Sunday, July 31, 2011

St. Paul the Apostle Church in Vegas

Yes, there are churches in Vegas. People do live basic, normal lives in Vegas and they need spiritual sustenance. St. Paul the Apostle Church is a good place to find it. After a day of travelling that started at 2 am, AJ picked me up at the airport and showed me what his life in Vegas is all about. We grabbed a lunch then went to his lovely apartment surrounded by mature trees and shrubs. The heat is oppressive here. Imagine opening the door to the oven when baking. That's going outside in Vegas. AJ took me to my hotel room then went to pick up Mia and their father. I almost got a nap, but spending time with my kids was more important. We rushed over to St. Paul's Orthodox Church where AJ conducted services. St. Paul's is a delightful sensory experience, with beautiful icons of saints and angels everywhere along with incense and the lovely aroma of beeswax candles. The choir and clergy chant every word spoken in the service, very mesmerizing and soothing. After the service we joined Eric and Annie and AJ's friend Mitch at the Ellis Island Casino for dinner. They wanted to hear about Hannah and Luke back at the farm, now in the care of Matt and Izzy. Back at the hotel Mia and I put our slinky satin pajamas on and proceeded to chat into the night. I got a couple of hours of sleep but here I am, up and awake. I think it's 5 am Vegas time, (8 am farm time)and we have to be in church at 8:30. I better try to get some shut eye. Long service today with a reception afterward followed by a barbecue at Father John's house. AJ will be wearing his brand new vestments.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Luke's Socks

Annie knits the most beautiful little socks for Luke. I can hardly stand to see him running around barefoot in them on the floor, but they are so well constructed out of good wool they wear very well. I hate to wash them as I don't want them to get lost or fade, so I pick the hay and dirt out. They never smell as wool absorbs odors so well. Luke loves his socks and appreciates his mommy's work with love in every stitch. Hot and humid here today with grey skies. I fear the dog days of August are upon us. The hillside is grazed down except for a few sections of lush greenery and the top piece. August is when the hurricanes start coming up the coast bringing rain and weather that is not good for hay making. The rams have to come out now or I will surely have lambs this winter and I want to take a year off. Last winter with the weather and birthing/handling issues put a sour taste in my mouth for lambing. I have some old moms I'm attached to and they shouldn't be bred. I want to keep Zack, my new purebred Border Leicester ram as he is more like a dog than a ram and has a lovely, thick curly fleece - just in case. I have another gorgeous 2 year old black BFL/Merino ram with a big, bulky build and thick fleece I am going to offer to Shepherd Mary. She still has my purebred Bluefaced Leicester, Wooster, who is bred out by now. I'll be getting ready to fly out to Las Vegas early in the AM. AJ, or I should say Father Aaron, is being ordained again at his church in Las Vegas. Army people from his National Guard outfit will be there as AJ is a full time chaplain for the state of Nevada. He sent me a ticket and I want to be supportive. Mia, Eric and Annie will be there too. I'll be able to see AJ's brand new vestments, his nice apartment, and meet people from the Orthodox Church where he is an assistant pastor. I have to connect through Newark on the way there, and connect through Cleveland on the way back. Matt is taking care of Hannah and Luke here on the farm. They have a big job to do, taking care of all these critters. I have the larder stocked with Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Coca-Cola and Sprite. Wish I could take them with me but I don't think they would like spending two days on planes with one day in church in-between. Mia and I will room together which will be a real treat as we catch up on girlfriend news, hospital stories, etc.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Enter Beastie Boy

Sean Redmond says I never say anything nice about his father. Matt found me sitting on the sidewalk in Morristown with my furniture in a pile, a couple of dogs with ropes around their necks, some cats in cardboard boxes, and absolutely nowhere to go. He moved me to a shack in western New Jersey and helped me get my life back together. Matt told me he was a carpenter and built houses during the 20 years he lived in Austin, Texas. I thought those skills might come in handy. I told him I would marry him if he would wear a kilt and paint his face blue on our wedding night. He said the kilt was as far as he would go. I found the kilt in Kearny, at the Argyle Restaurant where they serve haggis dinners and hold Robert Burns poetry readings. Matt's outfit rental cost a fortune, more than my beautiful silk gown, purchased from the shop across the street from the church in a bargain basement sale. The lovely forest green bridesmaids gowns were rejected by a bride who didn't like the color. I got them for a song. We were married a couple of months after we met. Can you see the fear in my smile? It must have been those homemade Celtic gang tatooes he was covered with, and the cousin who tried to recruit him for some Irish "political activities" when we saw him at a family wedding. I've kept him fairly busy and out of trouble these last 12 years.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Beautiful Day

