Wednesday, June 30, 2010
There was a lot of noise going on down by the road yesterday. The Brookfield Road Department does a terrific job of keeping up my road in the winter, but what were they doing now? Sadly, they were scraping the sides of the road for some reason. The lovely little yellow flowers along with the blue corn flowers are gone. You could follow a yellow line all the way into the village. I hope it was necessary. I miss the flowers.
Woke up to a cold apartment, even with the windows closed. How lovely to wear my flannels and drink coffee and watch the Today Show. The hot weather will be back on Monday but here, in the Great North Land, we never forget that winter is coming sooner than later. Kimmie Cornerstone, my Fibre Sister (yes, she spells it funny), knits these incredible hats out of her handspun. It won't be long until I am reaching for mine. They are warm and dense, not like the crappy store-bought hats that you hardly know are on your head. Kim's hats keep out the big wet flakes of snow and look pretty, too. She knitted up this one lickedy-split at the Syracuse Jazz Festival when we were waiting out the rain and waiting for some customers. Kim will knit a hat for you, too. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell her Maggie sent you!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
My two white bucks are very handsome on the hill. Tommy Boy is an older gentleman who I don't think is long for this world. He's got to be ten years old. He walks very slowly up the hill, with all the girls following behind. Angora goat does are attracted to the biggest buck with the largest set of horns. Tommy Boy has a magnificent rack. He has lovely blue eyes and such a cute face. Hecky is cute but won't nearly be as big at TB. When TB was growing up I could only get pure alfafa hay from the farmer near me. That hay surely was a factor in Tommy Boy's size. He's huge for an angora buck.
I must get myself a field guide and learn what all these lovely wildflowers are called. There is so much rich clover and grass on the hill now that the sheep have not begun to graze around the pond in the upper field yet. I get to enjoy the wildflowers for a while longer. Milk weed is supposedley poisonous to sheep but mine have almost wiped it out from my farm, except for this lovely clump by the pond. I hope they leave it alone so I can have some milk weed pods for a wreath this fall.
Monday, June 28, 2010
my pekin ducks are no longer yellow. cant believe how big they have gotten in a few short weeks. the swedish blue ducks are lovely shades of grey and slate blue. they are enjoying their outdoor pen which now has a proper door and a temporary wire roof to keep varmints out.
The Syracuse Jazz Festival was rained on several times over the weekend. I was happy to support the Syracuse Peace Council with their first Summercrafts at the Jazz Fest. Kim came from Kingston to help out, and we made lots of new crafter friends.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Matt called my classroom and excitedley told me he had just experienced an earthquake in Syracuse. 5.5 the news said later. He said his desk rolled like it was on top of a wave and the computer monitor shook for about 30 seconds. I didn't feel a thing in Norwich, 2 hours east. I know we had a sizeable earthquake here in the 1980's when my barn foundation moved six inches. I'm not sorry I missed it. It would have put the fear of God into me for sure! That's okay, I'm very much in touch with my mortality as it is. Every day is precious. This was a good day because my student who HAD TO PASS the US History Regent to graduate did just that - he passed. That was half the day. Got home to hike with the doggies and do chores. I found my prettiest doe standing in the field looking a bit odd. She wasn't grazing which is what everybody else does as soon as I let them out, and was staring around. I noticed her udder swollen and her female parts puffy. Oh, dear, she's going to give birth. After chores I fed Matt dinner and asked him to help me get her caught and penned up. Luckily we found her on the hill before dark and got her inside and fenced off so she can give birth in a safe place without being bothered by other curious goats. I wanted to make creme tonight but it's not going to happen.
