“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

Snowstorm

We are in the midst of a major snow event.  It has been snowing for over 30 hours and may not stop until tomorrow morning!  And with the current weather conditions, I don't believe the groundhog would be able to see anything, much less his shadow.  Any way you look at it... there's still a little over six weeks until spring.

Here, on the farm, everyone spends their snow days differently.

Some, like the chickens and the pigs, mostly stay inside where it's dry and toasty warm.

Others prefer full immersion... sort of an "if you can't beat it, join it" attitude.

I tried to get the ducks to go into their house, where the guineas are staying for now,

but, they'd have no part of it and immediately went right back out in the snow.

 I  may have mentioned once or twice before... sheep are a little bit lazy and a whole lot filthy.          

 So, true to form...lying in the snow,

 means pooping where you are.  

Don't worry, I brush the accumulated snow off their backs at regular intervals.  You'd think they'd have the sense to use their houses and stay out of the snow.  I guess when you have a full-body wool parka that is impervious to anything, you just don't give a hoot about snow on your back......

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A Cozy, Slow-Living Weekend on the Farm

It's snowing here this morning, and has been since yesterday morning.  


Our world has morphed into a winter wonderland of sparkling crystal.  Here is a glimpse of how our weekend unfolded...

You can view the video, here, on YouTube if it does not show above.

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Slow Living... Farm Style

 This week, on our second trip to the feed store for equine worming paste (you might remember that Ollie wore his first dose on his cheek)... I happened to spy this lovely little sheep-sized hay feeder.

It was just the perfect size for our wooly gals, and the best part is the tray beneath that catches dropped hay... thus reducing waste.  And yes, the tray has drainage holes... first thing that I checked!

It had to come home with us.  I was as excited about a new hay feeder as I would be about a new frock.  I don't know what it is... but I just love farm equipment. 

Apparently, the girls are quite happy with their new feeder as well.

The old one was large and much of the hay that I would put into it would end up on the ground with Hope lying on top of it (pooping on it).  Next project will be to build a little pavilion over top of the hay feeder.... as soon as the weather warms enough to work in an unheated workshop.

There's nothing cuter that one of the sheepy girls with a mouth full of hay....

except, maybe, two sheepy girls with hay mouths!

Yesterday was a colder than cold day.  With clear blue skies (no clouds to trap any of the sun's warmth) and a cold breeze blowing, it was the...

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Winter's Inspiration

The thing about winter is this: 

When all looks asleep or dead, even - life lies waiting, just beneath the surface.  The energy, tucked beneath a blanket of snow, is abuzz just inches beneath the frozen crust of the earth and is growing each day, until that day when it breaks free from Winter's bonds and brings forth new life.   There has been no winter that was not followed by spring.  Spring relies upon Winter, as Summer on Spring.


I love the austere beauty of this time of year.  From inside warm outerwear, I embrace the cold on my cheeks and in my lungs and am thankful that I can experience this world in such sharp contrasts.

I refuse to see winter as an imposition, for without this...

there would be no this!


Isn't there something about snow that takes us back to our childhood?  To memories of sledding and snow forts and snowball battles... soggy woolen mittens with frozen fingers tucked inside...rosy cheeked smiles staring up at the sky from angels fashioned beneath... the warm treats that awaited inside the house... so many wonderful memories.


 And though this time of year brings with it hard work...
I choose to lose myself in the beauty and the memories it inspires.


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Another Chapter

 As happens when we have a snowstorm, life slows down a bit.   There is much less animal activity during these times of winter hibernation, and so, today I am going to take this opportunity to share with you another book chapter.  It still may need some editing, so please ignore any grammatical errors that I may have missed.  

I hope you enjoy another look back....



Chapter #?

It was the sixth day…

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  (from the King James Bible.)  


Depending upon what version you read, the words are translated to “rule” or “be master of”, but the meaning is the same… leaving mankind with the notion that he is somehow “in charge”.  Imagine how different our world might be if the original translation had been for us to have “stewardship” over the earth rather than “dominion.”


Here on the farm, our philosophy is one of stewardship.  From a purely historical perspective, the creatures of the earth were here long before modern humans were.  The earth belongs...

