I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.


I am not complaining, I love my little farm, and all of its critters…yet, there are mornings I would rather not venture out quite so early. Like this morning all damp, and cold. Once I step out of the kitchen door, everything seems as it should and I relax in to the morning’s flow of activity ~ happily ~ if not admittedly a  skosh weary.

October snowfall 1

Mind you this is not a glamorous undertaking.
This is how I usually go about my chores:

Farm Fashion, or early chore attire

By the time I get out the sun is usually cresting just above the east hills; the roosters are crowing, the ducks are squawking; and the llamas are chewing their cud quietly greeting the new day. They all know the routine; the girls (llamas) line up at the fence line. The Chickens and ducks come running full steam ahead to greet me raucously at the fence gate; ducks scurrying past the Roosters so as not get pecked.

I call him Mr. Nasty...this could be an entire blog. Let's just say he makes egg gathering an adventure.

I call him Mr. Nasty…this could be an entire blog. Let’s just say he makes egg gathering an adventure.

We use large round bales, and have a covered shed for the girls to munch at their leisure, just outside of their barn. This morning it was empty, wiped clean…guess that is where I will start this mornings chores… The farm truck is at work with Howie, so I’ll cut the twine surrounding the huge bales, then pull down the hay that peels off in fragrant sheets, layer by layer; fill the wheelbarrow and head up the hill to the girls shed – repeated as necessary. Gym membership, who needs a gym membership? My blood pressure is 112/60, my pulse is 62! Who ever would like to save their membership fees…come on over.
snowy morning in December 7
Morning goes something like this…
smooch big dogs
feed big dogs
love
start tea water (and/or have a cuppa coffee)
fill water buckets
fill dog and cat waters
lay out 14 feed bowls
measure out sweet mix for all llamas
measure out beet pulp for all llamas
fill bucket with layer pellets
make tea..(if I haven’t had coffee)
let dogs out
Andy Claus
carry 12 of the bowls to the girls pasture
carry 4 bowls to stud pasture
fill poultry grain feeder
gather eggs as I defend my legs against Mr. Nasty (bantam rooster with king sized attitude) – no eggs today :(
carry water bucket to replenish girls water
carry water bucket to replenish studs water
carry water bucket to replenish poultry water
bring hay to the girls
pick up all bowls
pick water buckets
dogs and I head in…In that moment – animals fed and watered,on this damp cold morning, the smell of hay and the sound of llamas chewing contentedly,dogs frolicking in the yard… I am at peace. Maybe mornings aren’t so dreadful after all.

good morning

Note to self…remember to enjoy tea!

care
Have a blessed day,
Be well
Jess

Meanwhile, back on the farm…


Wonderful Wednesday…this can only mean it’s time to meet a few more of the animals that call Misty Maples Farm home.
Okay ~ Here we go.

Miss Mercedes.

Lil’ Mum, a sikie; who lays the tiniest of eggs.

Andy, how cute is he?

Lexi, when she was but a pup! mwah.

Sophie, whadjudo? I don’t think you belong in the garden.

Doesn’t this look refreshing!? Okay, now let’s see who we have here…Princess and Mercedes, with Camille’s and Breezy’s rumps.(shhh, don’t tell them I posted this)

Daisy,Jemima, Arnold, and Benjamin ~ yup, they are all girls.

Mercedes,Katdoll, and Camille (the bay colored girl)

The girls, with mostly boys names.

Lexington. Always waiting for someone to play.

KatDoll with Little Andy.

Lexi, Lexi, Lexi…

Uhhhmmm? Lex?

Hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday.
Jess

You need a strong foundation, and back, and arms, and a hammer.


The important thing is that you have a strong foundation…

I have always wanted a Arbor covered with sweet juicy grapes in my garden.
This past weekend we made it happen. Of course us being us; we used only up-cycled materials. The posts we purchased for a dollar a piece from a sheep farmer nearby, the bolts and such were salvaged from earlier dismantling projects, the top braces were with the fencing we picked up for a song… I love these types of projects; not very time consuming, nearly instant gratification, and every one likes to get involved. Well, except for Lexi, as you will see from the photos.

I planted Concord, and Niagra ( a white grape). Niagra grapes were created by cross breeding Concord grapes with a white grape the Cassidy variety; in the 1800′s. A sweet -tart, think Welch’s grape juice taste…mmmm mmmm I can hardly wait.

