If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.


Life Soars When you start Dreaming…
Hope Surrounds When you start Believing,
Love Blooms When you start Caring….

DREAM…HOPE…LOVE

Oh, Lord, I thank you for the privilege and gift
of living in a world filled with beauty and excitement
and variety.

I thank you for the gift of loving and being loved,
for the friendliness and understanding and beauty
of the animals on the farm and in the forest and marshes,
for the green of the trees,
the sound of the waterfall,
the darting beauty of the trout in the brook.

I thank you for the delights of music and children,
of other people’s thoughts and conversation
and their books to read by the fireside or
in bed with the rain falling on the roof
or the snow blowing past outside the window.

Louis Bromfield

Hope sees the invisible, it can feel the intangible
and history has shown us it can achieve the impossible.
O God, I thank You for this day of life
for eyes to see the sky
for ears to hear the birds
for feet to walk amidst the trees
for hands to pick the flowers from the earth
for a sense of smell to breathe in the sweet
perfumes of nature
for a mind to think about and appreciate
the magic of everyday miracles
for a spirit to swell in joy at Your mighty presence
everywhere.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.
Well known for his care for animals, an advocate for peace, and his simple lifestyle,
Saint Francis

Be Well.
Jess

Winter’s Warmth


The long days of winter are waning; well at least with every passing sunset the days are getting longer. Taming the winter doldrums can be a task here in Upstate New York; the days are grey (especially with the lack of snow this year)and long, the rain makes it dreary. Surviving this season can be as much about fostering a positive attitude and warm atmosphere as it is about donning my warm llama socks and alpaca sweaters, or absorbing the wood fires glow.

As I go about my usual afternoon farm chores, rain drops dripping from my nose, mud slurping beneath my boots. The llamas and chickens seems tired of the dampness. The ducks revel in the accumulating puddles; running a and gliding into them like like penguins plunging off a glacier into the ocean below. I reluctantly take my big pups for their morning walk around the farm, slipping and slopping my way around the pastures. The soggy llamas look on with what looks like a smirk. Finally, I can gather up my egg basket and now empty pails and bowls. We head into the warm dry kitchen, after virtually mopping the dogs, and depositing my sloppy boots and coat by the door. We are ready to settle in for the remainder of the afternoon. I think a nice hot shower first, find my favorite comfy pants. Aah, true bliss. A big kettle of soup simmering on the back burner as the bread raises on a nearby counter. Piles of warm and cozy quilts and throws lie about the living room, begging to be snuggled into while sipping my tea; even as the rain drops plink on the front porch roof creating their familiar soothing rhythm, I again dive headlong into the seed catalogs lying on the sofa table….it won’t be long now.

A selection of warmth, love and overwhelming cuteness:

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Be well,
Jessica

ps…I have been too busy; I won’t be so long between posts..promise.

An Award!


For me? I knew this would be a great year; I just knew it! My 2nd VBA! (now, doesn’t that sound official)! Such an affirmation! Such encouragement! i am so, so grateful! (a lot of exclamation points, I know)
First, A BIG Thank you!

Thank you for including me among the other lovely blogs she named to be recipients of this award. Which, when you look at her list , is quite an honor indeed. Thank you so much
allaboutlemon.com

…But Sharing Is Caring.


To sum up her blog…Well, her words do it best; “It’s all about you, us and the others too. It’s all about life, people, places and all the things around us”.

VBA Rules
I’ve been nominated; I’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award!

1.Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
2.Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
3.Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I won’t post15,but,I would add,these blogs are excellent!)
4.Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — I will try to include a link to each site.
5.Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

OOPs, forgot…7 things about me.

1. I can’t sing..I try – Oh, how I try.
2. I have a Rooster aptly named Mr. Nasty. (more on him later)
3. I may have too many hobbies…can this even be possible?
4. I don’t like ice cream or chocolate chip cookies…I know, right?
5. I named my first daughter ~ Julianne Marie ~ I named all of my dolls Julianne when I was young ~ just loved that name (secretly wished it was mine)
6. I eat peanut butter out of the jar…and sometimes dip it in honey.
7. I am addicted to the PBS series ~ Dowton Abbey ~ which is strange because I very seldom watch television.

