Monday, May 31, 2010


A good friend is cheaper than therapy. ~Author Unknown

You know how everybody has that one friend...the one that the most odd and curious things can happen too?  Well today...The man was getting into the shower so we could go to town when the phone rang.  My son answered the call.  It was my friend.  #2 son thought she was joking but finally handed the phone to the man.  The man thought it was a joke, unintelligent mumblings of boa's.   He agreed to go over to her house.

We get in the truck and drive the mile and a half over to her house.  Why...because she had set a mouse trap under her sink.  When she went to check it, she found this....
Suffering from Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) she was manic! 
We all found immense humor in it, especially her nephew but she was freaking.  The man quickly grabbed the mouse trap, walked over into the woods and opened the trap to free the poor thing. 

We leave for home.  She is going shopping for moth balls and foam insulation!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nature's Pace

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. ~R.W. Emerson

I don't think Summer is showing any patience.  I had a 24 hour bug on Wednesday and slept the whole day.  Thankfully one of the symptoms was I didn't feel the heat.  Thursday morning I decided to go out into the garden and make up for my day of dozing.  I quickly learned that feeling better also took away my earlier disregard of the temps.  I wasn't out there two hours and I had kicked my own butt.  I did get four rows hoed, papered and mulched.  I came inside to do less strenous work and sit in front of the fan.  After the kids got home the predicted thunder, lightning and rain came.  We went to the barn to check on things and #2 daughter in her haste to see the lambs almost stepped on this little baby....

After the poor snake collected his wits he moseyed away, all six foot of him. 
The rain helped cool things down a little but it wasn't enough and barely put anything in the rain barrels.

Today I went out to the garden shortly after getting everyone off to school and work.  It was beautiful, so much better than yesterday, cloudy and 70!  I got more irises planted, the stakes in for the pea fence, two pea fences strung, sunflowers planted at every post, two more rows hoed, papered and mulched.  Then it came to this...
amaranth.  Let me rephrase that...a whole lotta amaranth.  The Hopi red dye amaranth is from Cyndi and I had elephant head amaranth.   I dug up a couple of each and moved them.   #2 son will till what is left back into the soil so I can plant something else there.

I am almost done planting,  I still have to transplant the zucchini, yellow squash, LI cheese squash, try to fit more tomatoes in and maybe some Charlevoix dark red kidney beans seeded in.  and...and...and...

This weekend will be busy so I hope I can find time.  We have to move #1 daughter on Saturday and go to the Amish market by her...wonder what I will come home with!  Then Sunday and Monday we have to help #1 son clear their lot so they can start building their house.  We get all the firewood, which will need to get stacked to season for later use.  The kids will be busy this weekend too!!!!

Now I am going to take the next 15 minutes before the kids come barging in for a quick cup of sanity saving coffee.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Another Weekend Roundup

There aren't enough days in the weekend. ~Rod Schmidt

I always think of Friday night as part of the weekend so I will start there...Before driving for Chinese, we took #2 son three places to put in job applications.  He wants a job to replace the Ipod touch he got for Christmas.  When his arm was in the sling he tucked the Ipod in there and then leaned over to flush the didn't stay tucked in there and he is back to using his nano which doesn't have wifi...the poor boy.  After dinner we (hopefully) did all the grocery shopping for the next two weeks.  We came home, fell into bed and were rudely awakened by the dogs barking because a fox was outside calling.

The man had to work half a day on Saturday but arrived late as there were new lambs to attend to first.  After they were taken care of I proceeded to the garden to plant some more potatoes and finally get the cucumbers, basil and nasturtiums seeded.  When he got home we found out the township was having it's annual cleanup.  We quickly loaded up some garbage and transported it there.  Then it was mowing and weed whacking around the barn.  Friends came to visit after dinner, some plants were dug for them to take home and then we relaxed for a short time before going to bed.

Sunday dawned and I got up early but the rest of the household believes in sleeping in a little on Sunday.  I knit a little and then went to the garden, weeded some and seeded in sunflowers and broom corn.  After the barn chores got done, we left to go pick up turkeys since #1 doesn't want us to use the two we have as holiday meals.  When we returned one friend stopped by to pick up some manure and #1's friend Jen stopped by with her children to show them the animals.  After some lawn mowing around the house and dinner we went to the barn to find two more lambs running around.

