Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's all about perspective

As I get ready to welcome the new year, one which I'm really looking forward to, I wanted to share with you a pearl of what some might consider drivel and others might consider wisdom. For what it's worth here it goes....

It occurred to me via one of those 'getting to know you' emails that are sent and resent and just when you think you've answered it for the last time it resurfaces; that things are all about perspective. The said enlightening email was for me to send out to friends, they were to fill out the questions and return it to me and I would then find out how well people know me, at least that was the intent.

So I sent it out and the answers were interesting; that's when it hit me, it really is all about perspective, in all things. One of the questions asked what political party I belong to and whether I was conservative or liberal, depending on the circle of people I am friends with, I was both a conservative republican and a liberal democrat. At first I wondered how either set of friends could think that of me but then realized that depending on their beliefs, or perspective on the world I was in fact what they thought, when they measured me with their stick, their compass, next to that which they hold dear.

You see, we all have a view, an opinion, a perspective that we use to navigate through life, and what shapes that view is the experiences that we have lived through; who we are, and how we deal with life is like nobody else, because it's about how we view the situation. Case in point, when I was pregnant with my daughter I was told (over the phone no less) that based on an ultrasound that my daughter would most likely be born with Down Syndrome, in the same manner that I could have been told that she was going to have blue eyes, totally nonchalant, the 'doctor' (I'll use that term loosely and just spare the details) gave me the news and then asked if I had any questions. At that second I did not, I felt like the rug had just been pulled out from underneath me, but I knew I'd pull myself up, dust myself off and go on with life. I'll be perfectly honest here, at first I was devastated, but not in the way that you'd probably think, it wasn't about being devastated because this was something that I'd have to deal with or because this was happening to me, it wasn't even about me. I was devastated because my little baby would not have a normal life. She would not experience normal things, and it hurt, it felt like a sucker-punch straight to my heart and I didn't know hurt until I felt like bad things were being dealt to my unborn child and I had no way to prevent it. I also hadn't experienced that kind of love either.

As I dealt with my feelings, and there were many that came and went, I heard the words a very dear friend of mine said to me in reference to something completely unrelated and in jest, her words came to me just when I needed to hear it. She said, "What is normal anyway?" It was like a lightening bolt hit me and all was well in my world, my perspective. What difference would it make if my baby was born with Down Syndrome, she would have the life she was supposed to have because to her it would be normal. I mean, after all I grew up with two siblings and what is normal to me is not necessarily normal to them. She would be fine either way and it would be ok, because after all, what is normal anyway?

You see it was about perspective, my perspective was that her life would not be normal, but when I looked at it from her perspective it would be her normal, then I felt foolish, like I couldn't see the forest through the trees and I'd been upset for nothing, but I just needed a different perspective.

So dear friends my hope for you this New Year is a wish of new perspective, even if you just borrow it for a while and it helps you gain a better understanding, a little different perspective.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ding Dong Done!

I've finished all the handmade Christmas gifts and now off to wrap it all up! Can this be correct? 1 day left and I'm done?! I must be forgetting something...

If I don't post again until after Christmas, know that I wish you and your family the Merriest of Christmas's!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Muskrat Traffic Jam

This is the God's honest truth, yesterday while the kids and I were driving into town we saw an odd little critter waddling alongside the road; we were not alone in seeing this critter, there was another vehicle oncoming that also had slowed down to watch it. Since it had started out on the opposite side of the road from me we had a pretty good view, however as the other vehicle approached it scurried across the road, (and in doing so it allowed me to figure out that it was a muskrat) and under my at that point stopped truck, I guess it felt safe and hidden, and in an odd way I now felt like a mother hen. The driver of the oncoming car stopped by my window and told me that it was right by my tire and drove off. After that car drove away the little muskrat emerged from the underbelly of the truck and proceeded to waddle back across the road into oncoming traffic, again. It could be said of this little guy that it was a few bricks short of a load. The other driver also stopped and let it cross and then went on her way. All this time I kept looking in my rear view and seeing a very large delivery truck gaining ground on the situation, the beauty of having a flat road in this situation. The muskrat made it back to the field on the side of the road that it had started out on, apparently whatever it was trying to get to on the other side of the road seemed less important after two near death experiences in less than 5 minutes. There are things that happen in life that make you reevaluate what seems important, apparently it happens to muskrats too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Farm kids having fun

I think Katie is looking at me thinking seroiusly??
Now thinking I'm glad I'm being held in, this might actually be fun!

