Sunday, November 28, 2010
Oh, we ate so well this past weekend. I felt like Queen for Three Days, with all that fabulous food put in front of me, starting with Andrew's superb Thanksgiving Feast, followed by Mia cooking me scrambled eggs with mushrooms and fresh dill, to the Bridal Shower smorgasbord at the Hyatt. Now it's home to my own country farm fare. No problem with that, but I have to procure it, cook it, serve it, then clean up after myself. Sometimes I think I want something to eat, but then tell myself, no, you'll just have to wash the dishes. My morning's work today, the Thanksgiving turkey soup, held me all day. I soaked the White Boy's kibble with it and they ate ALL their dinner tonight. Livestock Guardian Dogs often cover their food and save it for later in case they need it in lean times - but not tonight. They were so good for Kim when she farm sat, I wanted to thank them for doing such a good job guarding the farm. We did get some farm work done today. Matt picked up hay and stapled heavy duty plastic over some open windows. We moved the flock to the bottom of the barn from the upper hay mow. They are a bit wary of their old home now that it has been cleaned out and they can walk on concrete floor. They will spend the winter in there and only have access to a small barnyard outside. The snow drifts will prevent any climbing up the hill anyway. I think Monkey and Lola will be giving birth shortly. Monkey wants to lie down all the time. I watched a baby moving around Lola's abdomen today, swimming and kicking. Baby angora goats are sooo adorable. Lambs won't be far behind. Kim reminded me that Lilly had Luna be this time last year. I will have to start late night barn checks now, and get out there early in the morning. I just have to get through the next two weekends with back to back shows. Good bye Sleep, it was nice knowing you.
Missy's sister made an incredibly big and delicious whipped cream and strawberry cake for Mia's shower. It was so huge Missy could hardly carry it in, and then a gust of wind blew the cover off and took off the name. She did a hasty repair and the cake was perfect for the shower. The cake had a skiing theme, since Mia and Andrew are going to Switzerland to ski for their honeymoon. Mia taught Andrew to ski and now he's hooked. Many guests took home portions of the cake. It was sooo delicious I broke down and enjoyed several pieces. Just couldn't resist.
I had a great time visiting with old friends at Mia's shower. Aunt Carol, Mia's godmother, and I go back to the Dialysis Department at Morristown Memorial Hospital where I was the ward clerk. I have not seen her in 12 years. Carol found my Bodie for me at the Seeing Eye in Morristown where she is a nurse. I asked her to be on the look out for another Bodie to come along. I would love another Golden Retriever, but my code requires an animal that I take in to be homeless or needy in some way. Bodie was rejected from his program before he even began guide dog training as his litter mate had an MS type disease. They decided to adopt out the whole litter and Carol recommended me for a forever home. Sherry and I go back to St. Elizabeth and Dr. Roman's Honors English class. Sherry was looking for a place to live with her dog, Pixie, a feisty Jack Russell Terrier. Her mom was threatening to tie Pixie to a stake in the middle of the highway. I took them both in and we've been friends ever since. That was 18 years ago. Sherry comes up to Brookfield to ride in equestrian events.
The Hyatt turned out to be a great place for Mia's Bridal Shower. I don't have a house in Morristown and Mia's nurse friends are always working long shifts and live in apartments and condos. The Hyatt people were friendly and helpful, and valets carried in the shower gifts on luggage carts. My only complaint was that the waiters sneaked my lox bagel away when I wasn't looking (I didn't eat it fast enough because I was busy socializing) and they took the leftover food before I could pack it up to take home. Yes, I am a hopeless old bag lady.
I gave Mia my two signed Peter Max prints for wedding gifts. I have this little barn apartment and am always worried about the barn burning down with my stuff in it. I know, insurance would cover it, but still - they have a lot of sentimental value. Mia has her whole life ahead of her and will build a room around these pictures in her own house someday. I adore Peter Max art and so does Mia. She was thrilled.
