A September Day…


Life can get pretty hectic at times; sometimes I need to pause to consider our blessed and full life…a combination of stress, excitement, and love.
We all lead far too hectic, busy lives. We have great intentions toward simplicity, looking for moments in our day to just be! Enjoy the sweet moments with those we cherish, before the moments pass…maybe, we don’t need to be so cognizant of these moments, perhaps they just happen,we enjoy them , and carry on with our day ~ only to look back and remember; the I love you, Mom with a hug good bye, the tender squeeze of my hand from a friend as my daughter makes a play, my older daughter’s voice on the phone, my husband’s sweet smile as he come home at the end of the day…I did stop long enough to enjoy these things, even without intention.
Even with; a College search, fair season, field hockey, homecoming dress shopping, vet health certification appointments, and house renos, I have decided to get my Real Estate license and home staging certification…somehow squeezing in class time (oh, but I am excited). Still,as each day goes by, I find that one project leads to another, and another, until, by days end, I feel that I haven’t even so much as sat down with my now cold cup of Earl Grey… some how, I have captured some of these moments with my camera…to be cherished later…

Here are some pictures from a typical day…of animals chores, home, and family.

Riley adorning the kitchen...

pre-game pep talk

...and she swings

Jenni...attack mode

ut oh...another corner

...defense mode

"Hey, can we go to a game?"

sittin' pretty

I have taken to just dusting around Riley…he seldom moves anyway…
Be well,
Jessica

Changing Seasons…


I recently wrote about summer coming to an end, I think it may be a good segue now…my youngest child is now a senior in high school. I’m not sure where the time went…somewhere between, can we get llamas Mom?, and can I borrow the car?…she has grown into an amazing young woman. As I was shooting some photos of her ~ this fact hit me like a ton of bricks! Andrew ( our neighbor) was sitting watching our photo shoot; what a juxtaposition. He will just be beginning his school years, entering pre-k; this will be the last year of high school for Jenni. Where did the time go…? Softball games, field hockey practice, swimming competitions, County fair llama shows… shopping trips to NYC, emergency room visits with broken arms, proms, and homecoming games…
As we visit colleges, and prepare applications; I will be finding comfort in these memories.

I’ll be keeping the llamas; who are now feasting on hay…protected by a shed Howie built using the reclaimed wood of the old barn [we are still disassembling]. We think it looks a bit like a covered bridge; what do you think?

from old barn to hay shed...

Lala...doesn't leave the hay often, as you may be able to tell...she's a bit deep in the groceries.

Andy and KatDoll resting nearby; KatDoll brought Andy to her side when his Mom passed a month ago ~ they haven't separated since...who ever said animals don't recognize death and parting...have never met these two.

Andy and Jenni; this is how our llama adventure began.

Jenni <3

Andrew's "pre-k" photo...what a sweet little man.

Be well, and enjoy every moment of every day!
Jessica

as summer winds down…


Seasons seem to pass so much faster than they did when I was young. Perhaps, I can no longer fit so much into each day…because, I remember endless summer days spent swimming, riding bikes (with no helmets) wind in my hair…staying outside playing until well after dark…hide and seek at night was the best(we called it bear)the fireflies were always there waiting for the nightly game; and my abiding love of purple Popsicles. Every moment was cherished, without conscious effort. As children we were never bored, though with so many of us there was no money for extras…it never stopped us; we were so busy having fun we didn’t know we were missing anything. We moved around a lot so it seemed almost every summer was spent with a different bunch of kids, each neighborhood having it’s own brand of fun. This is not to say life was perfect, we simply made the best of what we had. I’ll never forget those summers.

As adults, some perspective is altered, we spend more time thinking about what we are going to do, how we are going to spend our time…we never really get lost in the moment…just being mindlessly involved in the game, the conversation, the book, the precious moments…as children there is no worry about what’s next when you’re totally immersed in a kick ball game, you simply enjoy the game. I wanna think like a kid again! I wanna slow things down, enjoy every moment.

The last of my summer vegetables ready to be harvested, llamas in need of grooming in preparation for the Eastern States Exposition(more on this in an upcoming post),pumpkins turning a warm shade of orange…fall is upon us whether we are ready or not.
I do love a brisk, breezy, sunny Fall day. It’s my favorite time of year. The sky seems bluer, the air fresher. And as the leaves change upstate New York, and New England have to be the most beautiful places on earth! Besides all that, I adore sweaters…all cozy soft and warm.
One of my favorite cool weather pass-times is enjoying the warmth, while sharing a cup of tea and moment with a friend or family in front of the kitchen’s fire…anticipating dinner as the smell of a hearty stew simmering, and wheat rolls baking fills the room. Oh, and apple picking.

