Friday, November 30, 2007

Off to New Jersey

Just as the weather forecast takes a turn for the worse, I am loading up my little red truck and setting off for New Jersey to do the Delaware Riverkeeper show. It's a great little show with lots of very classy artists. I am bringing lots of cute new bags and all the soap I can squeeze into my truck. Have to get the show on the road here but first let me show off some bags. Storm coming in from the west, storm coming in from NJ coast, oh, joy, how could I be so lucky?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sheep Coats

One winter activity I will be spending a LOT of time on is sewing sheep coats. Some shepherds I "met" on line have been very nice about giving me some pointers, and have even sent me pictures and patterns. Isn't that wonderful? I have not been satisfied with purchased coats and have been warned that they don't let loose when the sheep get them caught on barbed wire, etc. I was told that double knit fabric is great for sheep coats, and Jan recently tried to give me a bunch - but I let her give it to the home ec dept. at the high school. I think I will use some of the tapestry fabric I have been hoarding but don't really care for. Won't the sheep be pretty with their fancy coats on...and I will have much nicer fleeces to play with. Oh, those fine Bluefaced Leicester fleeces attract a lot of what we call in the trade, "vegetable matter."

Busy, Busy, Busy

Up early to start sewing my last bag for the show this weekend. This is a sure-seller fabric and I wanted to take at least one. They flew out of the booth at Rhinebeck. I think I hit a record for bags this week, maybe 8 in one week? That's just like a second job. I'm sure my friend, Martha, is weaving baskets like crazy right now. Have to make hay while the sun shines. I poured the shaving block soap last night and wrapped my lavender until I ran out of fabric. I have a couple of aged goats and one sheep who are seperated and getting supportive care, more hay and grain and vitamin B shots. It's so sad when they get old. They just don't live long enough. One is Cupid, my oldest wether goat and Lonnie, one of my first ewes from Lisa Rodenfels in Ohio. When an animal comes to my farm they are here for life, that means more work but I would never "ship out" an old friend. Finish this bag tonight, then pack the truck, then off tomorrow for New Jersey, four hour drive, then lugging my whole booth up two flights of stairs. Might leave some of it for Mia to help me Saturday AM, but don't know if she can get there in time. Oh, well, good thing I am a big, strong girl.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cold, Snowy Wind

A cold front came in tonight. The kitties are huddled together in their mohair/angora boxes and I am snug and warm inside. Had to remind myself that this time last year my port-o-potty was taken away and things got a little rough around the trailer. Matt was working in NJ and I had a camp potty in the milk room...a little warmer than the port-o-potty, but it meant leaving the warmth of the trailer and walking across the driveway to the milk room. Most of the time I just ran around in back of the trailer. Now I have the Royal Throne with the baseboard heater next to it. Ah, what a difference a year makes. Talked to Mia, she is allowed to go back to work on Thursday - good news. AJ is going back to California tomorrow. I got two bags finished today, oh, they are gorgeous, and am now fooling around with hand creme. If only I could make two batches come out the same. If I microwave the borax with the beeswax it melts fine. Why didn't I try that before? Microwaving with water still left grittiness, and customers don't like it. I like the grittiness as an exfoliant but that's me. Jan wants her creme unscented...can you believe she doesn't want lavender oil in her hand creme? She said when she used it in the high school special ed. department people complained about the smell. Don't that beat all! Fine with me, I'll save the lavender oil for soap. A student of mine made me a fantastic llama sock label today. I love it. Breeze is the model. Speaking of Breeze, he and his brother are on the loose again. Good thing they are in full coat, it's getting real cold tonight. Matt has been doing most of the chores so I could spend more time with my kids, then getting ready for this weekend. I had AJ helping me on Saturday night, and he said, "You mean, you do this every night????!!!" I sure do. Matt is real tired, sick and achy. He is working alone after having two full time carpenters working for him for five years in NJ. He misses them and hates doing everything himself. It's very tiring doing hard labor all day, then helping me at night nearly pushes him over the edge. He complains bitterly and says he wants to go on a wind-surfing vacation, or to San Francisco to visit Sean. Wish I could afford to send him, and hire a BOCE kid who would be thrilled to make $8 an hour and have a smile on his face the whole time. How refreshing...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rain, Rain, Rain