So we are officially done lambing at this time.  We ended up with five boys and three girls that lived, only two of which are black/white and the others white.  The total would have been six boys and five girls if Aila's had lived.  Two lambs born the day earlier had sharp teeth and momma was not liking it.  She wouldn't let them nurse and was pushing them aside.. So the man made me file them down by saying his hands were too big to help them.  He was cringing the whole time but I think the mom was happy.  This is Domino

and this is the other black sheep a little ewe.  It's a horrible picture but she is all black except those markings on her face.
These lambs are much different than the lambs from two years ago.  Two years ago they were pure Finn.  This year the ewe's are all Finn but the ram is "supposedly" a Finn/Romney.  As I had stated in a previous post  he doesn't have many Romney traits.  He is slightly smaller than my girls and doesn't have the wool face plus he has horns.  These lambs all have much stockier legs where I am use to seeing the Finn's delicate legs.  Also their tails are longer than the Finn's not by much but still longer.  You can see their tale lenghth in this picture of the first ones born.  The one on the right has a darker muzzle. 
So although it was a quick weekend, much work got done.  Today I have to  run some errands and get caught up on housework.  I have found when the to-do list gets anything checked off it gets several more things tacked on.  The man works 10 hour days and 5 hours on Saturday.  I know I shouldn't complain but so much more could get done if he only worked 40 hour weeks. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Beauty of the Season

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~John Muir

Just as one man's trash is another man's treasure, what one person considers beauty can differ from anothers.  And beauty can change.  For instance in December, freshly fallen snow that clings to all the branches is March you are sick of it and think of moving to a warmer climate.

Right now I find beauty in...
watching the lambs,

the piglets discovering their new home,

the morning music

the sound and smell of the river as it winds it way below the farm and

the scent of the locust flowers every time there is a slight breeze.

And then there is the promise of a hot cup of chamomile or mint tea by this winters fire

the promise of pea's as they slowly start to uncurl from the seed,

the promise of apples for pie, cobbler, crisp, butter and cider

the promise of blackberries for pie, cobbler, cordial and jam

the promise of tomatoes for spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, BBQ sauce, soup, salsa and fresh sandwiches

and the promise of beauty from the peony and the irises

They are a tonic.  But lest you think I am just walking around on a seasonal high from the sites, smells and sounds here is a picture of the baby afghan I had said I finished.  A simple granny square done in her preferred colors of pink, white and brown.
And today I started making little vests.  My mother made my kids a lot of these and they are tucked away for furture grandchildren.  I figured I would add to the stash and use up some stash at the same time.
But now the grass should be dry and I have to mow the lawn...and yes there is also beauty in the smell and look of a fresh mown lawn.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Living is Good

Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~Hans Christian Anderson

And I was happily living and enjoying  all three this weekend.  It started off a little rocky....Friday afternoon, we found the red turkey that had been sitting on eggs dead and eggs gone.  Earlier in the day the gray turkey abandoned her nest.  But then #1 and Sir T arrived Friday evening.  We went to bed early so we could get a lot done on Saturday. 

The day was beautiful.  The man left to work 1/2 a day and the rest of us went galavanting.  We took bagels and cream cheese over to a friends and invited ourselves for coffee.  After that we raided their garden and took off with some rhubarb.  We went to look at a farm that was for sale and ended up dropping in on other friends.  We finally returned home just in time for the man to get home from work.  Trying to make up for our lackadaisy ways we quickly ate lunch and went right to work.  The green cabbage got planted, the old garden gate was in a state of disepair and was fixed before it was rehung, the red cabbage got planted, the brussel sprouts got planted, a stone pathway into the garden was laid and load after load after load of wood chips slowly covered the old greenhouse garden which has now become the permanent (raspberry, asparagus, blackberry, elderberry and rhubarb) section of the garden.  The nephews put wood chips around the outside of the garden with the use of a riding lawnmower with dump trailer.  They were in heaven but what boy isn't behind a motorized tool?
We went to the barn to check the sheep and Toupee had three lambs.  They were up and walking around with all the other sheep.  She had a white ewe, a white ram and a tiny black/white ram.  Although cleaned, she kept backing away from the black and white ram.  We got them into a jug and clip/dip/stripped.  We held her while they all drank and they were laying down napping when we left.  When we did the evening feeding all was well.

The guys went fishing and when they got home about 11 PM we went to check on the lambs again.  Luckily for us we did.  The black and white lamb was stuck between the wall and a wooden box we usually keep two five gallon buckets of water in.  We took the buckets out and put Toupee's hay in there.  The little ram was cold and Toupee would not let him nurse this time, backing away and kicking when we put him on her.  The man scooped him up and has become his mom.  #1 wanted to name him and after several ideas settled on the name of Domino.  The other two have not been named and since I am unsure of their future it may stay that way.  The man has decided we are keeping Domino and making a wether out of him. These show his markings on each side.