Buckley thinking get me out of here!!

No Way Maaaa, I'm not doing thisssssssss

Yippee!!! I like it! It is fun after all!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Arctic Blast

In the Northeast we are currently experiencing an arctic blast, literally! I'm a bit sleep deprived and was in a giddy mood this morning so I told my son, then called my nephew to tell him the same about the weather; that this wind we're feeling is coming from the arctic and had potentially just whipped around a polar bear! I let them think on that for a minute while I collected myself and then told them that possibly if they paid close attention they might be able to smell a polar bear foof! Neither one really believed me, but the expression on my son's face was priceless! I think I need more sleep!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Calender for the New Year

Hey, just throwing this out there, I've been approached to make a calender with the pictures of my farm. I've finally found a place to do it but the cost would be 19.95 plus shipping to you. Is there any interest in this? Please let me know.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cheddar Dill Scones

two words: Yum-O!
P.S. Hopefully the dill I plant next year won't drown like this years did! And when I make these again I'll have my own dill and cheddar! Delish!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quilt done - Check

A friend of mine is adopting a little boy from Estonia soon and I thought I'd make a quilt for this wonderful occasion. I decided to make this log cabin style quilt as is symbolizes home, the four squares in the center represent the two countries and the heart is covering all four squares to represent love and joining of lives together. As far as I know this young boy does not speak English yet, (or maybe limited at best) so I thought she could start teaching him the colors when she's tucking him in at night using this quilt. That's why the quilt is made like this, it had a purpose, it's not a traditional quilt, well seriously, what did you expect from 'Twisite' but it is traditional in the fact it's made with love.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Soap done and wrapped - check

I've spent part of my day wrapping all the goat's milks soap I've made so I can deliver it to my customers next week and its a huge job to have done and can now officially check it off my "to do" list. In case you might be interested on any please contact me or leave me a comment. I've got the following scents available:

Soapy Clean
Ancient Sedona (masculine)
Citronella Scented Geranium
Moroccan Fig
English Rose
I might even have a few oatmeal bars at the first of the week... we'll see how it goes...

On another note I'll be wrapping up another huge project this weekend and I cannot wait to show you guys! That's the reason I haven't posted anything for a while, you'll see why in a few days! YEAH! Making great progress!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wreaths delivered - check

I've been working on my annual wreath delivery for the past few days as part of my Christmas celebration and got them all loaded into the back of my husbands car for delivery, I thought they looked very festive and wanted to share it with you. I did have a huge sheet of plastic down to keep the car from becoming a total farm vehicle; I'd have taken all the wreathes in the back of my truck but it was pouring and I'm sure my customers would not have appreciated them soaking wet. Another huge chunk off my "to do "list! Yeah!

Our latest venture

Our local library hosted vermicomposting class this past Saturday, it was free, right up our alley and something I've tried doing in the past with partial success, so the kids and I went! Vermicomposting; also know as worm composting and/or worm farming is not for the faint of heart. (Warning: if you are squeamish you might want to skip reading this post.) The class lasted about an hour and we brought home lots of info and new cast members for From the Country Farm; red wigglers! (Side note, there are simply too many to name... I'm joking!) Below are the kids and the instructor talking about what to do, how it all works etc.

Our newest cast members in their new home, trying to settle in...
For those of you who are still reading, (I'm impressed!) the whole point of vermicomposting is for the black gold they produce; worm poo is great natural fertilizer! It's (supposed to be) about the easiest thing you can do, so I've armed myself with some new info and trying again, hopefully this time will be a success. I'll try to remember to keep you updated or at least post about it after a bit. Like I said it's not for everyone and truth be told I'm a bit grossed out by it but will push through it for the black gold...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


... for lot of things, like the pictures of my latest venture to transfer from the camera (so I can post them of course!) to the computer, like the printer to print off a new recipe for tomorrow, and lots of other things that I cannot go into right now. I've got 9 of the 13 wreathes made for delivery the day after Thanksgiving, working on another quilt to give away, the other two are done!! YEAH! Shoeboxes are pack, tagged and shipped and trackable this year! I CANNOT wait to see where they go! Need to carve out some time to go with my Grandmother to a craft show in December, she'll love that, as will I. Faith is almost ready to put the pies in the oven for tomorrow, she was in charge of bringing a pie for Thanksgiving, it seems appropriate as she is the only one in the family that has won a ribbon for her pie at a local fair... she is an excellent cook and is very proud of that ribbon. She's only 9 and competed against the adults, some of whom have been featured on the food network!