What a perfect day for visiting with old friends. Twenty years have gone by but it didn't matter at all. It was if it had only been months. I wish they could have stayed longer. We looked around the farm then sat in the hay mow for a while before climbing up to the pond. The boys played on the round bales then jumped in for a swim while the grownups chatted. I wished the day would never end. Sally Zuck visited the home of her family in Richfield Springs near here, where her Patriot ancestors fought the British. David Zuck said he finally got the photographs he's always wanted of upstate New York from the top of my hill. Alice Revere, their daughter, recently lost her husband. I was able to talk to her about her tragic loss in person. It was wonderful watching Alice's boys, Seth and Silas, play with Luke. Tomorrow the family heads to West Point to visit their son, Jesse, who was my son, Eric's, friend from Army days. Then they head back home to their farm in Midlothian, Virginia. I wish them safe travel and am so happy they came to visit.

Mixed Bag

I knew it couldn't last. Yesterday I was floating on air, I don't remember being so supremely happy in a long time. The glorious summer weather, Hannah and Luke here with me, no school pressures, old friends coming to visit today, on and on. Then it started sometime after 4 am this morning when I swung my legs over and stepped flatly on my glasses that the cats knocked onto the floor. I tried to twist them back into place but they are not right and I have to strain to see. I got some animals fed, walked dogs, talked to Luke when he woke up and put on his favorite cartoons. I thought I better get dressed, which means exercises first. My routine consists of going into the bathroom where I am free from cats, dogs, kids, and other distractions, starting the bath tub (trickling water calms me and helps me with the yoga/ballet component of my beauty regimen) putting the little fan on, and generally calming myself. The high window sill is just right to put my leg up and I can see the tops of the pines and sky. I go into my "alternate state" and stretch those muscles. When I'm done I sink into the water. After some time I thought I should check my water and it was ice cold. With my funky electric I have to flip a lever every time I dry clothes in the dryer or sparks fly. That turns off the hot water heater, and I have to remember to flip it back or - ice cold water. Guess who forgot to flip the lever last night. Then the phone rang. It is my Commanding Officer from school. "We want you to come upstairs and work your magic," or something like that. I loved my room, I loved my routine, I thought I had finally arrived at the perfect schedule and position for me, in a lovely far-end classroom where I had my teacher-friends down the hall, and everybody left me alone. Now it's a whole new bag. Thankfully she is letting me keep The Amazing Robin, my trusty aide, or I would be psychotic myself. I try to look at my job as a military post, where you know it won't last so you enjoy it and do your best, and if it's not working out you just wait for a better post to come along, but I really liked what I had. Maybe the water is hot and I can get my beauty routine done and end it with my soak in the big old claw-foot tub. Summer might as well be over as I'll worry about my new job, with a psychologist in the room at all times for the very troubled kids, with no Grooveshark and where everyone can see what I'm showing the kids on the Smart Screen. Okay just deal with it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Surprise Visit

I've been doing a lot of reminiscing lately and I'll be doing a lot more. When Eric went to military school I became friendly with some of his friends who would visit me in Morristown. One of them, Jesse Zuck, lived in Midlothian Virginia. I had not been in touch with them for many, many years and wondered what happened to them. The miracle of the internet recently brought some of us together again. Jesse's mother, Sally Zuck, has a brother in Brookfield and is here visiting. She and her daughter Alice will be coming over tomorrow to see the farm and catch up on events. I'm very excited to see them. So much water under the bridge.