The above appears as though I have an “I” problem.

one of the sisters


The “sweetridgesisters” Sweetridgesisters.wordpress.com
~ one foot in the country, one foot in the city
The adventures of four sisters raised on Sweet Ridge Farm in the driftless hills of Southwestern Wisconsin, from lambs in the cellar to life in the big city. When I read their blog(s) and collective tales..I am transported to their kitchen table, or living room sofa…honest,raw,and sweet.

watchingthephotoreels.com

creative, imaginative, striking photography.
View life through her lens…fascinates me with every post.

thislittlelight.wordpress.com

“This Little Light seeks to remind me that I am called to be a light. I am not called to be perfect, I am not called to do it all by myself, I am not called to be exceptional in every way…” be sure to check out “tutorial Tuesday”.

awindowintothewoods.com
her first book

Extraordinary photography of nature together with great narration! LOVE this blog.

lostupabove.wordpress.com


A passion for prose<3

scriptorwrites.wordpress.com


Scriptor Obscura was reading by the age of four, and wrote her first story at the age of seven, …absolutely intriguing.

applepiespice.blogspot.com


You may recognize this beautiful young woman from one of my posts…A Day of Never-ending Dreams.
Truly, as sweet as pie!

The rules state 16; this is only 7…7 wonderful blogs to be sure. I do hope you have a moment to visit them if you haven’t already. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, may I introduce Harry. :)

Harry, the happy felted Llama.

he makes me smile...I just finished him this morning; my first felted animal.

Be well,
Jessica

I hope I have downloaded all links correctly..God willin’ and the creek don’t rise……fingers crossed

Everything Old Is New Again.


When my husband and I first set out to reclaim old barns I never thought it would become a staircase and focal wall.

But, then again, does anything follow the exact route intended? Think back,did you intend to be where you are? Are you doing what you truly wish to be doing, or what you feel you must do now…to care for family, and the responsibilities associated? Do you ever question your calling? Some folks are lucky, I suppose; to be so sure, so early in their lives…but, it took a long time become me. I thought that studying to become a nurse was the right thing to do with my life, despite the fact that I’m too thin-skinned for the work. Later, I attained a degree in legal studies..again not the best fit. (desks and I don’t get along)
I found a position with some creative and independent latitude; and it focused on a worthwhile cause..Domestic Violence. I believed this work would really matter; if I could just reach, or find justice for one child, one woman.
For 4 years, I forged ahead…a grass roots type initiative. I heard many say, it can’t be done, it doesn’t work…those with whom this project clashed throwing obstacles in my way…this only firmed my resolve. In the end, I was proud of what the was created, from nearly nothing. I learned early on, water flowed in the direction of least resistance; and connected with the “right” people…(with a fairly progressive,forward thinking Judge forging this new road), this new way of adjudicating cases was showing promise; recidivism was lower. The State was looking to use this as a model for the Judicial System. Yet, I was still fighting the same battles, to make it work, bucking the status-quo…change was not easy for this unit (court). I grew weary and had little fight left in me…there were too many wrongs to make right. It was good work, I was glad to have helped and perhaps eased the pain and burden of some…it was time for me to go. To refill my glass, I had lost myself along the way. I had given so much of myself, for something I believed in (and still do).

Knowing specifically what you want is much different than knowing what you don’t want; I know, now, what I don’t want. Knowing specifically what I want is much different than knowing what I don’t want. Reality is complicated, isn’t it? But, for me, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I am not out to become wealthy, if that was my only goal, that would have been an easier path, I think. I definitely wouldn’t have made me happy.
But, then again, maybe life isn’t a race, and maybe the most interesting people follow a path all their own..and perhaps, now..I am right where I need to be.

As we were clearing the back pasture, for the new/old fence..a maple tree fell into their pasture..sweet nibbles in January, a treat.

Barn boards, stairs,and critters to be fenced..

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A poem of sorts…from “Free to Be Me and You”… Marlo Thomas

When we grow up, will I be pretty?
Will you be big and strong?
Will I wear dresses that show off my knees?
Will you wear trousers twice as long?
Well, I don’t care if I’m pretty at all.
And I don’t care if you never get tall.
I like what I look like, and you’re nice small.
We don’t have to change at all.