Kimmie Cornerstone went to school to learn to weave these intricate and lovely hand towels. The weave pattern is very unusual and beautiful with hand sewn tape binding. I am a fledging weaver and know how hard it is to master these complicated weaving designs. Mia was thrilled and did not receive anything like these towels. Lindsay sent her felted Christmas tree ornaments for Mia and Andrew's first tree.
I'm grateful to the friends and family who couldn't make it to the shower and mailed gifts to Mia anyway. She saved them to open when I visited so we could share in the excitement. Some funny quirks - she got three books on making cocktails, one Martha Stewart cupcake cookbook (it came in a basket with pans, cooling racks, utensils, etc., very cute) and enough spoons and spatulas to open a cooking school. I was the only one who gave her any kind of lingerie, which was presented in my white, trapunto-quilted Bridal Bag lined in a orchid paisley fabric. She's already used the bag to go to Lisa's to dress and await the limo to take them on their bachelorette NYC fling.
I made these lovely lavender soap hearts tied with tulle and ribbon for Mia's shower favors. I decided to offer them for sale to other brides for $5 each. They are labor intensive, but fun to make. The tulle looks so pretty at each place setting and I can make the ribbon the bride's choice of color. I made them for Lisa's wedding two years ago and Mia made them as a gift for a nurse friend's wedding and they were very well received. Soap is the gift that keeps on giving, and nothing is nicer than something hand made on the farm...
What do I do when I am supremely happy and brimming over with good vibes from a fabulous holiday weekend with my family? I make soup! Mia sent me home with a big turkey carcass full of meat, and lots of veggies she didn't use. There were packages of triple washed baby spinach, celery, cauliflower and broccoli. I got the carcass boiling last night, along with the one my students cooked last week. This morning I picked the bones and gave the gnarly parts to the kitties and dogs. Happiness all around. All the veggies went in the soup along with many onions I had begging to be cooked. We'll eat this soup all day, then I'll freeze the rest for cold winter nights with grilled cheese, etc. Life is good...
There is something about dark, cold, early winter mornings that I love. I'm inside where it's warm and cozy with my favorite kitties and the indoor doggies. I have my big, soft Salvation Army sofa that I don't have to worry about spilling coffee on, and I am alone with my thoughts. The sheep are just outside, and I only have to go through two doors to be with them. I am filled with emotional musings over the holiday weekend, and so grateful that this Thanksgiving was the happy polar opposite of last year when Matt was in the hospital gravely ill with kidney disease. Kim, Jared and Lindsay took super care of the farm while I was away, otherwise it would have been a tense and worried weekend. I was only gone three days but it was filled with enough joy and memories to last for years. I treasure every moment with my only daughter, the great joy of my life. We enjoyed our first holiday meal, artfully prepared by the Young Couple, with Andrew's parents and got to know them better. I relaxed in Mia's lovely Victorian apartment while knitting, browsing my favorite magazines, and watching movies with my feet up. Matt and I prepared the lavender hearts in tulle with orchid ribbon shower favors and packed the goody bags. Everyone got a soap heart, a jar of hand creme and a candy. I made a Maggie's Farm gift basket filled with one each of my soaps, some hand creme, a candle and more hearts. The bridesmaids held a raffle with several baskets for guests to win. Who won my basket? My lawyer - Pat Smits! I told Andrew if it was not for Pat I would have raised Mia and AJ on top of a pizzeria instead of in a classy development. I'm not sure he was ready for that much candor, but he knows our history, and with emotions riding high it just blurted out. Life is a reality show, with new episodes happening daily. Who needs television?
