Down a country road…and along the river


As I travel down the nearby country roads, life seems to slow a little, simplifies as my mind wanders through the green fields and rolling hills… the quiet tranquility of a day in the country. These roads wind through small towns and past corn fields, weathered red barns, roadside chickens, tidy farmhouses, and old white churches
Sights both quaint and quirky, offer a reason to meander(think Norman Rockwell painting). If it weren’t for the few cars we passed along the way, it would be easy to imagine that we’d entered a time warp. This is very much the epitome of rural America. Winding our way past misty green fields, babbling brooks, and horses quietly nibbling the tender grasses,we continue up a shaded mountain road and down along the river; past more farms, some working some not. Farmers along the lovely county roads, offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for sale; sweet corn is in high season and absolutely delicious.
The Battenkill River is world renowned for its fishing…today it was bustling with kayaks and tubes. As families floated down the lazy Battenkill River on their tubes,canoes, and kayaks we couldn’t help but stop to take a closer look…it looked soo refreshing, wonder if they had a spare tube??? Maybe we will tube tomorrow ~ Another day, another adventure! We headed home; ice cream in hand, with a profound longing to spend more time exploring the lovely country roads; perhaps next fall when autumn colors etch the hills and fields in crimson,oranges,and gold. A weekend trip may be in order. Ever since I was young, I’ve loved the feeling of hitting the road. I look back with a fond sense of nostalgia to the days when our kids were piled into the station wagon for family vacations…packed like sardines with camping gear tied to the roof.

I’ll need to start planning that trip; but, in the meantime, I think I’ll just enjoy this beautiful summer!


An experience you just can’t get anywhere else. Swimming cows…I had to stop and take pictures..the Canadian Geese were in the field and the cows were in the stream. Made me smile!

No need to travel far…hop in your car, roll down the windows, crank up the tunes…and get out there! Maybe a bike trip?

Ahhh, Be well, and enjoy your day!
Jessica

Keep your face to the sunshine…it’s delicious.


Keeping up with watering and weeds tops the to-do list for me this week; then there is the joy of harvesting, beans, radishes, some carrots, pickling cucumbers, crook neck and zucchini squash.

And our family favorite ~ it is the time the kids carve their names in to their chosen pumpkins!

About this time of year I like to take a good look at my garden beds to see what is thriving and and those “not so much”, plan for next season and make notes for transplants…better luck next year.

I think this weekend might be a great time to plant another round of lettuce and carrots…and turn the compost before it cooks!

Cukes will probably be ready to pickle too. Which recipe should I choose…dill or Bread and butter? I think…Bread and Butter!

I realized how grateful I am for my ducks and their wonderous appetites; they will dine on just about any pest. Grasshoppers,Japanese beetles, June bugs, grubs and even mice. Ducks will also chase and catch flies, and root their larvae out of fresh manure (perfect for a llama farm) and decaying vegetables.

Every duck is an individual, so it’s difficult to say if one will develop a taste for; though for the most part they happily snack on protein-rich insects, earthworms and other tiny inhabitants.

Easy peazy…Ducks are hardy, and they don’t require much more than sufficient nutrients, clean water to drink and a secure area to spend the night.

The eggs are delicious! Many domestic breeds will lay more than 200 eggs per year – these eggs are renowned for baking.

Dabble in ducks…for a perky companion that will entertain, feed and help take care of garden pests, ducks are a great choice. These hardy little creatures will eagerly convert small critters, weeds and grass into eggs and may well end up as the center of your summertime attention in the process. As soon as they hear my voice..I hear theirs…whaa..whaa..whaa…( or can we have some pellets please, Mom, huh? can I?)

time to gather some neighborhood children…and get pickin’


garden in July…


my ducks and my girls…


ooh boy…


…a blossom is hope


yummy!


happy flowers!


ahhh.


these will add nicely to a kitchen bouquet.


sweet


simply pretty


Mom, I’m hungry…


nice rest, now back to the cukes and pickles…

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Bread and Butter pickles:3 quarts

15 cups sliced pickling cucumbers
3 onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup coarse salt
4 cups cracked ice
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seeds

Directions:
Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
1 Combine cucumbers, onions, salt and ice in a large bowl.
2 Mix well.
3 Put a weight on and allow to stand 3 hours. (For a weight, I use a plate with a gallon bottle of vinegar or water on top of it).
4 Drain thoroughly.
5 Combine vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed and mustard seed in a large pot.
6 Add drained cucumbers.
7 Place pot on medium low heat.
8 Bring almost to a boil, but DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.
9 Remove from heat.
10 Seal in sterilized jars, 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

***Easy way to sterilize jars:
Wash them well in hot soapy water.
Dry them off.
Put on a cookie sheet, right side up, at 225°F for 15 minutes.
Turn off oven and leave them in there until you need them.