Concord grapes remind me of grapes picked as a child to be made into grape jelly.
The Concord grape is a robust and aromatic grape whose ancestors were wild native species found growing in the rugged New Hampshire soil. Being born in NH, something these grapes and I have in common. (just thought you’d wanna know)
Developed on a farm outside Concord,NH…down the road from the Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Alcott homesteads, can you ask for better company?
Early ripening, to escape the killing northern frosts, but with a rich, full-bodied flavor, the hardy Concord grape thrives where European cuttings had failed to survive. I am so happy they did!
Experts found that the antioxidants present in the skin and juice of the Concord grapes have brain boosting powers that helps in improving memory. Perhaps, if I eat enough of them I will remember what I am doing from one room to the next. Did you ever have one of “those” moments; you walk upstairs, or into the kitchen to retrieve something., then have absolutely no idea why you went there!? Grapes, I will eat many, many grapes.


Concord grapes…:)


NY Niagra Grapes…hopefully my Arbor will resemble this!

I tried to capture the steps we took in creating our Arbor…certainly their are many shapes and sizes of structures to be considered if you are to ever plant grapes. I wanted an arbor that would act as an entrance to the garden; i think it will do nicely.


The Arbor.


Daisy, taking in all of the happenings from a distance; she is healing quite nicely form her traumatic encounter with a predator…you can read about that here: http://awinsomejourney.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/tragedy-and-triumph/ ( hope I linked that correctly)


Does Andrew measure up? You betcha.


William, our neighbor giving my husband a hand…


Lexi calls it quits!

After completing the arbor,late on an 85 degree Sunday afternoon, my tireless husband turned to me and asked, “Are you ready to shear a few llamas?”
Me, “nope”.
I am ready for a nice glass of wine. ;)

Be well,
Jess

Tragedy and Triumph


Last night certainly had its ups and downs…

My youngest sister stopped by the farm early in the evening to share  her daughter’s joy and pride.  Special Olympic Medals. Courtney was born with a chromosomal disorder.  Trisomy 10p,  about 90 percent of children do not survive , passing away before or during birth and those that do live past birth suffer serious symptoms. Most children with Trisomy 10p die in the first three months of life, and only 10 to 20 percent survive past the first year. It is extremely rare.

Courtney was beaming as she showed me her Silver and Bronze medals; won in the Special Olympic  sports of softball and running. So, to say this is a triumph is an understatement. I was so proud, we shared an ice cream to celebrate!

Later in the evening , when the farm animals are usually putting themselves to bed…(the ducks and chickens waddle and cluck their way into the small barn) I go out at dusk to be sure the barn doors are secure and all gates are closed, waters full.

Last night, started out with Mr. Nasty throwing his weight around…bullying the ducks from their beds.

The ducks retreated into the llama pasture for safety. I walked behind them encouraging them to waddle into the back barn, where there is a sleeping area with  a little exit door….Here you see Malokai thinking he should sleep in there…

Mali, you are not a chicken or a duck…

You didn’t fit, did you….?

I was satisfied they would be safe inside; I checked waters and llama gates, then headed into the house. Put on my pink flannel jammies and set about to put my feet up with a big mug of chamomile tea…

…my moment of relaxation didn’t last long…what a ruckus!  My son Justin and I ran out back  to see what in tarnation was happening!   2 ducks were near their swimming pool ~ quacking to beat the band.  Wait ~ “2″ ducks?  Justin one of my ducks is gone?  Don’t panic Jessica, remain calm…too late!  JUSTIN!!!!!! MY DUCK IS MISSING!!!!

He runs to get the lantern as I try to find my way around in the dark…Jenni is just coming home…she meets Jus on the porch as he is running out back with the  light…Jenn joins in the search…

I hear the fence snapping…so I head there, “duck feathers”!..broken fence…frantic llamas!  Justin follows the trail of feathers…to the edge of the woods….”QUACK”   “Mom, she’s in here…”  “MOM!” ” She’s in here with a coyote!”  He begins hollering and yelling…the predator drops the duck…..”Mom, she’s hurt”.  “I can’t believe I was 4feet from a coyote with no gun! I can’t believe we found her!” I can’t believe she’s alive!”    “I can’t believe I was 4 feet from a coyote with NO gun!”     I hurried into the brush to gather up a bleeding and scared little duck.

Justin fixed the fence, Jenni put the other 2 chickens in the small barn…Mr. Nasty be damned, and I brought daisy into the house to clean her off and assess her injuries…a few puncture wounds and probably a bit of shock.  Becky, my neighbor and I applied an antibiotic ointment to the wounds and placed her in bed of dry straw in a dog crate with water and food. I will keep her in the house for the night.

Not too much sleep last night…with every quack my dogs jumped and so did I.  We all ran downstairs at about 2am she was making a racket…though she was in some terrible pain or something. She laid an egg.   Let’s go back to bed dogs!