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Mia's incredibly devoted and talented friends threw her a beautiful bridal shower at the Hyatt Hotel in Morristown, NJ yesterday. Mia was the recipient of all manner of gifts to prepare her for married life. They were heavy on the kitchen accoutrement, which is fine with Mia and Andrew as they enjoy cooking together. Missy's sister made Mia a fabulous whipped cream and strawberry cake with a ski theme. The weekend was like a lovely dream that is lingering in my mind as sweet recollections come rolling through my mind in waves. Today we had a leisurely morning before going to The Bargain Box - the Morristown Memorial Hospital thrift shop - to do our delayed Black Friday shopping. Matt found the perfect black dress suit and shoes to wear to Mia's wedding, along with an Oleg Cassini overcoat and a Jos. A. Bank trench coat. All are like-new. Matt has been worried about his wedding duds but no longer. Maggie and Mia scored big time with top-label coats, jackets and sweaters. Mia is wearing the gorgeous long, black, wool Perry Ellis coat she bought to NYC tonight, as her girlfriends are taking her to a club to celebrate and the teeny-tiny silver spangled party dress would hardly keep her warm. We traveled back to the farm in snow flurries today and found everyone in good shape. Kim and Kids took good care of the place and had a lovely fire burning in the wood stove as we came in from the cold with all our packages. I even brought home the bones from Andrew's turkey to boil and make soup. Dogs, cats, ducks and sheep are very happy to see us.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Finn is enjoying all the Thanksgiving excitement. It's not easy for Finn to share his Persons with company. I think the hope of sharing the turkey dinner helps him cope. While the bird cooks, Finn is on duty holding the bed down.
After walking Kim and Crew through the farm routine, packing and loading, we set off for NJ and made it to Morristown in record 3 hour time. I think the fact that Matt couldn't smoke in the van with me and reeeally needed a cigarette helped get us there faster. We picked up Mia at the hospital after a 14 hour shift and went out for a bite at my favorite upstairs sushi nook, Nagano. Mia's fellow nurse friend, Kim, joined us. She was completing five days on duty so she could attend Mia's shower tomorrow. I don't know how these young nurses do it - Kim had seven critical patients to care for and chart on yesterday. As I picked up Mia the trauma helicopter was coming in with another customer. I was painfully cognisant of how precious our time together on this holiday is. We settled in to Mia's adorable apartment with jammies and herb tea. We fell into our beds after chatting as long as we could manage it. I slept like a baby until my internal alarm clock put a stop to it at 6 am. Coffee, British Country Living, Mary Jane's Farm, Artful Blogging and Rolling Stone Magazine were all waiting for me on the coffee table. Mia and Andrew are cooking while the Macy's Parade is on TV, then the doggies on parade. I feel so fortunate to be with Mia and Andrew, for having Matt here and Kim on the farm taking care of everybody. Life is so fleeting and precarious. The house is filled with scrumptious smells wafting about. Andrew's parents are coming to join us, then hopefully AJ later. Life is good...
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Back on line. The Frontier Phone Man, yes, that's what they are - the Frontier Phone Company (remember this is Northern Appalachia) kindly gave me a new motem. Hopefully it is kitty-proof, but I have my doubts. Now, if my computer was safely stashed in a cabinet (husband hates big furniture as he is a minimalist and never lived in one place for long before he married me) I would not have these worries. I am trying to be good and not complain on my journal. I have MUCH to be thankful for, most of the time! I am very excited about going to New Jersey to see the most beautiful, sweet, kind, and hardest working daughter in the WORLD. Oh, and her fiance, too. (hee-hee). Mia and Andrew are cooking Thanksgiving dinner and Andrew's parents will join us! Yay, a Thanksgiving with humans - family even! Mia is going to make my favorite yam casserole. Life is good! Kimmie Cornerstone is due to arrive any second. I bet she is in Wal-Mart, wildly running up and down the aisles, buying cheap American goods. I don't mind if WM makes her want to cross the border and visit me. I'm all ready for Mia's shower, with a van full of wrapped presents. It might be slightly embarrassing giving her all these presents but I don't care. She deserves every gift she gets then some. I am also excited about seeing AJ, Mia's twin brother who is busy getting ready to become an ordained Christian Orthodox priest, and many old New Jersey friends I haven't laid eyes on for years. Some have made their way to Rhinebeck and Maryland Sheep