Woke up to an inch of snow that had turned to rain...and it's still raining at 11 pm. The roof over the milk room needs repair and it's dripping on my stuff and my poor kitties who like to live in there. I keep telling them to go into the dry barn but they like the creepy dampness. Maybe there are bugs in there that I can't see but they can. Long range plans (I seem to have a lot of them) include fixing that room up to a first class soap and dye studio...fantasies are free, right? I have so much to do for this weekend and I am exhausted. Two bags on the machine, soap cooking in the milk room. The shaving blocks are made of cut up odds and ends of various soaps melted in a big pot, with clove oil added shortly before I pour into the top of a copy paper box. It requires lots of stirring and chopping and takes about two days to get it melted. The blocks are a good seller and I have the shaving brushes so I am going to get it done, one way or another. I should have enough product, but it takes so much out of me. Show season is over, but I hope to have some internet sales. With every crafter and her sister and brother selling their wares online, competition is tough. I do just fine when people see my stuff in person, but online is another story. I'll keep plugging away. Off to stir the soap in the pot...

Back to Work

Woke up missing my kids like crazy...but feeling good 'cause I had the second night in a row of uninterrupted sleep. Is the meatless lifestyle or just the contented feeling of having my babies under the same roof with me? Maybe the kitchen cabinets sitting in the kitchen area, finally after all these years? I am using the countertops already, placed on top of the boxes. What will I do with all this counter space? Watch me! Back to work today...once I get there - the hardest part - I am happy to see all my friends. I wonder what that monkeyface Gretchen has been doing all weekend. I want to fix her up with my AJ but 3,000 miles is getting in the way.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Comes to Brookfield

AJ and Mia came up from NJ on Saturday and brought the holiday spirit with them. We were not expecting Mia but she had some minor surgery and could not work at the hospital over the weekend. She needed her mommy and here I was - thrilled to see her face at the milk room door. We went to the NY Pizzeria Sat. night, built a huge bonfire and AJ dazzled us with a fireworks show. Back in to the warm apt, then we hung out in our jammies. In the morning we ate porridge (a staple in our house for years) and the guys carried in my new kitchen cabinets. We went to Hamilton to tootle around the Colgate Book Store, then drove to the Earlville Opera House to see the crafts. I was surprised to see many empty parking spaces as we pulled up - traffic was light. We checked out the goods then took a tour of the circa Civil War era opera house - very interesting! Home again for our first vegan Thanksgiving dinner. I made stuffing with apples and raisins, yams with pineapple and marshmallows, fresh cranberry sauce, corn, sweet peas and pumpernickel bread. It was colorful and tasty, but I confess I missed a turkey!! It just wasn't the same! AJ and Mia loved the meal, and are very supportive of the meatless lifestyle. They had to leave to get home for Mia's appointment with the surgeon early AM tomorrow. I hated to see them go. AJ is heading back for California on Wednesday. His Army test for the chaplaincy is on Dec. 12, but first he has to pass a PT test. He's lost a lot of weight so he should be okay. The Army is very fussy about the body mass index. They don't like excess weight. I have a busy week ahead with Delaware this coming weekend. I am hardly ready...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kitchen Cabinets