This morning there was a heavy dew, the early morning sun made everything sparkle…so I snapped a couple photos of flowers in the veggie garden…

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose

We do not remember days; we remember moments. ~Cesare Pavese, The Burning Brand

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. ~P.D. James

The faintest waft is sometimes enough to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or to transport you back through time and space to a long-forgotten moment in your childhood. It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and evaporating almost the moment it is detected. ~Stephen Lacey, Scent in Your Garden, 1991

t's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.

God gave us memories that we might have roses in December. ~J.M. Barrie, Courage, 1922

Hmmm, how to “can a day?” You know, those days that seem just perfect you want access to them whenever the need arises.

What are some your best summer memories?
Be well,
Jessica

Did you ever have one of those days…


I hesitated writing this blog, not knowing what to write, not knowing where to begin; So,I guess the beginning is best.

As my husband and I were attending a wedding earlier in the summer(Sarah & Andrew’s); we were asked to help at a friend’s daughter’s wedding. We were bar-tending, if you know us, you know how hysterical this really is.
My husband decided to go over to the reception venue early to try to gain some perspective(believe me when I say we needed some); he returned with a sullen expression, not what I was expecting….he had bad news, I just knew it. The Father of the Bride’s brother had just(in the past hour) died of a heart attack, he was to attend the wedding with his family. The wedding ceremony was commencing as we spoke. The Bride’s father, nor the family knew the news…I couldn’t even imagine the scenario that was about to play out.
We drove to the where the reception was to be; prepared for guests, the hall looked adorable; a country/outdoors-man theme. Just as we were about to sit a and relax for a moment before guests arrived; an elderly woman entered, and called my husband over…she did not feel well. He motioned for me to come over. I approached the woman with a smile; she responded with a grimace ~ She was having chest pain! I sent my husband to call the rescue squad, sat her down, put her feet up…took vitals, basic information…wiped her tears,called her dear friend…she was in her 90′s and here for the wedding. (found out later she was doing ok)…All of this before the newly married couple even arrived for the reception! Talk about mixed emotions!
The wedding party arrived, did they know yet?, do the guests know? I had no idea how to respond. OK, put a smile on your face and forge ahead,I told myself…focus on the blessing of the day, I said…trying to force the elephant in the room from my thoughts.

I am still unsure how the family made it through the day (they were told ), I admire their strength, courage, and Love.
I was all to happy to snuggle into my cozy bed on our little farm that night…and the reception was very, very sweet. Here are some pictures, I hope you enjoy them.

Kearsten & Eric

Head table

the cute couple

first dance

Father ~ Daughter dance...

...not a dry eye in the house.

Bride and her Mom

dancing the night away...

...with the love of friends

My wish for them ...Happily ever after

Be well,
Enjoy life, live fully every day…just never know what each day may bring.

Hometown Football…and a Remembering 9/11


High School Football in America…it hasn’t really changed much over the years, just like those thrilling Friday nights of yesteryear; the players “will to win” is palpable! The smell of early fall and the snack bar with hamburgers,hot dogs filled the air…There’s a reason why the Friday night tradition continues to be played out across America, year after year after year…The American spirit is epitomized in high school football. Honor, commitment, fair play, hard work, and accomplishment always produce a successful team… and country. Coaches,students, parents, and our small community all pull together to make this football program happen. Without hard work, dedication, commitment, and accomplishment there is no high school football. Prosperity occurs when people volunteer. The prosperity ingrained in high school football cannot possibly exist in some countries.The courage, prosperity, and promise characterized by high school football is a metaphor for what we call the American Way.
So, even on a beautiful Friday night in Upstate NY, there is more to life than football, Last night, our small town, remembered those that lost their lives on 9/11 ten years ago. Some lost their lives in the initial explosions, some in an attempt to save others, some in the fight to keep us free from Terrorism. All of those, then and now, who fight to keep our Country free and safe; we remembered last night in a touching, patriotic pre-game and half time show.

The High School chorus, cheer leaders, local talent, and Bagpipes, all came together to offer their talents in a touching remembrance to the victims and families of 9/11/01.


Beautiful night for a Home Game.


Under the lights.


One of many to come!


Representatives of Our Hometown First Responders…


High School choir, and Jazz Band, with First Responders…


Shari sang “Proud to be an American” to rousing applause.

Do you attend Friday Night Football Games?
Be well,
Jessica

…just wondering what we did to tick off Mother Nature…


It feels as though it is never going to stop raining on our farm here in Upstate New York. I bet it feels as though it never will ~ in Texas!