and Wool to see me, but others have remained far away. 200 miles is not a great distance but can be an eternity for busy people whose lives are not very flexible. Well, back to packing. I've been cleaning bunny cages, trying to tidy up, an impossible task, but I'm trying. Kim is one of the view people who are totally non-judmental and loves me no matter what my place looks like. The creative mind is seldom a tidy place! I will leave you with something soooo exciting - a fiber artist who has been spinning my Mother Fiber got in touch with me. She is Vanessa Yvonne and her blog is Nessaland at www.vanessayvonne.blogspot.com. Check out her Flicker photostream and you will see my fiber under Maggie. She is a phenomenal spinner and I'm in awe of what she's been doing with my fiber. Have a lovely Thanksgiving everyone, for we truly have much to be grateful for. Bye for now. See you in the mythical land of New Jersey, where girls NEVER have to get out and pump their own gas!!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I am still sitting at my desk in school, almost afraid to go out into the rain and storm I see going on outside my window. I'm feeling nervous and apprehensive, and that could mean trouble. My children tell me I am a witch who knows what people are thinking and who can forecast bad tidings. Maybe it was just the day I had here in school. The afternoon got better, but my morning was one bizarre episode after another. You can make this stuff up. Suffice it to say one situation included a student with a chunk of raw deer meat in his hand wanting to use my classroom kitchen to cook it - complete with a grahic photo of the poor animal after it was dispatched. Okay, I may live in the country but I am not that "country." Days before holiday weekends are usually light and euphoric around here, but there were calls from schools wanting information and paperwork, and many loose ends to tie up. Oh, well, gotta deal! I don't know if I will be able to post at home, since the lovely "Frontier" phone company (aptly named!!) lost my repair request made yesterday, and don't know when they can fix my motem (motum?) at home. They promised (another promise!) to send someone out, but then will the repair person be able to 1) find my barn 2) realize there are people living in the barn and not the house next door and 3) figure out how to get in the barn. Would the request to "blow the horn until someone (husband) comes out" be included in the repair ticket? I would like Kim and Company to have internet access when they are camped on the farm while I go to New Jersey to be with my daughter. One can only live and hope. In the meantime - I'm going to tidy up and "woman up" and get out into the rain and darkness. Tomorrow, Kimmie and Crew are coming - brave souls! - to take over my farm for three days so I can go away. This time last year Matt was gravely ill with failing kidneys and had to be rushed to Cooperstown from Hamilton so a urologist could figure out what was going on. I had Thanksgiving with my doggies and kitties. Oh, did they love their very own turkey dinner! This year Mia and my future son-in-law are cooking! I'm so happy and excited for them. Okay, hold on to that positive vibe and get going!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Tiny Tina knocked the modem box off the computer table Saturday night and left me without the internet for the remainder of the weekend. What withdrawal I went through! No Facebook! No contact with the outside world! Not that I get many messages, but I do enjoy finding out what other people are doing with their lives back in civilization. I did manage to get some things done without the intermittent logging on, or posting tidbits about this animal or that. I am getting ready for Mia's bridal shower at the Hyatt Morristown, and I'm very excited. The Parkinson Family is all the way from Ontario, Canada to farm-sit so we can spend Thanksgiving with Mia, Andrew and his parents in Morristown on Thursday, then attend the shower on Friday. Lots to do in school tomorrow before we leave for the five day break, and much more to do on the farm before we can depart.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Nils and Lars, AKA "Goatie Boys" are enjoying a bale of second cut grass hay that fell off the cart on the way up the slippery slope to the barn today. The Goatie Boys have been with me for a while, 7 or 8 years, I think. They are two of a set of triplets. Oh, what a night that was, when they were born. Mom was really worn down from carrying them and couldn't push them out. I pulled all three out of her, one by one. They were doing fine until I offered them a flake of pure alfafa hay. One little boy kid had an allergic fit and died in my arms. I don't do alfafa any more. It's often covered with chemicals. Grass hay is the way to go, in my experience. The Goatie Boys, all three of them, are featured in my favorite handspun lamb coat picture.