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, I've got so much to be thankful for as I'm sure you do too. As Dave Ramsey says, "I'm better than I deserve!" For me that is so very very true!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


'The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; They just make the most of everything they have.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

busy busy busy

I've been really busy making wreathes, soap, socks, shirts, tote bags and such for Christmas, what have you been up to?

Monday, November 16, 2009

the walking foot

What a neat invention the walking foot is! This weekend I spent sewing, knitting and crafting and what a good time it was; the basement/sewing/laundry room was lit up with mini Christmas trees that my son hauled out of storage and plugged in, we had a nice crackling fire, a scented candle and Christmas music blared at times... We were working on baby quilts for a local soldiers twin babies and usually I tack the quilts with embroidery floss, but this time I used the walking foot that my machine came with and what a huge blessing that was. Not only are the quilts done, they are actually quilted! I never would have attempted that with out a walking foot. Strange name wonderful results.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Now that's customer service!

Went to the feed store today to get grain for Garlic and the kind that I buy had been bought out (again) just minutes before I came in, but was told not to worry, they were expecting a grain delivery any minute. So I told them I had one more stop to make and would be back to pick it up after they unloaded it, as I was paying for my items they got a call from the driver of the aforementioned grain truck saying that he would not be to the store until after 5:30. Now I don't know how Garlic knows how much grain he is supposed to get, but if there is 1 ounce less than normal he gets cranky. (Yes, the solid gold sweetheart gets cranky, I'll admit it.) So I knew I'd have to go to the other feed store about 35 minutes away to get his food. FYI, there is a closer feed store that is part of this locally owned chain but I refuse to go back to that store even though it is just a few miles close to my house, complete incompetence on their part, I won't go into details, but I refuse to do it. The store employees know this because I've needed other things in the past and they'd mentioned that the other store might have it and I told them thank you but I'll wait because I refuse to do business with that branch. (Just to let you know it's not just me that feels this way, that branch has quite a reputation for that.) So a store employee, (who by the way knows what grain I buy, which might be an indication I'm in there too much or that I have too many animals......nah, couldn't be that!) offered to go to this other store and pick up 1 bag of grain for me! Can you believe it?! I wouldn't have ever asked, she offered, on her lunch break!! I was stunned and thankful and pleased as punch, and thought now that's why I shop local!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How many people feel like this?

This weekend I wrapped up a book I've been reading and wanted to share an excerpt from it that touched me. Writing is not my thing, as evidenced by my posts, but I share the authors sentiment. Trudy Chambers Price writes in The Cows are Out! the following:

"What a special place to just be, I thought. I belong here on The Hill, in this wonderfully isolated space, with the breeze blowing the clutter from my head, the sun warming my shoulders, renewing my spirit, and expanding my dreams until they seemed real.With every rock I touched, I felt a bond to this small parcel of earth, a bond so strong it seemed as though I worked this land before in another time, another life. This is good earth, I thought, that will reward us with the best crop of alfalfa. I didn't mind at all that the earth got in my shoes, crusted around my fingernails, coated my arms and hands and blew in my hair."

Very few people that I've met in my lifetime have felt at peace with where they are, a connectedness, contentedness and peace that comes with it. They are always striving for something but often times I wonder if they even know what that is. My hope for you is that if you have it hold on to it with both hands, not letting go. And for those of you in search of it stop, look around and find a place to sit and breathe maybe you'll find that you actually are where you thought you were headed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

You know you're a farmer when... purchase clothes that will easily disguise the color of dirt and horse poo. In fact it is many times a prerequisite, it's not style, fashion or necessarily modern, which by the way I've never been into, I'm a functional, comfortable gal and if it's stylish or trendy, well it was just a coincidence! When I consider a purchase it's hummmm, it's comfortable, affordable, functional and bonus I can wear it in the barn! It's got large/deep pockets for carrying hand tools or eggs in and hay won't stick to it. Case in point, today my sister and I were in town for errands and a bit of shopping and went to a store where vests were offered for sale. I'd been thinking that I might like a vest and saw a plaid one on the rack, I tried it on and put the hood up, uh no way, faux fur and colors that were clearly not going to work for me. Mental note, when my sister says it looks nice remove garment and immediately walk away is apparently to her 'looks nice' means I look like a lunatic! Moving along, I saw a red one, tried it on and thought it might work in a different size, my sister said they also had blue, blue is usually a good color for me. Well not this blue! Wow! So I walked over to the rack and saw black, gray, green and the red and blue that I'd already tried on, then I spied the brown, off the rack and into the cart it went. Knowing full well that I'd be able to hide the dirt and manure that comes along with owning animals.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Buckley's introduction to the snow

Andrew and Buckley playing in the snow.

