeed find a hoof abscess.  She opened the abscess by cutting away part of Daphne's hoof.  As soon as she opened the abscessed area, drainage came from Daphne's hoof... which I am sure was a welcomed relief for my sweet donkey gal.

Dr. Becky slightly enlarged the abscess hole,

 and irrigated it with peroxide...

then packed cotton into the hole to keep it open so that it can continue to drain.

I will have to remove the packing daily, and irrigate the abscess with hydrogen peroxide, and then re-pack the hole.

We Daphne is one stoic donkey.  She didn't flinch while Dr. Becky worked on her hoof... a somewhat painful procedure.  She stood perfectly still while I sat next to her with my nose buried in the fur of her...

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Another Addition To The Worry List

 Somehow, within the span of twenty-four hours, we have gone from being an assisted living facility to an acute care facility.  And my worry list has grown once again.

Yesterday morning, after taking the horses up to the upper pastures for their morning grazing time, 

I then went into the donkey yard to put on the girls' grazing muzzles so that they could go out into the front pasture with the pigs and sheep.

I put on Chloe's mask after she willingly came to me.  Strangely, no Daphne was to be found.  Normally Daphne is right there in line for masks, but not yesterday.  I found her standing still in her house.  In order to coax her out, I let Chloe out the front gate into the pasture.  Slowly, Daphne emerged and it was apparent why she had hesitated.

She was limping on her left front hoof.  In 24 hours she had gone from perfectly healthy to completely lame.  I texted Dr. Becky, who felt she likely has a hoof abscess and suggested that I start Epsom salt soaks until she could get down to check Daphne.  Unfortunately, she was not able to check her yesterday.

With Hubbs' help, I soaked her hoof for a while.

Then later in the afternoon (and evening) I repeated the soak. 

 Hopefully the...

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A Blustery Morning

Yesterday morning greeted us with dark, ominous clouds and blustery winds.  

Winds throughout the previous night had effectively stripped the trees of their remaining brown, dry foliage... many of the leaves ending up in our pond.

Dressed in warm layers, with hats and gloves, we tended to the animals.  The horses and donkeys went out into the front pasture as all of the other animals went about their daily routines.

Many of you mentioned how kind Hubbs is to lift Tom Turkey off of his roost each morning.  It seems we have an assisted living facility of late, as two of our hens also require a little assistance each morning in leaving their nightly roost.

I am sure on mornings such as this, Griz is quite happy that he ended up where he did.  There's nothing like heated accommodations with three square meals.  It just occurred to me that I am also describing prison.  But, to a feral cat - our barn is like the Ritz.  And our kitties are happy little cheeseburgers under their warming lights!

Just as we were finishing our morning chores,  the sun reached the horizon and the sky began to morph into something other-worldly.

Over the next five minutes, it just got better...

and better.


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Goodbye October

Is it me, or did October fly by very quickly?  Now we are in November and headed towards Thanksgiving.  This year's Thanksgiving will be a tough one for many.  So many of us will be unable to spend this holiday with all of our loved ones.  And some have loved ones that will never again sit at a Thanksgiving table.  It's been a hard year.

Still, there is much to be thankful for.  

Along with shortening days, November has brought us some blustery weather.  It's short-lived, though, as temperatures are to reach the upper sixties by late week.  I will use that gift of warmer weather to complete my garden clean-up and winterization.

We enjoyed a lovely transition into November this past weekend... with a spectacular full moon in the space between months.  My favorite day of the year was yesterday... with an extra hour to put to good use.  For the life of me, I cannot tell you what I did with that hour - because it sped by without me taking note.

We had an exciting visitor at the farm this weekend.

An Evening Grosbeak appeared on one of the bird feeders.  Neither Hubbs nor I had ever seen this species of bird before, so it was quite an amazing sight to us.

The rest of the weekend...

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Friday's Food For Thought

 They say that every cloud has a silver lining.  So, despite all of the 2020 hardships - and for some, 2020 has been beyond hard - I believe that we will one day look back upon this time and realize that it taught us some valuable lessons.

