“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

Ask A Horse

Ask a horse what kind of day would be his favorite,
and he will tell you:
"blue skies, cool temperatures, no insects, with plenty of fresh, green,
spring grass in front of him."

Hooves down, that would be the best day for a horse.

He might also tell you that he would prefer to not be experiencing such a day
with a grazing muzzle on his face.
But, that's beside the point... not an option.

Yesterday was one such day.


We've been quite lucky this spring.
Summer has been in no rush to push Spring aside;
and so, we have enjoyed cooler than usual temperatures.

While the horses were out in the upper pastures, grazing,
the dogs and I took off for the Field of Dreams.
I wanted to immerse myself in the day...
in all of its sights, and sounds, and smells, and feels.

I packed up my tea, a quilt, my knitting and some camera equipment.
Would you like to come along?

If you are unable to see the above video,
please click on THIS LINK to watch it.

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Free At Last

After three weeks of yard-confinement,
the runner ducks were finally liberated yesterday.
Fingers are crossed that those nasty foxes do not make a return 
during daylight hours!

I opened the gate to their yard early yesterday morning and
all five waddlers with their six webbie toes apiece,
came jubilantly running out... tripping over their own feet and each other's as well.

They stopped for a nibble on the scratch that had been thrown for the guinea fowl
and then took off running in the direction of the upper pastures...
bills to the ground, searching for tasty bugs.
Another on-again-off-again storm rolled in, but the ducks kept going.

Later in the afternoon, I went searching for the five of them...
wanting to close them back in their yard for safety.
(We don't want to tempt fate, now, do we?)

I looked in their yard... no ducks.

I looked around the barn... no ducks.

"Chester, have you seen the ducks?"

"Now let me think..." he sighed, "hmmmmm.... nope."

I looked in the barn... two somnolent kitties had no clue.

"Moonie, have you seen the ducks?"

"Framphous shramgher," he replied.  

It's impossible to understand a Haflinger when he has a mouth-full
No one else would deign to answer my question...


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Farewell May

There's no doubt about it - 
meal time is everyone's favorite.
And though, at times, I know my animals are happy to see me,
at meal time they are just happy to see the food!

Now, when we enter the barn,
we are greeted by a mewing duet.

Several times a day we have a little head massaging session,
followed by a little cuddle.
The ferals are officially "not"!

I say this every week, I know...
once again... I cannot believe it's Friday!
Of course, it was a short week with Monday being Memorial Day.
But still... it flew by.
And what a week it was.

Beautiful sunshine interspersed with torrential downpours, hail,
and severe winds that took down trees and knocked out our power.
As bad as it was, it was nothing compared to what others endured this week.
We are quite lucky... only mildly inconvenienced.

Thanks to all of the rain, my garden is growing right in front of my eyes.
So are the weeds.
Check out one of my tomato boxes.

This is number 1 on my "to do" list for today.
It seems that every time I sit down and start to weed,
a storm blows through... forcing me to seek shelter.

It happened yesterday as I was picking salad greens for dinner.

All was calm when I left the house.
Then the sky grew dark... and darker...

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Food Is Love

I arrived at the barn early yesterday morning as the sun was rising
through a cloudy eastern sky,
to find this little "fellow" 
(I am prone to calling wild things "he")
struggling to stay afloat in the bucket of water we keep outside the barn
for passing dogs and kitties, guineas, and turkeys.

As so often happens with tiny wild things...
he must have hopped up into the bucket and had himself a good long drink,
only to find that he could not free himself from the grip of the water.
It saddens me when I find mice, toads, and other tiny wildlings
drowned in our water buckets.

Luckily, it was not too late for this fellow -
a happy ending for us both.

We turned a big corner over the past two weeks with the (no longer) feral
black barn kitties.

It seems they've come to learn that food is love and vice-versa.

Our every morning ritual at the barn is to give the barn kitties a little canned cat food.
It's more a treat than a meal.
They have dry food available to them at all times.