I let her out as the sun was rising this morning; she found her friends, then set about searching for delicious bugs for breakfast!  I hope she recovers well, I think I will clean her again tonight.

Did I tell you my husband is away…why does everything happen when my husband is away?

Be Well,

Jess

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

nothing stays still for long..


Spring is here; it is officially the first day of Spring! we have been very busy here, tilling, planting early spring veggies, starting later season crops,herd health activities (wormings and such)… and the list goes on.
I always have plenty of help and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Here Andrew is thinking and then asking: “Jessica, what do you want to do now?”

We set out to follow a bee busily collecting pollen.

As we were very near the girl’s pasture,they wanted to know what we were doing…

From there; because a 4 year old will be a 4 year old, we filled a little pool for the ducks (yup, it was that warm, in NY in March).

As the afternoon progressed, we watched as Howie tilled up the garden, as only he can…

Tie up the stakes…they need to support our peas. Thank you.

My youngest sister, my personal Master Gardener, helps me set the onions, and wrestle chickens, that’s another story…

After a long, warm beautiful day…

Have you begun spring chores? Do you have any traditional spring rites?
Enjoy this glorious day, it is supposed to be near 80 here!
Be Well,
Jess

Once Upon a Time, there was a tiny little cottage~that wanted to be a Farm


Dreaming up the happy ending… after all, some of its bones were made of trees (actual tree trunks).
Originally built in 1840, with balloon construction technique; a style of wood-house building that uses long, vertical studs for the exterior walls. These long “studs” extend uninterrupted, from the sill on top of the foundation, all the way up to the roof. It first came into use, well before the mid-nineteenth century, there certainly are many, many balloon-framed structures, between 75 and 175 years old, that haven’t floated away.( not very funny, huh?) Most balloon framed buildings were rather plain and simple. The original structure of our little cottage was a mere 800 square, only feet 18 feet wide. The family that lived here for the previous 50 years before us, raised 6 children here. The only addition they made was a small attached kitchen structure. We found out as we were re-modeling; the timbers for that portion of the house were tree trunks. We figure it must have been an old wood shed attached to the house for convenience in the winter months.

Although the tiny quarters posed many space and storage challenges, it has a very charming and warm feel to it. It was home. The pastures were perfect for llamas; though many outbuildings needed to be constructed and fences built. We installed a very inexpensive fence, as it had to go up rather quickly and with little money as we had so much reno work inside the house. Permanent and safer fencing is our next big project, but that is another story all together[ and a previous post]. We lived out behind the house in our 28′ travel trailer for the first spring and summer we were here; mind you there were still 5 of us living here, with a dog and a cat to boot. I remember, as summer of that year was coming to a close; my youngest daughter had a fair (and llama show) to attend. The usual course of events would have been to pack the camper with needed items, trailer the animals and head to the fair for the week….not this particular time, you see we were still “technically living in it”, so as it was, we packed up our home and went to the fair. How’s that for classy living? Long about the end of October we were finally installing the last wall of the addition, (Howie and I did the entire reno ourselves, with found items, recycled and reused materials). After relocating a stairway, bathroom , laundry room and building 2 new bedrooms ~the sky spitting snow, finally we could move into the house! It has been a long road, we still have projects to finish…
the cabinets(handmade by a local cabinet maker long,long ago) that I refinished, going on 6 six years ago are in need of touch ups, the living room was painted again this past month, old barn flooring was used for the stairs, and barn boards now cozy up a wall(all salvaged from a 200 year old barn, last summer…again a different post)…The “scenery” I change often…curtains, pillows, and re-arranged furnishings character-etched, and well loved, relaxed and worry free, we live here…and so do our-much too large -dogs. And that is just how I like it.

The outbuildings are a coming along…

So hey come let’s look around…a walk through the seasons, dismantled barns, [in no particular order] at Misty Maples: 52 weeks, 52 pictures…oops

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Be well. Enjoy your day. We are having extraordinary weather here in upstate NY near 60!
Yipee.
Jess

following the light…


As the rooster’s crow, the morning’s sun is just cresting above the old oak and maple trees. The blush of the morning showing its face above the barns; it is so peaceful; the magic of the morning light~I set my self down on the cold concrete side porch faced toward the east, sip my first cup of coffee (the first is always the best, don’t you think) the sun, now streaming golden through the trees and the rosy blush fades… I sit enjoying the light, mind wanders to spring plantings. Lexi, Finn, and I wander off the porch, stopping by to see if there may be any signs of green. After the snow we had earlier in the week, I am doubtful, we did hit 50 yesterday though, to my delight there are crocus trying to show their green then purple blooms. I got excited, and let out a lil squeal, Lexi got excited, and stomped one as she danced around my excitement, Oh, to be a Lab.

