Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I had a quick overnight visit in Massachusetts at my sister Deb's house.  She delighted me by inviting family over for supper.  All this on a work night, which made it doubly kind.  I got to see two sisters, one brother in law, two nieces, a nephew, and the cutest great niece ever.There was great food and good wine and fun conversation.
Brother in law John manned the grill. 

Deb spread magic, and bubbles...
Bravo had a party playing with Lucy and Zoe.  And toys. And racing about.

Afterwards he fell asleep, hard, with all four feet in the air like a dead roach. Only cuter.

It was good to go home for a night, walk through the familiar woods, look out the windows I looked out of as a child, and spend time with some of my favorite folks.  And my new puppy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Notes from the hen yard...

Last fall I posted about the rooster hadn't planned on.  You can read about it here if you'd like:

I have had bad luck with roosters. They are OK for a while, then they decide they want to kill me. I don't appreciate having animals that I feed and shelter trying to poke my eyes out. 

Harrison Ford, though, is different.  A handsome, gentleman rooster.  He does all the good things that roosters do. He calls the hens when he finds a delicious treat for them to eat, he keeps them in a flock to the best of his ability, because there is safety in numbers.  He looks out for predators. In fact, my husband witnessed him in a tussle with a Red Tailed Hawk that came swooping into the pasture, and the rooster won! He is as handsome as they come, and he never so much as casts a questioning eye upon me.  This means he will not be turned into Harrison Ford and rice. 

The hens have matured beautifully, too.
This breed, Light Brahma's, are known to be good layers, even in the winter.  They are large birds, and don't mind cold weather a bit.  They look nice pottering about the pasture, too.
The ladies wear deeply ruffled petticoats. 

The chickens provide excellent insect control. I rarely see a flea or tick on my pets, and for that I give the poultry much credit.  And those eggs... deep yellow yolks, firm whites. Delicious. I delight in giving a dozen to a customer or friend.  They are always a welcome gift.

I'm awfully fond of my chickens. Yes, Harrison Ford rooster, too.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Show time..!

Several years ago I made a nice friend when I bought a goat from her.  She has since become somewhat of a mentor to me, teaching me much.

She is taking 7 of her goats to a show next weekend.  When people show their goats, they clip their hair off to make it easier to see their conformation.  My friend asked me for a clipper recommendation. I offered to loan her one of my very nice grooming clippers.  The clippers I use to groom dogs are made in Germany, and I worked part time for the company that makes them for many years.  Aesculap, or "The German Red Clipper."  They are so powerful, I always thought they would be great for working on livestock. I was right!

Today my daughter and I went to my friends farm to show her how to use the tools. I could only clip a little with my left hand.  Rachel did a lot, and my friend is a quick study.

It was fun.  The goats were sweet, and we had some laughs as we sheared those thick, shaggy coats off.  They looked very nice with the hair newly sleek and smooth.

The little goat loved Rachel and snuggled right up to her.

 I was sort of surprised she didn't come home with us. 

Today was a stunning spring day, and it was fun to get out a bit, spend time with my friend, my daughter and other "kids." A little change of scenery is good for the soul.  Next weekend we'll go to the goat show and see our newly clipped friends strut their stuff.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Happy day....

I woke with a start at 4:00 AM to hear a woman screaming just outside. Eyes wide open in the dark, trying to get my bearings. Chris muttered, "What IS that?" The screaming came again, closer still.  "Fox," I told him.  He was asleep again 2 heartbeats later. I lay awake till dawn, wondering if the chickens were locked up appropriately, the rabbits, the ducks... I knew they were, but in the groggy early hours ones mind tends to run amok.

The puppy whined softly at 6:00. I hopped up, threw on some clothes and took him outside.  I bottle fed the baby goats, let the birds out of their coops, fed the horse and milked and grained the goats. It was a blue sky morning, birds singing, flowers blooming. The best that spring has to offer. I am feeling a little better each day after my injury, so that buoyed me, too.  Rachel and I had a full day of grooming slated, and our friend was scheduled to join us for supper and watching the Preakness horse race.  So much to be happy about.