It's a treat they have all come to love and and to which they look forward.
TomTom (orange cat) greets us out by the pig yard each morning...
just to make sure we don't forget to come to the barn and feed him.

Bobby, TomTom, and...

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Yesterday was one of those days when the weather changed every 10 minutes...
making for a difficult day to get too heavily involved in outside work.
(We were under a severe weather/tornado watch for much of the day.)

I did manage to get the pasture cleaned between showers.

The equines had just come in from the front pasture,

so I wanted to clean up the day's manure.

While I was out, I opened the pig and sheep gate so that they could then
spend the rest of the day in the clean pasture.
(you wouldn't believe how much pig manure I find in the pasture...
and yes, I clean that up as well!)

While I was out in the pasture, I couldn't help but notice these two crazy guineas.
They were chasing each other at top speed.

If you have never seen a guinea run at top speed, you are definitely missing something.

They are fast!

Super fast!
This went on for at least a half hour.
How they don't collapse in exhaustion is beyond me!

The horses seem to have finished their spring shedding
and are pretty sleek now.

I am really happy with their weights... everyone is healthy looking.
Our weight management program has been a great success,
thanks to the addition of our Greenguard grazing muzzles.
(and no, this is not...

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Are Your Ducks In A Row?

Mine are!

I swear, of all our animals, these five are the most comical.

They awaken each morning and are ready to go as soon as their door swings open...
then off they go with an apparent agenda...
from here to there, and everywhere in between and back again!

They add so much life to the farm.
Non-stop action... most of the day.

With the exception of a few bathing and napping breaks,
they are patrolling the yards and fields keeping all of the insects at bay,
as they fill their bellies.

Best. Pesticide. Ever!
I would love to have a whole big flock of runner ducks.
How much fun would that be,
to see a flock of them running to and fro!

Remember winter when everything was monochromatic?

Not anymore!

Our world is now technicolor.

I am putting all of this color in the bank...
so I can draw from it next winter!

Guess who are up to their old tricks?

The guineas are once again making nests in my flower beds.
That explains their crazy behavior.

Ducks gather in flocks (or so I always thought), geese in a gaggle.
Do you know what a group of guineas are called?

If you have had guineas you will understand this.
A group of guineas is called a "confusion!"

I just read that a group of ducks is called a "raft" (that's a...

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Spectacular, breathtaking, awe-inspiring...
that is what yesterday was.
As the morning sun warmed our chilly land,
and the donkeys

and horses peacefully grazed...
(at opposite ends of the front pasture.)

I spent a few hours weeding in the vegetable garden,
and it was like being in my own personal heaven.

The air had been washed clean from the previous day's rains,
and there was a faint scent of honeysuckle drifting on a gentle breeze.
Overhead, our neighborhood bald eagle soared, searching for his breakfast.
The ducks were happily hunting bugs...

adding their chortles and quacks to the symphony of birdsong.
The bluest sky held tiny cottontail clouds as the sun rose higher and higher.

It was a moment to which I fiercely clung, using every sense to commit it to memory.

 Amazingly, this spring we have very few gnats.
Last summer they made gardening a nightmare.
It almost feels as though this spring is just a little too perfect.

I made a little video while I weeded:

You can find it here, if need be.

"Hey, you have visitors," Hubbs called as I weeded.
I looked over my shoulder to see the runner ducks waddling down the garden aisle.

"Move along, kids!" I said as I ushered them out of the gate.

They were...

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Green Is My Favorite Color

Every summer, my garden leaves me awestruck.
The wondrous events that take place there, right under my nose,
are nothing to take for granted.

How a tiny seed, carrying a plant's entire life's instruction manual
encoded on it's DNA,
grows into a huge nutrition-gifting biomass is nothing
short of a miracle.

Our weather this spring has been a gift...
plenty of rain and sunshine and mild temperatures
have made for the perfect growing season for spring crops.
About a week ago I harvested our broccoli.