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The Hole In My Kitchen Is Gone

Oh my goodness!  By the time you read this post, another 2- 3 inches of snow will have fallen on the farm.  I have no words.  I can only watch and appreciate the beauty, right?

Yesterday while I was out doing afternoon chores, I sat in the snow in the dry lot  with Griz on my lap, next to where the donkeys were enjoying their snack of hay.  

These girls are just the sweetest.  But, they are definitely my donkeys.  We understand each other.

Of course, I couldn't just sit there and enjoy the moment.  No, Mr.(s) Nosie Pants (1 and 2)

 had to come see what was happening in our little love fest, and, of course, break it up.

I'd like to think they were there to visit with me, but I am pretty sure it was the hay that called them.

  No worries, the donkeys moved on to another spot and continued their munching.

I used to worry during the cold winter months that perhaps our horses were cold.  I have learned over the years that they are toasty warm within their fluffy coats.  All one need do is sink your fingers into their manes, and you can feel the heat radiating off of them.

Even their little legs are covered in a long coat of fluff.

I mentioned early in January that my wall oven had died.  I...

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Red Snow?

 It seems we are caught in a cycle of frigid weather with repeating snows.  

Another inch fell yesterday morning.  Just about the time that an old snow starts to look dingy, a new one covers everything up and makes the world clean and bright again.  It's lovely.  (If we don't proclaim the wonder of these little snowstorms, we might bemoan the disappearance of the earth beneath our feet.)  Ice cleats are the fashion statement of the month around here!

Every time it snows, I come across this phenomenon in the dry lot. 

Red (or orange) urine in the snow. 

 Many new horse owners have telephoned their veterinarians in their first winter, fearful that their horse is passing bloody urine.  It's a common question asked of vets.   And happily the answer puts all at ease.

This is a completely normal phenomenon that occurs after the urine is exposed to sunshine.  Plant metabolites, known as pyrocatechines, within the urine, react with the sun and turn shades of pink, orange, or red.  Personally, I think that every new horse should come with a tag stating this possibility.  New horse owners would gratefully be saved from undue stress and anxiety!

With yesterday's snow, I have precious little to...

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Silver Linings

They say that every cloud has a silver lining.  I can attest to the fact that some clouds even have gold linings! 

The upside of a cloudy dawn is the magnificence of the sunrise that happens when the clouds are at just the right spot.

Yesterday’s sunrise had many magical moments.  As we began our morning chores :

With the ducks, guineas, horses, donkeys, sheep and pigs cared for we head across the farm to finish our chores - chicken, turkey, and goat chores remained.  Way at the end of our pasture fence, the sun is rising higher and the clouds are on fire.

Sunrise at the vanishing point.

Pulling oneself out of bed when it is still dark outside is very often rewarded with scenes such as these. To me, seeing the morning sky like this is better than an extra half hour of sleep any day!  Yesterday, as the sun rose, the mercury was hovering around 7˚ F.... bone-chilling cold, yes - but, invigorating as well. 

Hubbs and I ran to town to pick up fresh veggies at the grocery store.  How wonderful it is when we can forgo this errand and run to our garden instead!  We are still eating some things out of last summer's garden... onions and potatoes, pickles,  and frozen tomatoes and peppers...

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Groundhog Day, Again

 Mother Nature served up a snow sandwich this weekend - two slices of blue-skied sunny weather, with a thin filling of snow between them.  

It started snowing Sunday morning during morning chores; and, luckily, the snow that we could have ended up having never materialized.

Instead, an inch was dropped which melted by the time we went out for afternoon chores.  The filling to our sandwich melted before we got a good taste of it!

February has felt, to me, a little like the movie "Groundhog Day"... where every day seems a bit like the day before ( a feeling I guess we are all experiencing this year!). Although there is plenty to keep us busy here on the farm, this February, with its frequent snows keeps us indoors a little more than we like.  

 I may have mentioned before that I have a little bit of a gypsy heart.  Although mostly a homebody, I love heading out to explore the countryside.  In the warmer months, I have frequent adventures on my bike.  But it's way too cold for outdoor biking in the winter, and so I occasionally get a touch of cabin fever.  