Nothing like a cart full of fresh new Postma hay to make a llama happy. Yes, it's that time. The sheep are out grazing right now but the grass on the hill is very sparse. I still like them to get exercise by climbing up the rather steep slope to the pond. A few of the girls are pregnant and exercise is so good for them.
I took Blue Boy to Carol Riley's farm in Hamilton today. Her spread is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, with 100 acres of hay fields across from State land. Blue Boy will have four sheep friends and two horses in the pasture with him, and a nice barn to weather storms in. All sheep should be so lucky. Carol and I chatted a while. She sews incredible fine-microfleece clothing - hats, coats and turtlenecks. She turned me on to a local art club craft fair in Clinton she says I should try next year. I told her to come to Plowshares to check it out. Being new in the area I am still learning about good local shows. I got some orders mailed in Hamilton - lovely post office that stays open to a decent hour on Saturday, unlike my little tiny Brookfield PO. I stopped at Price Chopper in Hamilton, the next best thing to Wegman's which I would have to travel an hour to Syracuse to shop at. PC gives gas credits for shopping there which you can cash in a certain gas stations for cheaper gas. Every little bit helps. Lots to do around the farm - better get cracking.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Woke up to a white world this morning. We had a pretty little snowfall last night, which continued through my commute to school. I love Fridays with the promise of a weekend to work and play on the farm. An unfortunate incident with an emotionally distraught student conspired to thwart my Friday euphoria, but by lunchtime I was getting it back. Matt found a sewing machine repair guy in Syracuse who only does Singers and is very much into old machines. He brought home a replacement drive band for the 99K, my favorite, and I'm good to go. I've been back and forth with this machine and can't be without it. My new old machine is in school, but this group is not a sewing group like the kids I had last year, and I'm always busy with kids or the eternal bureaucracy that is education. After some stops I arrived home as it was getting dark. I have my just-home routine which consists of getting groceries and things I've brought home from school through the four doors I must go through to get into the apartment, then changing clothes quickly and getting the doggies out. Today I opened the gate to let the sheep out but surprisingly they didn't want to go. They know there is no grass out there and told me they would rather stay in and eat what I give them. The long, expensive winter feeding season begins. I feed the quacking, excited ducks in the moonlight. I must figure out how to get them inside once their water freezes. I give them warm water through the hose, but soon the water will freeze quickly. As I was outside I was listening for Baby Thunder to cough, but he didn't, not once. I think the Micotil Dr. Rachel gave me did the trick. He only gets two doses and I have to be careful with the needle. One prick is lethal to humans. Fortunately, he stands nice and still, even though he HATES shots. The Prince Charles special is on tonight. I confess I'm an Anglophile and love all the Brit-stuff. I adored Diana and will watch Kate and Will's wedding preparations with great anticipation. Speaking of anticipation, I'll be working on Mia's bridal shower this weekend. We set off for New Jersey on Wednesday to spend Thanksgiving with the young couple. The bridal party plus some close friends and relatives will converge on the Concord Room of the Hyatt for a shower on Friday. I can't wait to see what the Girls have planned for Mia. Kimmie Cornerstone and Kids are coming to farm-sit, brave souls! Won't they be glad to get back to Canada and sanity!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Yesterday we feasted on our turkey dinner, and today we've been nibbling on leftovers all day long. The Culinary kids made a big Thanksgiving spread for the entire staff upstairs, but we continued to enjoy our own vittles. Some things just taste better the day after.