One Happy Girl!

Coreah LOVES the snow!

The first time is always magical...

What a thing of beauty!
My tree lined property frosted in the first snowfall of the year.
I always enjoy the first snow of the season, it's a crisp, clean, magical, sparkling sight to behold! I love the way the snow clings to the branches as if it fears it's beauty will be lost if it falls to the ground. Despite the fact that is the beginning of November it's still a welcome treat! (Driving home in it last night however was not a treat at all.) Perhaps the reason I find it to be such a treat today is the fact that in two days it will be in the 60's again; feels more like Colorado than New England.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's drawing near...

I stepped outside this morning to do the milking and barn chores and was greeted with the first signs of a winter that is drawing near! Snow! Not really even enough to shake a stick at but it was a reminder of what is on it's way. I guess I'll spend this weekend buttoning up the house.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

Think about if folks, it's a simple gift that will change lives, yours and theirs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


4 soap scents down and 3-4 more to go, making progress! Coming along nicely! YEAH!

Monday, November 2, 2009

53 days??!!

Did I read that right? 53 days until Christmas??!! Yikes! I'd better get cracking. (I put a countdown banner on the bottom of the blog to remind me...) Last year I took the handmade pledge but took it a bit further, I made most of what I gave as gifts and purchased the "ingredients" from local small businesses. I don't have a huge budget for Christmas but it was paid for with cash and I figured that that mal-wart would survive whether or not I spent money there or not. The difference was when I shopped at the smaller stores I was genuinely greeted and thanked for shopping there and they meant it! I worked really hard last year trying to come up with things people would use and enjoy and most of the recipients got hand knit socks, some were made from locally raised alpaca fiber and some were wool, all were a labor of love. This year I'm planning another handmade Christmas; I've written all the things I need to do before Christmas and if I don't sleep a wink between now and Christmas I'll be done by Valentines day! We'll see how it goes and I'll try to post some of the things I make here. One of which is goat's milk soap, seeing as it takes 4 weeks to cure I'm off to do that now. I think I'll start with either peppermint or balsam....

one pair of last years socks... warm and snugly alpaca!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Welcome November

Pull up a stump and gather around our campfire! There is something to be said for having a day of rest, our day of rest was spent around a campfire, laughing, enjoying each others company, eating roasted veggie dogs and (vegan) marshmallows and washing it all down with apple cider. Shortly after we moved here there was a tree, (which I thought was cedar) that for what ever reason just died. What a huge stately tree it was, well aside from being too near the house for comfort it was unsightly now that it was dead and it needed to go. Ron took it down last week and Friday we limbed it and cut the trunk up. Our intention was to split it and use it as firewood but after the first stump chunk was whacked about a hundred times and went nowhere fast we decided that maybe between the size of it and all the knots that maybe it was too much for Lola to handle, but since we do not own a wood splitter we had a problem.... or so we thought. (Did I mention that it was hemlock and full of knots!?) Sunday arrives, the weather could not have been better for an outside kind of day, you know the kind where you're out in just a long sleeve shirt and revel in the warmth of what you know will be one of the last warm days of fall. So I decided to burn the rest of what we could not use as firewood; limbs, bits of the trunk, etc. We sat on the ground around the fire for a while then an idea popped into my head, I jumped up and rolled the stumps over to the fire and sat down! Duh, what a better way to use the stately old tree! These stumps are perfect for gathering around a campfire, there is one for each member of my family plus extras for company! What is it about a campfire that offers universal connectedness anyway? No matter where you go when people gather around a campfire you experience a closeness that seems primitive yet comforting. Is it the hypnotic flames dancing and licking at the night sky? Is it the warmth that only wood fire can bring? The snapping and crackling of the fire itself? I'm not sure but I know the world seems to fade away when I am surrounded by those whom I love and a simple campfire.