To combat this feeling, I have sewed, knitted, baked, painted and cleaned out most every closet and drawer.

All that to say......

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Out and About

After several cold, snowy days, the sun came out yesterday and everyone ventured out into the warm sunshine.


Although they stick to the shoveled paths within their yards, 

they seem to enjoy being out in the fresh air and sunshine.

Even Griz came along for afternoon chores.

and grabbed a quick drink from the goat water.


However, stuck between a snow bank and two turkeys was more than he could tolerate... as he meowed loudly for me to save him.


He had absolutely no reason to fear Tom and Fred... but how do you explain that to a kitty!

With a cold front on the horizon, the melting from this warm day will be minimal.  We are hearing rumblings that a high pressure area in the arctic may be headed our way with more significant snow.  Time will tell.

Besides the aesthetic appeal of a snowy countryside, it is Winter's snow that has the biggest impact on our water table.  Once the deciduous trees awaken in the spring, they utilize most of the water from spring rains to push forth and hydrate their leaves.  It's only during winter, when nothing needs to "drink" the rain and snow, that the water table gets the full benefit. 

*********************************

I read this translated chapter from the...

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Shoveling - Snow and Flour

 This has been the snowiest winter that I can remember since childhood.  Yesterday morning we awoke to a fresh, new four inches on top of what was left from the last storm.  And, if the predictions are correct for the next several days, we are in for another 8 or 9 inches.


I spent a bit of yesterday morning re-shoveling paths for the animals.  For the sheep, it wasn't necessary, as they had plowed their way around their yard and settled in for their morning nap in the middle of the snow.


This is their ideal weather, I believe.

As for me, I spent the day indoors, baking.  I started two loaves of sourdough wheat bread which I will be baking this morning.  Whenever I bake bread, I must first feed my starter. 


This process produces an extra amount of starter that I hate to waste.  Luckily, there are many things that you can make with the discarded starter.  Yesterday I made pancakes that were the texture and taste of crumpets.


Because Valentines Day is this weekend, I baked treats for my grandchildren which I will deliver this weekend.  Cookies...


And carrot-cake cupcakes - packed and ready for delivery,


and just a few for Hubbs and me -


My kids had given me these silicone cupcake liners...

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Revelers and Marauders

Yesterday was a momentous occasion.  For the first time in a couple of months, Moonie and his family spent the morning out in the upper pastures.

Normally, we walk the whole crew en masse, but yesterday I thought it prudent to walk Moonie by himself.  Yesterday was the first for leading him by halter and lead rope any long distance since he became one-eyed.  Normally I lead him by standing on his left side.  Moonie usually ends up following me or picking his own side (we're not very strict around here).  Since his left side is his blind side, I thought he might appreciate seeing me as we walked together, so I started out on his right instead.  Our walk was uneventful - so that is good.

Upon reaching the pasture, I turned him loose and he took off running in his usual manner - joyful!

Within minutes, we brought the rest of the herd up to join him and they all ran around like they hadn't been out in years- running, bucking, kicking.... the equine version of whooping and hollering!  Sadly, they were too far away for me to get a photo of the celebration.  Within a minute, they settled down to the task of munching.


 Equally happy to see them were Sid and Shirley (Becky's two) across the...

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AWOL Donkeys and Avian Real Estate

 For some, I think, the fear of venturing outdoors in the cold is worse than actually venturing out.  I have learned that with appropriate dress, it is actually more pleasant to be out in the cold than it is to be out during the heat of summertime.  But then, I am quite active while I am outside... and that makes a big difference.

I love spending cold, sunny days outside wandering about the farm and the woods.

Spending time quietly observing our animals is a treat...

especially when they ignore my presence.

Although some are unable to mind their own business- unable to resist the opportunity to see just what it is I am doing sitting by the pasture fence.

Yesterday, after chores were finished and a little inside work completed, I headed out with my camera in hand.  I had wanted to find the pair of early-arriving bluebirds that I had seen just three days before.  I had alerted Hubbs, who always cleans out the bluebird houses in the first week of February, that I had already seen a couple.