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Our Thanksgiving celebration in school was very pleasant. Three of my afternoon students stayed in our classroom and cooked all morning. It was a lovely, fun time. Robin's class joined us for turkey dinner with a yam casserole, corn, mashed potatoes, pureed squash, and stuffing with gravy. I brought in my farm booth checkered tablecloths which Robin kindly washed for me in the handicapped classroom washer, and we borrowed extra pots from Gretchen's kitchen. There was the usual annoying competition over who will pick the music, but, for the most part, it was very enjoyable. I found it extremely gratifying to see students who have "issues" peeling and dicing potatoes and happily washing dishes. We put together plates of Thanksgiving Dinner for several of our favorite teachers in the wing and sent them around. Tomorrow we'll get the carcass simmering and make soup. Could I let good bones go to waste? Never! I drove home in an icy rain with the wind coming up. Now it's blowing hard with the waxing gibbous peeking intermittently out of the black clouds racing across the sky. Not a good night to tip toe out before dawn to watch the Leonid Meteor Shower, which I was looking forward to. The hay mow over the little apartment is shaking and making the familiar creaky music. Some of the sheep have found their way back into the lower barn. They seem to like walking on the narrow corridor of concrete floor and gaze around at their old haunt. Maybe they are wondering why the ceiling is so much higher. Now I can replace the light bulbs I smashed with my head. Stan and Son will come back in the spring to do the rest of the cleaning out. We'll take down the old wooden cow stanchions and clean all the way to the sides. Many of the old windows need to be replaced. I wish I had a picture of this barn in it's glory. It must have been magnificent. It's still the most beautiful barn around.
There he is, big, white battle scared but ready for action - sitting in the back parking lot right where I can see him. Maybe it's a 9-11 thing, but I always carry my truck keys in my pocket in case I have to bail quickly. MB is running fine for the moment, awaiting work on the front end. My students' loyalty is divided between Ford, Dodge and Chevy. The Chevy kids know I drive a Ford and taunt me with things like, how's your ball joints, or your front end - common F150 issues. I hate the gas mileage but I like being in a big 4 wheel drive truck in the kind of weather I have to drive in. Someday I'll trade it for a cute little Jetta, when I don't have to pull hay wagons or livestock trailers.
We are having our Thanksgiving dinner in my class today. Last week we piled in a school van and went to the local Price Chopper for the groceries. I hauled in my fabulous Kitchen Aid mixer that I never use yesterday and we prepared apple pie dough with it. The students chopped onions and celery for the stuffing and readied the bird. It was a terrific session, one that I want to keep fresh for when the going gets rough. I let them play their favorite music, which is always the worst problem as the kids are VERY particular about their favorites and it has to change every two minutes. Robin's class is joining us for The Meal today. It should be a wild, happy time.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Strawberry is keeping my soap warm. I cooked it over the weekend in a big pot. I had several bags of scraps that I saved and trimmings from the last batch of lavender and lemongrass. It's going to be fun cutting the big blocks of "shaving soap" I'll sell with shaving brushes. I have to use a big knife and really lean on it. I love the big, funky blocks and the lather is real nice and creamy. No flourocarbons are pumped into the air with this soap, and there is no container to throw away.
It's ugly but it's a start. Five years of hay and poop have been filling up my barn. The guys are spending one last day scooping and spreading tomorrow, then it's over until spring. We have to rent a smaller machine to get between the posts. I had a chance to buy a skid loader of my own a couple of years ago but someone got there before me. A poor farmer down in Greene had a heart attack while cleaning his barn, ran it into his wife's new car, then died. The wife came out to find her car wrecked and her husband dead in his machine. You can't make this stuff up. A student told me about the skid loader, with manure forks on it, but it was gone in moments. Not surprised. Baby Thunder and some of the goats wandered in and found the dark tunnel very interesting. They ran up and down as if they were looking for the hay pack that cushioned them so nicely, but made me bend over and bang my head while doing chores. Oh, if people only knew what toil and trouble is behind their yarn. Then I go outside and look up the hill into the misty night with the sliver of a moon peeking through the clouds, with the ghostly outlines of sheep grazing, and I think there is nothing more beautiful.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
This lovely hawthorne glade surrounds an underground spring which the doggies discovered for me. I heard the sound of tongues lapping and there they were - drinking from the grass. I hope to have another pond dug here someday. Ponds are wonderful for all kinds of wildlife and I can always use an additional water source for my sheep.