Luckily, Kimmie Cornerstone is coming tomorrow to help me get ready for the Syracuse Jazz Festival this weekend. I know I'll be alright with her here to help. She'll help me wrap soap and work the booth through the weekend. I know she'll LOVE the new goat babies! When it rains it pours. There must be other pregnant goats out there. They've been gorging on grass and clover and it's hard to tell with their bulging bellies what's going on. Swollen udders don't lie. Matt will have his hands full while we're at the festival.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
There he was, in the back of the barn, with Raven hovering over him. Just a tiny little white curly baby goat kid. Raven, his mother, is a very beautiful black goat with blue eyes. She's so lovely that I could forgive her for having a white buck kid, for the second time in two years. Got mother and babe set up in their own pen where mom can eat goat feed to her heart's content and get to know her baby. I'm always amazed at how tiny angora goat kids are, and how strong these little creatures can be. He's already up and on the teat. His name is Edgar, he's adorable...and tending to him is about all I got done tonight!
Monday, June 21, 2010
I'm going to miss all this fabulous light. Darkness at 9:32. Good day at work. This week is testing only, and just the few students who didn't finish last week. My wonderful aides, Robin and Melanie have examined every old paper in every box in my room and processed them. I can't believe how much help they are. In previous years I would do what I could then put everything in boxes or file cabinets for safe keeping. Out of sight, out of mind. Robin just wouldn't have it. She's amazing! I rushed home to see my beautiful Mia before she left for New Jersey. She minded the farm for me today. The lucky doggies went up to the pond early today, and nobody had to wait for me to get home before they ate. I sent her home with a new bag, which we found missing a snap frame in a big storage tub, made from lovely coral silk with Indian elephants, and two sets of curtains for her apartment. I hate to see her go but duty calls at the hospital and her fiance, Andrew, wants her back. I don't blame him a bit.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I left the door to the silo room open and the curious piggies decided to go in and investigate. To my horror, one little pig actually jumped down into the empty silo. He had company in the form of some kittens that a new mother had delivered and raised in the silo. She "appeared" here one day, probably another drop-off or stray, and was extremely shy. I had been dropping food to her and the kittens in the silo and maybe the piggies were sniffing out the kitty munchies. If the pig had been much bigger the kittens might have become the munchies! I had no choice but to catch the pig and get him out of there and while doing that I could get the kittens. Thankfully Mia was up to the task and almost caught him, but piggies are reeeally fast. I jumped down there to help out and Mia chased him right to me. I hoisted the wiggly piggy up out of the silo and he ran to his brothers who had abandoned him. Mia and I collected the hissing, spitting kitties who are now in a cage eating lovely fishy canned food. If only I could catch Mom and get her fixed, but that's going to be difficult. So what else is new?
My ducks and chickens needed an outdoor pen adjacent to the chicken room where they could go out to play. Some of my chickens in the chicken room have never been outdoors on fresh dirt. We finally built them an enclosure where they can safely play outside and dig in the dirt. The 12 ft. long pen will have a roof and door. We couldn't resist the opportunity to put the ducks in the partially completed pen where they could get out of the rabbit cage they've lived in for the last week. Well, the ducks were real happy to get into a pan of water where they can party down. We watched them jump in and out and preen their feathers. I'm hoping their tiny wings won't allow them to jump the five foot fence. Don't think so, because Jemina Puddleduck couldn't fly without getting a long, running start and she was a full grown duck.
Matt is sleeping in the sheep show trailer, free from dogs, cats, TV, people, etc., as part of his Father's Day celebration. He loves it out there, and the White Boys - Thor, Finn and Knut - cooperated last night by barking a lot less than usual. Mia went on a six mile run around the Brookfield loop, three miles to the village on one side of Beaver Creek, and three miles back on the other side of the creek. I wanted to follow her in the truck but she wouldn't have it. There's only one place where I think farm dogs might bother her so I'm waiting by the phone. On deck for today - clean up the kitchen, cut up a batch of Clary Sage soap, empty and scrub the "work room," which is the buffer room between me and the animals. With my farmer's market earnings we bought a roll of five foot welded wire fence to build a duck/chicken play pen. I don't want the chickens to spend the summer inside the barn and the ducks need a little swimming pool. We'll see how it goes. I'm sure we'll be ready for a swim in the pond later today. It's hot and steamy out there. Ah, summer in New York. Luckily, the green glory doesn't last very long. We could have frost in September and it will be wool weather again!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Made it to the market by 9, got set up straight away. The weather was glorious, with gentle breezes most of the day. Hot and humid by afternoon but I remembered a fan to plug into the lamp post. I got to visit with Candace at her booth and was visited myself by customers old and new, checking out my goods. One lady inching herself along with a walker which carried her oxygen tank bought a little snap frame bag, and another bought my smallish orange tropical leaf bag. That's the very last of that fabric which I wish I could find more of. I got some spinning done, a big treat for me. Mia drove up from New Jersey and met me at the market just in time to help me pack up. Back at the farm we had more piggie drama with two loose after digging under their fence panels. One pig decided he had better stay put. After the market, packing up and piggie chasing we were pretty well done in. Quiet night of TV, chatting and chores. Mia is such a big help, always cheerful and happy. Watermelon and more chatting about her work, wedding plans and everything under the sun. Much to do tomorrow. It's Hannah's birthday today but try as we might we never connected by phone all day. She called us back when we were out in the barn working but didn't mention if she received THE BAG!! Sure hope I'm able to catch her tomorrow.