Many of us, after being forced to stay home for weeks upon weeks, have learned that home is not a bad place to be stuck.  Many have gained a renewed affection for being at home.

We've learned that taking life a little slower is not necessarily a bad thing.  Life can sometimes be so busy with activities that we actually forget to enjoy it! 

We've learned we can get by with less and we've learned to appreciate the little things.

Many will emerge from 2020 with a greater sense of self-sufficiency.  We've planted gardens and grown our own food - some for the first time ever.  We've used the time to learn to knit or crochet or sew or cook or bake.  We've learned what our ancestors already knew - that the work of self-sufficiency is honest work, tiring work, but satisfying work.

The slow fashion movement and slow food movement have gained in popularity over 2020... out of necessity perhaps, and not because we suddenly became enlightened.  The important...

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Friday's Food For Thought... What Goes In, Must Come Out!

 One of my most favorite additions to the farm has been our outhouse by the barn that was built with a composting toilet.

And though I realize that there is little or no way that most of us can change the way we deal with our human waste... I am going to tell you about our lovely outhouse on the off chance that perhaps you might be considering farm life, or country life, or even off-grid living.

Because our barn is a quarter mile from our house, it is inconvenient to have to run back to the house when "nature calls".  Those of you who have a farm, or a stable, will understand just how inconvenient this can be.  And many of you will agree that you can find creative ways of relieving oneself in the privacy of your own barn.  I am sure I am not the only one who has used a muck bucket for this purpose.  Dr. Becky and I had, at one point, considered inventing a device, a toilet seat,  that would sit atop one's muck bucket.  Instead, I decided that what we really needed was an outhouse with a composting toilet.

Now, for you city folk - the thought of not using modern flush toilets and the idea of composting or "compoosting" one's own waste might seem a horrible idea.  But let's examine...

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A Day For Rain Gear

Some were actually made for immersion in a day such as yesterday...

and some prefer to remain spectators.

The guineas find a port in the storm and form a single file line beneath the narrow arena over-hang.  They used to have their own house, but refused to use it.

Everyone else has their own shelter,

but some don't care to use it... seemingly ignoring all weather conditions.

I assume some just don't care about looking soaked and disheveled,

while some would rather die than have a bad hair day.

As for me... I have no choice.  No matter the weather, there are chores to be done, needs to be met.

The rest of the time, however, I prefer to be warm and dry on this side of the windows!

As for Sammy - where once he was game for adventure, his look tells me he'd rather be inside and dry, sleeping on his chair!

Yesterday provided the perfect day for cozy inside activities.

Sourdough was fed and then bread was prepared and set to rise.  It will rise throughout the night and be baked the next day.

Newly harvested, adorable, mini-heads of garden cabbage were chopped and added to a big kettle of homemade vegetable soup.  

There's nothing more heartwarming than hot soup on a cool, rainy day!

I finished an...

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A Trip To Town

 Ten days into November and the thermometer hit 74 degrees yesterday.  Amazing!  

It's strange to look around and see no leaves on the trees in the woods, but still have summer's blossoms in our front garden.

One tree on our property has retained its foliage, and now looks as if it's on fire!

And in the perennial garden, the blanket flowers have bloomed yet again. 

I am happy to report that all three of the runner duck groups are getting along just fine.  They are all confined to their yard until the newest members of the group identify that yard as home.  I suspect it will take about a month or so.  Luckily, cooler weather is on its way, so it shouldn't be difficult for them to be on yard arrest for a few weeks.  

I finished my barn chores and garden chores by early afternoon yesterday in preparation for a trip to town to spend a few hours with our Littles.  Before leaving the farm, though, I visited all of my critters to make sure they had everything that they would need until evening.

On the way back to the house, I stopped to check on the pigs and sheep.  They had been out grazing in the front pasture, but came running when they heard my gator.

They never pass up a chance to beg...

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Extended Summer Here On The Farm

I must tell you - I am enjoying these unseasonably warm days.  Although, if it were just a scooch cooler (sweater weather) I would be in heaven.  Regardless, I find myself spending hours outside, puttering around the garden and hanging out with the animals.  These days will be short-lived, I am sure.  