The doggies (plus two kitties - Cassidy and Strawberry) took a long walk today, up to the tippy top of our hill, then down Hollow Road, then across the lower pasture. We had a lovely time despite shots of gunfire ringing through the valley now and then. I don't mind it too much as it was much worse when I lived in New Jersey. I was looking for sheep who might have wandered past the poop lines laying across the fields to find grazing ground. I circled back to find they had found patches just where I wanted them to graze. The goats are the real wanderers. They like to find spots in the woods on the ridge to camp out, sometimes overnight. I have to send Thor, Finn and Knut out to find them and make sure they are not eaten by coyotes and other varmints. There is still some grass to eat on the hill. A neighbor dairy farmer asked if he could cut and bale the upper field on shares, meaning he would keep some and give me some. I took him up on it but after one partial cutting he never came back, much to my disappointment. I hope he doesn't ask me again next year for I will surely say no. I'm hoping Stan and his son will do it for me until I can get my own equipment. I'm going to sew for the rest of the afternoon. All this long weekend I've been finding other things to do, like tend to critters, do some housecleaning, play on the internet (like I'm doing now)without getting much product made. Wish I could just relax and enjoy life but farmer's can't do that - it's not allowed!
Andrew picked up Mia's wedding band yesterday and she sent me a picture. I think it is exquisitely gorgeous - a classic circa 1920 band that goes perfectly with Andrew's grandmother's Tiffany engagement ring. When Grandmother was engaged there was plenty of love but no money for a ring. Seven years later Grandfather purchased the ring he was not able to provide before. I think that speaks volumes for the love and devotion that existed in their marriage. May the same feelings exist between Mia and Andrew seven years from now.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The fabulous weather continues. The barn clean-up is progressing nicely. Can't believe how much five years of hay and manure can accumulate. They certainly have nice weather to work in. Equipment issues slowed them a little but fortunately they seem to be able to fix their own machines. I should have very thick, green grass next summer. Matt was in Syracuse attempting to get our new/old tractor working finally. Work stopped for months for a variety of reasons, now the push is on to have it finish it for snow plowing. The same friend, Ron, who found the tractor for him fixed my F150. The part that needed replacing was so corroded it's amazing it ran at all. I did some mopping of floors with very pleasant results. Love, love, love this pine wood. It can look awful then clean up so nicely, with the nicks and scratches only giving it more character. I use an orange citrus cleaner, CitraSolv, that leaves a lovely scent. I put off cleaning as long as I can and have a zillion excuses not to but that only lasts so long. Ofcourse, there is no where to put all my stuff, but that's another problem. Matt wants to buy a used single-wide trailer to put up on the hill to use as a residence and let this be my workshop. I can't say I blame him. With the holidays coming, etc., I hope to do a lot more straightening and organizing, including a little painting, etc. Fantasies are free...
Friday, November 12, 2010
I climbed the hill with the doggies today. What glorious weather we are having. I came back to the barn and got Mia's shower favor lavender hearts cut out. The lovely lavender scent is lulling me to sleep. I guess what they say about lavender being soothing and calming is true. I think I will lie down for a few minutes...
These lovely ladies are enjoying their breakfast of sweet grass hay. I'll let them out to graze this afternoon, but there's not too much left for them to eat. A lot of it is covered with manure being spread by Stan and his son. I still like them to climb the hill and get some exercise. The goats like to eat small trees, weeds and bark so they always find something to eat. I'm quite sure I will have lambs by Christmas.
