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

The “Constant” Factor.


My constant companions…comfort and warmth at my feet.

Whenever I come within 100 feet of a puppy, I just can’t help myself. I gush, and smoosh, and snuggle like I’ve never seen such cuteness before. Puppy breathe, it smells like…well, it smells like hope!

One of my Pups (now 3); she looks older than her years..We had a dog named Seamus, who took care (literally) of Finnegan and Lexi when they were pups, he groomed them, let them snuggle into his big fluffy tail. Finnegan, when he was a tiny (use that term loosely when you speak of a 130 lb dog) pup, pulled almost every last hair out of Seamus’ beautiful tail; he preened and preened that tail as he fell asleep; Seamus never budged.

Seamus died at 5 years old from complications associated with Epilepsy. He had over 20 seizures in one weekend; his heart couldn’t take it. When He passed; Lexi’s muzzled turned gray within a week.

Seamus with Finnegan…

Seamus with Finn as a pup…he was always so gentle and patient with all the pups

Finnegan!

Finnegan.

Lexi might have the Monday blues…or she thinks I might want her pillow?

I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent, devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source

Seamus!

This was our boy Seamus…dearly missed.

Lexi Lou..

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.

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

Wordless Wednesday…Let me introduce you to a few of the cast of characters…


Hi there! Come on in, I’ll introduce you to a few of our residents…

“C’mon in; meet some of the characters on our farm.”

Here’s Riley..

This was our boy Seamus…dearly missed.

Finnegan misses Seamus too; here he is snuggled into his arms as a pup.

Finnegan.

This is PussyKat Doll,:)

Gio,had a run in with another male; his ear was torn in the scuttle.

Meet Our Phantom of the Opera.

Jenni and Malokai.

I wonder what Andrew and Mali are talking about?

Well, this is a few of the cast of characters here on Misty Maples Farm. Come back next Wednesday to meet some more!

Be Well,
Jess

Better to have loved and lost; than never to have loved at all…


“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)

Every baby animal is unique and adorable, and there is no greater love than that between a mother and her young. It is the power of this love that explains why humans have always sought the company of young animals. anonymous

Maeve with Andy; you can read their story here..http://awinsomejourney.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/do-believe-animals-have-souls/


This is Andy now, a strong bond still intact with KatDoll.

Cats are connoisseurs of comfort

My old friend…Riley In a position he was often in; the dogs and everyone else would just have to walk around; he wasn’t about to have his nap interrupted.

The little furry buggers are just deep, deep wells you throw all your emotions into.
— Bruce Schimmel

My Finni, a birthday present from my husband; we drove to the Canadian border to pick him up. He snuggled with my girls all the way home; he was a round black bundle of fur…we carried him around stores in an LLBean canvas bag. Haha kinda big for that now! Still just as sweet. Josh Billings once said, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” If Finnegan is any indication, it must be true.

Emotional healing is a most amazing gift that’s bestowed by our furry friends … The choice to nurture a pet in our life can bring huge returns on our investment.
— Chelle Thompson

Malokai, perhaps the world’s sweets llama.

Living with animals can be a wonderful experience rich in valuable lessons,taught through their natural enthusiasm, grace, resourcefulness, affection and forgiveness. I wouldn’t give it up for all the riches in the world.
Be Well,
Jess

Oops, I spilled the beans..(a re-post from last summer)


(a re-post from last summer) Hope you enjoy.
What a beautiful morning,cool,a mist on the pasture, grass wet from dew; I am starting my morning chores a bit later than usual…Howie let me sleep in; he fed the chicks, ducks,dogs,Riley the cat and llamas. All I needed to do was clean the barn and put fresh bedding down (extra snuggle and photo time) or so I thought.

I took my time, taking to the “girls” as I worked; everyone does that right? Well anyway, I got every thing clean and fresh as a daisy (no, really). Still talking and puttering about, I start to drag the now nearly full barrel to the “poop pile”; walking backwards and pulling the barrel by the handle…then, like a slow motion film, I am falling ~ the handle on the barrel just gave way ~ no, I’m not falling onto a nice grassy pasture floor ~ I am falling into the “poop pile” … not only am I now on my hiney, hands, and what ever other part of me could possibly be… is in a pile of poop, the barrel that I just spent all this time and energy filling is now spilling out of the barrel around me. My first reaction, being cool and all, is to look around to see if anyone saw what just took place; no one around, but, I swear the llamas chuckled…(see photos below, there is a definite twinkle in Syria’s eye).