We travelled to Lowe's in Utica in driving snow last night to pick up my kitchen cabinets. Ah, the kitchen - so much a part of a woman's identity. I've spent most of my life standing over a stove and a sink. I could have earned a PhD and written severals books with the time I have spent slinging hash for my family. But they are big and strong and enjoying life, so it was time well spent. I always wonder which one of my students are going home to a family meal at night. Society would be a better place for it. I worked with a woman who has seven children. I asked her how she managed to get dinner on the table for nine people at one time. She said she didn't even try, and that dinner was catch as catch can. There were all kinds of problems in the family. I only had three to worry about, but I was the only girl in my family and the Christmases and Thanksgivings were often at my house. Wow, did I cook. And I always longed for a new kitchen. When The Prince of Darkness and I bought our house in Morristown it needed a new kitchen and he promised me one. Then he spent the money on a $30,000 testicular doppler machine. No wonder the marriage went down hill. He didn't come home much for dinner so I guess it wasn't a priority. Fast forward 27 years and I am finally getting a new kitchen that I picked out myself...okay, they are stock cabinets with formica countertops and very basic appliances, but after a year and a half with no kitchen at all, it's heaven. We stopped at Barnes and Noble so I could look for the new Spin-Off but they didn't have it. I was pleased to find a British Country Living. AJ bought me a subscription but it's run out and I've missed it. They even had a Fine Homebuilding for Matt. I found an article about a woman who takes sheep headed for slaughter and lets' them live out their lives in a sanctuary. To make $$ to support them she's started a clothing line with their wool. How brilliant! Look her up at I have a few boys living harmoniously in the boy's pen behind the barn, and they will stay there until I can get the vet here to neuter them. It should be done this time of year when there are no flies to get on the surgical site. And they will give me luscious wool until they die a natural death.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Oh, yes, we are cold aren't we? The morning news is showing lines of people in front of stores. No, thanks, not for me. A storm rolled in from the northwest yesterday afternoon. The cold went right through my sweater. Almost went back in the house to put on Mia's high tech Austrian ski underwear she gave me. The weather is very dramatic around here, with systems coming in from the Great Lakes and tunneling through this valley. I love it, now that I have a warm apt. to hunker down in. I wish my internal thermostat was steadier. Every once in a while I feel like someone has thrown a hot, wet towel over me and I have to pull off my sweater. I was hoping I would be over that by now and I would find some kind of hormonal equilibrium but it's not happening. I'm hoping that with a healthier, meatless diet I'll feel better. I pulled a muscle in my right upper arm lifting feed sacks and it's hurts to do anything now. I can't sleep with my head on my upstretched arm, which is annoying. I have another four bags cut out of some beautiful fabric I had stashed in the chest freezer in the tractor shed. Oh, this is nice. One big snap frame bag and four little snap frame bags. Now that I've given six bags to the Earlville Opera House I have to hustle to get more made. I'll be busy today with cutting up lavender soap, sewing bags, cleaning the apt. to get ready for AJ, and the endless chores. I'm almost afraid to go out into the barn to check the bunny bottles. They are probably frozen...I don't want to face it! Michelle Obama is on TV saying black America should wake up and vote for Barack. If they wouldn't vote for Jesse Jackson, I don't see them voting for Obama. This will be a very interesting election. I confess I have a mental picture of a female president that is very appealing to me. Can you imagine a globe trotting Bill Clinton as Secretary of State, schmoozing with heads of state, making deals, building relationships that would benefit the US? Kind of like a modern day Ben Franklin - the ladies were crazy about him, too.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful For My Friend

Jan deserves a post all her own. How lucky I am to have a friend whose love for me was so great she convinced her reluctant husband to sell their New Jersey palace and move to the wilds of Brookfield, New York! She worries about me and does every little thing she can think of to make my life easier. She never criticizes my off beat life style and thinks of ways to get me more organized (a Herculean task). She brings me gadgets and goodies whenever she comes to visit. Her SUV is always filled with gifts for me and my critters...AND she never tells me I have too many cats!! That's because she understands me and loves me for who I am. I am truly blessed to call her my friend. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Janipat!

I Am Thankful on Thanksgiving

I am thankful for:

Eric, AJ, Mia, Annie, Sean, Hannah, Luke, Matt, Dingy, Melinda, Emma and Charlotte
My Farm and the surrounding beauty of the land
My doggies and kitties
My sheep, goats, bunnies and chickens
Heat, hot water, my bed and the roof over my head
My job
My co-workers
My heritage
My wheels and the joy of spinning
My sewing machine so I can make my bags and curtains for Mia's new apt.
My health and good food to eat so I can keep it that way.
A democratic, representative government that withstands abuse from within and without
The planet Earth, without which none of the above could be possible - God Bless Her!