On the Farm

Hannah loves sleeping in her trailer. She reads her books and has her candles and a fan to make it cozy. I always knock on the door when I go looking for her. She jumps up and meets me at the door, so I don't know what it looks like in there. Hannah is not known for her tidyness (she IS my granddaughter)and I don't care since we are on vacation. The UPS truck couldn't find the farm and left the package of books at the post office where I found them yesterday. Hannah can finally get back on track with Passion and Torment, the sequels to Fallen. I flipped through quickly and couldn't find anything really offensive, but then I didn't actually read the books. Fingers crossed. I got into town and got food from the cute little market where prices are ridiculous just to fill the bellies and get some emergency cat food. Thought I would go to the waterfall with the kids but as I was filling water tanks I heard rumbling. Planes from Fort Drum I wondered? The sky began to turn black and the wind came up. My big pine, my wind barometer, is swaying back and forth. The storms come in off Lake Ontario very quickly up here. The sky might be sunny and blue in an hour. In the meantime I'll cut out some bags and do some work around here. Luke is supremely happy with cartoons on and his little game box in his lap going simultaneously, and a kitten or two. I bought him a supply of KitKat candy bars, his favorite. Hannah likes York Peppermint Patties!

Good Friends, Spikey and Monkey

Spikey is growing big and handsome but he still loves his momma. Velvet (AKA Monkey)doesn't seem to mind that Spikey follows her everywhere and curls up with her to sleep. Spikey is turning into quite the Stud-Buck, with good coverage and nice lines, and, he has those fabulous blue eyes from his grandmother, the mythical angora goat goddess, Celeste. There will come a time when Spikey will feel those hormones stirring, and Monkey will feel her hormones stirring, and neither will care that they are related. I have to decide what to do when that happens. Line breeding is okay for one generation but beyond that not advised. In the meantime I'm enjoying watching the pair who are never separated. Speaking of another celebrity pair who are never separated, my NJ fiber artist friend, Rebecca, came to visit with her husband, Mark. Rebecca is a black belt in karate, a vet-tech and a loyal journal follower. She decided it was high time to gas up and make the journey. I think she wanted to find out if this place was for real, or was I fabricating this whole farm situation. Rebecca was satisfied that yes, I am not making this all up, that I am the real deal. They did not stay for long as Mark wanted to find the Onondaga Reservation and stock up on those cheap native cigarettes. They had stopped in Cooperstown and Hamilton and stayed overnight at the Remember When B&B in New Berlin. They reported that the bed was too soft and the Mexican food in Hamilton was not as good as Casa del Sol in Frenchtown, NJ. I could have told them that. I had suggested Blues Concept, a terrific sushi place run by a couple of Long Island expats. Rebecca stocked up on Mother Fiber and I gave her a jar of Patchouli creme. She will go back to New Jersey with stories about her foray into the wild interior of upstate New York and visit to Maggie's Farm. I might see her again at Rhinebeck this October, hopefully.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Thinker

I was forty years old before I got to Paris. I had spent time in Scandinavia and the Middle East, but had never been to the continent of Europe. I was most impressed with the Rodan museum where The Thinker resides, and the Eiffel Tower. We rode up the Tower at midnight to see the lights of Paris. Breathtaking! We toured the Louvre, where I was appalled to see all the Japanese tourists taking pictures of the Mona Lisa with flash cameras, despite signs everywhere not to do so. The Rodan Museum was smaller and more intimate, especially so because so many of the statues were modelled by Rodan's lover, Camille. Very romantic and very revealling!

Tiny Trains

Wales has cute little trains that carry coal from the mines. Absolutely adorable. Wales boasts many historic castles including Canaervon where the Prince of Wales is crowned. When England finally conquered Wales, King Edward promised the Welsh people a prince who would be born in Wales and speak the Welsh language (which is a jumble of unpronounceable consonants). Luckily, Queen Eleanor was pregnant. The King had her journey to Wales where she fortuitously gave birth to a boy, the first Prince of Wales. Whew! I just wish I could find those plaid shorts. I lived in them at one time, so they are probably in shreds, wherever they are.

White Cliffs of Dover

England is very beautiful. Scotland is awesome and Wales reminded me of Colorado, with all the rocky outcrops and streams...and the sheep. Millions of sheep. I mean, millions of them. I spent some time in Brighton with my friend, Craig. He had a cavernous apartment near the beach where Quadraphenia with The Who was filmed, and next door to where the IRA nearly blew up Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. There were cameras all over his building and secret codes to get through the front door because an MP lived there. I loved the rocky pebble beach, where, quite accidentally, I found myself sitting next to a gay section. At first I couldn't figure out why there were so many nudes and males only. I quietly moved my towel down the beach in the other direction. We set out to tour castles in Wales stopping at the lovely Amberley Castle Hotel somewhere in the south of England along the way.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Farm Sign is Up

We had our ceremonial farm sign hanging this morning. The sign looks great, and not at all too big as I feared. With all the milk weed and apple trees along the culvert you can hardly see it. Luke was a big help. Hannah was still sleeping in the celebrity trailer. We were all knocked out by the heat yesterday. All the setting up and loading up at the market, along with chatting up customers all day, really takes it out of you. Cooler today and, although hot and humid, much more manageable.