Friday, October 30, 2009

good quote

"The best way to know life is to love many things - Van Gogh"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I heart homesteading

This fall while we were harvesting our garden this little gem made it's way to the surface. It's a reflection of how I feel about 1. homesteading 2. digging potatoes and 3. life in general. I couldn't stand the thought of eating it without taking a picture and posting it here so I put it in the windowsill by the sink (until I could do that) and believe that's why it appears to be green (it was there for more than a week.) Note: Potatoes exposed to light turn green and I've heard that green potatoes are toxic...... I think I'll peel it and see!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

like money in the bank...

I've been at the wood pile for a while now splitting and stacking and this is the result as it stands currently. Having purchased a new chain for the chain saw helped speed up the process immensely! Lola, (my axe) worked wonders, took a bit of getting used to but works wonders just the same. I love the feeling I get when I split a foot+ diameter chunk of wood in half with one swing of the axe! It's powerful! I've still got a bit more to do but I don't mind, it's kind of therapeutic! While reading this past summer I came across a saying, I do not recall exactly how it went but I remember thinking I completely understood the sentiment. It went something like this..... '.....having extra hay in the barn, wood in the shed and ____________ is like money in the bank......'

The above picture is just part of the loft full of this years hay, what a long hard couple days of work it is, but what a sense of peace that comes along once it's done.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I'm not sure why big box stores are so popular, is it just the thought that the prices are lower? is it better selection? roomier isles? more staff?? I cannot figure it out. I've shopped local and yes I'll admit I was wooed into the big box stores as well. I'm not pointing to a specific industry here, I've spent time and money at large chain food stores, clothing stores, home improvement stores etc. I've thought about this for a while and have always tried to support local businesses even before it was the "in thing" and feel strongly about it. But seriously why are the box stores so popular, for me it's not the 'low prices', (look at where they are made, what had to happen to get them that low?) I really don't see much of a deal. Selection?? How many types of pepper does one really need? How many pairs of shoes can one wear at a time?? The choices for toilet paper are ridiculous, a whole isle, seriously? So it's not about selection, for me. Roomier isles? Nope, makes me think that it's another gigantic structure taking up space full of imported stuff we could make in America! More staff? Uh I don't think so either, I'm more of a quality vs. quantity kind of girl. I'd much rather have a smaller educated staff than employees that are there to collect a paycheck and don't have a clue about that which they are selling.

Case in point, yesterday I needed more wood to stack the cord wood I'd been splitting on to let it cure for next year. I headed to the local lumberyard. I walked in and was greeted with a genuine smile despite the closing time was 20 minutes from my arrival to the store. I asked to purchase the said wood and was directed to the 'wood guy' he inquired as to what grade of wood I needed. What? He actually was trying to best meet my needs and cared enough to help me?? Try finding that in a big box! So I explained what I needed it for and was taken to the less expensive get-the-job-done type wood. I made my selection and the 'wood guy' picked it up and loaded it into my truck for me. Again, what? Not once have I ever had that happen, I always have to haul the cart out of the store and load it myself. Large pieces of plywood or particle board are not easy to maneuver by your self; not being a very tall woman, thankfully I'm pretty strong. Seeing my struggle to get them into the truck other customers have stopped to help, but not a store employee. After the wood was loaded I walked back into the store and paid for the order, yes, the wood was loaded before it was paid for! They trusted me?! Yes! The 'wood guy' wrote up my slip and asked me to take it to the cashier and said thank you and please come see us again. I actually felt like he meant it! So I get back to the first person I dealt with at the store who saw my children for about at total of 5 seconds commented to me that I've got some great kids there. She was aware the kids were mine and that they are awesome?! (I do, but that's another story...) Find that said about box store employees! I paid for my items and the total was 8 bucks and some change, not a huge order by any means but I can tell you I never felt like an inconvenience, like I was interrupting the store employees or an IPH (items per hour, damn I dislike that posted as you leave the store!) Mind you I could have driven a few miles further and gone into a big box but would the outcome have been the same? Would I have have the wood, yes, would it have been less money? maybe? maybe not. For me it's not about the money, it's about choice, support, voting, (with my money) call it what you will, it's about doing the right thing because I'm not an IPH and I refuse to be treated like one.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Believe...

I will admit that the following words are not my own, but I think there is great truth in them. A friend sent this to me in an email and posting it here feels like the right thing to do.

