Homecoming 2011- Senior year

What is Homecoming all about?

School spirit! A high school and college tradition. A football game played on our home field,a Pep Rally,”powder puff” football game with a bonfire , and a dance?

Do you know how it began? Around 1911, The athletic director and football coach of Missouri University, Chester Brewer, challenged former MU students to “come back home” to Missouri for the annual football game against the University of Kansas, their biggest rival. Former students came from all different states to watch the game and show their loyalty to their alma mater. Ever since then, schools all over the U.S. have been honoring the tradition.

Jenn is a senior. As I have mentioned before, this is taking some getting used to. This past weekend, Jenn and some her friends gathered at our home for pictures with friends and family, a spaghetti dinner and last-minute preparations before their last home-coming dance as high school seniors. This marks a turning point for me, as well as for them, a series of lasts…their last homecoming dance, last high school field hockey, football, or soccer season, last spirit week..
As parents we have worked hard to prepare them for the coming years and their future; they are now at a point in life where they are eager to leave home… with memories and lessons from childhood, indelibly etched in their hearts; as it seems what we remember from childhood we remember forever. We know all too well; home is something you start out wanting to leave, and then spend a great deal of energy wanting, indeed, trying to get back to. Staying connected with old friends, will be a common thread with this bunch; I believe one of the most beautiful discovery these friends will make is that they can grow separately without growing apart…I hope they enjoy and make the most of the year to come and I wish them the best of luck as they make their choice of colleges..and important decisions for the years to come.

To me, Homecoming means football, festivities, and friendship.

Carsen and Jenn

Stephany and Jenn

The dynamic duo, Jenn and Nicole

Emma, Emily, Nicole, and Jenn

the guys...

the girls...

Rachel and Jenn

Jenn and Juan

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose…
Be well,

Do believe animals have souls?

We all hear stories, right? Have you ever had experience with an animal exhibiting such compassion that it leaves you with little doubt they have a soul?

I have on two specific occasions, recently. Reading an e-mail from a friend which delves into a guide dog’s heroic efforts to save people from the burning buildings at Ground Zero, regardless of the pain being inflicted from his burning paws and lungs; brought this question to mind.
This past Easter I purchased ducklings and chicks for our family; it’s still very cold here in the Northeast at that time of the year so they needed to be kept warm in our kitchen, near the wood-stove in our kitchen. As you may already know, we have a Berna-doodle named Finnegan; he quickly became attached to the peeping bundles of downy fuzz; checking on the them from time to time, and always, as soon as he came back into the house from his outdoor adventures. time passed and the fuzzy bundles grew, down being replaced by feathers, signaling their readiness for the warming weather conditions. We prepared an area right out of the back kitchen door, safe from predators, rain and wind, a new home complete with a wading pool for the growing ducklings. Finnegan would go to the (french) doors and look out at them, seemingly assuring himself they were ok. One morning several weeks later; Finn was at the back doors barking, loudly and sharply…unlikely behavior for him, he is very laid back most of the time (except when visitors arrive)…”Finn, shush”, I told him, nope..he kept right on barking, (I should add, he is a 140lb animal, his voice fills the house) I went to the kitchen to find out what in the world was going on…he was looking from me to the doors and back again; barking still. As I looked out, I noticed one of the chicks had fallen into the wading pool and was struggling to stay afloat. Finn and I went out and I took the little fuzz ball out, dried by the fire inside, all the while Finn sat by our side. I placed her back into her snug enclosure with the other chicks. Finn took a nap.