Angry Waters!

Be well,
Jessica

County Fairs…a celebration of agriculture…


All summer, I look forward to fair season. Llama shows! Fair food! Barns full of, sheep, cows, chickens, horses, and goats! 4H displays; works of art proudly displaying the 4Her’s hard work and agricultural interests…the 4H animal competitions are a favorite…the kids are so proud, excited,and anxious to see how there hard work may pay off in ribbons, trophies, and premiums.

As a kid, I never had enough ride tickets, now just looking at the rides spinning makes me dizzy. So, I don’t spend much tome in the Midway…though, I do like the pretty lights on the ferris wheel….

At the fair, I look forward to reconnecting with friends who share a common interest, and in my case, a shared love of llamas and fiber art. I always wish for more time with these friends. Maybe this is what makes fair time so special to me…friends and human connection. Gosh, I’m sappy!

County fairs; historically were established to promote agriculture, education and science through exhibitions, displays, live stock judging competitions and demonstrations…Fairs quickly became highly anticipated events across the country. Many farm families adjusted their work schedules as far as a month in advance of the big events in order to earn a few work-free days at the fair.
Farmers came to share their farming techniques. Rural families went to view the very best in agricultural products and livestock, and to experience programs and events that they will not experience anywhere except at the fair; games, racing, horse demonstrations, crafts, a variety of foods and special programs for Mothers, Fathers, and kids.
For many people, the fair would mark the first time they saw electric lights and airplanes! My husband,s favorite parts of the fair are the new equipment (think.. tractors) and the antique engines on display.
Even today, I think fairgoers attend to celebrate agricultural, exhibitions, food, the midway’s carnival rides, entertainment, competitions, and the always popular concerts.


How could anyone resist that face?


Fair buddies.


Such a cute goat face!


Best in show…(wondering if his owner has to arm himself/herself when collecting eggs from the hens)


Miss Lily’s ribbons…a years hard work pays off!


Polled Hereford…


Lily and her Hereford.


Lights of the ferris wheel!

I hope you get to visit a County Fair near you. If you do go; what do you like to see?
Be Well,
Jessica

pet sitting and a hurricane…


I doggie sat for my daughter recently as she and Josh headed to the Beaches of South Carolina for a vacation; just as Irene was due to hit Upstate NY. Within the first 2 hours I had failed miserably…a neighborhood dog bit Nali’s eye. Through the tears(mine), I was able to clean it up and ascertain there was no real damage; it was a fairly superficial. (whew) Immediately my thoughts turned to Juli, I wondered whether or not I should call… (remember, this is the first 2 hours) Do I let her know her beloved Nali was hurt? (insert guilt here, you see Nali was a rescue, he was thrown into a dumpster as a young pup and on the very brink of life when he found Juli) Or, perhaps I should wait until she was home, so as not to ruin her vacation with worry. As luck would have it, Juli called me! “How are my babies?” she asked; I started crying, yet again, and I just blurted it out. He seemed fine so she was fine. Minor tragedy considering what was headed our way…Irene was coming to town.
Not only were we in the midst of a hurricane; I was trapped in the house with 4 dogs, and a very large cat! Water was pouring from the sky, and of course they had to go “out” and often! Mud up to my eyeballs…forget about wiping their feet, they rolled in the sloshy muck of a back yard…oh, well..I’ll clean later. Sirens were sounding, Howie was out to calls all day long,(NHFD), roads were closed, rivers flooding, my sister was being evacuated. I had to find out if my family was ok. So, I loaded up the Suburban with Lexi, Finnegan, Nali, Si, and my youngest daughter. We headed out into the storm. As we headed to my youngest sister’s home, we had to cross a bridge with water up to the top of the cement supports…talk about a scary scene…we had minutes to check on them, see if they needed anything and get back across the bridge before they closed it (trapping us on the other side of the bridge with no roads leading home…they were ok; no phone, or electricity,but no flooding waters. One brother had water up to his front door, one sister had to evacuate residents of a group home she worked at, one brother was caring for my Mother and her home. My oldest sister was kept informed by cell phone text conversations, she lives in Canada..it must be worse to worry from so far away. Another brother in NH was in constant contact, they were getting more wind than rain, he was worried and any information was a cooling salve for frazzled nerves.
Now, I don’t know about you, but, I don’t usually worry about heading to Vermont during a hurricane…today was different. Every where we turned, roads were washed out or closed, bridges, houses, livestock, crops, and cars washed away..life for many was changed forever.
We were lucky, everyone was safe …many many, families, farms, and businesses were not so lucky.