It was sweet and tender.
Too much heat makes broccoli bitter - an experience we have had in the past
when Summer comes pushing her way past Spring,
rendering Spring powerless.

Yesterday I harvested the tender side shoots that grow
after the main floret is cut.
This will most likely be the end of the broccoli.
 I hope to plant more in the fall.

Another spring crop, cabbage, is doing especially well this year,
as tiny heads are quickly growing into kraut-worthy orbs.

The cucumber box is full of tiny pickles.
In a week or so I will have cucumbers galore!

Tomatoes are starting to form on the vines.
I have been extra vigilant this year in keeping the lower branches trimmed
from the stems to allow for adequate...

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What a Weekend!

We enjoyed a wonderful, fun weekend with family.
June is a big birthday month in our family, 
so our weekend started with a Friday night celebration of
our daughter-in-law's birthday (mom of The Littles).
We took Ashley and Andy to a restaurant in the city 
that is located in a big mansion on the river.

The evening was perfect as the sun set over the river.

Saturday morning, we headed back to the city to watch Tyler's last soccer game.
After the game, he and his Mom came to spend the weekend at the farm.

The following video chronicles this super fun weekend.

You can view the video HERE!!

Things that were not seen in the video...

this little fellow that we found in the fire pit...

a tiny milk snake.

Also, as I was making pancakes Sunday morning at our campfire breakfast,
and putting them on a plate behind me,
Brown Sammie was stealing them off the plate and eating them!
Bad Sammie!!

Saturday morning I found Sammie staring into this hemlock tree by the barn.

What had his attention?

Sunday afternoon we celebrated my Mom's birthday 
with lunch at a local winery.

It was a wonderful early summer weekend... temperatures stayed in the 70's
with a delightful breeze.
I don't remember a spring as temperate and...

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Surprise Visitors

We spent a wonderful day yesterday with our Littles.
It was a last-minute surprise visit of the very best kind.

On one of our many trips via "GoGo" as Easton likes to call it,
we stopped in the pig yard so that we could open their gate to the front pasture.

The front pasture is a space where these two had never before played,
and there was so much to explore.

 The pigs loved having visitors.
By the end of the visit, the pigs headed for their pool...

to cool down a little.

The Littles drove around the barnyard in their mini-gator.
Suddenly, Mackenzie shouted, "There's a frog in the gator!"

Sure enough, a little toad had made this space his home.

I picked him out of the gator and placed him in Mack's hand.

This girl has no fear.

Fascinated, she decided that she (apparently her name is Sophia) 
needed to live in my perennial garden
instead of the gator.
Mack carefully carried Sophia over to the garden and gently placed her on the ground.

We had a full day... playing, lunch, GoGo rides, swimming, running in the pastures,
doing animal chores...
non stop action the entire day!

We even spent a little time picking veggies in the garden.
These two ate raw asparagus and raw sugar pea.
We picked a kohlrabi...

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Taking The Winter Jacket Out of Storage

Yesterday was as spectacular as the preceding day...
with one little exception.
It was 37 degrees (F) yesterday morning when we awoke.
So, at 6 AM, as we were outside doing morning chores,
I was wearing my winter jacket once again.
It's hard to believe... June 4th... and I am in a winter jacket!

It's local strawberry season.  I found organic strawberries, locally!
It warmed up quickly, once the sun's rays kissed the land.
Thank goodness!

Shortcakes made from scratch (easy and delicious!).
By afternoon it was only 70 degrees, still a little chilly for June.
I set off to clean the front pasture of the manure from the morning's grazing,
while Hubbs used the tractor to mow the front pasture.

The sheep and pigs were out grazing...
giving the tractor wide berth.

And of course, when they saw me out scooping poop,
the pigs came over for a visit.

As I moved about the pasture,
the pigs moved along with me...

following Sammie as he sauntered across the pasture.