Yesterday I worked in the garden, doing one last weeding and pulling the skeletal remains of pepper and tomato plants.  Everything that I pull out gets composted at the edge of the woods, so that all of the nutrients return to the earth.  Today I plan on covering my garden boxes with a thick layer of rich compost for the winter... my beloved garden will be tucked in under a thick winter blanket (of poo!).

I am happy to tell you that yesterday was Daphne's last dressing change. 

 The area of her abscess is no longer painful, so I will just coat her hooves with a waterproof liquid (Coppertox) recommended by Dr. Becky.  Daphne has been such a trooper with the whole ordeal.  Thankfully, that chapter has come to a close. 

Yesterday was moving day for the three ducklings (now basically adults).  Hubbs took two of them and I carried one of them (and drove the gator)... as we transported...

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Take A Walk With Me

There is such a difference between mornings and afternoons at this time of year.  

We start our day dressed in layers to fight the chill... but the chill doesn't last long.  

The sun is at an angle that still allows for me things to warm up pretty quickly.

Yesterday was a perfect autumn day... warm, breezy - and finally the ground was dry enough for the leaves to crunch beneath my feet.  

The colors are at their peak right now.  

The woods are filled with gold, orange and russet.  The woods still echo the chirping of crickets and an occasional lone katydid.  Before long those songs will cease and the woods will be silent.  

And so I immerse myself in everything that autumn has to give and am thankful to have a day to enjoy it.

Our day was filled with outdoor activity: shuffling animals to and from pastures,

 barn chores, and walks in the woods.  I took Chester and Annie on a walk to the stream and thought it might be nice to bring you along as well.
If the video does not show below, click here to view it on YouTube.

We took a long bike ride through the colorful countryside.

It's lovely that we don't need to travel in order to enjoy the autumn colors.  The hills all around us are filled...

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Equine Shenanigans

I used to have a little white horse whose name was Oliver Twist.  

It seems he disappeared this week and in his place was left 
this dirty grey horse whose name I know not. 

I heard tell it was all due to a plot hatched by the donkey girls, those divas.
They challenged the horses to a contest to see who could get
the absolute dirtiest during the past three days of rain.

Of course, the donkeys would never think of participating in a challenge
such as this.  They never get dirty.
After all, they have their images to maintain!

It appears, however, that Ollie was not about to be beat.
My competitive little chap set out to get as filthy as possible.
First he stood out in the rain, and then he rolled in the mucky dry lot.
And if that wasn't bad, he then rolled on the dusty floor of the stall...

working on his "look" until it was absolutely perfect
and he looked absolutely horrid!
Almost every inch of white fur is now the color of charcoal...
and it's too cold for a bath!

The other horses tried their best to soak up as much mud as they could,
but no one was able to top Ollie.

And as you can see... the donkeys don't even pretend innocence!

The horses will all dry out if we have a day of sunshine...

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This Is Morning...

Mornings on the farm are filled with activity.  Please come along with us as we enjoy a typical autumn morning.

(You might want to make sure your sound is on.)

If the video does not show above, you can view it [HERE] on YouTube.

Have a wonderful day!

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Now That's My Kind of Shopping!

What is it about a gray, autumn day?  There's just something about it that soothes my soul... a gentle, quiet vibe that slows time.  

With nothing pressing on my schedule, I putter around the house in domestic bliss.  A gray day is the perfect excuse to have tea by candlelight, to read a book, to work on a stitching project... without the guilt felt when doing these things on a warm sunny day.  The gardens call to me when the sun is shining... but a gray, drizzly day belongs to me!

Of course, it goes without saying, that no day belongs entirely to anyone that lives on a farm.  There are necessary chores to do and critters that need tending.  These things cannot wait.  These things are done no matter what.  It's these things, though, that give me purpose.  And though I occasionally dream of frittering away a day- I am much happier when I have a list of things to do.  

Most gals get excited shopping for a new designer purse or shoes.   Me?  I am thrilled by the purchase of a new manure fork.

I found this little fork at the feed store, yesterday, when I was there to pick up a protein block for the sheep.  It is the perfect size for our littles to use when they help us, but it also...