Friday, June 18, 2010
So happy to be away from work where we've been Regents testing all week. Very weird vibes flying around, end of the year stress. After I made my obligatory stops at the gas station, market, feed store, post office I made my way home, hardly able to enjoy the glorious weather, worn down by nonsense that I find very tirng. So much easier to relate to animals. I was glad to get back to the farm. Took water to the ever thirsty ducks thinking I have to get their pen built real soon. I just can't keep them in enough water. Slopped the piggies, who were also happy to get some fresh water in addition to their warm slop, fed the kitties, then went about carrying in groceries. I got half of them in when I decided to walk the doggies and let the sheep out. Started up the hill when I saw Mary go by on the way to the farm, tooting her horn. She was headed for the pond. A half hour later we were in the lovely spring water with the doggies. All the rough edges were smoothed over by an hour in the pond. What heaven. I returned refreshed and renewed, ready for chores and some sewing tonight. Farmer's market tomorrow. Good weather, friends old and new. And the best thing to look forward to - my Mia is coming tomorrow night to spend a day or two with me! Fabulous!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
The goaties are up to their old tricks. They have acres and acres of lush grasses, flowers and bushes to munch on, but they still want to go across Hollow Road and make trouble for me. Fortunately, I am on to them. I let them out to graze, then run up to the top of my land with the dogs. I see the goats making their run on the lower side of the hill but I am up high watching them. Today I met them as they got half way to Hollow Road and chased them back the other way. They thought I wouldn't see them in the high grass, but think again Goaties!
Several kitties followed me up to the pond with the doggies today. The grass is waist high, making it rough going for the kitties to keep up with us. I do think they enjoyed hiding in the grass. Tiny Tina even helped Holly look for frogs. Just as we reached the pond Holly scared an egret away. I only saw it on the fly with its long legs and neck. It's not the first time Holly scared things away that I would love to see. She's just so fast and always leads the way.
