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: 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. 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:

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. Shannon, and her blog are a true delight…I just discovered for my self! oh for the love of flowers…:) always a delight C, and her will visit often, promise funny, heartwarming, and real so many facets to this woman! Every time I visit I am amazed. travel along with this insightful, lovely lady. Gardening in Ireland…<3

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.
PS, I am never good at these links, so bear with me ❤

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 ❤


Rain and Breezy

Ahh, sweet Andy.

Awe, Finni, whadjado?

Sophie, you are not a duck...

the 2 step...

Jenni with Lil' Finni

Lexington ❤

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.

A month of thanksgiving…day 2

Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.

Albert Einstein

November 2, 2011

My Animals

This passed year on our farm was marked by loss… our sweet llama Maeve, and Seamus, a huge gorgeous Golden Retriever (he suffered from severe uncontrollable seizures) and passed at only 4 years old. I was grateful to have been able to share their time here.

I am so grateful to be able to have animals in my life; living with these animals has brought to me, resourcefulness, affection and forgiveness, and grace; you see, animals are reliable,loving to a fault, affectionate ~ you know when you come home there will be a wagging tale and “I missed you whimpers” greeting you at the door. They are grateful for everything done for them, throwing a ball for Lexi ~ just a a little while every day ~ she is ecstatic. Animals are loyal, I can always trust that Finnegan and Lexi will be watching over our family. I once had a Westie; talk about loyal devotion…about 8 years ago, I had a bout with the flu; I was sick in bed, not being able to even get up to get a drink of water for 4 days…Kobe laid in bed with me for the entire time, only left when he had to go out, and get some water. He did not even leave me to eat…( the down side of that..he didn’t want anyone else near me either…and would make a horrible noise when others would come near)…

Have you ever had a bad day, I mean, a really bad day…when you just want to be alone, gather your thoughts..and try to make sense of what has, or is transpiring? I have had many a day like that..the first thing I want to do when I get home is walk out to the pasture with the llamas, I bring their grain, take a seat,…and just let their grace, gentleness, and curiosity melt the tension from my shoulders…they munch silently, A few will wander over to me…bring their face to mine and I smile. Their voice soothes me; different from other sounds…a gentle, sweet hum; never shouting, it’s just a whisper really, yet it drowns everything else out.

I also love my animals for who they have brought into my life; llamas have changed my life for the better, it is more enriched through owning them. they have incorporated themselves into our family and they become a huge part of our lives. We have traveled to places they would otherwise not have gone, met folks we never would have met…some wonderful caring people; people whom now I am lucky enough to call a friend, Katrina, Todd, Paul,Teri, Charlotte, Donna, Roy, Don, and Sue…I could go on and on…and really mean it!

Our llama farm is a rewarding experience; where we can enjoy being at home, grooming llamas for shows, and enjoy traveling throughout the U.S. for shows and they are huge fun and great social gatherings. I love my animals not just for themselves, but also for who they have brought into my life.

Here are some snapshots of animals that I love…


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

Lexi as an adorable pup


Riley cat...

Juli's dog, Rinaldo (I call him Nali Dog) enjoying life

Si, enjoying the view

sharing the love

Patient always..Maeve

Maeve with Andy shortly after his birth

Striking a pose...KatDoll

Baby Andy

Mali...sweet boy

Our neighbor, Andrew helping feed the chickens and ducks

ducks and chickens...

I am grateful for the simple things in life…
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,

Where was I headed?…along the way

Well, Irene has come and gone…and somewhere along the way I learned a few things. I think many folks did.

The storm spared our farm from any damage; thank the Lord. But down the road ~ in any direction, you find loss, and destruction. A farm with 500 cattle washed away, mud slides taking out homes, historic covered bridges ~ gone! Like many of you, I have spent my life doing the things that I loved,things that I needed to do, things that were expected of me…accumulated memories and stuff, I have come to realize; stuff doesn’t matter…

What does matter:relationships you have with friends, family…and the love you share,the support and help you give,how you enjoy life,how you care for those lives entrusted to you…livestock, pets… I will; spend more time with those I love, share what I have with those less fortunate, take the time to do the little things that bring joy to myself, friends, and family..tell those who mean so much to me how much I care and love them, do little things to make loved ones recognize how much I appreciate them, throw the ball for my dogs,take time to do something, or go somewhere special with my family and friends,recognize that life is about sharing and not about what’s in it for me…and my wish for you:

I hope you dance…by Lee Ann Womack:

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance…I hope you dance.”

If you think about it; the people who made a difference in your life, the ones you really remember, are the ones that cared.

I had taken many pictures of angry waters and threatening skies; I chose instead to post the blue skies that I think of when I think of summer.

Love and kindness…


neighbors, or precious friends…


definitely wondering…

do chickens wonder?…


Why is he in our food???

quite a guy, his name is Phantom…in case you’re wondering.

Here is Mali, he might be wondering why the girls get the bigger pasture…

…watcha doin’ over there…

…the girls…

an end to beautiful day…

Be Well, and as (Charles Schultz) once said “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.”


Oops, I spilled the beans…a re-post..

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.

A good name will shine forever…what will yours say?

It has been longer than I like since I’ve posted anything…there has been so much going on here,some good, some not so pleasant.

There’s a heart shaped stone Howie found for Maeve’s resting place at the top of the hill, where the pasture opens wide and the setting sun highlights the trees there. Maeve’s stay with us here at the farm was relatively short, she just turned 4 in May. But who of us can say whether a life is better short or long? Neither the length of the loved ones life nor it’s briefness determines the value of that stay. The purposes that Maeve came to accomplish may become more clear as time passes, but today she reminds us again that life on this earth is not only fragile but limited in time. She is a reminder that we, too, shall follow her and the others that we love to the arms of the dear Lord who so intricately fashioned us all. She has left you a precious gift in Andy.(Thank Mitchell Cohen for those comforting words) She used to love to run…she took my heart and ran with it, and she’s running still, fast and strong, a piece of my heart bound up with her, forever. My heart is delicate and will take a long time to heal; It may seem patched up, but it will mend…. in its own time. My thoughts had to return to her precious Andy; he must remain healthy. We, all of us, at Misty Maples Farm have made it our heartfelt pursuit and responsibility.

But, not all is sad..we took time to drive to New Hampshire to share a meal with one of my younger brothers. A lot of laughter and good times were had by all!

Life is full of ups and downs, in farm life sometimes it is exciting ~ sometimes disappointing ~ perhaps at these times a little sad…sometimes it feels like it’s never ending; things never stop having to be done. There is always something wherever you look. But it’s my life; and I LOVE IT! The sadness as well as the joy!

Our Maeve.

View from Hogback Mt. on our way to NH.

Now, where were we going?

Daughter with her Uncle..


Look, I found a busy little bee.

Never good bye…always see ya soon!

Andrew and Maeve going for a walk…a couple years ago; she was always so gentle.

A moment of of innocence…Jessica, where did Maeve go?

Why did she leave, did she go down the road?

Heaven? Can Andy go see her?

“I love you, Jecasa” and the coversation turned to chickens…childhood is amazing!

Enjoy this and every day..

And so life on the farm continues, Be Well.