Monday, May 27, 2013

Company's coming..!

We are very excited because some special company will arrive this week. Chris' wonderful sisters Brenda (from Mississippi) and Linda (from Florida) are coming to spend a few days experiencing life at Fair Winds. When our daughter flew the coop last summer I turned her old room into a guest room, and the old guest room became Chris' office. I never did much to make the guest room special, partly because it seemed so sad that it was no longer "home" to my sweet Rachel. But the upcoming visitors have spurred me into action. Chris kindly patched the many holes in the ceiling that dear daughter had made hanging whimsical flying sculptures, then painted for me. He can do all of that without a ladder, whereas I would have been scrambling up and down. I touched up some places on the walls that needed a "fix." Then I went to work to make the room look comfortable and welcoming. Pretty and soft new sheets go beautifully with the amazing quilt that Brenda made me a while back. I did have that quilt on my bed, but since the dogs hang out on my bed I am afraid it will be ruined. It will be safer here! I set up a little writing nook for me, too. The view from the window is of the pony shed, very sweet! I hope that this space will make guests feel serene and comfortable. The newly done space certainly makes me happy.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

True confessions...

In my rich and active fantasy life, my home is always clean, orderly and welcoming. In real life I live with a rather messy man and a LOT of pets. I find keeping our little house looking the way I want to be a constant challenge. The downstairs of the place is mostly clutter free and easy to keep tidy, but the upstairs? Not so much. I have been on a mission in the past weeks to whip the upper level into shape. I've been gathering items that are no longer loved or needed and yesterday we took bags and boxes full of STUFF to Goodwill. Then during this rainy day my patient husband and I spent hours cleaning/scrubbing/and even repainting. I've been saving money and bought 6 lovely new bath towels, some face clothes and hand towels and bathroom rugs, too. I gathered all the mismatched pieces and stashed them away for pet towels, and placed the fresh, pretty new towels in my linen closet. Ahh. They look so nice. I did a "spring clean" on our bedroom, too. Sweet, clean bedding, including a lovely bed skirt and new bed spread, and clean windows. I decided today that I loathed my curtains. Then, while I was cleaning one fell down, so I just ripped them all off and will look for something better in the coming weeks. I can hardly wait to go to bed tonight, I love to sleep in a clean, sweet smelling room. I moved a funky vanity from what used to be our daughters room, and is now our guest room, to MY room. I cleaned an amazing amount of junk out of the drawers, transferred my makeup and hair doo dah's there, and will soon enjoy having a place to primp. I recently bought the fun pink stool seen here at a local "junk" shop. By tomorrow it will be a more proper color, white! Tomorrow's projects involve more cleaning and organizing and tossing. I am delighted with the progress made so far.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Got milk..?

Today I went to a local dairy to get fresh, raw milk. I brought my big two quart mason jars. There were cows. And prettiness... We chatted with the nice lady while she bucket fed a wee small calf, "He's stubborn," she said. "He drinks a bit then looks around, and I have to hold his head." Then she washed her hands, got a pillow patched with layers of duct tape and put it on the concrete floor at the base of the huge stainless steel tank. The cows had just been milked and when she kneeled down on the pillow and opened the spigot at the base of the tank she said, "Oh, it's still warm." In two shakes she had my jars filled with fresh, creamy milk. So now I have jars of milk in my 'fridge from cows I've met personally. Somehow that makes it all so much sweeter.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A bit about birds...

I have been particularly enjoying the sounds of birdsong this spring. The winter seemed long and silent this year, and now that the birds are in full voice it is a treasure. I moved the bird feeder to a different location, near some fruit trees. The birds approve of the change. This afternoon I took some time to just sit with my camera and catch some shots. This Goldfinch stayed in one place a long time, posing. I've been admiring this Rose breasted grosbeak for days. He has been a frequent visitor,but the second I'd get my camera he'd vanish. I got sneaky today and caught him. A small, sweet victory. The perky chickadee's are reliable friends no matter the season. As common as they are, I still find them to be a treat. The red winged blackbirds are rampant here. The "Cheerily!" song they sing from very early spring makes me smile. And then there is Dove, she who will not be contained by mere fence. She is everywhere I don't want her to be.

Monday, May 20, 2013

65 years...

My oldest sister, Donna, turned 65 in April. The celebration was yesterday, in the beautiful home of her daughter. It was a near perfect weather day, though perhaps a bit chilly. But that stopped no one from having a good time. Here she is with daughter, Emily. Laughing. There was a lot of that going on. A pot luck supper was served... and the food was as good as a serious belly rub. We had six hours (total) of driving to be there... but wouldn't have missed it for the world. Happy birthday, sweet big sister! I love you.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Got a lot done..."