He immediately hastened to get all bluebird accommodations ready for guests.  You see, we have about  twenty bluebird houses scattered throughout the farm - most of them hanging, appropriately spaced,...

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Optimism

Each day begins, 

unfolding like a mystery.

Our job is to be present,

to watch and observe,

and join in wherever we can ... making it the best we can.

Yesterday was a day filled with hope.  No matter your race, your creed, your religion, your politics- yesterday marked a new beginning.  

 

May we all join together in praying for a better world.  May we be like these precious animals... celebrating our "sameness" in spite of our differences and living together in harmony.

May we all work together to spread love in this world, where it is so badly needed.  

I am praying that vaccines get distributed with expedience, so that we can all get back to hugging those we love!

*******************

After looking through photos of last summer's color, I was in the mood for a taste of summer... a remembrance of what was and what is to come.

 I had frozen lots of raspberries - both wild and garden berries - so I took two bags of berries from the freezer and cooked them with a little sugar...

fresh raspberry jam! 

 With seeds, because I have a hubby who loves texture!  I need to make some multi-grain bread for this jam.  (Rosemary bread and raspberry jam just doesn't sound great to...

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If You're Missing Summer's Colors, This Post is For You!

Not long after Christmas... before the decorations are even put away, the seed catalogs start taking up a large portion of our mailbox each day.  It's never too early to start to dream about the coming Summer's gardens.

The cold days of January- as the garden boxes lay bare... safely tucked in beneath a blanket of nourishing compost- 

are the perfect time for immersing myself in dreams of color. 

 I sift through the pages of the catalogs... thinking of the spaces that I will have to fill when the weather is warm enough to once again work the soil. 

I think about the flowers that I started in the greenhouse last season and decide which of those I'd like to repeat.  Zinnias, of course... always zinnias.  They are just about the happiest flower I can think of.

The big winner of last summer was the gomphrena (globe amaranth).  

 Every few days I would pick a handful and bring them into the house.  When fresh, gomphrena already have the feel of a dried flower - so, drying them is just a matter of waiting for the moisture to leave the stems.  This is one flower that needs not be hung up to dry, but can simply lie in a pile til dry.  Each handful that I picked was added to this hanging...

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Tranquil Moments

 There's no doubt about it.  I love living in a four-season world.  My heart overflows with joy during our seasons of color.  And yet, I love the cold, grey days of winter as well. 

 I pulled my muck cart around the front pasture yesterday afternoon cleaning up after my equine family had spent the morning there grazing. 

 Dressed warmly, I felt the cold on my face as the winter wind blew through the big, old pine tree in the front pasture.  To me it's such a peaceful sound - the song of wind through pine needles. 

 It was the only sound at the time - the bird and insect choruses silenced by the cold - the brush on a snare drum rhythm of wind in needles.  Oh, and the purring of Griz on my shoulder. 

 Constant purring.  Un-interrupted purring.  And licking.  And more purring.

Cold wind.  Warm purring.  

I walked through the pasture with an ever-growing manure bucket in tow...  sure-footed Griz holding onto my shoulder like a mountain goat on a rocky ledge.  No matter what, he was not going to lose his perch!

Over in the dry lot, the herd was peacefully napping... after having given everything they had to the front pasture.

We passed the gate to the pig yard and MaryAnn and Ginger came...

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Farm Life - Good Life

There's more than one way to skin a cat - so I've heard.

Today's post has nothing to do with cats, however; but it does have a little to do with the importance of having a plan B.  Perhaps a good title would be "Baking Bread When Your Oven Is Dead."

I spent yesterday editing weekend video footage... so, today's blog is a video.  I am hoping that you, too, will feel as though you spent a little part of your weekend here on the farm with us!

A vlog, if you will....


If the video does not show above,
you can find it HERE on my YouTube channel.

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We Are What We Wear

 I am sure, by now, you have figured out that I have a real bug-a-boo about plastic.  We have tried to wipe it out of our lives wherever possible, and quite often pick items at the grocery store based upon their packaging.   A lot of thought goes into re-stocking our pantry and doing so requires us to shop at several different grocery stores.  One carries mustard and ketchup in a glass jar, while another has a better selection of organic produce, etc.  We stay organized with a shared list on our phones based upon what we get at which store - and we keep plenty in stock to minimize the amount of trips we have to make.