"Hey!!  The pigs keep following me!" Sammy called, nervously.

For some reason, the pigs freak him out just a little.

What he doesn't realize is that they just want to be friends.

Because we were out mowing and there was so much activity around the...

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Sadie's Been Waiting....

I am a firm believer that dogs have the ability to see our souls.
We cannot lie to dogs... they see us for what we are.
There are those amongst us to whom dogs and animals gravitate.
I believe that these persons are good and honest souls, and that dogs recognize that.

My father-in-law was one such soul.

He was one of our Bernese Mtn. dog's, Sadie's, favorite humans in all the world.
We lost (too soon) our sweet Sadie, years ago... 
and Saturday we lost our dear Dad/Jack/Grandpap.

Hubbs (Jack, the second) wrote this...

          John (Jack) Richard Frankeny, 89, passed away peacefully at his home in 
          Conneautville,  PA, on May 18, 2019.    
Jack was born on June 25th, 1929 in McKees Rocks, PA to Julius Frankeny and Gertrude Hufnagle.  
Jack is survived by: his loving wife of 49 years Donna C. Frankeny, his brother Albert Frankeny,  four children: Ivy Debasilio, Jack Frankeny II, Becky Marek, and Bob Frankeny, three step-sons: George Rozzo, Gregory Rozzo, and Geno Rozzo, 16 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.  
Jack enlisted into the Navy and served in the Korean War as a Petty Officer First Class.  He lived most of his life in the Pittsburgh area as the founder/owner/chief...

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Calling The Pigs Home

You are so right...
we are definitely surrounded by beautiful land here.
Of all the places I have been,
I have to say that the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania is surely my favorite.
And there is no time more beautiful than late spring.

Last night's golden-orange sunset made the woods look autumnal!

Yesterday was another stellar day, weather-wise.
We mowed and trimmed and hung laundry out to dry.
Amanda was working locally, so she came to stay at the farm for a couple days.
It was great to have help in the garden.

We did a little weeding and planting.

Weeks ago I promised to get a video to show you how fast our pigs can run.
Each evening we call them in from the front pasture for their dinner...

If you cannot see the video within this post,
you can find it HERE.

And so, dear friend, it is Friday once again.
We are having guests today and tomorrow... a friend of Amanda's and
her two year old son are coming for a farm visit.
Then, on Saturday, I am heading to NYC with a friend to see a show.
Sunday will be a quiet day on the farm.
It's the perfect mix of everything, this weekend!
Hope your weekend is whatever you need it to be.

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A Feast For The Senses

I have found that the way to make any day magical,
at this time of year,
is to spend it outside.

I had planned to head to the woods early yesterday morning.
However, we awoke to a 36 degree morning,
making it just a little brisk for mushroom hunting.

Instead, I picked fresh asparagus and radishes,
and made duck egg omelettes for breakfast.
By the time breakfast was over, the temperature was in the fifties and heading towards 60.

With a full stomach, I loaded the gator with my camera equipment and Sammie,
and headed out to the woods with Annie and Chester in tow.

For the dogs, getting to the woods is just as fun as being in the woods.
Running through the hay field becomes a game of hide and seek.

Chester's smile is evidence of his joy.

We pass the pigs, out in the front pasture,

and the horses, happily grazing in the upper pastures.

Eventually, we enter the woods and make our way back the trail 

towards the tent.

Mother Nature doesn't disappoint at this time of year.

There is so much to see...

so much magic!

The air is filled with the fragrance of wild flowers and we find them in every hue...
wild Columbine...

at the edge of the woods...

in meadows...

 and tucked in every available sun-lit space.


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More (Happy) Surprises

Well... the rain continued yet another day,

but today looks hopeful for some sun.
Hopefully, everyone will be able to emerge from their houses and enjoy a dry day.

