Sunday, June 28, 2015

Father's Day, postponed...

Poor Chris. He spent all of Father's Day schlepping me about to get my new truck. So we did "take #2" today. First on the agenda was Rachel and I cooking his favorite breakfast, sausage with biscuits and gravy. It's just plain not good for us, so I typically only make it twice a year, his birthday and fathers day.

It started with making biscuits.

It occurred to me that it was a bit poetic to be baking scratch biscuits in a 100 year old farm house. Then it came to me that it was even neater because I was using fresh milk from my goats, and lard I had rendered myself from a pig we raised! How many "modern" people do that?

Next we cooked up some sausage and made a pan of thick gravy. Daughter Rachel wanted a lesson, to see if she could improve her technique. It came out well, rich in flavor and deeply creamy.

Our efforts were met with approval.

Later Rachel took Chris out to lunch and to a movie. I think his second take on his special day was good.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hay day...

It does not matter what your plans may be, if the hay farmer up the street shows up at 8:00AM and tells you he will be cutting hay that day, and offers you a great deal to pick the bales up in the field, you simply change your plans and go get hay. Chris made the first few trips solo, as I was still working, but I joined him as quickly as I could. We took Proud Mary, (our "new" truck,) for her first utility farm trip.

To our delight, we were able to fit 20 bales of hay in the bed for each trip! Our "little" truck did big work. The weather was beyond perfect, sunny but not hot, with a sweet breeze. We got 100 bales of hay home and tucked safely under cover in no time. Here is what is funny about living in Maine. Just as summer really settles in, it is time to prepare for the cold months. It is time to put hay up, to get your firewood laid in, to make sure any cracks in your foundation are filled to keep the cold air out. Part of the enjoyment we find in summer here is found in the preparation for the cold days to come.

The freshly mowed field smelled like what summer would smell like if you were able to bottle it. Sweet,warm and clean. And happy. It smelled of happy.
Around the edges of the hay field wild low bush blueberries grew. From a distance they look like squatty scrub.

Up close the small, woody bushes are laden with ripening fruit. Each berry is creamy white, tinged with a kiss of pink.

When the crop ripens the whole barren, (that is what a blueberry field is called) will have a lovely haze of blue about it.

With the work day done and the hay stowed, I did evening chores at a snails pace. I chose to take my time and enjoy the process. I sat and watched the pigs savor they supper, I walked the pasture, throwing a ball for Ziva to chase, I was still for a long time watching the poultry.

Hay day interrupted our plans, but it was a good day all told.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Yesterday I had the supreme honor of accompanying my friend on a trip to New Hampshire. We were on a mission to find happiness.

We found him. His name is Tripp. He is an 8 week old American Cocker Spaniel. He kissed and kissed and kissed and then napped. Most of the long drive home he was sound asleep. There were periodic breaks for kissing, then more napping. I fell in love, hard. My job was to hold him while my friend drove. I felt a little guilty, but those velvet lips on my face erased that feeling. She'll get to have him to herself for years. But I had one, perfect, day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A tale of two trucks...

Almost 14 years ago we bought a shiny, brand new, Ford F150 pickup truck. For ME. A big, full sized, 5 speed truck. I named her Doozy. I have loved that truck every one of the 180 thousand miles I've put on her. She still runs like a champ, and has been a wonderful, reliable vehicle this whole, happy time. We recently took her in for annual inspection, and to my great sorrow we were told that her frame was rusted out, and she needed some pretty major repairs.

I told my daughter that poor Doozy was through,and said, "I am so sad. I wanted to drive her till I was an old lady." She shot me an evil grin and quipped, "And you DID, Mum!"

We gave the whole matter some thought. Maybe I should get a car instead of a truck. For a week or two I thought about all the things I do with a truck; haul kayaks to the lake, haul hay from the field, haul firewood, haul 50 lb. bags of animal feed, haul chickens to the butcher, haul goats hither and yon... I really needed a truck.And truth be told, I LIKE driving a truck. I talked to a few auto savvy friends and several strongly suggested I look at Toyota's. We also looked at Chevrolet and GMC mid-sized trucks.

Although I love a brand new vehicle, I hate to take the hit on depreciation, and insurance and taxes are so high when you buy new. One day last week while I was working I got to thinking how some people know how to search on line for good, low mile, used cars. And then I thought about a friend of mine who has done just that. I wondered if she would tell me how to begin a search. I called her up and told her my dilemma and before I knew it she had offered to do a little looking for me. I told her what I was hoping for... a very basic truck that would be good for farm use. Ideally I wanted a 5 speed manual transmission, roll up windows (not electric) no back seat (leaving more room for the bed.) The next morning at 6:15 my friend called. She had found pretty much the exact truck I was looking for, in New Hampshire. Only 18,000 miles. Now this is a marvelous friend.

Meet Proud Mary. A 2010 Toyota Tacoma. She is a delight.
I will miss Doozy, but expect Proud Mary and I will have some excellent adventures.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Small happinesses...

Niece Aimee and her husband came to visit yesterday, with "Lucy," their little dog. Lucy is one of Flirt's puppies. Flirt is always very happy to see her, trouncing her soundly, time and again. Lucy loves to come to the farm. She usually hops into the duck pool, and rolls in goat poo, and chases... any animal she can. None of the stock take her very seriously, she's pretty tiny and non threatening. And cute.

On this trip I got to see something I had only ever heard about. Lucy is an epic swimmer. We took her to the pond for a demonstration of her skills.

She leaps in with reckless abandon. She will swim for the joy of it, but is also happy to fetch twigs tossed for her.