Let's turn off a light, drive less, plant a garden, stop a leak, turn down the thermostat and put on a hand knitted wool sweater, write a letter, eat a meatless meal, get a cat or dog fixed, the list goes on and on. Be thankful and happy!

Meatless Thanksgiving

Eyes open at 4:30 again. Oh, no, I am going to have to take a nap later. If I could get stuff done so early it wouldn't be so bad, but I hate to wake up the whole farm. Everyone, including the chickens, are still sleeping...except for the DOGS. When I get up, they get up. And when they get up - they have to go out. That means shoes and sweater for me, leashes for them. Open the door, we go out, cats run in. I love to put on NYC news and watch the parade preparation. I did go once as a kid, when my NYC cop father got tickets to sit in the grandstand. Everything on TV this morning is turkey, turkey, turkey. The commentators are anxious to get home and put the turkey in the oven, how to cook the turkey, how to carve, etc. etc. Turkeys loom large in my collective memory. My mother got many meals out of her free turkey from the grocery store. We had turkey sandwiches, turkey and gravy over rice, turkey soup for weeks. She would put the carcass in a paper sack and pound the bones to make the soup taste better. I've done the same, to the point where Matt refused to eat one more bowl of turkey soup. But not this year. I confess I was longing to grab one yesterday in the market, but I resisted. We are on day 3 with no meat and things are going well. I made mushrooms and onions sauteed in wine and olive oil over angel hair pasta last night and Matt didn't complain (a good sign). It feels good to go through a day where nothing had to die to feed me. I look at this way of life as a rejection of the overwhelming violence in the world we live in. Meat is violent, I don't care how kindly it was raised. To eat it you have to kill it and I am sick of killing. I've had too much of it around me growing up and still have a hard time with it. War, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, gun accidents, the usual carnage. I don't know how any Christian can eat meat. Jesus probably ate bread dipped in olive oil most of his life, maybe some fish once in a while. Yet Christians point out the verse in the Bible that says something like I give all the fruits of the earth to you to enjoy. And that includes killing animals for food. Once when flying to Louisville I looked out the window of the plane to see giant football fields full of waste from factory farms. It's so easy not to look behind what's on our plates. And all that gas rising into the atmosphere! Once a student asked me, "Mrs. Alexander, how is eating meat like the Holocaust?" I was blown away. Here I had a unique opportunity to comment on an amazing association I had never even thought of, made by a young person. Living beings, loaded on trucks against their will, to be destroyed by more powerful beings in hideous ways. I know, I know, it's much more complicated than that and genocide is not being waged against animals...still, it's a level of consciousness that can be explored. Yesterday the hunter behind me was blasting away on the ridge. I was walking the sheep out to pasture when a blast made me jump. He must have been standing on my property line in the trees. I screamed in the direction of the shot, "That was too close you a--h---!" I regret the a--h--- part now. If only I had come up here 8 years ago when I had the chance. I could have bought hundreds of acres and made a whole world unto myself. But I foolishly stayed in NJ, trying to stay afloat, and not even treading water, wasting time and money. I had always stayed pretty close to home and never knew Central New York existed. I had dogs who I couldn't leave at home for long periods of time while I explored different areas. I was going to school, etc. Then I got the job at Voorhees HS. So many excuses. I try not to wallow in regret and focus on the future. AJ is coming on Saturday and I will make a Thanksgiving feast which includes his favorite yam/marshmallow casserole, stuffing, cranberry salad, cauliflower with cheese sauce, corn, etc. I will miss the smell of the roast turkey and pulling the skin off. Oh, the grease I would consume when I cooked my own turkey! Here's to the start of a healthier, more humane, more globally aware lifestyle.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Wondrous Earlville Opera House Craft Extravaganza

I took six bags to the Earlville Opera House today. I thought I would leave my antique dress form I brought to hang the bags on in the truck and go in to check it out. The front of the building is very unassuming and I thought this show can't be too big. Weeellll, I was wrong. They had three rooms packed solid with the most beautiful collection of crafts that rivals anything I have seen in any big time juried show. The pottery is outstanding, jewelry dazzling and quilts awe-inspiring. There are several bag makers participating but mine are bigger and more substantial, making a variety for people to chose from. This area is loaded with talented people. I drooled over the traditional basketry. Crafters were still coming in with display cases and goods when I was there at 2, and they were continuing to take product until 5. I hope Jan can come up and see this show, it is just amazing.