Be Well! Savor summer…Oh, and my new book came…”Harvesting color”…can’t wait to read it!!!

Jessica

The animals teach me something every day…


Walk with me in my garden or pasture; I want to share with you…the love, peace and contentment I gain from caring for animals….the animals teach me everyday…they teach me as they contribute to my life by daily showing me joy, positivity, and hope. I appreciate every moment. I feel as though I can pass on that love and appreciation as I help young people become knowledgeable, in farming, in nature, in life.

I try to provide knowledge, and hands on experience to instill and create thoughtfulness and a love of agriculture and nature. I give kids the opportunity to get their hands dirty and see where their food and textiles comes from and establish better connections to the world around them…show them how we can live in better harmony with our environment.

Nearly every day, Misty Maples Farm has a few extra hands to help with farm chores. The hands are sometimes tiny,but they’re almost always dirty – and that’s a good thing.

Hands-on farm experiences— such as planting and harvesting vegetables,and taking scraps to the compost pile—children have opportunities to learn about healthy foods and build connections to the foods they eat. Most of the time they don’t even realize they are learning, they are simply having fun.

Helping the kids learn by touching, feeling, smelling…and the animals steal their hearts.

Living close to nature,is simply not a part of most of our lives anymore and we would like to help make it so!

Everyone should be able to feel the peacefulness of lying in the daybed on a maple shaded front porch hide away; reading, writing and listening to the sounds of the water, the birds, the chicks, or the gentle hum of the llamas.

If you feel like getting your hands dirty… Stop on by, we can harvest in the garden, feed ducks, chicks, or llamas…I could always use a little help.

Enjoy your time in the dirt! Be Well.
Jessica

putting the farm to bed…summertime


Between the dusk of a summer night,and the dawn of a summer day, a place where “plenty to do” and “nothing to do” intersect…sitting out on the front porch with the tired dogs, lemon-aide, and candles burning…I notice the breeze rippling across through the hay-field next to me, catch the just-distant-enough sound of children laughing. And I realize that, without trying, I’ve shifted into a lower gear. Maybe,as I begin to remember summers of my childhood of us kids all sitting close in the dark, talking,laughing, catching fireflies, hoping, silently the night doesn’t end…wanting this closeness and sheer happiness never to end…to bottle the enchanting, delicious summer nights…simple and luxurious all at once.
This felt like a chance to share something I found so wonderful..summer and childhood. My siblings are spread all over now…hope they are enjoying this summer night.
I should be getting the animals set for the night, I gather grain, the water hose, a wheel barrow of hay, and the tired dogs…it was a hot one…and everyone is drinking in the cool dew and night breezes, relaxing, chewing their cud, or scratching in the grass…
After the minor excitement of the nightly chores; a calm hush seemed to come over our little farm…maybe one last dunk in the pool and call it a day.


summer…aah..


Good night Finn…


just waiting for a crackling fire…


peace…


today’s final burst of joyful energy…


full tummy before bed..


spectacular summer night.

I hope you had a wonderful summer night.
Be well,
Jessica

Showers…


So, beware…this post in not about my farm, my animals, my garden, my children, my husband nor beauty…it is about the shower deficit! Yes, you read correctly; there is in my estimation, a shower deficit. As women we have many things to look forward to…wouldn’t you agree?
Prom…we can buy beautiful dresses, go to the salon to get our hair and nails done…we have a real reason to buy shoes. Real tangible anticipation..no?

Our Wedding…more guilt free shopping, and get this…you can register with stores so loved ones can purchase just what you want… and they decorate and bake and call all your friends to celebrate your wedding…oh, to be a bride!
Our first born; again our loved ones gather to shower us with love, food, good advice and gifts….

Now, here we are..middle age; our pots and pans,linens, kitchen appliances, all seen better days..our beautiful lingerie won’t go past our shoulders…towels…scratchy with ends that have been mended too many times. Not to mention, even as our wares are faltering, our hormones are bidding us adieu… (medically speaking) permanent cessation of the primary functions of the human ovaries ~ and signals the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life…Menopause can then be officially declared…time for a Shower…right? It is after all a right of passage…just like the aforementioned..enjoy some pictures from the lovely shower that started me on this ~er..”journey”…My step-son’s bride – to – be.






