Sunday, Sunday…


Sunday in our home town, is probably much like Sunday in your hometown. Church, followed by breakfast at your favorite spot. Home for some yard work or chores…Does anyone still have their traditional Sunday family dinner, I hope so. Now that we are at the Shoppe on Sundays, there is no time for a sit down Sunday dinner. Oh, I am not complaining, I love what I do, I love the people I have met, the friends I have made, and the atmosphere our family has created, a few people have commented, on this in particular; they thought it felt like an extension of their home, their dining room, kitchen or living room. This sounds just about perfect to me. Maybe we can’t have a sit down Sunday dinner here at Picasso’s but we are surrounded with family and friends, and that is almost as good. Don’t you think?

pansy and iris

Our Sunday Soup specials, Tuscan Sausage, with potato and kale (just as luscious as it sounds) and vegetable (loaded with veggie goodness)

Salad special Sunny citrus on mixed greens with red onion, cucumber herbs, served with our homemade honey lemon dressing. A bright spot in your day!

Smoothie: Mango tango (oh, yes, I just made that up) Mango, orange juice, pom juice, and vanilla yogurt! Shine on!

Special: Angel hair pasta with tomato pesto and topped with fresh grilled chicken! Served with a side salad or not!

Have a wondrous day, enjoy your friends and family!

Wow, that’s a lot of exclamation points! hee her.
Be well.

Gold, pure Gold.

Gold, pure Gold.

And All is Berry and Bright…


Feb 2013 Gio
Gio.

I will enjoy the snow fall we about to be “blessed” with, up to 24″. I find it refreshing, well, a refreshing change from grey days, and brown fields…blanketing everything in white; plays so beautifully against the deep blue of the winter skies(on a sunny day).

POO
Phantom of the Opera.

Yet I yearn for Spring, to dig my fingers into the earth…see precious livestock being born…feeling the warm rays of sun on my face! There’s nothing quite like the smells of the earth on a warm Spring day. Daffodil, crocus, tulips,and apple blossoms…mmmmm. When many trees and shrubs look as if they are most certainly dead but then slowly begin to show signs of life. Why wouldn’t we yearn for Spring?

berrilicious
some berries for dinner tonight…nom,nom..

We live for the rhythm and beauty of our day-to-day lives, yet, we start our Spring watch in early February.[don't we] Did the groundhog sees his shadow; if he does, he will be frightened back into his den and we will experience yet another six weeks of winter.No impostors allow, this seasonal predication relies squarely on the shoulders of, no other than Puxatoney Phil. So, we hold our collective breath…and,…and,…Phil did not see his Shadow! An early Spring?!

Feb 2013
The yard will look like a totally different landscape by this time tomorrow.

Of course, depending on where we live…this could mean many things… As Henry Van Dyke said, “The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.” I usually can’t do much planting until May…but, a bit of color pops up here and there as early as the end of March depending on snow cover. Perhaps that is why we yearn for Spring; could it be that we all long for a peaceful, delicious garden?

Feb 2013 Mali
OOPs, Mali. :)

For now, I will dust of the toboggan, gather some neighborhood kids…and WHEEEEE…enjoy this Old New England winter

Be well,
Jess

How did I get here from there?


Yesterday morning after feeding llamas, dogs, chooks, and ducks; it was time to head out to stock up on feed. We use a local (local being a relative term around here)farm’s mix; a sweet mix developed by a llama farmer in Southern Vermont,Lars Garrison; a man known as an icon and all around good guy in the llama community. This horse farm/feed supplier, Wirtes Farm, prepared it exactly as he envisioned it should be; a perfect llama feed. We travel to this farm in the Berkshires of northeastern Massachusetts to purchase our feed supplies. It just so happens that the farm store is on the road that leads to Mount Greylock’s trails and viewing areas; many times I have said to myself – “Why didn’t I bring my camera, I could just head on up there after buying this grain”? Well, yesterday, I did remember my camera, and of course it was grey and gloomy, a bit drizzly even. I hesitated for a moment, should I waste my time, I probably won’t get any good shots in this cloud cover…I persevered, after all I had remembered my camera!

I drove not even 5 minutes up the road; here is what I saw.
Mountain view

Grelock shine

Greylock sun

mt view

windview

“I wonder where we are going,” I said.
“Wherever the way is going,” Exi replied calmly.
“But where do you suppose the way is going?”
“Wherever we go.”
“That doesn’t really make sense, does it?”
“Oh, yes. Quite good sense.”
“Why?”
“Do you know any method by which you can go way and your path another? Not the path, but your path?”
“Well-” I hesitated. “Well, if you put it that way, I guess not. But what about crossroads? Couldn’t you choose the wrong one?”
“I suppose you could. However, if it was the wrong way you chose, it would still be your way, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes,” I answered, “yes, it probably would.”
― Sheila Moon, Knee Deep In Thunder

You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing.
Be well,
Jess

Roots give you something to stand on…


Why Traditions? Because I said so that’s why! No, really ..traditions reinforce; tradition works.