The animals have been listening for my voice and have decided they have waited long enough, the ducks have come around the corner, quacking about being hungry, the chickens aren’t far behind. I walk back around the house, as I know the llamas, especially Camille will be staring toward me; as if to say; “Really, you are taking your time getting to us this morning, aren’t you!” I swear, Camille knows when I get up to get my cup of coffee every morning; she will stand,unwavering, staring through the kitchen window…I always give in and head right out. The routine is always the same;pellets and greens for the chickens, pick up Lil Mum ,she is so broody but incredibly gentle, take the duck eggs and chicken eggs from under her, set her back down…grain the boys, grain the girls, scoop poop (lovely vision, right), waters, then the dogs and I head about on our walk around the pastures..they always look forward to their familiar walk. I’m not sure how I would walk them if we lived any where else, they don’t even wear collars, not that I could hold on to tow 100+ pound dogs anyway..silly thought. As we near the house and garden area, I stop once again…I really hope to build an arbor to try growing grapes, but, at the moment, a newly built barn is sitting smack dab in the middle of my garden! This will be moved to the lower pasture as soon as the ground dries a bit..there is no floor in it yet, making it easier to drag, so I hear.

Enjoy some mornin’. llama, chicken, duck, baby photos…their are awards after ;)

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Now, for a bit more sunshine, I must let you know about a few awards, and a bit of tag…it appears that I am behind in my responses…I truly, truly appreciate them all!

A versatile Blogger award..for moi! Nominated by: http://justmakethecoffee.com I hope if you have a moment to pop over to her blog you will love it as much as I do..

I’ve been nominated for the Sunshine award, Thank you so much sweet Steph.http://lostupabove.wordpress.com Do stop by, I truly think you won’t be disappointed.

A Kreativ Blogger award… from a a blogger who always post interesting, fascinating and sometimes delicious posts..check him out, you’ll see what I mean: http://theobamacrat.com

I am fairly new to this blooging community, hence I don’t follow or am followed by a huge number of blogs…I will try to mention some I think anyone would love to visit.

dirtnkids.wordpress.com Shannon, and her blog are a true delight…I just discovered for my self!
ktbloom.wordpress.com oh for the love of flowers…:)
http://writingfeemail.wordpress.com always a delight
http://thekitchensgarden.wordpress.com C, and her farmy..you will visit often, promise
http://prairiewisdom.wordpress.com funny, heartwarming, and real
http://allaboutlemon.wordpress.com so many facets to this woman! Every time I visit I am amazed.
http://winsomebella.wordpress.com travel along with this insightful, lovely lady.
http://permaculturecottage.wordpress.com Gardening in Ireland…<3

http://www.theemptynestmom.com

I could go on and on….

Well, gosh these are just a few of my favorites…I know I have left out a few of the details, forgive me…and I hope you enjoy them all. Have a Blessed Sunday.
Jess
PS, I am never good at these links, so bear with me <3

When winter finally comes, can spring be far behind? (Shelley)


We, in Upstate NY; have had a very mild, record setting, mild winter… I am not complaining mind you. It was ever so much easier going about chores in 30 and 40 degree weather, as opposed to -5 degrees in 2 feet of snow. But, now they say we are about to get 7-10 inches of snow? I am just not ready anymore. My feet are not ready to be cold, my fingers no longer wish to be numb…Finnegan doesn’t care to have ice balls forming between his toes (he hates that). The chickens still prefer to scratch for little bugs..and such (such=?). The llamas have refused to holed up in their shelters, they want to sleep under the still naked, sap saturated Maples trees… The buds on apples trees don’t want to freeze. Lexi could care less…she is happy being, well, a lab.

Old Man Winter comes by to chill my bones and the sun becomes absent and ominous clouds hang over the fields, winds blow cold down this valley…and yet, surely spring will usher in a welcome warmth…alas, we have lost our early spring.

new, old shelter...

Andy <3

Mercedes...

Rain and Breezy

Ahh, sweet Andy.

Awe, Finni, whadjado?

Sophie, you are not a duck...

the 2 step...

Jenni with Lil' Finni

Lexington <3

Snow is coming, sadly it is too little too late, for now I no longer wanna sled, I don’t wanna ski, I don’t wanna build a snowman anymore. I wanna plant! I wanna stomp my feet! (will that help?)
Be Well, stay warm.

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.