These past few rainy days have helped me to get some extra
inside chores finished.
I purged my sewing room of old quilting scraps and donated them to our
local fabric/fiber store to be used in a "Pop-up" free-for-all...
a fun event for those interested in lots of free sewing and knitting goodies.
I am currently working on a cropped, boxy, wool cardigan sweater from a very
small-gauged (fingering) yarn and small needles.
The yarn is brown and the inside of the front pocket will be knit in 
robin's egg blue.

Because most of my time these days is devoted to outside work,
it will take me a few months to finish this project.
Luckily, I won't need a wool sweater until autumn.

Yesterday, during morning chores, one of my favorite hens, Ivanka,
appeared at the gate to the chicken yard.
She had a flesh wound on her back, but otherwise seemed in good shape...
not weakened at all.

She must have spent the previous 24 hours in hiding.
We let her in with the rest of the hens and she immediately began to eat.
Sadly, I cannot say the same for our...

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Chicken Woes and Going Paperless

We are still reeling from our chicken loss of this past weekend.
But, as always, we forge ahead.
I ordered 25 newly hatched chicks, which will arrive in early June.
Until they are raised, we will have few eggs to share with our family and friends.
It's all so very sad.

Yesterday morning I did find this fellow hiding in one of the goat houses.

He was very traumatized and I am not sure if he will make it or not.
It all depends upon whether he has any internal damage.
All birds will remain on yard arrest until the threat of hunting foxes has ended.

Yesterday was another solid day of rain.
We are quite soggy around here.
And so I spent the day indoors.... cleaning, sewing, and knitting.
The only outside activities were the required visits to our animal
friends for feeding times.

Today I thought we could chat a little more about sustainability...
specifically, reducing our paper consumption.
After all, we love our trees!!

I have stopped buying toilet paper made from paper... and instead buy rolls
made from sugar cane and bamboo.
It's nice and soft on the bum... but not as soft for blowing noses.

I have to share a secret about myself with you.
I love paper... I mean LOVE... L.O.V.E love it.
Ever since I...

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Memorial Day Gardening

Yesterday was spectacular!
I took advantage of the sun and perfect temperature - 
spending time in the garden.

Everything is blooming.
Everything is growing.

A little sun mixed with adequate rain 
(we've had storms with torrential downpours almost every other day)

is the perfect
formula for abundance...
in flowers and veggies, as well as weeds.

I did a little garden video for you...
if you cannot see it in this post,
click HERE to view the video.
Beware, though... I just might put you to work!

(Note to self... next time have the video camera higher than your face to 
counteract the effect of gravity.... geesh!)

At the end of it all, though, this side of the garden is much improved!
And - we had asparagus for dinner... surprised?

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The Littles Plus One

Happy Memorial Day, friends!
I couldn't resist a quick visit over the fence - to share with you 
a few smiles from our Saturday picnic.
In addition to our own "Littles" (sadly, Tyler could not join us),
we had Jack's four-year-old niece, Paige, here for the weekend...
which was a big treat for Mackenzie.
I hope you don't mind me sharing a few highlights of the day.

Two fairies (complete with wings and tiaras, of course) 
have tea and cakes...

and of course, the elves were invited as well!

Such good manners...

"Do you need some cream?"
Oops... we're losing our tiara!

Chester watches from beneath the bed...
(don't mind the sand on the floor... our fairies were covered in sand from the horse arena)

There were many visits with the animals.

Obsessed with driving and riding everything possible,
Easton says, "Pig!  I ride!"
Sorry, Easton, we can't ride the pigs.

Easton probably said one hundred times that day...
"I ride GoGo!"
(GoGo being anything with a motor.)

Re-arranging fairy gardens...

Imaginations are wonderful at this age!

Our pint-sized, electric gator was a hit.
The girls are off on an adventure....

" I ride GoGo!"

Garden fun...

"We picked radishes!" 

"I ride GoGo!"

Making memories is at the top of my...

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Piggy Kisses

It's fly mask season once again.
The equines wear their fly masks during the daytime to keep
the insects from driving them crazy.