Have you ever been a bystander, a guest of another family – viewing a family tradition? Kinda lonely right? Tradition reinforces who we are; who our families are…it doesn’t matter who you ARE individually, you’re family…

….the hilarious uncle, odd cousins, senile grandparents, or eccentric Aunt, when a reason arises for the a family get together; we are all welcomed back into the fold despite past disagreements, Thanksgiving is such a time.

Generation after generation has gathered together to celebrate and gives thanks…a tradition that has been around for a LONG time (well, in relative terms; this is a young Country after-all).

Roots give you something to stand on. They give you an identity that you can be proud of.

Traditions are tried and true…with the onslaught of commercialism; and “gotta’ have it mentality so prevalent at the holidays it’s easy to lose track of the reason they exist. It is about family and friends. Without family, all the material and money in the world wouldn’t mean much.

Getting together as family during holidays, celebrations, and life’s milestones is second-nature, a custom, a way of life…a tradition, and traditions evoke a deep seated emotional response, a connection to our past and our present. This is why tradition works.

Tradition is about creating a refuge, a comfortable haven, away from the world. It’s all about putting some meaning behind life’s steps. No matter how much you’ve done in your life, how many miles are on your frequent flyer account, how rich you are, or how powerful, tradition will always be bigger than you are.

Be well,
Jess

Tagged, dodged, now I am it…and the winner is?


The Tag Blogathon

Carolyn, over at the ABC of Spirit Talk tagged me a few weeks back..time stops for no-one…

Listed Below Are The Rules Of Said “Tag Blogathon”…
1. Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.
2. They must also answer the 11 questions the ‘tagger’ has set for them.
3. They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
4. They must then choose 11 bloggers and tag them in their post.
5. These lucky bloggers must then be told.
6. There are no tag backs.

11 things about me…?

1. I re-arrange my house almost monthly (so, don’t come in, in the dark thinking you know where to walk)
2. I doodle…. when I am bored, at a stop light, at restaurants…well, when I am waiting for anything really, and my doodles are almost always trees and flowers…
3. I can’t imagine a life without animals.
4.I love windy days…the kind of days that make the autumn leaves swirl about our feet.
5.I wish I had more than one lens…I struggle to capture all of life through a 50mm lens ( Oh, wait this is not a wish list is it?) Ah, well.
6. I could not live in a city.(I just returned from 2 days in NYC)
7. I adore hot apple cider.
8. I have a gigantic sweet tooth.
9. My family and I have 16 llamas, 2 dogs, 2 ducks, 5 chickens…I wish for a larger farm
10. I am afraid of heights.
11. I need a bigger barn. (right, that’s another wish, isn’t it?)

Carolyn’s 11 questions for me to answer: I will ask you to answer these as well, I found them intriguing.

1. What is your most favourite thing to do on weekends..!?!
Catch up with my husband.
2. How many days does it take to complete your Christmas shopping..?
Too many and not enough, I love, love Christmas, dislike commercialism; I love to buy presents for loved ones…
3. If you were an animal what would you be, and why?
A llama, oh, to be so calm and wise…
4. Were you to have your druthers (choice), what would your days be like?
To fill my days with sharing, I dream of opening a shop…a general store sort of shop, you know, the kind that
sells baked, goods, and yarns, and animal care needs, right along side beautiful things…a place to recharge and
step back in time..
5. If money grew on trees, what type of trees would you grow?
Maple Money trees…
6. Who is your favourite historical person?
Mary Harris Jones. Known as “Mother” an Irish immigrant who lost her family to yellow fever and became the self-
proclaimed mother and “hell-raiser” for the downtrodden American laborer, especially children.
7. What is your fave food, and why?
A good grilled cheese sandwich with creamy tomato soup…satisfies my hunger and soothes my soul
8. Jazz, Blues or Rock ‘n Roll, and favourite artist?
Ella Fitzgerald; a poor and homeless girl had a big heart and an even bigger dream…I may be able to relate to
some of that]…Billie Holiday , a close second
9. Do you miss your youth? If yes, why?
Yes, and no…my youth was full of struggles, and survival..I miss the idea of youth I guess.
10. Snow or Beach?
snow. Nothing is a magical as a sunrise over freshly fallen snow…
11. What is your all time great movie?
Sound of Music. Hands down.

I know the tag-a-thon asks me to nominate 11 bloggers, yet, I wish to hear from all of you…even if you wish to answer one of these questions, or a few. Have fun with it, I did.

I haven’t written a blog in a bit, life can be full sometimes…I have been contemplating all of the ideas and thoughts around the Farm banner design and Christmas card give-away…
I have chosen a winner…I love the simple yet, effective thought of filling the truck with hay, and having it blowing in the breeze, creating movement as he said…Josh Cookfair! Thank you all for sending me all of your wonderfully creative ideas, some of which I will incorporate into my Christmas cards, if not the farm banner itself.