I Believe... That just because two people argue doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe...That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe.....That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe...That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I Believe... That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe....That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe...That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe.... That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe....That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe....That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe...That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe....That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe....That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I Believe....That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe...That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe....That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe.....That it isn't always enough, to be forgiven by others. Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief..

I Believe.....That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but, we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe...That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I Believe....Two people can look at the exact same Thing and see something totally different.

I Believe...That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I Believe...That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you - you will find the strength to help.

I Believe...That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe...That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

one of those days...

... that I call boogery. Yup, it's time to close the lid on this one and hide under the covers until the next day arrives.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

llama lips and chicken cheeks I have anything in my teeth??

Whadda you looking at?!

Monday, October 19, 2009

...having the right tool...

As I've mentioned before there is a lot to be said for having the right tool for the job, case in point a leaf blower makes huge smiles on children's faces appear more quickly then when raking conventionally. This weekend I blew up a huge pile of leaves for the kids to jump in, they had the idea to let the goats join in the fun as well, much to my delight the kids (all 4 of them) had a blast. Kate and Buckley enjoyed their time by laying in the center of the pile and treating it as their own personal snack bar... Faith and Andrew enjoyed their time refilling the said snack bar.

A birthday gift from my husband in the way of an axe made chopping the wood much easier than the previously mentioned hatchet that I'd been using. It now only takes 1-2 swings to split the wood instead of 4-5. It's way faster. It probably only took me 20 minutes to split all the wood in the photo below and some of those pieces needed to be split into 5-6 chunks! I'm really looking forward to having all the wood split and stacked and out of the driveway.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

garlic in...Garlic out

garlic in the ground..... Today Faith and I planted next years garlic, in the hope that it will do well and provide us with plenty to eat and some to replant next year. Last year we planted enough to have our cloves to plant this year. Add the fact that this year I'm already one step ahead of the chickens I've already put the fencing over it to keep them out as last year they had quite a time digging it up within days of planting but not this year! Ha Ha! Some of our garlic came up in a pretty wonky pattern, but despite the chicken attacks and all the rain it fared well. But on a larger note of garlic......

Garlic out in print.....
A local author/photographer has written a book of horse stories and she chose to do a story about my horse, Garlic!! We were invited to the book release last night and got to see the book first hand and meet some of the other people whose live have been blessed by a horse. I had already read the story she'd written about Garlic but seeing it in print in an actual book moved me to tears. (Something that does not happen easily.) I'd been waiting for the book to be released to get my hands on a copy and came home and read it cover to cover than evening, she was really able to capture the spirit of the lives that have been touched not only in a story, but in the photographs as well. The photos are stunning! I'm the lucky one, I get to spend every day with Garlic, but now through the wonders of books others can meet him too.

Hoof prints on the side of the road...

There is something soul satisfying about the clop-ker-clop cadence of my horse and I as we ride down the road on a brisk fall day, leaves rustling and pine needles swooshing under foot as we go along. This afternoon I was in a foul mood after a series of events that went south so I brought Garlic out of the pasture and but a bit in his mouth and climbed aboard bareback and took off out the driveway. Not having a plan when I left I just knew I needed to go, so that's what I did. We rode up our road and through the woods on a path where the trees come together at the tops as if to greet one another in a warm embrace; we traveled along the main road that runs through our small community and turned onto one of my favorite dirt roads. The trees along the sides of the road are many but the colors of the Maples against the dark Pine green is inspiring and beautiful, and if you hit it just right and the sun shining through them it's as if they were lit up just for you. We rode down and back along the road in serene quietness and thoroughly enjoyed our time out. On the way back home I noticed the hoof prints in the gravel and it reminded my of my childhood; I would be traveling in a car looking out the window and see others that had been made by another trusty steed and think how much fun that would be. To the little girl out there that will likely see the ones we made today I say this, your time will come and the wait will be worth it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Starring Role - My Husband Ron

Last but not least, my husband. Patient, patient, patient. Willing to milk once a week when I'm out of town with the kids, which is helpful and much appreciated. If you ask him he'll tell you that I'm the farmer and he's the banker, and that is an accurate statement. His j.o.b. and my labor is what allows us to live the life we do. Not much for mucking stalls or helping a hen with a plugged oviduct, clearly more farmer-type jobs, but he's willing to go to work every day and deal with the public, clearly something I'm not cut out to do. Ron is a self proclaimed computer geek, he is a whiz with these crazy machines we've almost all come to depend on; that is very nice to have when these things get bogged down and function like my friend does in the morning without her coffee! I love him dearly. My soft place to land. He holds me together.
Now that you've met all the cast members of this crazy life so far.... (that does not count all the robins, barn swallows, and other wild birds we've had the privilege to watch hatch, grow and leave the nest, or the red wigglers that we've got composting some of the kitchen scraps - the little bit that doesn't go to the barn...) I'd love to hear about the cast of your life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oddly enough, he liked it!

