Every bird has their duty.


Today I am sure no one needs to be told that the more birds a yard can support, the fewer insects there will be to trouble the gardener the following year.

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And, every gardener knows that every bird destroyed, and every nest robbed, is an unmistakable surge in insects, a struggle we know only too well.

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Gardeners and farmers have a personal interest, and a strong one, in the preservation of birds.

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The garden is a doorway to other worlds; one of them, of course, is the world of birds.

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The garden is their dinner table, bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries.

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But, if you please, could you kindly leave me some radishes.

Be well,

Jess

Wishin’


I have dreams, I have hopes, and I have aspirations.

Can I wait around for some fairy Godmother to to tap me with her wand?

Nah, probably not; I’ve got things to do, time is awastin’, and I’m not getting any younger.

Because I don’t speak of these things much, (until I am ready to share); it may appear to others that I just jump into things, willy-nilly. This could not be further from the truth, I research ad-nauseam. Make a plan, then research some more.  (Are you nauseous yet?) I am almost ready!  We’ve spoken to our local LDC and are set for our second meeting.

The Llamas are excited. Really they are.

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The goats delirious. Can’t you just see the excitement in their eyes?

Seriously? What?!

Seriously? What?!

No? Look deeper.

I thought we talked about this behavior.

I thought we talked about this behavior.

…and the dogs, well, the  dogs could give a hoot.

Don't worry, Finn; I've got your back.

Don’t worry, Finn; I’ve got your back.

There are no balls, bones, or games involved, so they just choose to ignore the happenings around here.

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They pretend they can’t see the yarn wrapped around their paws, in their water dish, and atop their heads. They lie on top of fabric scraps; try to take freshly stitched sweaters for their own, try to wear cowls, and make chew toys of thread spools. 

Try to temper the excitement Finn, really.

Try to temper the excitement Finn, really.

It is going to be lots of work, lots of fun!

Diesel,

Diesel, “I swear I never saw anything.”

And the best part; I get to do it all in our freshly(to be) built barn.

I know, I know, Lexi…you slept through it all. Right?

I know, I know, Lexi…you slept through it all. Right?

The dogs really do like that part. 

Do I look like I would cause any trouble?  Diesel did it.

Do I look like I would cause any trouble? Diesel did it.

Alright then, let’s get to work.

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Hello…

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Hey?!

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Uhmm, where are you all going? We’ve got work to do.

Ah, well.  There must be something in self-reliance.

“If you are a dreamer come in If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer If you’re a pretender com sit by my fire For we have some flax golden tales to spin Come in! Come in!” ― Shel Silverstein

Be well, Jess

Time


How much do you try to fit in those little shreds and patches of time between the usual things to be done.

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I tossed the laundry in to the basket, grabbed the bowl of pins. loaded up the washer with the next load then headed out to hang them in the sun and breeze.

Summer breeze

Summer breeze

 

Walking back from the clothes line out back near the far pasture; I notice some weeds in the garden. I stop to pull the few I noticed; as I pulled, I noticed more. The seeing, pulling, and shifting went on for some time. My back was sore, then I looked at the clock, I had been at it for 3/4 of an hour. I had missed the rinse cycle on the washer, no softener in this load.

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What continues to astonish me about a garden is that you can walk past it in a hurry to get to the next task at hand, see something wrong, stop to fix it, and emerge an hour or two later breathless, contented, and wondering what on earth happened.

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Do fill the cracks of time so tight you couldn’t slip paper between the minutes? Do you accomplish more when you think you don’t have enough time? 

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I have a list of things to be done a mile long. This list seems to the should haves, at the end of the day I wonder why I didn’t hem those pants (sorry Mike), why didn’t I trim the dog, (sorry Finn), why didn’t I trim his hair, (sorry honey).

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“What may be done at any time will be done at no time.”
– Scottish Proverb

I did however: weed the garden, hang the laundry, help Jenn with her knitting, do the dishes, make the beds, vacuum the rugs, feed the animals, throw the ball for Lexi, clean the chicken coupe, plan dinner, write this post, respond to emails, and its only noon! 

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“It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
– Henry David Thoreau

I have much to learn.

Be well,

Jess

 

New Furry Babes and One of Cast Iron.


With the arrival of warm weather brings with it fluffy babes of gold.

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babes

Buff Orpington chicks.  They are so sweet and docile, and after our experience with Mr. Nasty, ( one time he jumped up, thrust his feet forward – right into my husband’s…yup. Right there.)

So, I did a bit of research; I wanted a more docile friendly breed. I thinks these will do just fine.

We were also lucky enough to add this beautiful girl to our pasture.

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Darby.