Hannah will be 12 years old on Saturday. I've been wanting to get this bag made for her for a while, but didn't get to it for one reason or another. Suddenly, it's her birthday, and the bag is still not done. Now, Hannah has everything a girl could want (except her own horse, but that's another story) including loving parents who take her to many exciting and beautiful places, a lovely home, pets, clothes, her own room, chochkies galore, so what do you get a girl who has all that? Why, yet another Bundaflicka Bag! They never wear out, and a girl can never have too many bags, right? I managed to get the Celestial Sun Tote with dragonfly lining done in school today, between correcting Regents tests and meetings. Thanks to our trusty US Post Office, Hannah's bag will be on a plane tonight and will be placed on her porch in San Jose, California, tomorrow afternoon! Omi is relieved that she will be represented at Hannah's birthday celebration, wherever that may be. If I can't be in San Jose at least my handmade gift will. Pretty soon I will have Hannah and Luke all to myself here on the farm. Won't that be absolutely wonderful.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I try to do it all, I really do, but sometimes it's just not enough. With a full time job, farm business, all these critters, and, oh yes, a husband, I am very troubled when I just don't have enough time to do everything I want or need to do. It makes me very private about my world. When I lived in a fancy development in New Jersey, I would drive up and down in front of my house at night, to see how the living room looked through the windows, and to make sure the doilies were properly placed. Now I live an "alternative lifestyle" and it suits me, but it's not for everyone. Some people from school really wanted to come to the farm, one student in particular. When we found out that Monday was her last day, and she begged and pleaded to go to the farm she had heard so much about, I couldn't say no. We booked the van and off we went. I'm comfortable enough with these people as I work with them every day and I know they like and respect me - but would a visit to the farm change that? I knew they had preconceived notions about my place and they resembled something like Farmer Hoggett's farm in the movie Babe - sheep fairyland! I decided to take them up to the pond first, where we could gaze down on the lovely view of the barn and pasture from the north side. As luck would have it, the day was grey and rainy and the high grass on the pond pasture made our pants wet. Ofcourse they did not have on the proper footwear - visitors never do - and I heard comments about oh, my socks are wet, etc. Down at the barn we had to walk through quishy old hay on top of mud to get to the piglets, who shrunk in horror at the sight of new humans. The sheep, hearing my voice, said oh, she's home and all paraded out to the gate to be let out to graze. I hated disappointing them, but it was a good way for my guest to see the critters. A remark was made about the one who wasn't walking right (civilians always pick out the one who is lame or different). Baby Thunder cooperated nicely by calling hello to me and we did our back and forth conversation to show that sheep can really talk to humans. I tried to take my company up the ladder to the hay mow but my student said I can't climb that - and she was afraid of the White Boys so we had to walk all around the outside of the barn to get upstairs. I think my hay mow is very beautiful, even empty of hay, but there was little response. We went to eat pizza and back to school. My student left in tears that day, as she really bonded with us and hated to leave. She emailed me about how much she loved my farm and thank you so much for taking her, gushing all over about the ducks, the sheep, etc. No comments from my other guests about the visit, but that's okay. I knew they might be a bit "overwhelmed." They saw my farm and that's that.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I heard peeping from around the rabbit cages and what did I find? A broody hen had secretly started sitting on the eggs she layed in the pan on top of a rabbit cage and hatched some chicks. Trouble is, they dropped down into the bunny's cage below, away from mom's warmth and comfort. The hen didn't appear to be in any distress. She's still sitting and concentrating on getting the remaining eggs hatched. I brought the little peepers into the bathroom, two days after I got the last crowd moved out to the chicken room. I have two moms roaming around the barnyard with chicks following them. The hens do a great job, and I applaud them, but it's hard for me to find their eggs and prevent more chicks from hatching. They don't appear to need any food as the moms teach the chicks to forage on seeds, bugs, etc. The world would be a better place if human parents were as faithful and devoted as Mother Hens!
Monday, June 14, 2010
Andrew caught this shot of my twins, AJ and Mia, in their uniforms. I don't always see my sons in uniform. Eric had a fabulous uniform at VMI but would run back to his barracks after dress parades to prevent me from taking pictures of him. It drove me wild. Here Mia is in her nurses' uniform (with dog-in-law Finn), so I have a double duty picture. All three of my kids are still serving in various ways - Eric as a Boy Scout executive, Mia in the hospital and AJ in the Army. AJ is leaving for his summer National Guard exercises in Nevada. I hope he is able to come to the farm and visit us this summer.
Finn, my future dog-in-law, has been hiking in Vermont with Mia and Andrew. Finn carries his share of the load with his handy-dandy dog pack. The pack doubles as a life preserver. Notice the handle on the back which can be used to pluck the poor dog from the river if he goes overboard. Finn is a rescue who was adopted by Andrew just as Mia was entering the picture. Andrew came with canine baggage! Luckily, Finn and Mia get along just fine. Finn has visited us on the farm but tends to be slightly overwhelmed with dogs everywhere, cats everywhere, not to mention many wooly and horned beasts running around the fields. We hope Finn can come more often and get used to all his "new friends."