2012…Here I come!

Here we are in a month named after the Roman god Janus, an appropriate personification of the start of the new year. This particular Roman god had two faces so that he could look ahead toward the future and back at the past at the same time. As we get rid of an old year and look forward to a new one, we all try to be a little like Janus. We know through experience what we did wrong and what we did right, and hope to do better this year. Some people make ambitious new year’s resolutions; others just take a deep breath and hope for the best…

I have but one New Years Resolution. Listen to my Heart.

A slide show of the past year…Enjoy.

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Recipe for a Happy New Year

Take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancor and hate, cleanse them completely from every clinging spite; pick off all specks of pettiness and littleness; in short, see that these months are freed from all the past—have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of Time. Cut these months into thirty or thirty-one equal parts. Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time (so many persons spoil the entire lot this way) but prepare one day at a time.

Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavor of the rest), hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest (leaving this out is like leaving the oil out of the salad dressing— don’t do it), prayer, meditation, and one well-selected resolution. Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaping cupful of good humor.

Be Well. Jess
I leave you with a prayer and ((HUG)) Lord, let this year be filled with the things that are truly good—with the comfort of warmth in our relationships, with the strength to help those who need our help and the humility and openness to accept help from others.

As we make our resolutions for the year ahead, let us go forward with great hope that all things can be possible—with Your help and guidance.

A Candle-lighter Award.

I am humbled and truly honored to receive this Candle Lighter Award from a very talented and inspiring writer; Renee ~ writinfeemail.wordpress.com . This award allows me to bestow recognition on others blogs who inspire and whom lend an a positive influence to fellow bloggers.
Being relatively new to the blog-o-shere; I don’t have hundreds of followers; but the ones I do have and the blogs that I do follow, I cherish. I look forward to reading what is going on in their world, and sharing what is going on in mine. I find inspiration in their comments and reaction to what I have posted.
C’s (thekitchengarden.wordpress.com) sheep was ill, and limping…If she didn’t live half way across the country I would have driven to her farm to help her in a minute, without blinking an eyelash. You see, blogging has allowed me to develop connections not afforded by other means. Beautiful, meaningful connections; common interests, common goals. When I stop by these blogs, I find there is a bit of excitement, anticipation of what is to come…what is new. What will they share with me today?

I recall being sent, some time ago, chain e-mails asking about your thoughts on several questions…one question was asking how you would like to be remembered, or something to that effect. My answer was always the same – 2 simple words – “To Matter”. To this end, I can think of many blogs and bloggers who inspire me on a regular basis, who “matter”, but they have already been bestowed with his lovely recognition.
One blogger, friend, and fellow llama owner comes to mind immediately; she is an inspiration to many, always caring, of animals, people, and “mattering” in the community. If she sees a wrong, whether it be bullying in schools, or animals in trouble, she is there “trying”, trying to help, trying to make a difference. Teri, http://blog.timesunion.com/farmlife she writes a Farmlife blog for the Albany, NY Times Union Newspaper. Visit her blog, I think you will be inspired as well.

I have struggled this past week, with blog content, writing text I hope will interest others. Creating pictures that inspire and interest others is quite another, I often wonder; Do the photos have to coincide with the stories? I love to read comments, and thoughts…they give me a bit of confidence and inspiration to keep trudging along. Since my blogs posts are a reflection of my life. my words, and thinking are honest, which most times, makes writing posts easy. Posts are written on topics I love to share, the kinds of words, that make you go back in time to remember, or make you smile, or make you think, make you want to try something new, or old. These post are more than just words to me; I aspire for them to be meaningful, yes, to matter, tob touch another’s soul. My blog’s intention is to simply be myself, be true to myself, and share my time on our lovely little farm in the beautiful country side of upstate New York. I hope this is reflected in my blog.

Again, Thank you Renee for this renewing award.

Here are a few photos from our past windy Wednesday…the animals seem to love days like that; here they are pronking, playing, and running about the pasture. at times they were moving so quickly, I didn’t have time to change settings on my camera. I think that makes them fun. If you have never seen a llama pronk – You need to. It is the truest expression of JOY. They bounce, sort of dance, about the pasture, all four feet hitting that ground at once; truly a delight to see.

frolicking in the pasture.

enjoying the windy day...

and it's Mercedes by a length...

prancing in unison...