Hey!
When we grow up, will I be a lady?
Will you be an engineer?
Will I have to wear things like perfume and gloves?
I can still pull the whistle while you steer.
Well, I don’t care if I’m pretty at all.
And I don’t care if you never get tall.
I like what I look like, and you’re nice small.
We don’t have to change at all.

When I grow up, I’m gonna be happy and do what I like to do,
Like making noise and making faces and making friends like you.
And when we grow up, do you think we’ll see
That I’m still like you and you’re still like me?
I might be pretty; you might grow tall.
But we don’t have to change at all.

I don’t want to change, see, ’cause I still want to be your friend, forever and ever and ever and ever and ever.

Be well,
Jess

warm fuzzies…


I find beauty in imperfections; I like things that tell a story, old barns, linens…and I like to share. Blogging is the perfect way to share the excitement of the ~ best ~ flea market, tag sale, decorating idea, series of photographs, or farm story ever. I am loving having a place to express so much of my creativity, share my love of animals, our little cottage farm, and writings. The post previous to this was my 100th; I can’t believe it…I expect the warm fuzzies I get every time I read a comment left by lovely readers will continue for the next hundred; I hope my exuberance,delight, and appreciation for each comment will continue well into the 1000s of posts. Each comment, or e-mail ~ to me ~ is an act of kindness, a reassurance to the ~ a once reluctant blogger.

One of my favorite things is a beautifully disheveled cottage garden, not a perfectly manicured garden,… a running a muck with color and variety…herbs, flowers, and veggies all growing together in a wonderful, colorful mass kind of garden. A cozy, peaceful, pretty as a picture, place to exhale a sigh of relief or relaxation kind of garden. Some day, I will visit the cottage gardens in Devon, Herefordshire, Norfolk, the Cotswalds,and perhaps Brittany, alas for the time being; I will content myself with my cottage gardens. Here I plant roses ’round the fences, raspberries by the gates, bushes and bushes of hydrangeas; where the sleepy dogs can lie.

Down my quiet narrow lane; I will line my walk with hosta, and marigolds, with babies breath…and Coralbells. I will drape my porch in Wisteria, the front garden, packed with flowers of all sorts, daisies, foxglove, peony, cosmos, snapdragon, pansy, bachelor’s button, columbine, bleeding heart, and hollyhock, oh and bell flowers with their lovely lavender hue.

Perhaps, just perhaps, I should put the seed catalogs down. I just wanted to order grapes!

a gaggle of garden goodies:

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Be well,
Jess

My Favorite Shade…of green


I want to believe long weekends were made for relaxation..No? No.

So, we have been busy at Misty Maples Farm.

1. We have torn out the staircase…we are going to use some of the beautifully patina’d barn boards for a focal wall, wainscoting, and wide board barn floor for risers, it is starting to take shape. I will post pictures soon.
2. Acquired 3 new llamas. Which led to number 3.

New face in the crowd.


3. Design and install new pasture fencing to divide the girls and boys. We really needed to do this anyway; Luckily, we have most of the material on hand.
Which, in turn, led to number 4.
4. Build a larger barn. Which leads back to our summer endeavor of reclaiming old barns to reuse the wood and beams.

Fencing, is my biggest priority right now. This has to be completed before the new llamas can arrive. How to design a fence, you asked?
Whether used as permanent, periphery boundaries, or temporary pasture divider fences need careful planning and construction for efficient usefulness, long life and low maintenance.
First, what is the fence to be used for? In our case it going to be a boundary fence and a a cross-fence to divide a pasture?
What is the fence for? Llamas and perhaps other fiber livestock.
What type of fence is best suited? The first consideration in deciding the best fence is the purpose for which it will be used.
Livestock protection and confinement are the main reasons for considering fencing, but the fencing needs for various types species,age,and breed of livestock vary widely.
Visibility is a necessary characteristic in fencing for llamas, they are very curious creatures and always keep a careful watch over the property. Greeting all visitors with their inquisitive gaze.
Barbed wire should be avoided because there are many opportunities for llamas to cut themselves,or damage their very large eyes on the barbs.

barbs can be a danger to llamas.

I tend to want to avoid High-tensile wire, or tape type fences, as they can pose a threat to llamas because they may become entangled in the strands. I have heard too many horror stories.