My thoughts and prayers are with them still…and I cherish my little farm home<3


At post ~ such nosey little fella!


Naldo (or Nali as I call him)…mwah!


Si…a sweet little guy.


sweetness!

Do you have a “the worst” pet sitting story?

Be well,
Jessica

talking to the GPS…or, Good Times with Good Friends


Emily called…ROAD TRIP, GPS Adventure, call it what you will…A beautiful blue skied morning; animals are fed and watered,sufficient amounts of caffeine ingested, time to hit the road!

The 3 plus hour drive to Boston went by quickly, as Em and I caught up. I was initially a bit ill at ease, you see, some people are inspired to be chatty during long car trips, some more meditative, we struck the perfect balance… Meg watched Mrs. Doubtfire (dotted with raucous laughter, not dampened by the earphones in her ears…). On the road, I have decided, that I must let go of any expectation I may have of my hair. Emily has a Mustang convertible, the wind, a bad braid, and tiny mirrors all conspired to make my hair so willful it seemed like an extra passenger at times. I had to let it go. This wasn’t about looking good, it’s about reconnecting, friendships, spontaneity, something new; all new experiences worth their salt eventually mess up your hair. It is a road trip after all, and on a road trip, it’s best to do road-trip things (we’ll never see these people again), so we interacted with strangers, ate local fare (a delicious Jewish deli), took silly pictures with statues (nevermind), and wore balloon hats; all of which require a sense of adventure and a suspension of your normal decorum.
Road-trip snacks should not be underestimated; and Emily came prepared, I on the other hand, should take notes on this girls preparation skills. After stopping by to visit Emily’s Dad in Brookline; Emily, Meg, and I headed out to see some sights. We decided to walk the Freedom Trail (much to Meg’s chagrin, you see Meg is 7yrs old…). Ok, program the GPS…and we’re off, well, sorta…we were off course…with all of the downtown construction and rapid turns needed to navigate Boston Proper, our Aussie GPS “voice guy” Braun..could not keep up…he had us going in circles, through tunnels, and over bridges, and over bridges, and through tunnels…well, you get the picture..as much as we loved Braun’s sexy Australian accent, we broke up for a while, we just could not see the relationship continuing, it was headed nowhere fast. We gave it time…(about 5 minutes), renewed our relationship with Braun, a few more “conversations” with Braun, and more than a few cases of uncontrollable laughter, we arrived at our destination.
The the two-and-a-half-mile Freedom Trail, (I am a history buff, so this was very exciting for me)…marked with bricked red line, it is easy to follow the trail with 16 markers and historic landmarks of America’s Revolution…I hope you enjoy the photos, as much as I love taking them!

Our trip to Boston reminded me of why I travel…

Traveling is: a time to build memories, best shared
an opportunity to spend time nurturing relationships
a challenge, to learn and grow
a reason to stretch limits
sharing laughter
stories to tell
an appreciation of the world around us
an appreciation of my family farm home….


..Freedom trail’s red bricks must be skipped to be enjoyed!


Old North Church, played a prominent role in the American Revolution. Two lanterns were hung in the steeple for a few moments. It was long enough for patriots in Charlestown to learn what has been immortalized by the phrase One if by land, two if by sea in Longfellow’s Paul Revere’s Ride. The British were advancing by boat across the Charles River. These lanterns heralded the battles of Lexington and Concord and the beginning of the American Revolution.


..a peek inside the Old north Church.


One of three panels in the Apse of the church…


Statue of Paul Revere.


This wooden structure, dating back to 1680, is downtown Boston’s oldest building still in existence. Paul Revere was living at this house the night he set forth on April 18, 1775 to make his momentous ride to Lexington that would be immortalized by Longfellow’s famous poem Paul Revere’s Ride.


A garden around the side of the church…


oh, I love to open garden gates to see what’s around the corner..


heritage roses…outside of a garden planted in the 1700′s


entrance to The Saints Garden…


Patron Saint of animals, Saint Francis.


Copp’s Hill was Boston’s largest colonial burying-ground, dating from 1659….interesting vantage point between Boston old and new; the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge,named after civil rights activist Lenny Zakim and the American colonists who fought the British in the Battle of Bunker Hill.


The divine Miss M.


Boston’s North End


this photo depicts the architectural feeling of the North End…I think.


one of the war time Memorials we saw that day..


silent, yet deafening.


a plaque among many in Memorium to WWII…


stones representing children whose lives were taken in the concentration camps…made me cry.


Boston Skyline..

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowline, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain ~ even if it’s only 3 hours from home!

Be well,
Jessica