Luscious Fabric

I found this gorgeous fabric in a trunk up in the hay mow. I made a mega bag out of it last year. Didn't think anyone would stand the weight. Surprise, surprise, a rather petite woman came into my booth and took it down, tried it on, peaked inside and marched it right over to pay for it. You never know. I got two bags out of the left over and lined them with a pretty yellow linen. Soooo nice.

No School Today

It wouldn't be half so much fun to have a paid holiday if I didn't have a job. One of the wonderful benefits of being tied to a job is to be set free at their expense once in a while. I love the cyclical nature of teaching. Days off around the holidays and a three day weekend here and there. Just when you think you can't take it any more it's summer and you have two months to fall back and regroup. Then a fresh new year begins and you have an opportunity to start over again. I crashed at 10 then woke up at 4:30, my internal alarm telling me you've had enough, get up and get busy. The doggies looked up groggily asking what's she doing up? Once I start rattling dishes to make coffee they are up jumping around, wanting to go out. I've learned the hard way to rush them out quickly! I got a letter and a thank you note from Hannah yesterday. Sweet little thing, she wants to receive more letters and I will comply. Hannah says her friends get lots of letters and she doesn't, a situation she describes as "very annoying!" I'll put one in the mail this morning on the way to Earlville to drop my things off at the Opera House. I'm excited about seeing what the local craft artists have come up with. One day down with no meat. I make cabbage and kidney beans with sour cream over rice last night. AJ is coming this weekend. I'm so excited about seeing him. He's staying at Mia's apartment in Morristown now. I love to watch the doggies go nuts when they see him. The weather is still mild. I was lying in bed thinking about the stock tanks icing over. I have to buy some floating tank heaters. I've never been able to be comfortable inside without knowing my sheep and goats have all the food and water they need. Soon the hoses will freeze, along with the bunny bottles. I will have to hook up the hose and detach it every time I water. Bunny bottles will have to be collected and brought in to thaw, or I will go to bowls and pour warm water in them twice a day. Long range plans include a closed in bunny room which will stay just above freezing. Thank Goodness I found such a big barn, I am using every inch of it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Earlville Opera House

I called the Earlville Opera House today and asked if they would like me to bring some of my things to their Holiday Craft Show. They called me last year but I didn't have much to bring them. I was really flying by the seat of my pants last fall, sewing in the hay mow with a wall of black all around me and my lone light bulb...remember? I sold out at Rhinebeck and managed to make a few more for Delaware Riverkeeper. Made a few more for a local show at a New Age retreat...a very cool place where I walked my first labyrinth. The only people who bought my things were the owners, though. My prices are a little high for the locals. The school secretary confronted me the Monday after the show, saying she wanted to buy a bag but it was too expensive. I asked her if she thought handmade things should cost less because they are made at home and she said yes. I told her I think they should cost more because they are handmade and that much more special. The owners of that retreat called the Earlville Opera House and told them to get ahold of my stuff for their, with hay and feed on my mind, I called them and they said bring it over - tomorrow! I will bring them some of the bags I made for Riverkeeper, along with some soap and photo notecards. It's not a bad deal, I'm supporting the local arts and don't have to be there to sell my things. They take 25% but I can live with that. Maybe a patron with deep pockets will need a new knitting bag.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sick Kitties