Yesterday afternoon a storm was brewing and it began to rain,
so Jack took everyone's fly masks off.

There's nothing worse than wearing a soggy fly mask!

Of course, Chloe did not have to have hers removed,
because Chloe is just not about to wear a fly mask.

No amount of bribery will convince her that it is even remotely a good idea.
No fly mask for Chloe.
This is nothing new.  At some point last year she just put her foot down
and refused.
Donkeys never forget!

After the equines came in from the pasture yesterday,
we went out and cleaned up manure.
At this time of year we try to keep the pastures clean at all times.
Doing so helps to keep away the parasites.

While we were there, we ran into this fellow.

The dogs were quite curious, but were instructed to "leave it".
After all, there is no good reason to stress-out a turtle!

When the horses leave the front pasture,
the pigs and sheep get access to it.

And of course, seeing us there cleaning up manure...
MaryAnn just had to come say hello.

I gave her a start, however.
She didn't seem to recognize me at first with a hat...

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It's hard to be sad,
when there are so many smiling faces around.

Everywhere I look are sweet souls with wide eyes, big hearts,

and toothy grins...

always ready to share a moment.

I know that having the responsibility for so many critters is not for everyone.
I get it.

It's a lot of work... a lot of responsibility.

But, for me, it's the best life I can imagine.

And at the end of the day... no matter how the day unfolded...
they are always there with cheesy, furry smiles...

and wide open hearts...

accepting me as part of their family.

I am so grateful for this life...
for this opportunity to care for these sweet souls.
Life is good.

I've got to tell you... I am so loving this spring.
After so many springs that too quickly morphed into summer,
it's great to have a one that stays for a while.
When we awoke yesterday morning, it was only 40 degrees outside.
By day's end it reached 70... absolute perfection.
I know the heat of summer will soon be here...
so I am enjoying each and every one of these cool, beautiful days!

Each day brings new surprises in the gardens.

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Today's blog is brought to you by the color purple.

Purple seems to be a predominant color in the garden right now.
And though the lilacs have finished,
the Baptisia (false indigo) is just beginning to bloom.

This is one of my favorite perennials, 
as it grows bigger and better each year...
(up to a point and then it seems to begin to shrink.)

Iris is beginning to pop up here and there in the perennial garden.

Clematis is climbing against the barn wall.

Beside the clematis are peonies... another favorite.

We are enjoying a lovely stretch of spring weather.
Most of yesterday was relatively cool and breezy...

The breeze kept the gnats away, so it was the perfect day to work
in the vegetable garden.
All of the boxes are planted now, 
and in some, the seedlings are mature and veggies are starting to form.
In no time at all we will be inundated with vegetables.

I have been spending countless hours outside these days...
between garden chores and animal chores,
the days are full.

Yesterday morning we received the oddest phone message.
It was from a neighbor that has a farm about a mile away.
She wanted to warn us that someone down the road from her had stopped
to tell her that he had a wild boar...

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I Don't Mind Spiders And Snakes

If there is one thing that country life gets one accustomed to...
it's all things creepy and crawly!
It's unavoidable.

Some people have an innate response of revulsion at the mere sight of
these creatures.
Luckily, I am not affected in that manner.
I have learned to take these creepy-crawly and slithering beings in my stride.
Hubbs, on the other hand is not a fan... especially when the element of surprise
is added to the equation.

Last summer, one morning, as I was raising the garage door on the tractor shed,
a snake fell from overhead onto my shoulder and then down onto the ground.

Amazingly, I was un-phased.
Many would have passed out, I am sure.
Last week, the same thing happened to Jack.
Door raised... snake fell from above.
Amazingly, he, too, was relatively un-phased... 
although it wasn't the type of surprise he enjoys.

After that incident, Jack did a little investigating inside the garage,
only to find that Sir Snake (a black snake) has made the garage
his home and spends much of his time on the horizontal wood that runs just beneath the roof line.