Maeve was one of my favorite llamas, she was beautiful, sweet, and very trusting. I couldn’t wait for to be old enough to breed (3 yrs, here on on farm),hoping for a cria as sweet and beautiful as she was. Finally it happened, we were so excited; she would be due in early May of 2011. With an 11 month gestation period, this seemed like forever. May 20, 2011, Maeve was in labor, it was a long and difficult labor; she needed help. The Vet was called; and Teddy walked us through everything. After hours and hours of labor, with my assistance, Our Phantom’s Thunder (Andy) was born. A tall, beautiful, boy. Maeve was exhausted, but still she nuzzled at him, as he tried to stand…and stand he did within minutes of hitting the ground. As with most mammals, getting the mother’s first milk (colostrum) is extremely important and can mean life or death in llamas; Andy wasn’t nursing. Maeve tried to coax him, hours passed, knowing that there is a small window of opportunity for Andy to benefit from the milk rich in antibodies and vital nutrients.The newborn should ideally get at least 10 % of body weight of colostrum in the first 12 hours after birth. 10% of a 30 pound cria is three pounds or three pints (a pint a pound the world around). Colostrum is strongest THE FIRST MILKING and gradually becomes diluted. The antibodies are absorbed the best the first 6-12 hours. By 24 hours of age virtually no antibody absorption occurs. We decided to try to express milk from Maeve, and bottle feed Andy; She stood perfectly for us, which was amazing; we were able to get enough colostrum from her to feed him in small increments(or try, he was incredibly independent, which has served him well since). Hoping above all we had gotten enough into him, we continued this routine every 2-3 hours over the course of 2 days. Problem number 3 arose; it was going on 36 hrs and Maeve had not expelled her after birth, we had been in contact with the Vet ( of course this is the weekend) after following her suggestions it appeared that it had all passed; though in 3 pieces, not ideal. weeks passed, Andy was growing strong, Maeve became my concern, she was growing weary, and developed a limp. After a trip for both of them to the Vet, we started on a prescriptive regime. She appeared better for awhile, then rapidly worsen, Andy was now six weeks old; and was drinking water from the bucket and eating grain(highly unusual) He wasn’t getting enough nutrition from his Mom, so he became independent enough to seek it on his own. It was a week of 100 degree temps. and high humidity; it appeared we were losing our battle to save Maeve, we tried everything, I spent 6-8 hours with her everyday, hoisting her up to do physical therapy, and thus allowing Andy to nurse. We could not get her fever down, nor get her up ( a down llama is not good). Andy and another llama (KatDoll) had been beside her day and night for the past couple of days; only getting up to drink ( I had an ample supply of hay in the barn for them). they kushed (laid) right beside her…she was never alone. On a hot July afternoon, Maeve passed. KatDoll and Andy got up quietly and together walked away. It seemed KatDoll had made a promise; she would watch over Andy, KatDoll was not of breeding age, so she could not nurse him, but she has caring for him since, they are rarely apart. (Oh my gosh, I am crying again)

I believe animals have souls. Do you?


fuzz ball , all cute and cuddly


Maeve with Andy


A promise was made


never alone...


