City Mouse ~ Country Mouse


They say variety is the spice of life. And as much as like to get away from time to time; I am always eager to come home. To the familiar,the comfortable,… I take a deep breathe and the pace slows.
Apparently, once you’ve been part of a farm, it sticks, like pollen on a bees feet.
I love my life here, for it’s differentness from town or city life…a magical place. A place that I love to share with others.
A come as you are, as often as you’d like kinda place. Do I sound Idealistic? (I bet if you google the meaning, my picture would be there smiling back at you.) I tend to form visions,create dreams…always reluctant to to let these go. They have to be! They must. Do you know what I mean; “On my farm I will have beautiful creamy white ducks, fluffy white chickens, elegant, stately llamas, joyful, exuberant dogs frolicking about, children running free, free to get dirty, free to play, free to help out with chores,…clean,cute barns. A farm with friends and family enjoying lemonade with dinner on the porch with a freshly baked pie for dessert”.
Mostly what I get is, blisters, calluses, dogs chasing the chickens, whilst I chase the dogs, pooh in the barn as I am emptying the wheel barrow full of pooh, from the barn just mucked out..llamas in dire need of their spring haircuts and good wash, taking a moment to have a now cold grilled cheese sandwich followed by my now cold coffee, sitting on the concrete stoop- cuz my bums too dirty to sit in the cushioned chair. Yet, I am smiling from ear to ear. I love this place!

Prepare to get cozy.

simple blossom

look up!

shine through...

Dutch influence.

let's swing!

looking through the pretty at 55mph.

sculptured roadways

unlikely bonds...

Gio

Andy...so soft and sweet

walkin through life..

Chet

a rusty little fairie

lovely colors..

As with so many things, what is true in life is reflected in what I try to capture through photography. We can see incredible things around us everyday…{sunlight through a leaf,patina in a centuries old buildings, unlikely bonds} memories in the making. All we need to do is slow down long enough to notice.

Be Well,
Jess

The cuddle chemical effect….no, really.


Everything that lives, lives not alone nor for itself…

Blessed with animals in our lives…did you know there are actual health benefits? Real health benefits – lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduced stress levels, and better mental health. Attachments or bonding of any sort stimulates the limbic system; releasing the (oxytocin) “cuddle chemical” known for its role in facilitating trust and attachment. Bonding with your pet…is also associated with higher levels of vasopressin, and reduced stress and stress-related hormones. Going for a walk with a llama, bonding through the grooming process, going for a trail hike with friends, just providing everyday care encourages us to interact and to get out. We benefit from the exercise and fresh air that we may not seek out on our own. This does wonders for our health and emotions. I became acutely aware of life’s connections and the value of my beloved animals and friends this passed week. Some of us got together at Dakota Ridge Farm http://www.dakotaridgefarm.com/ to “finally” meet a new llama, to bring bring new llamas home and to connect as friends. It was a wonderful day, full of laughter, food, and sharing. A day that may not have occurred if not for the common connection and passion – Llamas ..well, animals in general really. I am still smiling.

For this I am grateful.

[

Have you ever thought of sharing your favorite animal? Pet therapy is something many llama owners are involved with. You can actually see the positive health effects; both for those receiving therapy and those who bring in their animals to children’s activities and nursing homes. To see a nursing home patient light up when they see you and your llama or dog come through the door is an unforgettable experience. You may hear heartfelt stories of patients who haven’t interacted with or spoken for awhile- open up, relaxes, talking with, and interacts with a new friend…your animal. What a beautiful feeling. Can you imagine the impact your pet could make in a Children’s Hospital, or a visit with an autistic child? What a wonderful experience for the recipients of such a visit.

To get involved in pet therapy, please refer to some of the links below. There are national and local organizations. You could even become affiliated with a therapy organization. You may also wish to visit this http://thekitchensgarden.wordpress.com/ beautiful blog; she visits with her dog Ton-Ton, and soon a precious lamb named Minty.

Also check out: http://www.wunsapanafarm.com/ Her therapy dogs have been registered/certified with Therapy Dogs International (www.tdi-dog.org). She says, “Wouldn’t trade this life of sharing my animals – dogs, llamas, donkeys, goats… for anything.” (Lots more under the Therapy Animals category in her sidebar.)

I just had to take a moment to add this to the post: It was a reply from Katrina of Dakota Ridge Farm, she says; “As far as pet therapy goes, we’ve been doing that for over 20 years and the smiles on the visitors faces as they pet the llamas and horses are worth more to me than words can say. I still get tears when I remember the day a blind girl wanted to know what a llama looked like, so I took her hand and traced the llamas profile, this girl was so happy, will never forget this day. ” As I read her comment I had tears trickling down my face. She is such a beautiful person with so much love to share. I just thought you would want to know!

http://affluent.net/sara/

http://www.akc.org/akctherapydog/organizations.cfm

The Delta Society (www.deltasociety.org)
“Improving human health through service and therapy animals.”
Angel On A Leash (angelonaleash.org)
Therapy charity of the Westminster Kennel Club

Is your animal appropriate for animal therapy ?
Does your animal enjoy interacting with and being touched by people?
Is your animal confident in new environments?
Is your animal calm around other animals?
Is your animal vaccinated ?
Does your dog reliably respond to basic obedience cues (“sit”, “down”, and “stay”)?
Is your dog/animal polite? (does not rush at, jump on, bark at, growl at, snap at, or kick at others)?
Important characteristics of a therapy animal are that they are confident, reliable, predictable, and controllable. A therapy animal should be very social.


“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Anatole France


Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to. Alfred A. Montapert


Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
Albert Einstein


“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
― James Herriot

If you are interested in further information or if you are just curious, perhaps you work somewhere that could benefit from a beautiful animal visit…check out this site.
ASPCA Animal Assisted Therapy Programs
AAT.department@aspca.org
or your local shelter or human society

Be Well,
Jess

Hope is sweet-minded and sweet-eyed….