 I know... life can be so complicated.  It's the price of trying to be as conscientious a consumer as possible.

We've talked a lot about sustainability with regards to food.  Today I want to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart - clothing.  Yes, I love clothes.  To me, clothes are not just a utilitarian necessity, but they are also an outward reflection of one's personality.    They are a form of self-expression.  Even a minimalist wardrobe is an expression of a mindset.

Although I could easily live with a minimalist wardrobe - to me, life would not...

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Hoping For A Record

 Yesterday's blog generated a few comments about our lovely Steelers hen.  We actually have two of these black and gold beauties - gold-laced Wyandottes.  They came to us last year with the 7 chickens we were given by a friend who was moving across the country and could not take her flock with her.  We referred to them as the Russians, as their mama was of Russian heritage.


 As sometimes happens with chickens who are confined to a small, grassy yard... these two girls came to us with long, inward-curling toe nails.  This happens when chickens have no hard surface on which to scratch.  As a result, they walk a little funny and are hesitant to stray too far from their coop. Occasional cutting of their nails helps.

Another of our chickens that I think is quite striking is our Speckled Sussex.


As with birds, in general, it's the males that are the showiest and our Rooster, Elwood, is quite handsome,  as well as huge!  He's an excellent rooster and takes his job of caring for his girls quite seriously.  He also avoids all human contact, which is perfect after our history with roosters who would run us down and flog us!

Each morning, the last stop on our morning rounds is the turkey...

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When The Rain Freezes

Besides the softest patter of freezing rain on the roof, yesterday was almost silent.  Our world stood motionless as the thinnest layer of ice coated everything.

It was not a day for venturing outdoors, unless completely necessary... which, is the category that animal chores falls into.


We wormed the herd yesterday... administering a paste wormer that supposedly tastes like apple.  

The horses weren't buying the whole apple idea.  With resignation, they swallowed their dose and asked for a peppermint chaser.  Everyone cooperated, with the exception of tight-lipped Ollie, whose dose ended up in his cheek fur.  We will have to re-visit the feed store this morning to get another box of wormer so that we can this time get Ollie's dose into his mouth.

Aside from that, absolutely nothing worthy of a report happened yesterday on this quiet, still day.   The fireplace was the center of my day... and I used the time to make headway on the current knitting project.


I had to laugh, Karen, at your comment.  You are absolutely right.  We stumbled onto the graham cracker treats for the animals after Hubbs came home from the grocery store one day so proud of himself for finding a great deal on...

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Thank You, Sylvester Graham!

I remember the days, long ago... when I would leave school, late afternoon, a stack of books on my arm; and hurriedly head for home.  I'd walk briskly, hoping to be home in time to catch the drama unfolding between Angelique and Barnabas Collins.  I'd sit there entranced with the latest episode of Dark Shadows... a sleeve of Ritz crackers, a jar of peanut butter, and grape jelly on the coffee table in front of me.  In the middle of each cracker, I'd shape a tiny volcano of peanut butter and fill its crater with a dollop of grape jelly.  In one bite, I'd consume this treat.  Mold, fill, munch, repeat... washed down with a tall, cold glass of milk.

This particular snack has morphed over the years with a base of organic, multi-grain crackers, instead, and no milk, but I still have a soft spot for the buttery crunch of a Ritz!

Up until recently I believed that all it took to tame any beast was a sleeve of Ritz crackers.

And then we had sheep... who, unlike any of our other farm animals, were lukewarm about these flakey, buttery treats.  What I didn't know at the time was that our sheep each had a sweet tooth.

It wasn't until last year's introduction to graham crackers that any real...

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Messy Gardens, Canine Nurses, and Little Smiles

 I am not one of those people who have beautiful gardens year round.  If you visited the farm in the winter time you would be sorely disappointed with the appearance of the gardens.  I am not one of those who clears out summer's dead growth in autumn so that the gardens remain manicured.