I have several kittens with runny eyes. Took the worst one to the New Berlin vet tonight. This is another vet who I wanted to try. I have so many critters I thought it would be a good idea to have two vet clinics working for me. He is a few miles closer than the other one (gas and time factors in his favor). A teacher friend, Jeff Weinell, recommended him to me. Jeff said this guy takes care of the elephants at the Syracuse zoo. I figured he could handle my crew. I guess that's why he made the remark that this virus is deadly to exotic cats, and would kill a tiger. Dr. ? seems very nice. Yes, I still don't know his name. I know, I know I spent 10 minutes with the guy and still don't know his name. I didn't see it anywhere and she stamped my check with the clinic name. My little kitty has a feline herpes virus which is very common around here right now. All the big cats are fine and beautiful, but three or four kittens are having eye problems. I have been treating them with medicine I got from the other vet but I wanted a second opinion. He said the secondary infections can kill the kittens but I have saved them from that with the meds I have been giving them. I have five days off (yes!) and will be able to doctor their eyes properly. It's still cold here. Finn and Knut took off during our walk - very scary to me because the killers are around. There is a "hunting camp" up on our ridge which I didn't know about when I bought the place. I don't like it, and have never seen the "hunter." I see a light throught the trees and imagine him creeping around the ridge with his gun. Last night Tanner ran a big buck out of the trees, across my hill and onto Jan's land. I expected shots to ring out any second, but he made it to the creek. I wouldn't want to be a deer around here right now. Work was awful, trying to ignore all the sickening hunting stories. I just try to hang out with my teacher friends - the ones who don't hunt - and hope they keep the kids too busy to tell stories. There are kids who are sensitive to animal rights in my school, even growing up in this macho hunter culture, but the hunters have the biggest loudest mouths. We watched a documentary on turkey processing at the Butterball plant in Arkansas. Well, guess what? No turkey for us this Thanksgiving. Yes, finally I will put my money where my mouth is. When I say anything about hunting, people always say do you eat meat? Now I can say no! Matt doesn't mind, he says he's ready. I guess I should start shopping for a good pair of sneakers, huh? I carry cloth handbags anyway, and I can use my own wool without worrying how the sheep were cared for. I don't want to throw away my own sweaters or shoes, but won't buy more unless they are pleather. I read that Joachim Phoenix refused to play Johnny Cash in Walk the Line unless they got him pleather cowboy boots. Cool! The school teachers buffet always has a terrific assortment of veggies and fruits along with salad fixins. I will have to find my Moosewood Cookbooks, stashed away in the tractor shed. My PETA magazine always has good recipes, too. It's the dairy thing I will have more trouble with. I have tried soy milk and hate it unless it's chocolate. I will try again...and sleep a lot better at night.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Okay, I Get the Message!

I will make a sincere effort to lighten up and only put up happy, trivial posts. I don't want anyone having to get their medication tweaked on my account!

Got two more bags finished today, gosh they're cute! Off to make lavender soap! Yippee!!

Pajama Party

It's almost nine o'clock and I'm still in my pajamas. What's wrong with this picture? It's too wonderful to be true. Two more bags on the machine, then off to the Milk Room to make soap. Have about two hours work in there to make it manageable to work in. The machine we rented didn't clear the drain and it floods every time I do wash or run the sink. It's fairly miserable. A lot of my stuff is wet and I've been avoiding cleaning it up. Today's the day. Have to salvage what I can save and shovel up the wet stuff. Matt has to dig outside to find the end of the drain. Might have to pick axe through the concrete or rent a jackhammer. I asked Chris Kupris where the drain comes out of the Milk Room (where the bulk tank used to be - hence the Milk Room) but he doesn't remember. I think his brother and the Sisters built it before their dad had a heart attack and Chris came home to run the farm. Maybe Sister Grace knows. Have to look for her car. She comes home from the convent rarely now that the garden is frozen over. It's time to start buying hay. I am already pulling hay from the pile that is my insulation over the apartment - not a good idea. Like I said, I better go make soap.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

And Still More Bundaflicka Bags

Here are some recent bags...all with the trademark 7 - 8 pockets inside, drop spindle/key holder and cedar wood support bottom.

More Bundaflicka Bags...

Like I said, I've been busy. Here are some more Bundaflicka Bags that will be for sale shortly on my web site and at the Delaware Riverkeeper benefit.