She swims until she is so tired she is shaking. It makes her happy. It made people watching her happy, too. She is so small, yet so filled with exuberance, it's a joy to see her relishing the experience. This little dog embraces life full on.

We saw a stunning pair of Loons while we were on the shore.

A butterfly hung out with us a while...completing the magic of our day.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mama love and more...

Luna goat is terribly thin, but is eating and Eating and EATING. I take her for walks up the road so she can feast on leaves and twigs and vines. It makes her happy.

Despite her physical condition, she does not seem to be sad or in pain.
She is so sweet cuddling her little buckling. A few weeks ago I was pretty sure she was dying. Now, I don't know. It's a one day a time thing. I am grateful every morning when she greets me with her quiet voice.

I managed to snap this picture of a warbler called a "Common Yellowthroat." I don't find them be all that common, and was happy that this picture came out so nicely.

The hummingbirds continue to delight me...

As do the splashy Rose Breasted Grossbeaks.

Work has been very busy. The grooming business is traditionally active during the summer months, and my phone is ringing all day long. Several of the local veterinarians (some I have never met!) have been telling their clients about me, and those referrals are worth their weight in gold.

I spend my day in a sun splashed place meeting interesting new people and grooming dogs and cats. And it is good. So good it is almost not like work.

Outside the window the goats frolic and graze and bask in the early summer sun. I am content.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jane Doe...

The little doeling we decided to keep, (dubbed "Jane Doe,") went on a big adventure today. Rachel and her friend took her to a local assisted living facility so she could meet some new pals.

The ladies asked lots of questions about what we do with the goats, and what they like to eat. At the moment Jane was desperately trying to eat the decorative plantings.

Jane did some face nuzzling and the ladies laughed. They thought she was so pretty. Little Jane brings big joy to many.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Subtract 4, add 44...

I have "lost" 4 goat kids, as they have gone to their new homes.This means less work for me.
I barely had time to register the change when the U.S.Mail delivered 44 baby chicks.

I had their first home all ready. A re-purposed leaky kiddie pool, with a layer of clean shavings, a food container and some clean, fresh water. Oh, and a heat lamp dangling overhead to keep things cozy. The babies come in a ventilated card board box. A box that "cheaps!"

It never gets old, opening that corrugated lid to see all those tiny chicks, snugged close and looking rather forlorn. Each one is lifted out, then held gently while it's beak is dipped in water. They drink instantly and deeply. Then they toddle off to explore their vastly more expansive new home. They find the food in no time. They spend the next hours alternating between eating,drinking, and sleeping under the light. Soon their crops (muscular pouches that are part of a chickens digestive system) are protruding at the front of their necks, full of food and water. After days of travel they are finally satiated and warm. They relax, stretched out like little dead things on the fresh, clean, bedding. However, they don't rest for long, soon they are up and back to the buffet, eating and eating and eating some more. There is a lot of pooping, too, but we won't dwell on that.

General productivity slows when the chicks arrive. I make frequent excuses to go out and just look at them. Ziva is as enchanted as I am. She trembles as she stares at them... no doubt trying to decide if they are something she should dispatch or protect. After a few visits she switches firmly into "protect" mode.

New life at FairWinds. Life? It's good.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Kid update...

The goat kids are big, strong, shiny and beautiful. Four of them leave tomorrow to go to their new homes.

Jane Doe will be staying...

She is petite, lovely, and the most friendly little thing. I sat outside in the pasture for a bit today, and she was all up in my face, her velvet lips and ticklish whiskers on my cheeks, neck and chin. I had not intended to keep any of the kids, but she stole our hearts, so she will be a permanent fixture.

Buttercup, (white) and Flutterbye (note the butterfly image on her face) are lovely to look at. Buttercup is the image of her mama, my favorite goat, Luna. Flutterbye is striking in her flashy coat, and those face markings are quite unique.

This girl is sweet, but a little shy. I hope she will blossom in her new home. She'll be living just down the street, and I will get to visit her when her owners go out of town and I help with the livestock.

Little Jester is a friendly guy. A little pushy, but sweet.

Both the boys are larger and heavier than any of the girls. They are bolder, too.

And then there is this guy:

Not a goat. A ram lamb that I am keeping for a bit for a friend. I call him "Ram-chop." He is a sweet little guy. The cutest thing about him is that he LOVES bedtime. Around 6:00pm he starts to yell, and he calls out until I take some grain and hay and tuck him into a cozy little house with a few of the goat kids. He is most enthusiastic about this process, chowing down on the food I bring and then cuddling into the deep, clean straw with the kids. He looks so contented as I "tuck him in." It makes me smile.

They all make me smile. I have enjoyed these kids from the moment they entered the world. They have brought me much joy. I hope they will have good lives in their new homes. I hope their new humans will love them as much as I do.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Farmers Market Friday...

Union, the little town next to us, has a farmers market on Friday afternoons during the growing season. It isn't very big, but I just love it.

There was live music.

Cold drinks, flowers, plants for the garden.

Salad fixins' and novelty items. Kids tumble in the grass, people chat and catch up and visit. I shopped gleefully.

Afterwards I stopped at my friends house so Ziva could have a play date. We walked down to the river.

Past the bull with his whimsical whiskers.

Past the diminutive game hen chicken with her brood of baby turkeys.

The dogs raced and ran and tussled.

They waded happily in the river, chasing bubbles that came up from the mud.

It was chilly in Maine today, but our little outing to the cheery farm market and a walk with friends warmed us nicely.