Missing Chris

Still dealing with the loss of my llama, Chris, but he is gone and, as Texas Ranger Gus McCrae of Lonesome Dove would say, best way to deal with death is to get on your horse and ride away from it. Makes sense to me. Who knows what role that meningeal worm had in cutting short his life. At least he doesn't have to drag around that bum leg anymore. He had a good life which I will write about in my own time. I got him out of a tiny yard with 29 other llamas in NJ and he had acres and acres of fields, ponds and trees to enjoy. I sure did love that big guy and his little white friend, Breeze, who succumbed to that brain worm, carried by the deer, that is so prevalent here in New York. Matt was a big help to me with getting him to the dead pile as the sun came up and the temp hit 100 F. Chris was a huge llama and must have weighed 500 pounds but somehow we got him up on the flat bed and the field was dry enough that we didn't sink in. The coyotes are eating well I'm sure.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vaya Con Dios

I lost a good friend today. My sheep lost a better friend. Can't talk about it now. Maybe later. Maybe not. I don't know. Stay cool.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Still Hot

When the temp climbed up to 100 there was nothing else to do but go back to the falls. Shepherd Mary and her friend, Robert, joined us there. We stayed two or three hours then climbed the hill back to the field where our car was parked. I finished my farm sign while the kidlets chilled. I can't hang it until I get a coat of poly on it. I'm hoping for Sunday. Hannah and Luke are a big help with chores. The barn temp was 88 last time I looked. The sheep are taking the heat well, and lying on the cool mud inside the barn during the day, then going out to graze at night. The sight of sheep panting is so odd, but they do it. Sometimes I think they pant to make me feel sorry and give them some corn. Not working!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waterfall Today

Back from a lovely time at the waterfall. What a blessing it is, to have this oasis in our back yard. We were hot and uncomfortable, but after soaking a while in the icy spring water we are cool for a few hours. I suspect we'll be back tomorrow, as the temps will spike to the upper nineties. Relief is coming on Friday with temps and humidity lowering. The weather should be good for the Hamilton Market on Saturday. Relief is also on the way in the form of the two sequels to Hannah's "Fallen" series. She was reluctant to finish Fallen because she would want to immediately start on "Torment" and "Passion." These best sellers by Lauren Kate are all the rage right now and Hannah says Fallen is really good. Annie is shipping the sequels to Hannah via and UPS, and a book for Luke. I have my New Age music channel on, black bean salsa in the making, and the kids are reading quietly. Hannah wants pork chops for dinner which I'll have to retrieve from the tractor shed freezer. No problem - I'm glad she's so easily pleased.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Geep

My farm sign is ready to turn over. I hope to finish the other side this week. A feisty rain storm blew over my pop-up which I had stationed over the sign so I could paint without getting cooked by the sun. My lovely, still rather white, tent was blown right into the green slime next to the outdoor chicken run. Matt had to help me right it and carry it back onto the driveway stones to wash it. We scrubbed off the slime and gave it a good hosing. I hope it will be white enough for my first fancy arts festival in September - the fabulous Colorscape in Norwich. People at ag festivals understand the green slime thing, but not at Colorscape where judges go around and critique the booths for design prizes. In two years I have not placed, no surprise. I like the way the sign came out. The Geep (whimsical representation of a goat/sheep-like creature will have a blue eye once I find my box of acrylic paints. I hope I can draw it again on the other side. If the Geep is slightly different, then who cares? It will be even more "mine." I promise a picture once the sign is hung on the stonehenge-like apparatus standing in my field (thank you son-in-law Andrew for that description - it fits.)