Hope. It draws pictures; it weaves fancies; it fills the future with delight. Our perceptions are always colored by what we hope, what we fear, what we love. We do the best we can. I did the best I could.
Here on our farm we have been faced with choices; life and death choices on a few occasions within a week. These kinds of choices are never easy, never to be taken lightly. What is best? For the animal? For you? For society? Questions and answers to be weighed heavily with love. With hope. With faith. Am I doing the right thing? right for whom? Does the decision have to be the right one for everyone?
These questions in life; these types of decisions…the answers can only be found deep in your heart,your soul really. you dig deep, sleep on it, then dig some more.
Lost in oblivion, dark and silent and complete, I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom. When left with a sense of despair- perhaps you have your answer. There is no hope. Not now. Not for them. It is time to let them go,to me, to hold on…would be holding on for me; for reasons purely selfish. Loss of quality of life, end suffering was our answer. The right answer some would say, wrong others with argue. to those who disagree with decisions made in moments of despair; I say, “You can’t lose hope when it’s hopeless. You gotta hope more, then put your fingers in your ears and go: “Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!” I Hope and I pray they found peace. freedom from pain, freedom from torment. You see,beginnings can be scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. So Live! As we live, we learn, you’ll have your heart broken and you’ll break others’ hearts. You’ll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you’ll cry because time is flying by. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you’ll never be hurt. Love freely. love completely. Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. you just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.

I told myself; after days of agonizing contemplation don’t be afraid to make a choice… everyone will have their opinion of what is right, what is wrong…there is no “one size fits all: answer. Jessica, do your best with what you have been given.” I hope I did.


Enjoy the present, each moment as it comes, because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart, where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again.


If you have a dream, live it. If you have a hope, chase it.


It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose
it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been
missing until it arrives.


Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go,
be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and
one chance to do all the things you want to do.


The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best
of everything they just make the most of everything that comes
along their way


Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss…


walk with friends.


We see hope in children….


…love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like no one is watching.


When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.


In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away
- shing xiong

Rest peacefully; Riley and Sweet Phantom. You are loved, always.

Be well,
Jessica

There was a Pink Moon.


Traditionally, the April full moon is known as “the Pink Moon,” supposedly as a tribute to the grass pink or wild ground phlox, considered one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. For me spring is about renewal, and recommitting to dreams and goals. TO find my life’s purpose. What is your purpose? Mine is still evolving; I think.
If you can’t figure out your purpose—list three things you daydream about on slow days at work or while at a stop light?

Don’t spend your life trying to be what you are not…There are no things or powers in life that can offer you a hand to your dreams; surround yourself with great,positive people;you always can learn something from them. People and their opinions, can have the strongest affect on our lives. I believe that you become the people you hang out with. The people you associate with and share ideas with have a major influence on how you choose to act upon or not act upon your dreams. Did you ever have the sort of folks around you that say things like “Why would you want to do that”, “Why waste your time, that is foolish”; trying to down your dreams before they even begin? I used to worry what they thought, …no more.

Confidence is contagious, and so is the lack of confidence. We must believe in ourselves and our dreams ~ our purpose~ be selective of the people we choose to spend our precious time with. I always try to surround myself with positive “can do” people. Relationships are a choice. Choose passionate friends, crazy, I can do it, I will do it ~ friends. I am just crazy enough to think things can be different. Those who think something’s impossible generally don’t spend enough time around crazy people who know it can be done. That things can be better. Put all those crazy people together and suddenly everyone’s doing impossible things.

Never lose sight of your dreams … it’s totally up to you to remind yourself everyday of the rewards you will reap as you achieve your goals.

Sow it!!!…Reap it!!!!!!!
Be Well,
Jess
Wordpress is being wonky, and not saving all of my words whilst publishing…so this is yet another update.

Earth’s saddest day and gladdest day were just three days apart….


The spirit of easter is all about Hope, Love and Joyfull living. Happy Easter!

In memory of Thomas Kinkade...

On this Easter Sunday…. Forgive someone. Tell someone you love them. Let your light shine.

May the angels protect you,
may the sadness forget you,
may goodness surround you,
and may the Lord always bless you.

Happy Easter!!!
Jess

It’s Spring – Do you know where your bloomers are?


Spring is struggling to hang on here in the North East…still, I have started seeds, filled the green house. Sowed onion sets and Sweet peas. Well, and numerous other earthly undertakings…I tend to move things around a bit, both in the garden and in our home. Keeps things from feeling stale, I think. Create a warm atmosphere…even as the nest is emptying. This fall I will officially become an empty-nester..what ever that means…resonating silence in the house? …Or pride, in dreams realized, or the hope of what’s to come? New life, new challenges for us all.

Some of the class of 2012..Senior Ball; I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. These kids are awesome.

Spring and seeds of hope…

She walks to the beat of a different drummer...

looking over their shoulder...

Uhmm? Jenni?

2012

The shoes were awesome...

sweetness.

The old barn boarding is up the rooms have fresh paint; all vestiges of winter’s warm wood fires removed. It is Spring.

springs warmth..

Winter’s damp, somber chill is ebbing into warm, soothing breezes…finches and blue bird’s songs fill the morning air; trees and flowers are budding with a promise of color and summer shade. Planning and working on our gardens at this time of the year is much about hope; hope for life.

spring!

I’m feeling oh-so silly,I’m all in a muddle.
Can it be spring fever..that put my feet in this puddle?

duck eggs waiting to be beautified...all blown out and ready to go

Now what am I going to do first?

Easter blessings, Enjoy.
Jess