Sometimes he can be found lounging directly above the garage door,
sometimes, on top of the cabinets.

The up-side of having this fellow (or gal)...

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Just A Quick Chat...

It feels as though we are neighbors, you and I...
neighbors who chat across the pasture fence each day.
I tell you what's been happening on the farm...
but I have to guess what you've been up to! (feel free to enlighten me!)

Today our chat will be quick,
for, you see, I spent yesterday morning keeping my little people.
I was a polar bear and they were taking care of me....
making me stone soup to eat.
(Who needs toys when you have landscaping stones underneath the deck
and an endless imagination!)

The rest of my day was dedicated to getting my tomatoes and peppers into the ground.
I planted 30 tomato plants...
green, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, black and blue tomatoes.

I love planting colorful tomatoes... and yes, those colors really exist...
some are subtle, so are bold... I'll show you when I harvest them!

I also put in 16 hot pepper plants and 16 sweet pepper plants.
We fell in love with hot pepper jelly last season, so I will be making more of that
this year.

We had our first meal of fresh picked asparagus, and it was heavenly.
I can hardly wait for the next.

And now, dear neighbor, I am going to wave goodbye and head back to my garden.
It's time to add a few perennial flowers to the...

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Golden Hour

There are two times each day when 
(on a sunny day)
the sun's rays shine horizontal across the land
making the most wonderful golden glow.
It's that hour right before dusk, the golden hour.

Everything green becomes electric.
The colors of the landscape pop.
It's the perfect time to take photographs.

I was out last evening during the golden hour getting an early start 
to the tuck-in routine.

I mucked the dry lot, cleaned all of the waterers and 
worked on shedding the horses.

I used the shedder and removed gobs of winter fur.

The ponies were quite curious about a muck bucket full of fur.

As I worked on the littles, Moonbeam sniffed around my pockets,

looking for treats.

There's a behavior that is common to horses known as mutual grooming.
I often see my horses standing face to face and neck to neck using
their front teeth to scratch each other on the withers.

While I was working on shedding Red,
he in turn began grooming Ollie and Donnie.
And then, in turn, Donnie began bumping me in the butt,
as if he was thinking about grooming me as well.

"No, thank-you, Donnie,"  and I moved a little out of his reach.

We had a spectacularly sunny day yesterday,
and much of the water from the previous day's showers...

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What Do May Showers Bring?

Have you noticed a shift in seasons?
It seems that in recent years, seasons change a little later than they used to.
As a result, those April showers that we used to sing about
are happening more and more in May.

And right now we are in the midst of them!

Friday morning we were scheduled for a preschool visit.
Friday morning we awoke to rain.
Luckily, the rain stopped in time for our little visitors.

We had such a wonderful time sharing our farm and our animals with
this enthusiastic group of preschoolers.
The turkeys were in integral part of the day... following us everywhere we went.

They were happy to get up close and personal with all of the animals.
I couldn't convince any of them to give the donkeys a kiss, however.
(Donkeys love kisses!)

We collected freshly-laid eggs and the kids were amazed at how warm they are.

I took them in the horse lot, two by two, so that they could touch all of the horses.
Moonbeam reached his head down and snatched up
a gold glittery barrette from one of little girl's pigtails...
moving it around inside his mouth like a lozenge and them spitting it out on the ground.

"Here you go," I laughed, as I handed it back to the little girl's Mom.
I'm pretty sure that one...

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This morning, 36 children and their parents and siblings will arrive
for a farm visit.
Along with visiting the animals and running free in wide open spaces,
I hope to offer them a glimpse into the world of make-believe as well.

Children have an innate ability to conjure the world of make-believe at will...
and for them it becomes reality.
That is the gift of an unencumbered imagination.
Somewhere along the path towards maturity, we often let go of that part of ourselves,
and replace it with the day-in-day-out thoughts that clutter our minds
and repress our creativity.