Be well,
Jess

I Saw Old Autumn in the Misty Morn…


As I went out walking this Fall afternoon, dogs and camera in tow. I heard a whispering, a quiet gentle whispering, the dogs were just ahead of me; yet when I stopped still in my tracks..they stopped and turned. Had they heard it too..almost to soft and gentle a sound to distinguish. A little rustle in the leaves just into the thicket…a young deer, this year’s fawn and a doe were quietly nibbling acorns from the old oak trees. I kept still for a moment, though I quickly decided to move up the hill with Lexi and Finn, as they were headed to me. To stay any longer would encourage a visit, no time to snap a shot today. They will have scampered off before we come back through…

The sky was just clearing after several days of rain, a heavy mist hung over the pastures. I might get a few snaps of the camera before the sun completely fades.

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“O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.”
- Robert Frost, October

Thank you for all of the wonderful, creative ideas…I will talk with my daughters to narrow or choice…stay tuned.
Be Well,
Jess

Remember…that’s all


They gave…

they gave

We have Freedom.

I took this photo last year in Boston, on the south side of the Old North Church stands a small area set aside to commemorate the soldiers lost in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Hundreds of dog tags representing the fallen soldiers from these conflicts hang closely together. When the wind blows one can hear the distinctive metal chimes as they clang together to make their eery music.

Be well,
Jess

You’ve got the cutest little baby face…well some of you.


It that time of year again, County Fairs, State Fairs and animals on parade. We always head straight to the animal barns, then to the produce displays, followed by Howie’s need to see every piece of machinery known to man…while we were looking about at antique water pumps, wood splitters and steam engines; I came across these honey extractors and thought of Miss C . Wonder if she could use this?

It looks pretty deep, and with her many gallons of honey it may make short work of the extraction process.

I could oogle over these baby faces all day.

This little Jersey calf was born 1 day before the fair…wonder what she thinks of the world?

Some kids, have their own idea of comfort.

While other are just too sleepy to care….shhh…look at those lashes.

I have heard of folks dressing up for the fair; but this is ridiculous! Wonder who his hair dresser is?

Well hello there big guy! He looks too proud to be in jail…(I think I am funny, just smile and nod)

This white peacock is stunning, I think. It was difficult to get a good vantage point, he might have been camera shy.

She’s got legs…I am certain her Mamma thinks she’s cute.

Do you think I could fit this little girl in the back of a Volvo wagon? Well, I could try…but, she probably wouldn’t like me very much after. I guess I have to wait for a Jersey calf, and some cashmere goats, and a few Wensleydale sheep, and, and, and….Might be time to go home.

I will be back at the fair today, spinning with my new friends ( just met Lisa yesterday – smiling really hard.)
Be well.
Jess

Bountiful..or one bunch


It’s all relative isn’t it? Bounty.

This may not look like much to you…but, alas, it is this gardener’s crowning glory. Juicy purple goodness..my first grapes from this years seedling!!! Yippee.


cabbage green, tomatoes red and purple GRAPES.


Jack’s lantern…


There comes a time when autumn asks, What have you been doing all summer?


The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows
itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many;I grow old, I grow old,’ the garden says. Thanks for the bounty, says I.

Be well,
Jess

Why do they they do it….for love.


Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming.


They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants.


They love to live in the presence of animals.


They love to work outdoors.


They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable.


They love to live where they work and to work where they live.


If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.


“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago.

Until then, where was all the food?


Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World.


‎A farm is a manipulative creature. There is no such thing as finished.


Work comes in a stream and has no end. There are only the things that must be done now and things that can be done later. The threat the farm has got on you, the one that keeps you running from can until can’t, is this: do it now, or some living thing will wilt or suffer or die. Its blackmail, really.

A farmer friend of mine told me recently about a busload of middle school children who came to his farm for a tour. The first two boys off the bus asked, “Where is the salsa tree?” They thought they could go pick salsa, like apples and peaches. Oh my. What do they put on SAT tests to measure this? Does anybody care? How little can a person know about food and still make educated decisions about it? Is this knowledge going to change before they enter the voting booth? Now that’s a scary thought!


Commercial farming as I see it…but a temporary blip until the land is used up, the water polluted, the neighbors nauseated, and the air unbreathable. The farmhouse, the concrete, the machinery, and outbuildings become relics of a bygone vibrancy when another family farm moves to the city financial centers for relief…


Commercial agriculture can survive within pluralistic American society, as we know it – if the farm is rebuilt on some of the values with which it is popularly associated: conservation, independence, self-reliance, family, and community. To sustain itself, commercial agriculture will have to reorganize its social and economic structure as well as its technological base and production methods in a way that reinforces these values…


Alright, I will come down off the soapbox now…it seems a long time between posts lately; but with tomatoes and squash coming out of my ears and our youngest to get off to college, days have seemed too short. As I harvest the vegetables, I can’t help but think about something I read awhile ago. A writing by Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution. In this he wrote,” If each person were given one quarter-acre, that is 1 1/4 acres to a family of five, that would be more than enough land to support the family for the whole year. If natural farming were practiced, a farmer would also have plenty of time for leisure and social activities within the village community. I think this is the most direct path toward making this country a happy, pleasant land.” I can’t help but agree.

Be well,
Jess