The day went along nicely, except for a brief power outage that slowed our work down a bit, but we worked around that smoothly.  All the dogs and cats were groomed and headed home by 3:00.  Then Rachel planted some things in the vegetable garden while I looked on.  And Marion arrived bringing enchiladas and salad.  Chris had made his famous hot wings, and some spinach dip, so we had a tasty feast planned. And then, from the bed of my friends truck, I heard, "Baaaaaah!"

I had planned, very early in the spring, to buy two lambs that had been born at Marion's farm.  Then, when I fell and hurt myself, I asked her if she could sell them to someone else. I knew I would be out of work and didn't want to spend money I didn't need to. And, being injured, taking on more animals to care for seemed like folly. When my daughter heard that I had changed my plans she went behind my back and arranged to buy those lambs for me as a Mother's Day gift.  And here they were, in a large dog crate, delivered to my door.

They had a lot to say about the transition, but are settling in now.  Adorable spring lambs for Mother's Day. A sweet gift that was the cherry on the cake of a happy May day.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Puppy's first week...

Bravo is settling in so nicely. He has slept through the night 3 out of 4 nights.  One night he did politely wake me at 3:00AM. I took him out, and he had pressing business to attend to.  Then he went right back to sleep in his crate and never made another peep.

So far he has learned to go up and down stairs, how to get into the little pen I put up in the kitchen for him when he is tired (he likes it there, and seems perfectly happy to be alone.) I have switched his diet from kibble to raw and he never missed a beat. This morning he happily polished off a chicken wing, bone and all, and a pile of chopped pork.  For a mid-morning snack he had a little dish of warm goat milk and seemed to think that was quite tasty.  He has learned to wear a collar and is getting the hang of the leash. There has only been one errant puddle on the floor. Not bad for such a young pup!  Introductions to the livestock have been made.

I let him meet some of my favorite customers.
And last night we started puppy school!  He was a super star. He particularly liked playtime. And all the snacks.  But yes, mostly play time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Greenhouse visitors...

I bought the cutest little greenhouse a while back. I have not really utilized it for a variety of reasons, but I do hope to sprout things in it in the future.  Currently it has a few flower seeds coming up in pots, and some cast off houseplants soaking up the sun. 

Inside the greenhouse, grass and dandelions grow with reckless abandon.  My very practical friend asked, "Why don't you put the rabbits in there?" I wish  my brain worked the way hers does. 24 hours later Mr. Abbot and Costello were ceremoniously packed into a cardboard box and moved to a new temporary location.

It is a warm, sunny, rabbit smorgasbord!

They have reduced the herbage by a lot, and seem to be having a pleasant visit.  I think I will let them spend time here as the weather allows.  They certainly add a dose of charm (and fertilizer!) to the place while they tidy up the footing. Fun and useful bunnies!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bravo comes to FairWinds...

We drove to pick our new puppy up yesterday. It's a long drive, nearly 3 hours. Luckily we love to take rides together.  We grabbed a little lunch on the way, and arrived at our destination around 2:30. The puppies had just woken up from a nap and were outside in a pen getting some fresh air and sunshine.

They separated Bravo from the pack and he and his pretty mama tussled about.
The breeder gave me important papers and I gave her some cash, and then the culmination of months of happy anticipation was in my arms, kissing my face.
He was a bit restless in the car at first, panting and squirming.  After a while he lay across my chest with his sweet little chin on shoulder.  He heaved a very large sigh for such a very small puppy and slept the rest of the way home.

When we arrived here I took him right out to the back yard.  He piddled and pooped fast, then explored all around, his tail up, confident and happy.  "Here I am!" he seemed to say.  "What shall we do next?"  We introduced him to the dogs, one at a time.  All was well.  He ran up to a group of chickens, gave them a look, then bounded back to me.  I took him inside and fixed him supper.  He ate it right down,and took a long drink. Then he found the big dog bed by the wood stove (which we had lit, even though it is May, because it was chilly with a nasty wind blowing.)  He took a nap while we ate supper, then played with some toys.  I took him out again before bedtime and to my surprise and delight he slept in his crate by my bed all night without ever asking to go out.  Super puppy!

This morning after a stroll and breakfast, I took him with me to do chores.  He settled by my side while I milked goats like he'd done it every morning of his life.

Then we fed the bottle baby kids and the chickens and ducks. He watched me work, following along as I went.

It was fun to have a dog that wanted to follow along while I did my happy morning work.  I think he will grow to be a fine farm companion. Good boy, Bravo!