It's been getting really cold here lately and one morning we went out to feed the farm Andrew wore his mad bomber hat out, well when we got to Buckley Andrew thought he was cold. He took off his hat and gave it to Buckley. Buckley is seen here sporting Andrew's hat and really seems to enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Starring Role - Andrew

There are no words to sum up Andrew really, no lyrics, no poetry come to mind, he is what he is and I love that. He is the other reason I do what I do. I love him with all that I am.

Starring Role - Faith

Martina McBride has a song called 'In my Daughters Eyes.' The lyrics are as follows:

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna beIn my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and theworld is at peace
This miracle God gave to me
gives mestrength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about
It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

Those lyrics pretty much sum it up for me. She is one of the two reasons I do what I do.
I love her with all that I am.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Turkish Proverb

"Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love."

I agree.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Guess what I did today.....

.... I stopped into the local feed store (since I was in town) to pick up a pitchfork to make cleaning out the goat's pen easier, something that was needing attention as she was high enough with her deep bedding to get her head stuck in the gate. There's something to be said for having the right tool for the job, what had previously taken an hour (with the wrong tool) took only minutes this afternoon. Hopefully since we moved the bedding to the back she won't get stuck again. Then the kids and I hauled wood out of the front part of our property with my truck. Andrew calls it "redneck truck pulling"when we do this. He loves it though. Then spent the rest of the daylight hours splitting firewood, with a hatchet. Again, there is something to be said for having the right tool for the job, clearly a hatchet is not the right tool for splitting firewood. Faith gave it her best try and found out it's not for her, Andrew on the other hand loved it! The hatchet worked well for him, more his size than mine. All the wood in the picture was cut from our property and will keep us warm next winter. It's still way too wet to burn this year, but it still needs to be split and stacked just the same, to be ready for next year. So since I spent the afternoon cleaning goat pens and sweating more than well, quite frankly a race horse I'm going to go soak these aching muscles in a hot bath, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and probably be asleep before my head hits the pillow. So much for a day of rest. Good night.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Say Cheese!

What do you do with all that milk? It's a frequently asked question when the doe you're milking is producing a gallon a day and you have to decline an invitation to the movie because you have to be home to milk, again. Well, here at the farm we try to be good stewards of what we've been blessed with and that includes every drop of milk. To start off we skimmed the cream off the top of the milk to make butter. Since goats milk is naturally homogenized it takes a while before you get enough to make butter, but if you're patient and collect the cream daily it will happen. After that I think the obvious natural progression is cheese. I've made mozzarella, cherve and marinated mozzarella balls. I'm working on ice cream this weekend and will let you know how it turns out. Before I had a fresh source of milk I'd dabbled in soap making, now that I've got fresh milk daily I can (and do) make soap more frequently. Let me tell you there is nothing better on the market than homemade goat's milk soap. Try it you won't be sorry.

marinated mozzarella balls - our milk, dehydrated tomato, basil, thyme, chive and garlic. That's right folks all of that was grown or produced on our farm!

garlic & chive cherve - again, our milk, garlic and chives all produced here! (Crackers were from the store, I haven't made them, yet, it's on my list of things to try...)

fresh mozzarella - the milk was inside our goats udder this afternoon, does it get any fresher than that?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Meet the Cast - Girl Kitty

