Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Together

It does my heart good to see Hannah and Luke so happy with their parents. Here is Luke with his mommy, Annie, enjoying the Flamingo Hotel pools and slides in Las Vegas. Back to San Jose for them tomorrow. The kids start back to school on August 18th. Luckily I have until September 8.

Where Did Everybody Go?

Once in a while a mother hen jumps down from the nest box with her newly hatched chicks and accidentally leaves some behind. Hatchlings can only last a day without foraging for food so she can't wait for more to eggs to open. I found this little chick calling for mom and siblings. I put it on the floor and sure enough it ran right to mom, who was answering the call. Love those little ones. I have six in the bathroom and will keep them there for a while. The last batch we raised in the bathroom is doing fine out in the barn. All those flycatchers help so much. I haven't bought any new traps this year.

A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall

I slept on Lukie's bedding on the sofa, hoping there was some scent left on his pillow, but there was more dog than Luke. I wonder why? The dogs covered me the same way they laid on Luke every night. I love the way he slept with his eyes open sometime. I read on Eric's Facebook that they swam in the Flamingo pool in LV all afternoon (remember they gained four hours) then ate dinner at the Paris LV. I bet they are in the pool all day again today. Eric has a plane at the airport in LV and will probably fly them around. Exciting times in their former home town. Maggie will start to tidy up around here and do some farmer's market prep for tomorrow. I'm spinning some lovely angora from Kimmie Cornerstone that I plan on plying with wool for my "signature" bunny yarn. I have tons of soap to wrap (wish the kids were here to help) and bags cut out to sew. It rained so hard in the wee hours of the morning I couldn't hear the TV and is wet and cloudy now. Gosh I miss those kids...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Goodbye Little Ones

Okay, so they're gone. I have to be a big girl and deal with it. I think it will be better than last year when I really took a nose dive. It took Mia's best friend, Lisa's, bridal shower to pull me out of it. I'm back home from the airport and feeling like I have a handle on it so far. No, I'm not kidding, I really miss those kids!! Five weeks is not enough! I know they were ready to go back to their Mommy and Daddy. I'm so grateful that they have such talented, capable and committed parents to go home to. They are just too far away. What I would give to see Luke blow his birthday candles out in three weeks...but here I am and there's no flying out to the west coast for me this summer. I've got to throw myself into my farm business and get to work. In the meantime, I have Tiny Tina sitting on my shoulder flipping my earring around as I type, and a lot more critters that need tending to. We left for Albany International at 9 and I'm back at 4. Everything went smoothly except for brilliant Maggie who forgot to clean out her purse and take anything metal away from her person before going through security. It only took four times through the machine, then the attendant found two pair of scissors and a knife in my bag. Luke yelled Omi needs them to cut the strings on the bales! They gave me back the scissors but not the knife. I waited until the plane took off and phoned Annie and thanked her for letting me have them. So here I am smelling Luke's pillow and looking at all the cookies and brownies Hannah made yesterday. Boo-hoo. Better get busy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mad Art Redo

The Mad Art artists will not be sketching my beautiful old barn from the hilltop today. The skies opened up and it's pouring. I called the Mad Art office and we agreed they should come another day. It would have been lovely, and I thought Hannah and Luke would have enjoyed it. We got a swim in with Mary and Zella while Hannah stayed behind baking cookies and brownies for the artists. Now we are inside playing with candles and doing some painting of our own. Annie and Eric are driving from San Jose to Las Vegas now to meet up with Hannah and Luke tomorrow. They'll stay at the Flamingo for a couple of days before heading back to California.


Luke catches flies for the baby chicks. The flies get caught inside the screened cabana at the pond making a perfect holding pen for the pests. I laughed until I saw him let the flies loose in the chick box. The tiny birds gobbled them up. This morning I saw one of the chicks chase a fly on the wing around the box. Yum, Yum. Good protein for them and fewer flies in Maggie's coffee cup. Luke is still bringing eggs in from the barn to hatch in the bathroom. They will be hatching after the kids are gone. Today is their last day. I better start collecting all the clothes and little knick knacks. Where did the month go? BOO HOO!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thar She Blows!