I don't know about you, but there is much of me that still feels child-like.
And though I am now old enough to collect Social Security,
it seems like just yesterday that I collected a quarter left under my pillow by 
the tooth fairy.
Not a Christmas Eve passes, that a part of me doesn't have at least one ear
tuned to the sky in order to hear the faint, distant tinkling of sleigh bells.

I was introduced to the realm of the little people and the fae when I was
a child, and have felt a strong attraction to that realm ever since.

I choose to live a life of enchantment.
I choose to call the ordinary... EXTRAORDINARY!
And though it takes a...

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Change of Plans

I did not spend the first of May with my fingers in the dirt as I had planned.
No, I turned fair-weather-gardener and opted for other activities.
With an all-day threat of rain, I decided to forgo the cold, damp day
and postpone my garden chores for a sunnier time... perhaps this afternoon.

What I did, instead, was pick a handful of violets to candy.
While I was out picking violets, I ran into this little one.

I've been seeing baby groundhogs down by our old log cabin.
This one was not afraid of me at all, but just sat there watching me
as I walked right up to it and snapped a photo.

Then, back home with a handful of dainty, purple violets.

Candying violets is simple:
Beat an egg white until frothy.
Paint the egg white on the violet petals, front and back, with a little paintbrush,
and then sprinkle generously with very fine sugar.
Allow to dry overnight.

Of course I needed something on which to place the violets,
so I baked chocolate-sour cream cupcakes with buttercream/cream cheese frosting.

Oh, how I love a good cupcake!

Jack, however, is not a cupcake fan, but prefers less sweet desserts that have nuts.
For him, I pulled some sour gooseberries out of the freezer,
and added them into...

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Coloring My World

Yesterday was another one of those perfect spring days....
not hot... not cold... just right...
blue skies with light fluffy clouds...
birds singing...

We walked the horses to the upper pasture for the morning.

Meanwhile, the pigs, sheep, and donkeys occupied the front pasture.

While everyone was happily grazing,
I took a drive down the road to the greenhouse and stocked up on flowers...

waving at the neighbors on the way.
With 36 preschoolers and their parents coming to the farm on Friday,
I thought it might be a good idea to get everything in top shape.

I planted the buckets on this ladder,

but had to skip the upper-most bucket,
as it has a Carolina wren nest inside...

with teeny, tiny eggs.

I planted a lot of the planters around the garden,
and hung begonias on the side of the garden shed...

I cleaned up the first of several fairy gardens and planted some new tiny plants.
Meanwhile, Jack cut down a few dead apple trees from our orchard
and chopped the wood for use in the smoker.

It's a process, and one that takes several weeks to complete.
I am waiting another two weeks to finish the vegetable garden...
when I am certain that there is no more frost in our future.

Oh, how I love this time...

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Sheep Shearing Time

The day finally arrived.
After weeks of warm weather and hot, wooly sheep...
shearing day arrived yesterday.

The funny thing was, though, we awoke yesterday morning to a frigid 25 degrees!

Luckily I had covered my flowers.
I did not, however, cover any of the veggie plants.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that these poor frozen plant-lings survive in the long run.

We had confined the sheep to the barn for the night,
in preparation for their shearing.
Getting them to the barn and into a stall is the hardest part of the whole ordeal,
so doing it a day ahead is essential.

And having them confined in the barn made it so much easier
for Dr. Becky to administer their yearly vaccinations.

They didn't even flinch.

When the sheep shearer sets the girls back on their butts,
it is quite obvious how chubby they are.
Thankfully, much of their size is due to their huge fleeces.

But still... they are chubby sheep.
(It's a breed thing!)

Yesterday morning I had one dirty white sheep and one brown sheep.

Today I have one white sheep and one sheep that is grey with black spots.
Faith used to be my black sheep.
Now she looks exactly like her Mama, Gracie, looked when she was alive.

Shearing was done without any issues.

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