Bag Factory

Every spare minute is spent sewing Bundaflicka Bags these days. My trusty $75.00 almost-hundred-year-old Singer is holding up very nicely. It's good for me to keep busy, otherwise I think too much, get angry about things, and write down my thoughts. I've just been told my blogs are getting too political and people don't want to hear that kind of stuff. Trouble is, I don't write for people - I write for me because it helps me get things straight in my mind...and I write for my kids. I wish I cared what people thought about me. I stopped that a LONG time ago. My mother had a devastating stroke and lost her voice, along with the use of half her body. One thing I was very anguished about was the loss of communication. There was so much I didn't know about my mother and now I would never find out. I wish she kept a journal of her hopes, fears, dreams and torments. So I write, whatever the fingers want to say. Dang what people think.

Omigosh, one of my favorite movies is on - The Englishman Who Came Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. What a terrific flick. I was fortunate enough to travel through Wales, castle romping, with a friend who I recently found out is dead now... What an amazing county Wales is. And what a language! All those consonants in a row - impossible to pronounce those words - but the people are speaking Welsh anyway. So cool...

Oh Dear, here I go getting political again. I looked out the barn window today and saw a gnarly looking low-life heading for my Milk Room door. I spied the hunting license on his back and figured this would not go well. I opened a barn window and said what do you want...really wanted to say "state your business" but figured I was new in the neighborhood and should be civil. I can see myself 20 years from now, after I've become good and weird, sticking two barrels out of the window ahead of myself, and then asking what they want. Well, this "person" said he shot a buck, wounded it, and it ran on to my property. He wanted permission to find it and kill it. Hah! Poor guy had no idea who he was tangling with. I said, very sarcastically, "Got a good clear shot, huh????" He said, well, he tried to. I said no way, that he should hit the road. What I really wanted to say was if he set one foot on my field I would sic my dogs on him. He might shoot one of them but the other two would rip his face off. He thought about this for a few seconds and then said, well he figured he should have asked first and he got his answer.

Anyway, on a happier note, I thought I would put some pictures of my lovely bags on this page, to focus on happier things...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Little Hecky

"Hector" is feeling very much at home in the flock now. What a doll baby he is and I just adore him. Look at those curls! I am hoping he grows big and strong so the does want to mate with him. The does are attracted to the most macho buck in the flock. I want Hecky to put those soft curls on the babies!

Snowy Landscape

I woke up to snow and watched from the school windows as pretty little flakes came down all day. I love this lake effect snow, so different than what I experienced living in New Jersey all those years. Sure we have storms, but most of the time it seems to float down so daintily. The drive home was filled with one breaktaking landscape after another. As the day wore on the wind kicked up here in Brookfield and it was a job walking north against it, up the big hill with the dogs tonight. The new crescent moon showed off the rushing black clouds, making for quite a dramatic sky. There were drifts on the hill making it hard to see where the ground hog holes are. I'm always worried about stepping in one and should have put flags in them by now...but if the bad weather really hits our walks up to the pond will have to stop. The big drifts will make it impossible - for me, anyway. The doggies can walk right over the frozen snow but not Mama.

Shelter from the Storm

Every creature needs shelter from the cold, wind and snow. I opened this door to the silo on the south side of the barn so cats and maybe even goats can jump in there to escape the wind. I'll throw a couple of bales in there and some old fleeces. Izzy is curious but not sure if he should jump in.

Cold is Here

Opened the door this morning to the familiar cold blast of wind with bits of ice dinging off my face. It comes off the Great Lakes, tunnels through this little valley and really gives us a blowy winter. Long range plans include wind turbines on top of my silos. People around here are concerned about affording heat this winter. Fuel oil is up to $3.59 a gallon, costing thousands to heat the average house over the winter. I paid $3.25 to put gas in the F150 yesterday. I don't know how people around here get by. I hear people are giving up their furnaces and going to wood and pellet stoves like crazy. I don't have any firewood yet because I still haven't cleaned out the trailer I lived in last winter. I'm trading it to the Pig Farmer for some firewood 'cause I sure can't afford hay, sheep feed and firewood, too. This little apt. is nice and tight but still gets cold. I keep dreaming of a message from my brother saying he finally managed to sell our mother's house in NJ. That money would get me a tractor, fix the broken windows on the barn, hay feeders, a new sofa, and a down payment on the land at the tip of my hill where the big pond is. One brother is still squatting in the house - my mother's favorite baby boy who was never able to support himself, even with a college education and endless money from my parents. Thank God my kids are self-sufficient.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Boys