But back to that night...the man's baby woke us up at 2, 4, 6 and because we slept in from all the awakenings he woke us again at 7:20.   After a lazy morning, Sir T and #1 took us out to breakfast and a stop at Agway where they bought me a beautiful clematis.  Then it was back home for bottlefeedings and a nap!  We woke up, checked on the animals, planted the clematis, watered all the transplants and seed rows.  We brought Domino out to walk around and amazingly it was time for dinner. I had wanted to get my potatoes planted but we just were not up to the task.  After dinner and coffee we sat down to watch Survivor. I wanted Rupert to win it but since he got voted off I was rooting for Sandra and she won!  And I finished a granny square baby blanket in pink, white and brown for the man's granddaughter due in July.

Last night Domino only woke us up once so it was a good night.  Today started with wishing the man a Happy Birthday.  He left for work and the kids for school.  Then the Post Office called, my chicks were in.  Usually I get my meat birds from Farmer Dave but it was cheaper to order them this year.  Luckily, eventhough it was last minute, they were able to ship what I wanted in the time frame I wanted.

Now #1 and I are headed out to the garden.  I am going to risk it and plant my tomatoes.  It is suppose to rain tomorrow so that will offer them a good start.  Then it is inside to start dinner and bake a cake.

So I will head out leaving you with this picture of a spoiled useless dog who is afraid of the dark...
May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!
~Irish Blessing

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Ice Men

Weather lore states there are three ice saints (Saints Mamertus, Pancras, Servatius and Boniface) who each cast a frosty spell from May 11 to May 14, and farmers knew that it was not safe to plant crops until the saints had done their work.  In Germany they were known as the “Eismänner” or “ice men”. Weather records seem to support their reputation and I can attest to them as they are hitting us now.
I stoked up the woodstove Sunday night and again last night.  This morning it was only 28 degrees.  All the tomatoes made it thru the night before but I haven't been out to check them this morning.  I have them all covered in the greenhouse but I didn't have any heat on so hopefully they are okay.  I was always told not to plant most sensitive plants until after Memorial Day.  Most times I listened!

It has been extremely busy around here.  The new garden was tilled, new fence posts and fencing acquired and installed.  An apple transplant made it back into the ground along with a newly purchased Gala apple tree and three blueberry bushes. I still have two hazlenut and two serviceberry to plant. But almost all the flower plants I dug up and heeled in elsewhere have now been put where I want them.  Grass was mowed and everything else got weed whacked. A truckload of woodchips was delivered to use as weed control in the permanent part of the garden. It is just sitting there waiting on me to move it!

I froze another 10 pounds of rhubarb and a pound of asparagus.  I was given some apples and I am up to 16 trays of dehydrated apple slices for the kids.  But no spinning has been done and only one baby sock was knit.  The wind has kept me from washing the fleeces that we did shear, had I tried they would have been blown out to the Atlantic by now.  But my hands could sure use the lanolin. 

The self seeded Osaka is ready to eat but the lettuce mix I planted will take a little longer. Hopefully today I can get some pea's, carrots and beet seed planted.  Later in the week I hope to transplant the brussel sprouts along with the green and red cabbage.  Then if I can get the potatoes planted this weekend I will be very happy.  Wish me luck!
This little bird told me...
"A wet May makes a big load of hay. A cold May is kindly and fills the barn finely."  Let's hope that's true.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day 2010

My mother loved getting cards with poems written by Helen Steiner Rice and I use to scour the racks looking for them.  Here is one to all the mother's out there.  Happy Mother's Day.

A Mother's Love

A Mother's love is something
that no on can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .
It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking . . .
It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation . . .
A many splendoured miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of God's tender guiding hand.

and for those that lost their mom, another by her....

Mothers never really die
They just keep house up in the sky!
Death beckoned her with an outstretched hand,
And, whisperd softly of "An Unknown Land"
But, she was not afraid to go
For, though the path, she did not know
She took death's hand without a fear
For he who, safely, brought her here
Has told her He would lead the way
Into Eternity's bright day...
And so she did not go alone
Into the valley that's unknown
She gently, took death by the hand
And there, with step so light and gay
She polishes the sun by day
And lights the stars that shine at night
And keeps the moonbeams silvery bright..
For Mother's really never die
They just keep house up in the sky
And in the heavenly home above
They wait to "Welcome" those they love!!

Friday, May 07, 2010


Anthropomorphism...defined as...Attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena.