Mary, Luke and Hannah made me get in the pond. I was happy with my Sunday NY Times in the gazebo, shooting pictures and calling encouragement to the pond dwellers, but, no, that was not enough. I had what they call "approach avoidance." I wanted to go in but couldn't bring myself to do it. They talked me into it. Once in, I don't know why I ever hesitated. Well, yes, I do. It's been cold this summer in upstate NY, and then there's that mama snapping turtle I helped in the pond this spring...but mama snapper never came up from the mud bottom and it was heavenly in the water. Oh, my goodness, there must be some kind of secret mineral in that water. It just felt different in a lovely, penetrating sort of way. Then there was the best part of little Lukie floating with me on the raft with that big smile with all the funny little teeth and those goggles on. We had real quality time together. I didn't want to get out. Lukie bailed and ran down the hill back to the barn to give his chicks the flies he caught in the screen cabana. Mary and I floated around together and talked about all kinds of things. I really owe her a debt of gratitude for making me experience the wonders of the pond, and spending so much time with me and the kids this summer. We both know what's coming in a couple of months...the harsh NY State winter and all the back breaking work we do slinging bales and hauling water and raising critters. Speaking of critters...I spied Wooster mounting Sombra a couple of times. My calculator tells me lambs on Christmas Eve. Once again, I didn't pull the rams in time. The rodeo will be in session this weekend to get those boys out. Then I will need another swim in the pond.

Hello Anonymous

I want to address the person who is making comments to my blog anonymously. You say you "went to school with the Kupris kids," who worked this farm before me. You want me to give credit to the brother who moved to Tennessee where he has been successfully farming. I would love to give him credit but I have no idea who he is. Is he Sister Bernadette's twin brother? I don't know his name or anything about him but I wish him well. Farming is the toughest job there is. Most of us are hanging on by a thread. If I make any statements that offend you or anyone else I apologize. I sit down and write, mostly in a stream of consciousness, because I feel that any farmer has multiple stories to tell of courage, loss, defeat, anguish, and the euphoria that comes when there is some success to show for our efforts. As for your comment on "why don't I talk about the dead animals I throw out the barn door," well, what else am I supposed to do with them? Animals die and they have to transported to the dead pile. I don't want to leave them with the healthy ones. I left little Larry where he died for a day and the chickens started pecking at him. I took him out to the truck and right to the boneyard. The coyotes will do their work. There's lots of protein and minerals in that little body and many wild creatures will benefit. The Kupris's tell me stories about their dairy farming experiences that just rip my guts out. Farming is a series of highs and lows, and the lows can be devastating. I grieve for each and every death on this farm. Who are you to tell me to have respect when you have no idea what I go through on a daily basis? I gave up a tenured job at a classy New Jersey high school, just 30 miles west of Manhattan, to give farming a go. I lived in a small trailer where two electric heaters didn't make the temp go over 40 F. inside. I woke up with my hair frozen to the wall of the trailer, but still managed to keep a whole lot of sheep and goats alive the first winter while holding down a teaching job in Norwich. There were no hot casseroles delivered to my door here in Brookfield, but I stayed and I made it work. Please tell me your name and give me some way to get in touch with you so we can talk face to face. You have the advantage here. You know all about me but I know nothing about you. Are you tiptoeing around my farm when I'm not here? I lay it all out on a daily basis at risk of being maligned for the sake of documenting a good story and keeping my family appraised of my situation. Read my blog if you want to. If you don't like what you read please, don't tune in.

Monday, July 27, 2009

More Butternut Creek

More pix from our day at Butternut Creek. I think the dogs - Clyde, Bucket and Zella had the best time of all.