…did I mention they bake for you…


..just for you…


..a moment with loved ones…


awe…and precious babies…


…just have to smile…

It is no fun being a cantankerous hell-on-wheels! Especially if you aren’t used to it! Well I knew something was wrong when my usual charming self found it okay to flip the bird to someone that ticked me off on the highway – thank goodness I don’t live in LA or NYC, I’d probably be dead! Or how’s about finding myself befuddled and not able to find common words or recent memory in day-to-day conversations, sure kicks those hot flashes up a notch! Simple to the point, menopause sucks, unless of course you look to the lighter side! ahh..no what was I saying, oh yeah…Showers…

Now, gather your friends and throw a party for yourselves..you deserve it…you and your friends need new things…some chocolate and a glass of wine..sounds like a shower to me!

I was going to give you suggestions, but I can’t remember what they were….oh yeah, mood rings, do you all remember those…wear them now…they can alert any passers by …do they want to mess with you today? It’s not like you didn’t warn them.

Be well, and be sure to let me know how your showers turn out. Oh, hey send me some pictures! I am going to design some invitations for a mine!

A Beautiful Life…and a barn


Our lives can sometimes fall into a routine of sorts; a dance we do with the people we surround ourselves with everyday, a way to get done the tasks we have on any particular day. I sometimes wanted to revolt against these routines. I saw them as the enemy of adventure and of living a spontaneous life. However, as I’ve grown older, and perhaps a little wiser, I’ve found that routines can be quite blissful. I’ve realized that every day events and what we would commonly classify as “normal”, is often extraordinary if you just take a closer look.
I’ve discovered that even if you’re not exactly where you’d like to be, that doesn’t mean that life right now can’t be beautiful or enjoyable. And the best part is, you don’t have to do anything to make it beautiful. It already is beautiful.
All you have to do is open your eyes.


All you have to do is open your eyes.


Realizing that beauty exists in every moment is possible; it simply takes a way of seeing things a bit differently.


Sometimes, the simplest things have the most profound beauty…


I believe llamas are some of the most serene, calming animals I have ever encountered; here is one of the “girls” on our farm…


Sometimes all it takes is a smile..


Harry,Donald,Howard,and Arnold our farm ducks enjoying their day..


My pretty little bantam rooster…actually a very, very sweet guy.


boy,oh, boy…the chicks and ducks would find these as interesting as I find them pretty.


So take a deep breath, go for a walk, experience, relax and take a closer look.


Oh, one last photo; our saga: to dismantle an old fallen barn, and reconstruct it on our farm…the small barn has been dismantled, we loaded the last load of salvageable lumber and barn siding into our stock trailer and now – after unloading this – we can start on the dismantling of the SECOND small barn…to bring home…then building begins. Perhaps an old-fashioned Barn Raising Party in the fall…hmm

Be Well,
Jessica

Come on let’s go see what’s out there!!


I long to travel….perhaps Europe first…I ‘ll start with France…to give my heart and soul a new beginning….that’s what I see in travel. To see, experience, taste, anew…To meet new people with their different cultures…visit their gardens and take in all that is out there….

Just you and your whim…

We all may yearn for travel for different reasons; maybe we want to see the world, see something different, see something change, the new, the exciting, the different, and the adventure ….

Pure anticipation…wondering…then you find yourself having dinner with six new and interesting people.

I always find my self wondering….”Where does this lead….what is behind there?” Hoping it’s a lovely garden…

It’s seeing new sights, hearing new music, and meeting new people—that I find exciting and exhilarating.

….find the beauty everywhere…even if it’s just around the corner…

Perhaps, it is going somewhere different ~ interesting, intriguing, and inviting….that keeps me longing to travel.

Could this be our collective wish?

Beauty…..set in stone…

This is what life is about. we see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people … and be happy to return home.

It’s all about the journey; to see life around me from a different perspective….children do it naturally everyday….I have to train myself . i think.

I suppose there is some irony here; designed to keep me out…yet intrigues me enough to wan to go in…

I hope to travel with those I cherish; eager to see the photos we took and hear about the friends we made. When we travel with the eyes and ears of of loved ones.

I hope that you too can find beauty in the everyday….When I do get to Europe you’ll be the first to know!

Be Well,
Jess