As I was gathering what was left of my dignity, and re-scooping poop,(can you think of anything more glamorous), the llamas sent out a “danger call”; if you have never heard that sound…it’s an alarm sound they make in times of distress, to warn the herd of intruders or potentially dangerous situations; sounds sorta like a rooster-ish/horse-ish whinny. Anyway, they all ran down to the fence line to investigate; I grabbed my camera, don’t want to miss all this excitement. Chester, KatDoll, Breezy, and little Andy(tucked in beside KatDoll), are looking toward the woods, that border a swampy pond… the high grass is rustling, as whatever it is makes it’s way toward the small tool shed. All eyes are fixed, and the calls continue…out pops Finnegan (so much for excitement) he must have gone for a stinky,yucky,smelly swim…the llamas aren’t used to anyone entering the pasture from that direction, as soon as Finnegan’s head erupted from the hedgerow, he ducked back in, he saw all of the llamas, standing making THAT noise at him. Of course, I could have put the camera down,and gone to get him, but what fun would that have been.There may be a dog gone good lesson to learn here (forgive the pun), after all, Finnegan should not be in the stinky, smelly pond. After, what seemed like an eternity, but was really only a few seconds, Finnegan, came out slowly, keeping, close to the ground, slinking across the yard past the llama’s admonishing chatter; as soon as he felt safe he all out sprinted to the safety of the front porch…Oh, Finni the amusement you provide.

Well, now that Howie is off the roof of the old barn we are dismantling, to re-purpose; I should go down there to help him…heights and I don’t get along very well.


A field full of sunshine…


The girls, waiting for me to clean their home…maid service is here!


Uggh, I spilled the beans.


These are my beautiful tools of the trade; beauty is in the eye of the beholder, ok?!


Syria, post chuckle..


Syria is Maeve’s Mom…hugs to her.


What is that over there??


Watching for the “intruder”…or Finni, as it turned out.


Here’s Finnigan, just so you have an idea of who caused all of the commotion.


Keep your eye on him!


Since Maeve’s passing, these two have been inseparable; I think she made a promise Maeve.


Never more than a step behind…


Turn your face to the sun…

Storms headed our way today…
Be well, enjoy your day.

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Be well,
Jessica

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

A month of thanksgiving…Day 5


November 5, 2011

Thankful for being productive even if it’s loads of laundry at 2am….a sign of the times

Here’s to you, “late night, no sleep empowerment”.
For some reason, I am so damn productive. Don’t get me wrong, I would much rather be sleeping, all snuggled in warmly with my husband and Lexi blissfully snoring next to me. Yes, the black lab sleeps(get this) between us; she has since she was a pup; we brought her home just before her 9th week of life…she would whimper, and give me those pleading, soulful baby lab eyes, after 2 minutes or so of this torture, I picked her up laid her next to us, gently touched her baby lab face ’til she went to sleep. No more sad whimpers…snoring took it’s place…two and one half years, and 100 pounds later…she is still sleeping right where I put her that first night! Damn. (can I swear on here?)… In all honesty, it is neither my lovely husband, nor my furry black friend that cause me lack of sleep…I used to be a very good sleeper; the best even, however as life moves forward so do the hormones associated with all of the pleasantries of being …errr, somewhere around 50…
So, alas, I am grateful that I find quiet, productive things to do for those times when sleep eludes me.

Here are a few of the projects I have been working on…
*writing a business plan for a fiber co-op..as well as trying to write and finish a grant proposal/application before the Nov. 22 deadline..
*2 watercolor paintings as (overdo) wedding gifts ; one of them needs framing.
*mastering the art of spinning llama fiber..this one doesn’t work out so well without sleep to squelch the tides of frustration inherent to this activity.
*reading, usually Herriot, or Thoreau..I have read them all a couple hundred times, so they don’t take much thought anymore..:)

If I only remembered all of the wonderful ideas I had during the day as I have when I am awake at 3 in the morning…,I’d be so busy..I would have to clone myself. I do hear that stage of life passes…as do all others; so I embrace and am thankful for being productive, YES…even at 2am.

I have added a (poor) photo of one of the paintings…

a look at Stowe...

Sleep is like the unicorn – it is rumored to exist, but I doubt I will see any…
Be well, and keep smiling
Jess