Butternut Creek Adventure

Mary picked us up and took us to a heavenly place - the Butternut Creek at Glen Highland Farm. A former TV producer friend of Mary's owns this expansive land and uses it for a Border Collie rescue facility. The friend also brings inner-city kids from the Bronx to enjoy a vacation in paradise. I rested on the hammock while Hannah, Luke and Amy played in the water with the dynamic trio, Bucket, Clyed and Zella. The weather was perfect - hot and breezy. Luke especially enjoyed the rope bridge. Hannah, ever the scientist, found some interesting layered rocks and, to her delight, a rock containing flakes of gold!We stopped at Nancy Myer's ice cream stand on the way home where we enjoyed hot dogs, smoothies, frizzles and cones. Hannah went straight to bed and slept for three hours while I made dinner and Luke held down the sofa armed with the remote control. I think we'll all sleep tonight with visions dancing in our heads of a fabulous day with our friends.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mary's Magical Mystery Tour

Mary took Luke and Hannah swimming in the pond with two new dogs today - Bucket and Clyde along with Zella. After their swim they picked me up and we all went to Mary's farm to visit with her new Maremma puppies. Luke was in heaven. He thinks he is part dog anyway, and cuddling with these adorable little bundles of love took him to the moon. We walked around Mary's beautiful farm with the gorgeous hundred plus year old farmhouse and porch to die for. She has vines of morning glories and pots of flowers everywhere. We explored her bountiful garden and brought home goodies for my chicken soup and a lovely salad. Luke thinks Mary is an incredible woman. If he was 14 and not 7 I think we would have a serious crush happening here.


I found two little snakes when I was pulling up some old trash bags that were stuck to the ground. AJ and I hauled a few dozen big bags of rabbit manure up here from the last place I lived and dumped in my "future garden" spot. The garden never happened as I am still working on fence for my sheep - forget about a garden. The excavator for the septic ran over them a few times and they were ugly black plastic splotches on the ground. While pulling them up Matt called watch out for snakes! I was watching and only found two little babies that fell out of the warm plastic. I ran to get Luke to show him, as Luke loves snakes and has a pet one named Clyde. He tried to catch one but it slipped out of his fingers and into the grass. If someone else I know was here visiting she would not have been so anxious to catch one. She would have been up in the hay mow on the opposite side of the barn, if not in her little Hyundai on the way back to New Jersey!

Country Girl

I traded some bags for my Country Girl hand-hooked rug yesterday. Elaine Swan of Adrianna's Thoughts in Wool crafted this lovely rug and was thrilled to barter for bags for her three daughters. Bundaflicka means country girl in Swedish. It was just meant to be. The colors are very intricate and beautiful. I'm happy, she's happy. Good deal.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Market Day

Matt took my goods to the Hamilton market early this morning while I stayed home with the Little Ones. They sleep well into the day, which is lovely for them as they are on vacation, but it doesn't help if we have anything planned. It doesn't seem right to wake sleeping children on summer vacation. Just can't do it unless it's an emergency. I thought we needed more hand creme in the booth so I got set up to make some. This requires clearing of my little kitchen counter space - not an easy task. I managed to make a boatload of luscious hand creme and fill up all the jars I had on hand and then Matt called to say he found a big box of hand creme in the trailer. I was glad to get more made anyway especially since it came out so nicely. I don't have an exact recipe - it's like home made cooking. I had a nice affirmation of my work when a man bought another shaving block. He said he bought one two years ago and it is just now used up. It's the only way to shave for him now. I'm glad to hear it as it is a lot of work to make those blocks. I have to cut up the odds and ends and stir the pot for a couple of days before it's ready to pour into the lid of a copy paper box. Cutting up the thick layer of soap is really tough. Anyway...when Hannah and Luke got up and we finally got to the market there was only an hour left to go. The kids ran around making their little purchases which included a pine tree shaped beeswax candle (Luke said it would make my barn smell good) and blueberries for Hannah. We packed up and went to McD's for lunch. Matt took Luke home while Hannah and I headed for Tractor Supply to spend my hard-earned wages. Another swim session with Mary and Zella topped off the day. Corn on the cob, hot dogs and beans (Luke's request) for supper. Raining tonight after a bright sunny day. I'm off to bed after kissing the cute little heads good night.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Musings