Luke was the perfect scary vampire on Halloween and must have scared his daddy and his uncle so much they had to go to church the next Sunday!

Hannah and Her Bag

Hannah loves her bag. Annie tells me she put it on as soon as she took it out of the box and kept it on. I am thrilled that she likes it. I think I will make the strap a little longer next time I make her a bag like this. I sent Luke some of his favorite farm animal cookies from La Maison Blanche, and some soap for Annie. I send her big blocks of soap and she cuts off a chunk when she needs it. Luke asks Annie how many days until Omi comes for Christmas...the way the days are flying by it won't be long. I am going to mail their presents before I get on the plane Christmas Eve. I'm afraid I will be waylayed by a blizzard and miss Christmas! I want to be sure my gifts to them are under the tree before I get there.

Barn Kitties Romp

I can't imagine a better life for a cat than a 20,000 foot dairy barn. The hay mow has bales to play on and there are many things that go bump and scratch in the night to entertain them. We took 2,000 to make an apartment, but that hardly made a dent for the kitties as the mows remain intact. I put boxes of wool, mohair and angora up there for them to nestle in, and there is a queen size mattress for them to stretch out on. The big upper doors are closed, but there is a hole just big enough for them to squeeze through, but no dogs can fit, not even Izzy. I have seen Izzy take off to give chase to a kitty, but he stops cold at the little door hole. The cats know just how far they can safely wander from the hole. Some of the kitties are not afraid of the dogs at all and don't run - so they don't get chased. Then there are the higher status kitties who are taken into the apt. for lap time. I think they have the least fun because they are always waiting by the door to be taken in. The real hay mow kitties don't care because they prefer their spooky realm up the ladder.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Deal With the Darkness

When did it get so dark? I could barely get home after doing my stops - bank, post office, market, all within a block of each other, only 10 minutes each, then got home in time to let the sheep out of the barn with the sun setting. They ran across the road and grazed in the waning daylight. I don't want them over there in the dark because I can't watch them crossing back over again and don't want them to cause an accident. Pretty soon it's going to be time to keep them in the barnyard and feed hay. So much easier when they eat what's on the ground...but that is a finite commodity with winter coming on.

AJ sent me a video on U Tube. It's really beautiful Italian music, something about his mother...but it looks like the young man is going to his mother's funeral!! I like the tribute to motherhood, but don't quite understand the relevance of the funeral, etc. Maybe AJ is trying to tell me he will miss me when I'm gone?

I had CPR and defibulator training today. It was a bit tricky, getting the right rhythm and intensity with my hands on the dummy's chest, but I finally got into it. We are supposed to sing "Staying Alive" by the BeeGees while we are doing chest compressions. What a riot. The instructor played a trick on me and turned off the power on my defibulator with his remote. I was supposed to see the low battery indicator and completely missed it. There I was yelling "clear!" and my machine wouldn't work. And then I failed the test by one question. Oh well, he let me correct my answers and passed me anyway. You don't want me to be your first responder if you have a heart attack. I would love to have one of those little defibulators here on the someone could use it on me when I keel over someday soon. I have to go take the doggies up the hill in the dark. A crescent moon is showing so I will have some light in a few nights. For now the stars are lovely...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Isn't He Handsome?

I got a good shot of Tommy Boy today. I just love, love, love this guy!

Traffic Jam In Brookfield

Mia likes sheep in the road here is a good one - taken about an hour ago! Izzy, Velvet and some kitties (Pounder and Lydia among them) helped me manage the flow.