Ups and Downs

Harry Potter was fabulous - just incredibly beautiful visually and very entertaining, even to someone unfamiliar with the recent books or movies. Hannah and Luke loved it. The Battle of Hogworts was fantastic and Maggie Smith terrific. I'm not a Harry Potter follower, but I was emotionally drawn in from the beginning of this movie. Very well done. Thirty bucks well spent (yes, 3D is pricey). The movie, with stops at the food market, Panera and B&N for Hannah's latest bodice-ripper book, ate up the better part of the day. Good diversion for me, since I didn't have to look at my upper field cut hay, soaked with rain, never having been picked up. I called the fabulous Postma Brothers over behind the Chobani plant to bring me some bales for the baby ducks and for Luke to play with. They are so good to me, and sent over a pick-up truck load this morning. Don't know what I would do without them - they are Top Guns in my book. As luck would have it, I had one foot in the bath tub and my monthly "beauty treatment" in my hair when they pulled up. The new driver was unfamiliar with the hay elevator, but I was able to call directions out the window (huddling down to hide my nakedness). Lukie ran outside to watch the loading of the ramp, because he's been begging for hay to build a fort, and to sit on while we watch the storms in the hay mow. Loading hay is very entertaining, and deadly if a bale falls off before it reaches the top and cracks you on the head. It was an uneasy bath for me. On deck for today - keeping Hannah busy. Lukie is happy no matter what. I asked Luke why Hannah is so unhappy all the time and he said, "It's because of Booker's snot." What do you mean, I said. "Well, Booker (the family's Blueblood Kentucky English Pointer) sneezes ALL the TIME and Hannah is allergic to his snot, and it lands on her and makes her unhappy." Okay, Lukie. I wish it was that simple!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baby Ducks

My new baby ducks are doing great. Still no sign of mom. I can't help but think she is sitting on more eggs. I hope so, after giving me such cute little toys like these duckies I hate to think something bad happened to her. The first set of ducks is spending more time inside now. I wonder if they were scared by some kind of varmint, or just find it cooler inside like the sheep do. I have three sets of ducks now - the year old ducks, the three month old set and these tiny quackers. I think I'm set with ducks now. I just wish I know where their eggs are so I could eat some. Free range birds have "free will" to lay wherever.

Farm Sign Progress

I wanted something for the middle of the farm sign, but didn't feel confident about painting something "real life." So I painted this whimsical Geep I call it - kind of a cross between a sheep and a goat. Incredibly, I really like the way it turned out. I have to unearth some blue paint for the eye. Once I get a coat of polyurethan on the sign, I'll flip it over and do the lettering and another Geep on the other side. I'm shooting for a gala farm sign hanging celebration at the end of this coming week. I'll sit on Knut's igloo and watch to see if cars slow down, or speed up, or shoot paint ball guns at it.


Hastings is our new bunny, from the Satin Angora breeder Joan Hastings. Hastings came home with me from the Bouckville show a few weeks back. He's very cute, but not the easiest bunny to keep happy. I'm on the second brand of rabbit food and he won't eat any of it. I've tried all the bunny goodies my Germans love and Hastings turns his twitchy little nose up at them. No fresh dandelion leaves, no broccoli, no hay. The only thing Hastings will eat is carrots. Carrots are keeping him alive right now until I can figure something out. I've even purchased a ridiculously expensive little bag of "bunny treats" from the feed store. It's a good thing Hastings is so cute...My parents were posted in Germany with the US Army for two years at the end of WWII. They came home with a healthy taste for hassefeffen (sp?) and I often sat down to dinner with a platter of my own bunnies placed in front of me. Not pleasant, but very delicious.

Loafing About

Hannah and Luke are so good at entertaining themselves it's a little scary. The only way they are the least bit demanding is with food, but that's more my self-imposed desire to fill their little bellies with lots of good, wholesome home cooking. I asked Hannah if she could have anything she wanted for dinner what would it be and she said, Omi I'd love one of your delicious cheeseburgers. What could be easier? I introduced them to Swedish pancakes with some local maple syrup I traded wool for at the Bouckville show. They want Swedish pancakes again tonight for dinner. Fine with me. I have some sage breakfast sausages in the freezer from my piggies that will go with the pancakes just fine. I have a job for Luke - the hens are laying eggs in the corner of a cage I have in the chicken room and I can't get to them. I asked Luke if he will get the eggs because I need LOTS of eggs for Swedish pancakes. They are all eggs and butter, with a litte flour and lots of nutmeg and cinnamon. I was raised on them. Come to think of it, some fresh blueberry jam would do nicely on Swedish pancakes. Oh, the magnificent joy of it!!