Katdoll and Mercedes...playing, or showing off for the boys.

head to head

Be well,

Learning to Tame the Clouds

Let me explain…I have had an inexplicable urge to spin; to tame the billowing clouds of fiber stuffed in every corner. I am compelled by the love of texture, of color, the sheer serendipity, and pleasure of making something from a cloud.

Louet drum carder

Now that I am the proud owner of a Louet drum carder…things can move along at a much faster pace. Hand carding took lots of time (well, at least for me). Batts, rovings, and tops, oh my! I have lots and lots of llama fiber, a bag of Merino rovings, and I just agreed to purchase 3 bags of alpaca top! I am up to my ears in fiber…I am in heaven’s clouds.


You see, fine wools blend well with other fine wools; so I am able to create even more new and exciting possibilities…adding the wool to alpaca and llama gives it an elasticity without sacrificing the sensuous softness inherent to the camelid fiber. Just think of the limitless possibilities and the projects to create.

sweet duo

Knowing that the winter days are short; I can be happy I have more evenings in which to indulge my fiber love. And maybe more tea too.

turnings..of my Kromski Wheel

Not only is spinnig a fantastic creative outlet; there is a connection to the past, when women spun out of necessity,for survival. I, however, just spin for the love of it.

Lilia's fiber...<3

What is the difference in Llamas and alpacas, you ask? They are both from the camelid family. Their inclusion in this family is based upon their characteristic traits of being hornless, cud-chewing ruminants with an even number of toes and padded feet. But unlike cattle,(another ruminant)llamas have only one stomach but it is divided into three parts.

Our Bandit (now Dr. Cohen's) ...the first cria born on our farm.

Llamas have front teeth only on the bottom jaw and a toothless upper jaw, like a gum. Their gentle disposition, need for minimal care, and ability to adapt to a variety of climates makes them an easy species for which to care.
Llamas are larger than alpacas, standing 40–45 inches at the withers and 5.5 to 6 feet or taller at the head. They can weigh between 280 and 450 pounds and the average lifespan is 15 to 30 years. Females usually begin breeding at 15–18 months and males at two and a half years. A llama’s normal gestation is 350 days, giving birth to a single cria (pronounced creeah). Crias are usually born during daylight hours and weigh between 20–35 pounds. Within an hour post-parturition, the cria is standing and nursing from its dam. Average weaning age is 4–6 months.


Alpacas weigh about 100 to 175 pounds and stand about three feet at the withers. Their life span is about 15–25 years. A female alpaca is usually bred at 14–16 months and a male reaches full maturity in two to three years. The average gestation is 335 days and a cria may weigh 15–19 pounds. Alpacas generally have little trouble during parturition and the cria is usually found nursing after the first hour. Twins are rare and there is a low infant mortality rate. Alpaca mothers are very devoted and protective towards their young.

Llamas and alpacas share some characteristics. They both communicate through their posture and through ear and tail movements. Aggressive modes of communication are foot stamping, kicking, and spitting. Both have two toes on each foot, with a leathery pad on the bottom. They are social creatures and do best when pastured together. Both llamas and alpacas are induced ovulators, exhibiting no heat cycle. Ovulation occurs approximately 24–36 hours post-breeding, enabling them to be bred at any time during the year. Heat stress may be a problem… so ours are bred during cooler months for this reason.

Maeve and Andy

KatDoll...strike a pose


There are a few differences between llamas and alpacas, including size, ear shape, hair, fleece, and back curvature. The alpacas have shorter noses and more symmetrical, pearshaped ears, while llamas’ ears are longer and banana shaped. Most alpacas have a full “top knot” or “hair-do.” Their fleece is dense over all parts of their body and the alpaca’s back has a slight upward curve, while the llama’s back is straight.

Kat Doll on action...at a fair

Be well,

I have so much that I want to explore…next blog: There are many reasons to dye; but one should not fear to enter the realm.(Organic dyes of course); or perhaps..Show your true colors.