Be well,

pet sitting and a hurricane…

I doggie sat for my daughter recently as she and Josh headed to the Beaches of South Carolina for a vacation; just as Irene was due to hit Upstate NY. Within the first 2 hours I had failed miserably…a neighborhood dog bit Nali’s eye. Through the tears(mine), I was able to clean it up and ascertain there was no real damage; it was a fairly superficial. (whew) Immediately my thoughts turned to Juli, I wondered whether or not I should call… (remember, this is the first 2 hours) Do I let her know her beloved Nali was hurt? (insert guilt here, you see Nali was a rescue, he was thrown into a dumpster as a young pup and on the very brink of life when he found Juli) Or, perhaps I should wait until she was home, so as not to ruin her vacation with worry. As luck would have it, Juli called me! “How are my babies?” she asked; I started crying, yet again, and I just blurted it out. He seemed fine so she was fine. Minor tragedy considering what was headed our way…Irene was coming to town.
Not only were we in the midst of a hurricane; I was trapped in the house with 4 dogs, and a very large cat! Water was pouring from the sky, and of course they had to go “out” and often! Mud up to my eyeballs…forget about wiping their feet, they rolled in the sloshy muck of a back yard…oh, well..I’ll clean later. Sirens were sounding, Howie was out to calls all day long,(NHFD), roads were closed, rivers flooding, my sister was being evacuated. I had to find out if my family was ok. So, I loaded up the Suburban with Lexi, Finnegan, Nali, Si, and my youngest daughter. We headed out into the storm. As we headed to my youngest sister’s home, we had to cross a bridge with water up to the top of the cement supports…talk about a scary scene…we had minutes to check on them, see if they needed anything and get back across the bridge before they closed it (trapping us on the other side of the bridge with no roads leading home…they were ok; no phone, or electricity,but no flooding waters. One brother had water up to his front door, one sister had to evacuate residents of a group home she worked at, one brother was caring for my Mother and her home. My oldest sister was kept informed by cell phone text conversations, she lives in Canada..it must be worse to worry from so far away. Another brother in NH was in constant contact, they were getting more wind than rain, he was worried and any information was a cooling salve for frazzled nerves.
Now, I don’t know about you, but, I don’t usually worry about heading to Vermont during a hurricane…today was different. Every where we turned, roads were washed out or closed, bridges, houses, livestock, crops, and cars washed away..life for many was changed forever.
We were lucky, everyone was safe …many many, families, farms, and businesses were not so lucky.

My thoughts and prayers are with them still…and I cherish my little farm home<3

At post ~ such nosey little fella!

Naldo (or Nali as I call him)…mwah!

Si…a sweet little guy.


Do you have a “the worst” pet sitting story?

Be well,

Old Barns…Romantic?

This summer we decided to locate, dismantle, restore, and re-erect an old hand-hewn timber frame barn,I have been attempting to chronicle our adventure as we go along. (see earlier posts) This summer the weather hasn’t really been cooperating; it has been way too hot and humid to be out in the sun pulling, tugging, hammering, and hauling. We were able to dismantle a smaller barn on the property, salvaging tin for the roof of a “new” llama shelter, old, weathered barn siding, and beautiful barn flooring; all to be re-purposed at our farm. This past weekend we started to dismantle the larger of the two old barns. Howie is going to re-use a bit of the timber,siding and barn boards to fashion a new kitchen island for us! I can hardly contain myself!

Folks who may have walked, or driven past these old barns first thought may not have been…”oh,I can re-use most of this”…some would have thought…”just tear it down”; not us! We were pretty darned excited about our find! These old farm buildings have been here for generations, and with a little help they could last another 100 years. We immediately envisioned some extra storage space, a workshop/studio,and a small llama barn…the llamas of course being our first priority. These old barns will add personality to our rural farm…and oh the stories they will tell.

I don’t know why, but I think old barns are almost romantic. Sometimes pretty, sometimes creepy, always interesting. If barns could talk, imagine the history and stories these barns could tell, it is neat to think about. I imagine barns speak of simpler times… farm life in days gone by…of the rural America of the past.

What a journey ~ finding what is really important, and how to enjoy the simple things in life. Speaking of simple; In 2 of the next photos is Finnegan, I told him to get off the sofa(photo #1) He laughed at me (photo #2)!

Enjoy the last of summer. Go. Before the days get short and the nights get long, take a drive out in the country, or just take a summer stroll ~ relax awhile, just let the world go by…

Be Well,

Come on let’s go see what’s out there!!

I long to travel….perhaps Europe first…I ‘ll start with France…to give my heart and soul a new beginning….that’s what I see in travel. To see, experience, taste, anew…To meet new people with their different cultures…visit their gardens and take in all that is out there….

Just you and your whim…

We all may yearn for travel for different reasons; maybe we want to see the world, see something different, see something change, the new, the exciting, the different, and the adventure ….

Pure anticipation…wondering…then you find yourself having dinner with six new and interesting people.

I always find my self wondering….”Where does this lead….what is behind there?” Hoping it’s a lovely garden…

It’s seeing new sights, hearing new music, and meeting new people—that I find exciting and exhilarating.