I think a four board fence, about 5 feet high will do nicely. I will add chicken fencing to the lower half to keep predators out and cria in. Pay attention to water resources when planning your fence arrangement. Wise placement of fences can result in being able to use the same water source in two, or more pastures. We intend to run water, and electric up the center of two connecting pastures.

How pretty is this fence-line.

A permanent fence that surrounds the farm is essential. We need to establish a fixed property line between neighbors. This new fence will help to prevent our livestock from getting out onto the roads, possibly getting killed,or as on one occasion,being mistaken for a moose, seriously, this happened. Also, a new fence will help to keep neighboring dogs away from our animals, my pet peeve. These fences will probably never be moved, so it makes sense to build a well-constructed, low maintenance fence that will last a long time. A permanent fence is also a good idea for a lane that gives livestock access to the place where we/you can perform herdsman-ship, animal husbandry type tasks, nail trims, shearing, wormings, etc.

Our choice;Board fences are very attractive, quite strong and are safe for animals. Board fences consist of 1- to 2-inch thick, 4- to 6-
inch wide boards nailed to wooden posts spaced 8 to 10 feet apart. They can be built to any height,however,heights of 4 to 5 feet are most common. As I mentioned earlier,ours will be 5′ high.

Hopefully, the new fencing will look like this.

We also brought home 3 – 1200lb bales of hay yesterday. The girls were delighted. I was too, to have such green hay in January! Utter delight indeed.

barn red, and hay green…and a little indoor beauty.

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As Robert Frost penned, I have miles to go before I sleep.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Be well,
Jess

sorry about all the corrections.

The outsider


As a child, I was very familiar with what being an outsider meant. I was painfully shy,and moved from place to place; time after time. Sometimes with no forewarning. I was not ever comfortable being the new girl in class. Those years, when a child’s character is shaped can prove to be enough of a struggle, even for a young girl with a sense of permanency or roots…with nothing to cling to but myself and siblings, I somehow found peace. I have always relied on my imagination, creativity, faith, and endless energy. No, I was never the popular one, there were always mean girls, (I kinda felt sorry for them after a moment or two of self pity). I was smart and caught on quickly, allowing my mind to wander and dance with the leaves swirling in the wind outside the school window. “Jessie, Jessie, Are you with us”? the teacher would inevitably have to bring me back. Oh, the places I would go, the scenes I would create. The beginning of so many dreams. A place to escape, to be me, to hope, dream, plan, a place where I belonged. I nurtured my spirit and soul this way most through out a tumultuous adolescence. As life passed, I realize now how my early formed and shaped who I am today, was it the easy road, definitely not. But, it was my road, and I embraced it. I could look back with sadness and longing for something else something more; I could look at my childhood as though I got the short end of the stick…but, then: I would not be me. I am stronger and wiser for it. I kinda like being me. I would never have experienced the joy the sadness, I would never have encountered so many different types of people, with so many ways of looking at life, some good, some not so good. The countless lives who have touched me and the countless lives whom I have touched. I feel blogging as an extension of this philosophy, if I can bring peace and beauty to one person; this to me is bliss.

Some pretty to enjoy:

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Be well,
Jess

Hey…Take a Hike!


Semi- wordless Wednesday…Take a Hike!

Do you like to hike? Do you enjoy being with gentle, calming animals?

If you answered yes…then do I have an idea for you. Gentle and sure footed; Llamas have patiently carried packs across some of the roughest terrain in the world since the times of the Incas. Because they walk at about the same pace as a person, they make excellent hiking companions. In fact llamas are environmentally friendly and have a minimal environmental impact. You see the llama’s foot is split into two toes, with a toenail on top and a leathery pad on the bottom; not a hoof. Oh and get this…Llamas will usually sound a high pitched alarm call when these predators are in the area, helping to keep you safe and aware. Llamas are very quiet. They are observant and will often spot wildlife or other trail users before their fellow human hikers do. How is that for a hiking partner? Hey, one more thing…psst, come closer…I have a secret to share: they will even carry a bit of bubbly, mineral water, and a home grown organic lunch ~ just for you (so be sure to pack water and nibbles for them too, mine like carrots) I have been busy planning hikes I plan to take this coming year, maybe you can come along. :)

Hope You enjoy the view.