No, instead, I just allow all of the skeletal remains of Summer's blossoms to sit, undisturbed, until just before gardening season in the very, very late of winter.  There are two reasons for this.  One: because by the end of the summer gardening season I am ready for a rest.  Two: and most importantly, we leave all of the old seed heads to remain throughout the winter so the the birds have more to forage.

Allowing the billowy seed fronds of the tall grasses to remain offers yet another type of food for nature's winged beauties.

And yes, we have many bird feeders that are well stocked year round - but it is also important for the birds to be able to round out their diets by foraging.

And so, our landscaping - neglected for six months of the year - will remain thus until the snows and harsh winter winds have all but gone.  

At that time, I will cut down all of last summer's growth and prune the...

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A Quiet Winter's Day

A brief snowstorm left the farm silently covered in a wintry blanket of white. 


We rose before the sun and a full moon illuminated a curtain of clouds, casting a blue glow over the land.
 

By the time the sun reached the horizon, we were finished with the morning chores.  I took the opportunity to bask in the wintry beauty of my world before settling in for a little quiet time.  


Of course, I took you along with me...


[link to video, if it does not show above]

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A New Year

Four days into January, and already the month is true to form - a mixed bag of everything, that makes one question why one would live in the Northeast.  January tends to throw everything it has at us - snow, rain, sleet, ice, and wind.  And seemingly, just to keep us from hibernating our way through,  it throws in a few hours of sunshine for sanity - but only on occasion. 


 And yet, I cannot imagine winter any other way.  It is all I know, so there is comfort in the blanket of grey that has settled upon my world.

I'll trust you had a good New Year's Day.  If you're like me, you didn't care enough for 2020 to spend those last few hours with it.  No, I blissfully spent the transition from old to new sound asleep.  After all, morning chores need to be done whether one stays up past midnight or not.  And "not" staying up makes those chores so much easier to face.


We did have a visit from the farrier on New Year's Eve, so all of the equines are starting their year in good shape.

 Moonie was fully cooperative, given his new outlook on life.

Griz was self-proclaimed equipment manager.

I did reflect a little upon 2020.  Even though it ranks as the worst year ever, there was much good to be...

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Imagine, If You Will.....

 The sun had just peeked over the hillside, casting tall shadows against the dewy spring grass.  From the hill behind the simple one-roomed cabin, a woodpecker called to his mate with a rhythmic "rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat".  Birdsong filled the cool morning air and travelled through the little valley on a gentle breeze. 

As the sun rose higher and the dew began to dry, the calm of the morning was interrupted by the firing of a long rifle in the woods at the top of the ridge.  "I guess we'll be having squirrel or rabbit for dinner" thought Sarah.

With a basket of garments held on her right hip and a wooden bucket in her left hand, Sarah gathered up the front of her her skirts, with the two fingers she had free, so she wouldn't trip as she walked down the cabin steps to the spring house below.  There, after setting her laundry on the ground next to the old wooden washtub, she sunk her wooden bucket into the clear, cold water that bubbled up from beneath the earth.  She ducked her head as she carried the bucket out of the springhouse and poured the sparkling water into the tub.  She would repeat this several times before climbing the stairs to fetch the water she had left boiling on the...

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Good Medicine

A farm is good medicine - the perfect elixir to soothe the soul.

On the best of days it is a tincture of the purest ingredients: one part tranquility, two parts nature with a liberal sprinkling of magic and hope.

It's not a life for everyone, for it requires a constitution of grit, perseverance, and resilience; not to mention a whole lot of physical labor.  But the rewards are more than you could imagine. 

There are days, thankfully rare days,  where calamity reigns.  But then there are those days when everything is as it should be- when all is right in this little corner of the world- and I feel the deepest sense of satisfaction imaginable.

As I've said so often:  we cannot truly enjoy the calm and quiet days if we don't also experience the storms.  Good and bad come hand in hand.  This is life.  

And so it is, here on the farm.  We ride out the storm that Sunday brought to us and emerge in dazzling sunshine by Tuesday... and if you have been following along with our story, you know that it is not the weather about which I am referring.

There are days when I choose to go out for chores by myself... to completely immerse myself in the world of my animals.  I spend a little extra time...

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Brighter Days

 "It's always darkest before the dawn."