Rounding out the cast of animals (temporarily at least) is our cat. What would a farm be without a barn cat? I use the term loosely as she has not even looked at the barn much less been in it. She is however a fantastic mouser! Thankfully as we have plenty for her to chase, living on a farm surrounded by woods and field. She was given to us along with her brother due to circumstances beyond the previous owners control, like many of the cast members who share our lives. Unfortunately the first night we had them, her brother (the friendlier of the two we were told) popped out the living room window screen and took off in the night never to be seen again. We looked and looked, left food out and everything thinking he'd be back but nothing. We never saw him again. We felt awful about it but figure he's found another farm around here to be a barn cat in. She too jumped out the window that night but decided to come back and has settled in nicely. She's stuck with the name Girl Kitty because that's how we talked about them, not being able to decide on one, it stuck. Girl Kitty is a odd one as she has decided to keep the most inconvenient hours demanding to be let back in a 2am. She'll jump onto the porch, walk over to the sliding glass door of our bedroom and howl until she's let in. Occasionally she'll wait until I've just slipped into bed about 11 but most often its between 2 and 3 am. Did I mention I'm not a morning person?!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pack Goat in Training

Every year since moving to the farm we hike up this trail to take in the beautiful foliage, this year we took Buckley along to start his training. If we're going to keep him, he needs to at least help earn his keep. So up the trail we climed, he did beautifully! Really seemed excited and happy to be out with us. Granted it may go differently with a pack on and loaded, but it's a start. At the top we gawked, he ate, a little of this a little of that. Taking in the foliage in a completely different way but enjoyed just the same.
Our mountian goat!

Colors of the Fall

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


No, this in not a goose egg. I collected this egg yesterday and was thankful I was not the poor lass that laid it! It's HUGE!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meet the Cast - Kate and Buckley

Once again the kids named our critters, the buckling ended up with the name Jonathen H. Buckley, Texas Pete was also tossed around but it didn't stick. He's most often referred to as Buckley and is adorable as the day is long. His personality is very sweet and laid back. Andrew was smitten at first glance, in case you couldn't tell.... Buckley is on the left, Cowgirl Kate is, as she usually is center stage; she's the one with the large white "hat" on her head. Kate is a real firecracker! I knew she'd be a force to be reckoned with before she was born, when I'd pat Strawberry's belly and talk to the babies she'd stick her head or foot out under my hand. Knowing what that feel like from my own experience I'd try to push it back down, she'd insist on keeping it pushed out. Strawberry was very patient with us playing with her belly, as long as there was plenty of food to occupy her. In case you're wondering how I know it was her, it's her personality on the outside that leads me to believe it was, she's very demanding. When she's hungry or want your attention she doesn't bleat softly like her brother she goes from loud to screech in one bleat!

Kate and Buckley just a few hours old.

They were in the house just a short time more because it was our first time and we didn't want to miss a minute but also because it was so cute to hear the hoof beats running across the floor! You'd swear both of them had a dozen legs each! When you didn't hear them running it would be time to go look for them, once, we found them under a desk and they looked too cute not to take their picture! See for yourself!

The twins just under a week old.

Congratulations! It's Twins!

On May 30th (finally) our doe delivered her first set of kids and we were there to witness it! It was the first birth on our farm and it was indescribable! It was probably the most amazing thing I've ever had the privilege to witness. Now don't freak out, I was heavily medicated for both of my deliveries, (due to circumstances beyond my control.) but to experience the miracle first hand was beautiful and I feel blessed to have been fortunate enough to see it.

The first birth on our farm!! A little buck roughly 8lbs and unimaginably cute! Minutes old.

A few minutes later, we had a second delivery, a little doe, roughly 7lb with a firecracker personality. Minutes old.


The dictionary describes patience as 'an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.' This picture personifies patience to me. Our doe was a few days past her due date and although we'd been counting down the days my son displayed great patience with her. He go out to the barn and just lay with her hoping to give her some comfort at a time when she must have been extremely uncomfortable. Oddly enough she really seemed to be comforted by it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I must really love them...

My mother has asked me on occasion, "Now why do you do this?" referring to farm life, clearly something you're either cut out to do or not. She's not. To which I answer, "Because I love it!" I truly do, there is something magical about trudging out to the barn in February in this much snow carrying 5 gallon water buckets and being greeted by the warm nicker of my horse, the hum of the llama and the bleating of the goats. No seriously, it is the reason I do this. I cannot explain it to those who are not cut out for it, but those who are understand. Yes, it's cold and the snow on this particular morning was well past my knees but it's the greeting from the barn that motivates this non-morning person to crawl out of bed before the coffee is on board and do the morning barn chores.
Well, as my mother would say, you must really love it. I do.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blackberry - after shearing

He was SO happy to get his wool off, I think he felt like a new man! Er, well a new goat at least!