A Warm Holiday Welcome…

Having a home that welcomes friends and family is all part of the magic; a place to create warm moments where hectic stops and peace begins ~ home
The spirit and cheer the season so naturally brings…at the end of the day; it is not about how much you have spent on decorations, but more about the warmth and joy you bring to the holidays…the scent of sugar cookies baking, the sound of children giggling as they play, the sight of hot chocolate mustaches, and wet mittens drying near the stove. Our kitchen is where most folks gather, our kitchen warms the home for the holidays; (both literally and figuratively) with baked goods and family dinners, it somehow always becomes a gathering place for great conversation and lingering.

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the chance to have family and friends over for a relaxing Christmas Eve dinner. We have fun together…besides eating and watching football. We get out the cards or board games, play touch football, go sledding or tell stories. We even have sleigh rides (in a mini-van) after dinner. (If that’s seems odd, it is and not possible to explain really, you see Jenn was 11 and driving around the farm). We combine traditions. Celebrate our family’s history. Make those treasured recipes in memory of those who aren’t there— family members volunteer to bring their favorite dish for the meal. It makes everyone feel involved, and makes for less stress. Sights, sounds, and scents of Christmas stir memories of good times, great people and fond feelings, so surround yourself with things that make you feel good. Don’t have a big family, invite friends and co-workers who might be alone for the holidays and create your own Family Celebration. If we remember it’s all about love and laughter, and helping others, we’ll all get so much more from the holidays!
Welcome Home. Enjoy some Christmas lights from our home town. I hope you enjoy them.

A warm Holiday Welcome

white house, warm glow

all the warmth of the season

A beckoning welcome

snowman ...no snow

head down the side streets..off the beaten path

red house, drive by...on a busy street

the porch...


a friend's home...so cute, almost as cute as she is.

Welcoming entry...

a warm glow...

neighbors share the joy

Small town Doctor, friend to all.

Town Common

From my home to yours...

My Holiday wish for you; May this Christmas be so special that you never ever feel lonely and be surrounded by loved ones throughout. May the good times and treasures of the present become the golden memories of tomorrow. Wish you lots of love, joy and happiness. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

I am a sucker for a cute face…or Frank’s adventures with Lexi and Finn

I love puppies, who could resist such a face? Frank is not mine; he is just visiting. We are having a relaxing day on the farm.

I thought I’d share a day in the life of a pup (with Finnegan and Lexi, who are remarkably gentle for 100= lb. dogs)

Ready? Okay…

meet Frank


headin' out to play...

Plat time with the big dogs


Lexi's stick...

Frankie's stick????

nah...this is Frankie's stick...

Hey, look what I caught?

Relaxing with the big dogs..

nom, nom, nom....

but, I might miss something...

I am soo tired....

maybe here....

yup...right hereeee!

I hope you enjoyed our sweet little romp around the farm yard.
Be Well

Sunrise, time to start chores…reluctantly I head out into the cold December morn….

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 drizzly, 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 a admittedly skosh weary.

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; scurrying under the stud llama’s legs. We use large round bales, and have a covered shed for the girls to munch at their leisure, just outside of their barn. Haying the stud muffins is another story; I cut the twine surrounding the huge bales, then pull down the hay that peels off in fragrant sheets, layer by layer. I gather what I can carry and place it in the boys barn (really a shed) repeated as necessary.

Morning goes something like this…
smooch big dogs
feed big dogs
smooch Riley cat
feed Riley cat
start tea water (and/or have a cuppa left over from Howie’s pot of 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..
let dogs out
carry 11 of the bowls to the girls pasture
carry 3 bowls to stud pasture
fill poultry grain feeder
gather eggs as I defend my legs against Mr. Nasty (bantam rooster with king sized attitude)
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 stud muffins
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.

remember to enjoy tea!

ready for breakfast

My grain please Ma'am..

Sophie, first in line...always

singing for their meal....hee hee

Here comes the sun...sorta

Yesterday morning was a little brighter.

bringing in wood for the kitchen stove...( I have drier , but this was prettier)

batten down the hatches and head in for breakfast.

I am heading out finish my Christmas Shopping today. Picking up Howie’s perfect gift from it’s hiding place. So, I better be on my way.
Be Well.