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Be well, hope to see you on a trail.

Quick question….does the slide show load easily, or are separate pictures a better display?

The real things haven’t changed…


Are you, like me, at times worried…well maybe not worried, perhaps it’s more like a sense of disenchanted with the world? I watch the news; after all, I probably should be aware of what’s going on around me. I musn’t get used to living life in a bubble; the comfort and most times, tranquility of our life here on our little cottage farm. Yet, hearing of stabbings, and child abductions, bombings…you know what I mean; can sometimes leave me with a feeling of: “What is going on with the world?” I guess, information now, just moves so quickly, coming at us from all directions; for the good and for the bad. There has always been strife, loss, war…there has always been, love, family, and joy…truth is, the real things haven’t changed… most people are still honest and caring, they make the most of what we have in this world. Most of us are happy with simple pleasures.

In the end, I don’t want to be confined by self-absorption it has a tendency to smother empathy and compassion. When we focus only on ourselves, our world contracts. When we focus on others, our world expands. When I care about what’s happening with others; I find I center less on my own problems which are usually much smaller in comparison. Caring and listening can only serve to increase my capacity for connection — or compassionate action. ~ ~ To matter ~

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt. (Frederick Buechner)

For me it all comes down to connections ~ and through this blog; this new rapid communication has allowed me to make connections, share with others, in a world so vast and full. I probably never would have been afforded such a meaningful opportunity without this digital revolution…bringing with it all of these wonderful benefits… but also driving change in the way I live and interact with the world around me. I am, indeed, we are unconfined by national borders…I can interact with people half way across the world with a push of a button. Who could have imagined this? After all, we don’t accomplish anything in this world alone, we are all connected to the rest of the world.The web of our lives are a mingled yarn, good and bad together.

If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it. ~Lucy Larcom Here are some heart warming photos I hope you enjoy.

LOVE pure and simple

Be well,

Jess

Lessons learned…you little baby face


Did you ever just sit and watch a young animal or child interact with the world around them ~ going about their day unguarded by self imposed restraint? Restraint and self control will come; but now is the time to test limits. We had a young cria, Foncie; who tested every thing and everyone in the pasture with him…at times he would come into the barn for the evening..with whole side of his head covered with spit(this is how llamas establish and maintain a pecking order and acceptable llama behavior), he was always pushing the envelope, putting his nose where it didn’t belong.

Frankie, the visiting pup, from a few blogs ago..he is still testing his limits with Lexi..and in no uncertain terms, she lets him know…”My butt is my butt ~ not yours to sniff, this is my Mom and my ball, everything else is ok…you can even have my food”! They establish their own limits for young ones, to make life peaceful.
Andy, (our orphaned llama) lost his Mom early, lots of things he would have learned from her have to be learned from others, haphazardly ~ it seems. He is finding his own limits, different limits, with various members of the herd, there are some who will tolerate more from him, because of his circumstances, KatDoll even let him attempt to nurse, even though she is a maiden, and this behavior is almost never tolerated; He then pushed the envelope, tried to nurse from Shangrala, the herd’s Alpha..this didn’t go as he had planned, not only did he get a stern spitting, he got a bit of run down. Mind you, he will never make that mistake gain..lesson learned. Others are more gentle with the discipline..Penelope simply nudges him away…he then runs back to KatDoll or Breezy for what he thinks may be protection. He sleeps between Breezy and KatDoll at night..it is very, very sweet. Always the same nightly configuration…KatDoll, Andy, Breezy, then her Mom…Shangrala. Shangrala, is not the eldest, not the largest, not the flashiest llama, she is the boss, none the less, and that is hard work to maintain…just ask her. Princess is always challenging her, always ending the same way, Shangrala positions herself perpendicularly to princess head held in a very up right – chin pointed to the sky fashion…and it is over; Princess accepts defeat for now. You see, llamas do not like physical conflicts, therefore, it is usually all about spit and posturing (body language). If it does become physical …watch out! You have never heard such a sound…this is usually left to the boys. I am fascinated by their familial characteristics on a daily basis…with out fail.
Perhaps, we as parents could learn a thing or two… about establishing boundaries.

Some faces of youth…

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Be well,
Jess