End of the week and beginning of the weekend. Matt came home from his Dept. of Energy Conference last night happily exhausted. He had so much fun he doesn't know what to do with himself. Next scheduled conference is in Austin, Texas, in March. Austin is Matt's adopted home town where he lived for 20 years after leaving New Jersey. I am taking Hannah and Luke to the movies to see the Disney G-Force 3D movie opening today. It's all about a team of guinea pigs who are secret service agents. Luke's been waiting for it and since it's raining, and Hannah's dance camp was cancelled in Hamilton, I can't see any reason not to go. Yes, I can, as my Jeep, which Matt left in Syracuse while he was away is not running well. Matt took the F150 to work today (yes, he had to go in he says) and left us my old tired Jeep with the check service light on. Hope we make it to the theater. Good thing I bought a AAA membership and have a cell phone. We made a WM run yesterday and got that done. I feel the same way as Luke and want to hide in a box instead of going grocery shopping. Farmer's market tomorrow and the weather report is actually good for a change. It will be the only market day for H&L as they are leaving on Thursday. Where did the month go? I will be in bad shape when they go, but will throw myself into work for the fall shows. I'm waaaaayyy behind, but it's been so much fun. We had a camp fire last night but the kids bailed for the TV and cartoons and left me staring into the flames by myself. I should pull the plug on TV for our last week together. I read that the Obama girls are only allowed an hour of a day - Maybe next year.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Best Friends

Luke and Izzy are best friends...even though Izzy is not a water dog and Luke gives him no choice but to swim! Luke does dry him nicely after swimming so all is forgiven.

The Amazing Zella

Zella and her person came back to swim today. She wowed us with her diving and swimming skills. Mary (Zella's person) gave Luke a swimming lesson. Mary has been a camp counselor and swim instructor, among the many chapters in her life. A good time was had by all and we went home water-logged and nicely fatigued. A nighttime camp out by the pond is in the planning stages, spearheaded by the adventurous Mary. We're all very excited!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Zella Comes to Swim

Zella wowed us with her swimming talents in the pond today. She brought her human friend, Mary, with her. I dont' know who had more fun. I've never seen a dog enjoy being in the water so much. Sure, I've had super duper retrievers who live to dive in, get the ball, and bring it back to me. But this dog just dove in and swam around and around, snapping at bugs on the surface, and taking a rest once in a while on Mary's raft. It was so much fun to watch. Zella would come out to play nicely with Holly and Izzy, just to be polite, then dive back in and swim around and around. The weather warmed up perfectly for our swim. Unfortunately, Hannah was stung on her belly by the tiniest bee leaving the tiniest mark, but it was enough to end the euphoria. Maggie was feeling no pain courtesy of Mary and her lovely limeade icy gin and tonics. Oh, it was such a summery drink and so delightful! We came back to the farm and poured ourselves another one, sat outside and ruminated about farming and the pursuit of happiness. We are planning on watching Zella swim again real soon.

And Now There Are Four...

We have four more chicks to raise in the bathroom. They are beyond adorable. Luke and Holly are so excited!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Beaver Creek Adventure

We set off for Beaver Creek around 2 when I was satisfied it was only going to drizzle slightly today. Luke was determined to get to the creek. No stories about the giant snapping turtle I saw crawling out of the creek to lay her eggs would deter him. He told me his daddy taught him how to deal with snappers while at camp. Okay, I said, and brought the sturdy walking stick Darryl Parkinson had given me when he visited. It's terrific for walking on this rough ground and I thought I might be able to push away turtles with it. As it turned out, we saw no turtles - just some minnows, crayfish and snails. Not a single turtle of any variety. You can bet I kept my eyes on the creek bed! The water was way down making it possible for us to walk the creek bed up and down. It is just gorgeous in there, surrounded by willow trees and wild flowers. You could imagine being up in the Adirondacks. Beaver Creek winds around and around through the little valley we live in. After the hilltop pond, it is my favorite place here. Luke just loved it. Hannah bravely endured, with the promise of a chicken and biscuit dinner at the Beaver Den keeping her going.

Hannah Made Biscuits

Hannah loves biscuits. We are going back to the Beaver Den Diner today just for their chicken and biscuit special. Last night we had her biscuits with beans and ham steaks - not exactly a big hit (the ham and beans that is!) I think tonight we will have macaroni and beans, or maybe cold cereal!

Luke Stays Busy

It was a quiet afternoon on the farm. Luke stayed busy doing what farm boys do...playing with critters, chopping wood and going for speed with whatever wheeled vehicle they can find.