Baby Thunder is perking up the last couple of days. He's rather thin, but then old folks usually wither away a bit. He's hoping I will let him out to play, but the guys are here cleaning out the barn and I want Baby Thunder locked up where he is safe.
Knut is enjoying someone's rib cage. I don't know who, fortunately, but I can guess. Some people think eating sheep will turn the guard dogs against them, but I don't find that to be true. Mutton is much better for the dogs than commercial dog food. Knut will have many hours of gnawing pleasure with this set of ribs.
This lovely, sunny weather continues and the ducks are making the most of it. I filled their pool up this morning and the two Pekins, the big white ducks, jumped right in. The Swedish ducks and the one Rouen duck have to wait their turn. Sadly, the big girls, or boys - I don't know! - don't leave them much water. I wish I could turn the ducks loose to parade around the farm. I love to see them in ponds on farms I drive by, but they wouldn't last long with so many coyotes around. Last night there was such a chorus of coyotes across the creek I stood and listened in awe. I don't have anything against coyotes, in fact I love the wild animals, but I don't want to provide them with live dinner. I don't trust my own dogs around the ducks either. The chickens know how to handle the dogs, but the ducks I don't know. In the meantime I'll give them a nice little protected world with food and water. I have to decide what to do with them this winter. I'll make a place in the barn but I don't know where.
Matt is visiting the Onondaga Nation today. They want to teach their own people how to weatherize their homes without involvement from the "Feds." Who could blame them? Matt will work something out with them I'm sure. He was very excited about going and sent me this picture of their recreational facility on the reservation. The women of this matriarchal tribe make all the decisions and consider the impact they will have for at least seven generations. I like that.
I asked Matt to take me to Barnes and Noble last night to check for the latest British Country Living magazine. I adore it, and recently missed some copies. B&N is right up the road (a half hour away, remember we live in the country) and since he was willing to drive (I love to be driven where I want to go) we went. We usually combine that outing with a trip to Panera where we can both eat dinner for less than twenty bucks. I had a salad, so as not to bust my diet wide open with a baguette, etc, and despite some wilted greens it was delicious. Over to BN where I scored my British Country Living AND, to my great joy, a copy of Haute Handbags. It comes out four times a year and is packed filled with tiny art purses. I don't think I will ever glue soda can rings all over a handbag, but I enjoy seeing what crazy things artists do with purses. This issue has a few hooked rug purses and a terrific messenger style old blue jean bag that I can see myself making. I am a frustrated hooker. I have the cutting machine, canvas, and found a big bag of wool strips that I cut years ago in the Tractor Shed. Someday... A lot on deck today including the soap I never got to yesterday, sewing, post office, some house work but sadly, no washing of clothes. Matt and I spent a couple of hours trying to fix the old washer, then dragging it out and dragging my old spacemaker washer out of the tractor shed and, with great effort, into the milk room. Got it all hooked up but guess what, that doesn't work either. It made screeching noises then emptied all over the milk room. I bought it for the little cottage I lived in when I first left my big house in Morristown but only used it four years. I wince to think of what I paid for it then, but sitting 8 years hasn't helped it. Don't know of a washer repair person around here. I'll probably buy a used washer that I can use for clothes and wool. Matt is off to the Onondaga Nation not far from here today. They want to talk to him about doing their own weatherization of their homes. The Nation has no great love for the US Government but they want to save energy. The Nation considers everything they do with regard to the effect it will have on them for seven generations. Wouldn't it be nice if our gov. did the same? The Onondagas are a matriarchal tribe. All decisions made by the chiefs are brought to the women elders for consideration. Not bad. After watching Section 60 - Arlington National Cemetery in the wee hours this morning I can tell you many fewer young people would be lying in their graves if women had to sign off on war. Sun is coming up, I'm going to drink some more of Kim's Multatelli Coffee before I get to work.