Two years ago I experienced my first lambing season.  I had one bottle baby, Aila, that stole my heart.  She lived in our house long after she should have gone back to the barn.  I would take her up to visit the other lambs and play but bring her back with me each time.  It was horrible having to leave her in the barn the first couple of days when she baaa-ed wanting to follow me.  Now she can be way out in the pasture and she comes running everytime she hears my voice.  If I sit in the pasture she will eat around me, never straying far.

Well Tuesday morning we found her in labor.  The first lamb presented itself normally but never moved.  The second lamb was born still curled up in the sac.  I got her out and tried working on her but no luck.  While working on number two, Aila laid down and about 10 minutes later stood up and behind her was another sac with the ram lamb inside dead.  All her lambs were 2 lb 3 oz and under.  I keep checking on her and she is eating fine but I think she looks sad.  Other family members will argue this fact and say she looks and acts the same.  I know she was agitated after I took her lambs out and once I laid down on the fresh hay she finally laid down.  Now when I go sit in the field she comes and lays by me.  I emailed back and forth with Grace and she says I can breed her again this year.  I must be strange because I wonder if I can put her through it again.  I would love her to have lambs but I don't want her to experience loss again.  Maybe I am trying to attach human emotions to this situation too.  I know when her mother rejected her but took great care of her other two, I was so mad at the mom.  How could she kick one of her own lambs aside.  I was horrified.  I was trying to humanize things then too.  The man kept saying you can't be mad at her she doesn't know any better she is an animal, but I was furious.  For a while instead of calling her Momma, I just refereed to her as "the bitch."

Momma and the three other ewes (Scarface, Sable and Toupee) still need to deliver.  And then I have months before I have to make any decisions on who gets bred again and who doesn't.  Maybe by then I can detach myself and figure it all out.

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Difference A Couple of Hours Can Make

“Edison failed 10, 000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.”

~Napoleon Hill

I picked that quote for two reasons.  First, I failed to get done almost anything that I wanted to do this weekend.  And second because of the electrical reference...

On Friday, about 6 pm, the electric company that I had called days before because my electric was flickering and randomly going off, finally showed up.  As I am the only person on this line I was unsure if the problem was in the house (checked and didn't find anything) or on their line.  Come to find out it was behind their locked meter but part of my base.  One slot that their meter was plugged into was broken and arcing.

Needless to say electrical usage was kept at a minimum until I could get the part needed and the electrician here to install the new base.  Well, he just left and now we don't have to worry about taking a shower and having the electric go off. 

We did shear two sheep, the ram and the wether but only crutched the others.  I was worried about doing the ewes as they are bagging up.  I am ready when they are ready.  So far so good, I am not as frantic as last time! 
The guy didn't till my garden and since we are due to get rain every other day this week, it is not looking good.  I have 25-30 pounds of potatoes just waiting to go, along with cabbage and brussel sprouts.  And pea's, can't forget the peas!  But I have frozen 3.75 lbs of rhubarb, 1 lb of asparagus and dehydrated chives so there was some productivity.

The man was finally able to find out where the red turkey hen has her nest.  He said he heard peeps coming from under Gray but she hasn't gotten up yet.  I know there were duck, chicken and turkey eggs in that nest so God only knows what she will be mothering!

I finished a pair of baby socks (but gave them away already) and I finished spinning the last of the dyed yarn.  The picture came out awful so I will dazzle you with b.s....and a photo of an apple blossom.
The man asked me to ride with him to get feed for the next couple of weeks so I stopped writing this and left with him.   As we are leaving we passed the neighbor that was to rototill.  He was headed down to do the job so we turned around.  Then as we were digging up some plants for him to take home, our local telephone repair man stopped to say hello.  We asked why our dsl temporarily disconnects when we use the telephone...he looks at the box and said they never autorized him to install a new box with a data/voice filter, when we went from dial up to dsl.  He is coming by later to put the new one in.  It never really bothered me because I am home alone so nobody is using the phone when I am on the internet but #2 son keeps getting bumped off games and it gives you a bad rep (or so I am told).

After they left we proceeded to the feed store.  The man I usually get my piglets from had quoted me a price which was a drastic increase over last years which had been a drastic increase over the year before.  While at the feed mill I found a farmer with piglets for the price I had paid last year.  And they are not all whites, he also has several breeds including Tamworth.  We are  going to see them Saturday and hopefully will come home with a couple.

So this has turned out to be a very good day. I can now install the new fence posts and fencing, replant the flowers I dug out for the enlargement and start planting this years crops.

On top of all that the man just installed my new screen door!  My cup runneth over!!!