Blueberry Bliss

I couldn't help it. I looked forward to it all week and was not disappointed. My berry farmer from Sauqoiut brought his first blueberries to the market yesterday. Hannah and Luke and I crammed our cheeks with the tasty morsels all day, then brought home the rest for canning. Yes, it's the hottest day of the year and I heated up the house quite a bit with two giant pots boiling for a couple of hours, but it's done. I have ten lovely pints of summer sweetness and goodness to take us through the long, harsh winter. Blueberries are loaded with anti-oxidants. Okay, I know, there is enough sugar in these pints to do serious damage, but, taken in small doses, it really keeps me going.

Scenes from the Hamilton Market

Hannah takes such terrific photos I asked her to walk around the market and take some shots for me. The Hamilton Farmer's Market is such a lovely, eclectic group of farmers and artisans. I still haven't visited all the new participants this year. As far as I can see, the only thing you can't buy is cat and dog food, but they do have doggie biscuits. Otherwise, you can live off the market from May through October just fine.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Market Day

Up early and out to the market in Hamilton. Gorgeous day and the ride over there was lovely. Passed one car in seventeen miles of rolling hills, farms and calendar views. I brought a fan to plug into the lamp post in my spot and was glad I did. Luke slept under the table for three solid hours. We only saw one little booted leg sticking out from under the tablecloth covering him. Hannah looked lovely in the dress I asked her to wear. I know she drew people into the booth. She bought some roses from the flower people and displayed them around the soap. We got blueberries and ate them all day long, along with a delicious lunch from the Holy Smokes barbeque chicken vendor. Hannah loves the market and, when she wasn't working the booth, did some serious shopping. We took our earnings to the grocery store and motored home. I worked on my farm sign a while with the kidlets chilling on the sofas. Beasty Boy spent several hours working on the intractable clog in the kitchen sink pipes due to my manufacture of Shepherd's Friend Hand Creme. I was hoping it was from all the bacon and pork chops I cook, but no, it was the beeswax and somehow that was worse. He had to remove the wall behind the sink and when the clog could not be dislodged with water and snaking he was forced to cut out a section of pipe. Yep, it was beeswax forming a hard plug. Much drama on the farm. Guess who is banished to making soap and creme in the very unpleasant milk room (where the bulk tank used to be). I will have to spend a day or two cleaning it out and getting organized. That is where I do my washing and dyeing of wool. At least I won't sabotage the kitchen again. While the fur was flying we took a hike up into the apple orchard under the piney ridge, near the hidden pond. We picked wild mint for Hannah to make tea and played in the giant mud puddle which is inhabited with hundreds of baby frogs. This is where the sheep and goats get a drink from the spring fed "pond" when they don't want to climb all the way up to the pond. The air was cool and lovely. We marvelled at the thousands of tiny green apples that are on the apple trees. Won't the sheep love it when they drop! Back inside the hot apartment for Luke's favorite - hot dogs and beans. Two days with no functioning kitchen sink left me with quite the mountain of catch-up work for tomorrow. Better get up and do it early as we are in for a scorcher. I will definitely hit the pond with the kidlets tomorrow.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Farm Sign Progress

My farm sign is coming along slowly. I learned the hard way not to paint before nightfall, even on a warm, breezy day. It took me two hours to touch up the smudges from kitty kats when the paint didn't dry. Yesterday I got all the stencils lined up, taped down due to the brisk breeze blowing, and spent a good deal of time painting the letters. I thought I could paint over the empty spaces on the letters I cut out, but they leaked under the paper and had to be repaired. I started tracing the letters instead, then painting them in. I took a couple of hours this morning while the kidlets were sleeping to paint Brookfield, NY. Technically, I live in West Edmeston (some British officer from colonial times). When I bought the place I was told this is Brookfield and I like it that way. When I say Edmeston people think I live in Canada. To have a Brookfield post office I have to drive three miles into the village. Nothing is easy. The entire surrounding area is Brookfield Township so I am correct in painting on my sign. I want a sheep picture in the center of the sign and asked Hannah to practice drawing a sheep for me. She is a talented artist and it would give me a thrill for her to have a part in the design of my sign. Don't think she is interested but I will try to nudge her. I have to paint letters on the other side of the sign, which should go easier now I know the spacing, etc. I like the little vines going around the edge, which is about the only thing I can paint freehand. Oh, how I would love to take painting lessons. Add that to the list...