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What a magical, beautiful time of year it is!  I am enjoying each and every day of this season... whether I am working in the garden, around the farm, or looking out of my sewing room window at the spectacular foliage.  It's been just the best autumn!  I am most definitely in the midst of a love affair with autumn.

We had the perfect autumn weekend here on the farm.  The days were sunny and temperate, but cool enough for us not to be bothered by any little flying insects. 

We stayed home for most of the weekend, with the exception of a run to town to visit with our littlest ones on Friday evening and take dinner to them.  I helped to get them tubbied and ready for bed as the next morning they were to have family pictures taken.  Saturday afternoon, I got to see a sneak peak of some of the photos and thought I would share this one with you...

Our mornings, of late, have been frosty and cold... everything looking like it's been dipped in sugar.

Walking the horses up to the upper pasture, I keep my eyes to the ground... noticing how frost has decorated leaves...

and feathers....

sedum in the garden...

and even the gate to the pasture...

Horses love to graze on frosty grass.  

The frost...

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Friday's Food For Thought - The Environmental and Humanitarian Issue of Food Waste

(Warning: This is a two-cup of tea or coffee post..)

(The photos, of course, are completely gratuitous!)

It is estimated that one third of all the food produced in the world is wasted.    

Sadly, this amount would greatly diminish the world's hunger problems.  And In addition to the humanitarian implications, food waste also contributes to ecological problems both in terms of the physical presence of food products in our landfills and also the energy wasted in growing, harvesting, packaging and transporting food that is never eaten.

What to do with food scraps?

The book, Garbology, cites a study "The Garbage Project" where core samples were taken deep into several landfills throughout the U.S. only to find that food waste sits within the landfill and never decomposes.  For example, carrot tops and onion skins were still intact after 20 years, and Kaiser rolls had transformed into hardened, mummified versions of themselves.  So, throwing food scraps into the trash should never be an option.  Items we see as "biodegradable" do not biodegrade in trash piles.   (And Kaiser rolls make great treats for the birds!)

Luckily, some municipalities have begun composting services, with special...

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Weekend Surprises

The past weekend felt like the dividing line between early autumn and late - between warm and cold -  when days begin to feel so much shorter, and the air has a little bit of raw chill to it.  

We began the weekend with no unusual plans... a little farm work,

 a little relaxation, and a little sewing was what I had expected.

It's funny... life is rarely as we expect it though- and that can sometimes be a wonderful thing!  

As it turned out, our Littles came to the farm for a day of fun on Saturday. 

It was baby Elijah's first trip to the farm... and first hike in the woods.

As with any day with children on the farm... it was a wonderful time filled with adventures.

We spent the day playing outdoors, visiting animals, and going for gator rides.

All of our grandchildren love the farm, but this one... I think he loves it most of all!  

On Sunday, after animal chores were finished, 

I started working on face masks for the winter season and the holidays.  I hope to have them finished in the next week.

I also spent a little time doing something that I've meant to do for so very long.  (Thank you, Colleen for the gentle nudge!!)

Here is a link to the video on YouTube, if it did not show up...

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Friday Food For Thought.... Into The Woods

I took a long ride through the countryside, by myself, yesterday afternoon.  There's nothing like the road-less-traveled to help one sort out one's thoughts. 

 As I rode down dirt roads through wild, wooded areas I felt a sense of gratitude for being able to experience this life in the country- in places that are exactly as they were meant to be.  I filled my lungs with fresh, clean air and listened to the sound of dry leaves crunching beneath my wheels and crickets chirping in the dense underbrush of the woods.  Having this intimate relationship with Mother Nature gives me the inspiration to help preserve it for generations to come.

We cannot move forward, however, without taking a good hard look at how we got here. 

 There's a need for change in this world- and a need to learn from our mistakes.  We must rethink where and how we live and every other aspect of our lives so that we are not recklessly using up our natural resources and leaving our waste for future generations.  Our environmental dilemma is multi-faceted.  Obviously all of the problems are inter-related.  However, in this "Friday" exploration, I find it easier to examine just one issue at a time.

Our beautiful planet...

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