 Though true, it's a saying meant to give hope.  And so it is... with the dawn of a new day, things are looking much brighter here on the farm.

I was eager to get to the barn yesterday morning.  Moonie had spent his first post-op night in one of the barn stalls in order to protect the pressure dressing on his eye socket.  I was pleased to find him just calmly resting in the middle of a stall filled with wet spots and poop.  Just like those first few diapers on a new born baby, I celebrated the obvious signs that everything was in good working order.  All was well.

Dr. Becky arrived early to remove Moonie's dressings and check his incision.  He had had just a small amount of bleeding over night and everything looked good. ("good" being a relative term)

 In case you were wondering, his eye socket is closed over by his upper and lower eyelids which were shortened and stitched together.  Eventually this will all heal over smoothly and once again be covered by the velvety, golden fur of his face.  (Half of his face was shaved for the surgery.) 

I might have to fashion him a pirate's eye patch for future use.  Arghhhh!

All kidding aside, he is doing...

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Sunny Days

After slogging through the ice and snow for a couple of weeks, our present conditions seem like a walk in the park.  

This January is proving to be milder than most- a nice and well-deserved change after all we have been through for the past year!

Sunny, blue-skied days are definite spirit lifters.  All of us enjoy being out in the fresh air.  The horses have been spending their mornings in the front pasture, foraging for any blades of grass they can find, but supplemented with mounds of hay placed here and there.   

Even the donkeys are back out in the pasture, however, they prefer to cherry-pick the little bits of hay left behind in the horses' dry lot.  Chloe is doing great... she takes everything in her stride.

 Yesterday, the equines were out in the pasture before the sun rose above the horizon.  The sky was magnificent.  They spent the morning happily wandering the acreage.  As a result, it was necessary for us to do a manure clean-up yesterday afternoon.  Knowing we were going to be in the pasture, Hubbs opened the gate for the pigs to join us.

They have not spent any time out in the pasture because of the amount of snow they had to climb through to reach the pasture....

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The Saga Continues

Though on outward appearance, it may seem that most of our days have a certain "sameness" to them, life is never boring here on the farm. 

 Lately, I would welcome a little boring, I think!

We had a lovely, sunny weekend here on the farm.

 

Everyone enjoyed spending time soaking up the sunshine.  

In a world of grey and brown, a beautiful blue sky is something to celebrate!

Basking in the sun,

and chewing cud.

Moonie had his eyelid stitches removed on Saturday,


and finally after weeks of not being able to be out in the pasture, he was given freedom to roam.



The whole family was happy to be out and about,

in the beautiful morning sun.

Saturday afternoon, Chloe had what we hope will be her last surgery for the sarcoid tumor of her neck.  Dr. Becky sedated her... chin on the ground is the first clue that the sedation was working.

This time, rather than remove just the tumor and close up the wound, Dr. Becky decided to do a wide excision... taking the tumor, surrounding tissues and skin that covered the area.  That gives Chloe the best chance of having all of the tumor cells eradicated.

She has a rather large open area on her neck that Dr. Becky sprayed with some type of aluminum-based spray...

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Out Of The Darkness

The smoke clears.  The sun rises above the horizon - and we all take a deep cleansing breath.  


That was yesterday morning.  It was the sunrise following a "storm" and spirits were immediately lifted! 

The thing about farm life is:  no matter what is happening out in the world, here on the farm, life is almost always serene.


 I wish I could take each of you with me each morning so that you could witness the start of a new day.  It is always the same - filled with hope, as light overtakes the darkness.


As I set about to feed and water animals, I watch the antics of those around me.  Each of the animals has their own personalities, quirks, and habits that make me chuckle.


There are moments that touch my heart.


I chuckle as I watch Griz drink from the donkey bucket -

perched like a gymnast on a balance beam, with his bum hanging over the horse trough.  One wrong move... soaked kitty!

But, he skillfully leans forward catching tongue-fulls of fresh, cool water and maintains his dry composure.

The sheep have a tendency, in the winter when there is snow on the ground, to be a little lazy... opting to sleep beneath their hay feeder.  This way, they merely need to stretch a little to grab a...

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