Halfway Through July

July is racing by. The glorious weather continues. What a full moon we had last night, with lacy clouds stretched over the glowing orb like strands of silk. I asked the kids if they wanted a campfire but they said no thanks. We'll have one tonight to celebrate the weekend. I love to sit under the stars and stare into the flames. Having the kidlets here to run around and collect wood is great. They have very relaxing days, sleeping late, watching TV, reading books, with all the goodies their tummies can hold, but when chore time rolls around Sergeant Omi cracks the whip. Luke doesn't like it when I have to poke and prod his big sister to turn off the crime mystery TV shows and get out into the barn. He's very protective of her and says I should be easier on her because, "they make her run five miles in gym class at school." I told him that makes Hannah stronger and happier, but he doesn't agree. Hannah is incredibly strong. A large garbage can full of wet manure and hay is really heavy, and it was all I could do to hold up my side and get it out of the barn and up the hill to the compost pile. I had to ask Hannah to slow down. We are picking away at the manure pack on the floor of the barn. This huge barn is wonderful, but impossible to keep clean without machines. Speaking of machines, Stan is up the hill knocking down my chin-high grass to make round bales. I'm thrilled. He's doing it on shares, meaning he takes half for his trouble. Fine with me. I'll get the other half to save for winter. We'll be able to get to the pond without bushwacking with a machete, and we won't break our legs stepping in wood chuck holes we can't see. With this fabulous run of hot weather there will be barns full of hay all over upstate New York to get us through the long, freezing cold winter ahead. If we don't get hit by a run of hurricanes coming up the coast in August we might get a second cut. Won't that be fabulous. I know better than to get my hopes up. Expect the worst, hope for the best. That's life on the farm.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Deck for Today

The weather looks good for the farmer's market on Saturday. Nothing is more miserable than setting up my store and having a misty rain come in. Soap and wool does not do well in the wetness. I have two bags cut out, but I've been spending a lot of time on the farm sign and running around with the kidlets. They are the easiest kids in the world to have here. Hannah and Luke have books they love to read, and favorite tv shows that luckily I get here. They get their own snacks and tell me when they get hungry. I cook every night, but I think I'm going to let Hannah do some cooking. She used to make eggs for me every morning, but I get up so early, and she likes to sleep late in her trailer, that I'm bringing her breakfast out there. Yesterday we went to Price Chopper to cash in our aluminum cans and get some groceries. We stopped at Panera for lunch, Hannah and Luke's favorite, and got Hannah another book at B&N. It took a big chunk out of the day, which was probably the prettiest day of the summer. It was so cool last night I had to turn the fans off and put on a fleece vest. I sat outside a while and watched the full moon come up with the pink glow of sunset in the opposite sky. Awe-inspiring! I'm going to make a push to get the sign done during this lovely sunny stretch of weather. I made stencils at school and have to get them untangled and organized. If I don't get them just right you-know-who will have something to say about it, as he did last night about my wiggly lines. Matt commented that my sign is painted with Mexican flag colors. That's okay - maybe some passing Mexicans will want to work on my farm. That would be fine with me, since my tall handsome hired man, Loren, has not come around lately. He's working for a couple of other farms and maybe they pay him more, I don't know. If I bash my head on the ceiling of the chicken room one more time Luke and I will just dig it out ourselves. Wish the head bashing would knock some sense into me, but no such luck. The days is a'wasting and I better get busy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Farm Sign Progress

Luke is helping me with the farm sign. Hannah is still resting, trying to build up the energy she lost in Civil Air Patrol Boot Camp. The weather is perfect for painting. So far we have the border stripes painted on one side. Luke is very good at painting straight lines. Have to get my stencils organized. This sign is going to take a bit more time than I planned. I sure hope nobody steals it after all this, but what would they do with a Maggie's Farm sign? Maybe a radical old hippie/Bob Dylan fan would want it? I'll put sturdy chains on it, but I really think it will be okay. All my high-dollar No Hunting signs were torn down by locals who used to hunt my land I think, but this sign would take some doing to carry off. Oh, well, I'll just enjoy painting it and see what happens.