I sometimes joke that I would like, "She got a lot done!" carved into my tombstone. The days in which I feel that I have accomplished much are among my favorites. Today I got up and took care of all the livestock, then went to work. I worked all day, and while there did a few extra things, like decluttered a messy counter, reframed a couple photos for the lobby and bathed the resident cat. Then I got home and ran a hot wire fence around our side yard. Next, I turned the horse out there so she could mow for me. Multi tasking! Feed the horse, mow the yard. I then moved the baby chicks from the small brooder cage in the kitchen to a kiddie pool in the garage. They were, odoriferous! They seemed very happy in their new space. After that, more multi tasking! I have a flower bed that has been completely taken over by a horrible plant called Bishop's Weed. I have been battling it for years, and decided that this year I am going to just smother the garden to kill EVERYTHING and then start over. I consulted with some gardener friends who suggested I cover the flower bed with thick layers of newspaper, then cover that with hay. I got 90% of the bed done tonight. This accomplished two things; weed murder AND removal of hay from the garage floor where it had built up over the winter from spillage of the bales as I fed. And... I tied Luna goat near another troubled area. Turns out she is excellent at weeding AND pruning! During all this I also popped a ham in the oven. It was done to perfection when it got too dark for me to work outside anymore. After I ate I had a lengthy interview for an article I will write tomorrow morning before work. Yup. I got a lot done.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


On Saturday, while at work, my boss/friend was called to the phone. The receptionist had a funny look on her face when she came to ask her to take the call. It was a short conversation, and when she got back I said, "Is everything ok?" "Everything is fine," she said. This was all very odd. I found myself thinking, "Maybe the call involved someone doing something nice for me." My next thought was, "WHY would you think that? It is not your birthday, it is not Christmas, why do you automatically think that any out of the ordinary call means that something nice is going to happen for you? How egocentric ARE you?" I berated myself. Then I thought, "Actually, that is sort of a nice outlook on life!" Later I found out that call WAS about me. My daughter had called to consult with my friend about a Mother's day gift. I've given my reaction a lot of thought, and I have decided that I like the fact that in my heart I believe that many mysteries are lovely things, waiting to bloom.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Right of spring..!

The call came before 8 AM. My friend Marion (she who instigates livestock trouble!) was on the line. "I just got a call from the post office. The chicks are here. I'll be by in a bit with yours." I had a zing of excitement. The brooder was ready with clean shavings, room temperature water and a chick feeder full of food. I have 25 meat birds, and am raising 6 layers for some friends. We carefully counted them out of the box. Marion would hand me a chick, I would dip its beak in water, then reach for the next one. They are tiny... golf ball sized,and they were LOUD. As they were removed from the tight quarters of their shipping box, they drank deeply, then found the food and ate and Ate and ATE. Then they piled up under the heat lamp and napped so soundly they looked for all the world like dead chicks; legs and wings splayed and heads flat on the soft bedding. They will outgrow this small, warm space in just a few days, then graduate to a small wading pool for a while. After that it will be a chicken "tractor" with pasture until they are grown. At every stage I will find them fascinating.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's day...

Sweet daughter Rachel came home for the weekend to spoil me on Mother's day. It is nice to have her home, I am prone to sneaking into her room in the middle of the night to just look at her, reveling in knowing she is here and safe. She is fun to be around when she is awake, too! Today we shared a time honored (maternal) family tradition and spent time "junkin'". We like to haunt antique stores, seeking treasures. We had some success today, I found a sturdy and very comfortable little stool that will be a perfect goat milking perch, and Rachel found a beautiful antique picture frame that she plans to turn into an earring holder by stapling wire screening to the back. We chatted, giggled a bit, and listened to some loud music. She gifted me with some cash so I can treat myself to a manicure or pedicure, something I enjoy but rarely indulge in. Even the goat kids remembered Mother's day. I received this bottle of "Love my Goat" wine, with a funny note. My day was sweet, from start to finish.

Bottle Tree...

Many years ago when we lived in Memphis, I was at a customers house and saw what he called, "poor mans stained glass." He had taken the trunk of a cedar tree, trimmed the branches so that they were 4-6 inches long, then inserted antique bottles on some/many of the branches. The light danced happily on the multicolored bottles and I thought to myself, "Someday I am going to have one of these." Fast forward to this year. After Christmas I scurried around and collected a number of discarded Christmas trees. The goats were delighted by them, nibbling off all the needles and some of the bark. This week I was gathering the poor, naked things to put on our burn pile and I thought, "This trunk is really pretty, even though it is naked. It would make a great bottle tree!" So I nipped off the branches with my trusty garden wackers and then... I gathered up a selection of old bottles from the front porch, and... With the help of my daughter dug a nice little hole to "plant" the tree in. Then we got busy... This is a work in progress, I want to rearrange a bit and add more bottles, but I am pleased with the effort and had fun. It is nice to know, too, that the Christmas tree served many uses! Holiday decoration, goat fodder, and now garden art!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Liberty Tool...

Yesterday we took a drive to Liberty, Maine, where I interviewed someone for an upcoming article. Then we swung into Liberty Tool, a place we'd been by a few times but had never explored. I was enchanted by the time I hit the front porch, laden with fascinating objects. Inside... what a feast for the eyes! Three floors of tools, antiques, odd whimsical items,and some very funky signage. Outside there were some things of interest, as well... It was a lovely diversion in a busy day.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chanel sees the "dentist..."

Chanel has an equine dentist and he comes once a year to check her teeth and make sure there are no sharp edges that might irritate her mouth. I have never seen the process in action, and was fascinated to watch. First the tools came out and were rinsed in sanitizing solution and water. Next he rinsed her big old grassy mouth, causing her to spew green foam in copious amounts. After that a series of files were inserted into her mouth to smooth her teeth. She took it all in stride. Lastly a large metal thing called a speculum went into her mouth so the dentist could pry those jaws open and access her bottom teeth. Again my patient horse just stood there, with the sun pouring down on her and a strange man sticking a variety of odd looking tools in her quiet mouth. And then she was good to go... off to the greening grass and the warmth of the spring breeze, with her teeth in good order for another year. Leaving me a little lighter in the wallet and impressed, again, with what a very good pony I have.