….find the beauty everywhere…even if it’s just around the corner…

Perhaps, it is going somewhere different ~ interesting, intriguing, and inviting….that keeps me longing to travel.

Could this be our collective wish?

Beauty…..set in stone…

This is what life is about. we see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people … and be happy to return home.

It’s all about the journey; to see life around me from a different perspective….children do it naturally everyday….I have to train myself . i think.

I suppose there is some irony here; designed to keep me out…yet intrigues me enough to wan to go in…

I hope to travel with those I cherish; eager to see the photos we took and hear about the friends we made. When we travel with the eyes and ears of of loved ones.

I hope that you too can find beauty in the everyday….When I do get to Europe you’ll be the first to know!

Be Well,

>Farmer’s markets…a unique shopping experience


The atmosphere; casual, open air shopping …enticing; the goods: fresh…all in all, remarkable!
I love heading out to our local Farmer’s and Green Markets, to support and chat with local farmers and  artisans. Enjoy the sense of community. Soak up the entrepreneurial spirit, and  gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to bring their beautiful offerings to market. They’ll also offer information and inspiration on how to prepare, or use your fresh ingredients!  While you’re at it you’ll be reducing pollution, packaging, and pesticide use while encouraging diversification in farming and stimulating your local economy…yay!
Healthy , Entertaining, local, FUN!

Bring some sunshine to your table….

Most vendors are truly passionate about bringing their best, and each has  a unique story to tell…How much fun is this apron, if I were wearing this, I’d be dancing while I bake…just because!!!

Direct access to your local artisans…how cool is that!    Love, Love, Loved the blue pottery!
Simple! Beautiful! 
I hope you have time to spend at your local Farmer’s Market , the connections you’ll make are unlike any other, local , healthy, FUN!

I especially like the earth and pet friendly ,  pest remedies  ” By Erin”, Tick Flick’r…a great , effective, alternative solution for fleas and ticks than other noxious products we put on our pets…it smells nice too!!!!

Be Well, and maybe I’ll see you there!

>A harvest of sorts…


If you have been following…you are well aware of our endeavor to dismantle, move piece  by piece,  then re-assemble an old barn…why are we doing it?  It makes us tired, sweaty and sometimes cranky;  my nails are chipped and dirty, hands becoming calloused ( I am certain these are not concerns of husband, I can assure you)…perhaps it is a great sense of satisfaction…to work so hard for something we want and our animals need, perhaps its a bit of stubborn persistence knowing you have to do whatever it takes…it gives us a deep feeling of strength and satisfaction. Knowing it will keep out winter’s biting winds and hip deep snow ~ keeps me moving forward.
We harvest more than boards and veggies…I have been hand carding  KatDoll’s fiber…so silky and soft.
ps  I added her photo above…

 Llama fiber is fairly simple to harvest; shear the llama and skirt the fleece as you go.  Skirting a fleece involves removing any second cuts (little pieces) and the coarse belly hair; then card the fiber.  Carding separates the fibers and aligns them in the same direction so spinning is easier.  You can use hand carders as above, or a drum carder.  Hand carders look like big dog (or llama) slicker brushes.  You put fiber on the end of one of the carders and gently brush the fiber between the two carders so it is separated.

Once you have the fiber carded, there are many things that it can be used for…spinning, felting …any creative thoughts???

There is another benefit to all of our physical labor….this old,wet hay  had to be removed as we took  the barn apart….All that weight lifting, bending, and stretching, while leaving us sore the next day..it’s great exercise…ok, so I’m rationalizing a bit!

oh, the possibilities….

Radishes anyone?  My ducks have been keeping the slug population at bay…and  they are adorable while they “work”.

Hope you can spend some time this summer  tending  and  reaping the benefits of your harvest…what ever that may mean to you…

 Be Well,

I apologize profusely for the inability to see your comments and reply to them;  Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the world!