She is a half sister to Our Phantom of the Opera; a  big boned, heavenly fine, lustrous fiber. Delicious. Would you just look at that face. ( Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

Last fall she had a haircut, a full body haircut. I can’t wait to see her fiber when it has grown out a bit more. (insert little girl squeal here).

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When I put her in the pasture with the other girls it was clear I’d need to move the Angora goats girls to another pasture; she had no clue what they were and she was not eager to be friends.

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So, they ate my dress. Well, not all of it, just a nibble; but it was an ancient cotton dress and tore easily. I was a little embarrassed to be walking about the pasture with my bottom wobbling in plain daylight. They didn’t care, they gave a look back, stuck out their tongues and walked away.

Do you think that could be a goats version of pants-ing someone? Let’s move on. No need to give them much attention for bad moves.

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We get a little giddy around here when new animals arrive, but I have to say I was over the moon with this arrival.  A vintage 1970’s era, cast iron, work horse of a tiller.

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Troy built. Please dry out this week, garden, please. I wanna till.

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Isn’t she lovely.

Be well,

Jess

It’s Spring, Let’s clean.


The gardens of course. You didn’t think I was dusting, did you? ( I clean a bit every day, so no big spring clean for me.)

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Back to the task at hand. The gardens. (How quickly I am diverted). March weather was so fickle and was terribly miserable here in Upstate, NY. Not much could be done to tidy the garden, really it was mostly covered in snow until the last week end in March. No telling what havoc Old Man Winter has wreaked ’til the snow is gone.

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I have to resist, there is temptation to pull back the mulch protecting fragile plantings, eager to see any sign of new growth. The mulch, the protector, I so carefully lay before the frost, gives shelter from sudden changes of temperature and chilling winds, keeping cozy this fragile growth. It’s still winter here, essentially. The ground was white this morning. (If I quietly turn away, maybe it will take its leave.)

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(I thought of finding a more attractive picture, but this is really how it looks – ugly. Let’s keep it real)

Tempering myself, I’ll slowly remove the mulch as the days and weeks become steadily warmer,
I tell myself, it is much better to remove the mulch a little later than to remove it to early. I try to hurry Mother Nature, to no avail. I love Spring anyway.

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Don’t forget to clean out your birdhouses early before the birds begin nesting again. I haven’t seen the bluebirds yet, but others have.

While it will be awhile before the season of blooms arrive, my garden list is readied for season.  I can’t plant  during this early spring, (I haven’t even been able to get peas in the ground); I bide my time.

Maybe this weekend there will be enough of a thaw.

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Finn Remembers.

The frost line was very deep this year. Even inhibiting maple production) there are some chores I’ll do to get it in shape before the real gardening begins.

Give my old clay pots a wash; a good scrub using a solution of baking soda and water.
I’ll clean around and map out the area for new garden beds. (that may be a good job for the girls, they live for this sort of thing. Don’t you Simone?)

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Don’t let this photo fool you, they really wanna help.

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This is how they work, great team aren’t they?

While I’m at it, I should try to remember where I planted spring bulbs. Do you remember? You were there, weren’t you? If you remember, please share; I wouldn’t want to dig them up.

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I don’t think they were paying attention. Chickens can be like that you know.

Alternating thawing and freezing can tear plant roots and even force the plant right out of the ground. If I notice any plants that have heaved, I push them back right back where they belong – into the soil, and pack the soil lightly with my foot.

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Ooh we can’t wait for green, Revie and I. Of course, she’ll be more interested in nibbling than helping. But, who can blame her.

As soon as I see new growth,  I’ll divide and transplant summer blooming perennials and fertilize (with llama beans) the plants in there forever beds.

Is there a forever in gardens, nah, let’s just move on.

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Spinach, Chard, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and other hardy vegetables will be started from seed late in the month. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

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Well, come on girls, we have work to do.  Hey, wait; where are you going? Girls? Girls?

Be well,

Jess

In Winter’s Cold Shadow…There is Gold.


I find that I am not as patient as I once was; sometimes, I feel as though I am attempting to strain the mud puddle rather than patiently waiting for the mud to settle and the water to clear….Do you ever feel as though you are treading water, when you should be swimming?
Feeling over whelmed, me? “Why”, I ask myself. I know there is no easy road, no magic bullet. I am well aware the frustration I feel is of my own making. . . yet as I concentrate so much energy on my objectives, my world, …stumbling through endless lists.
I have always had lists. That can’t be it; am I just getting older and grumpier? Is this what mid-life, what 50 feels like? If it is I don’t like it one bit. Is it just the solitude that winter brings? Could it be I just need to idle my motor, wait for things to happen as they should, when they should?
Or maybe, just maybe; I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these that let me savor a bad mood….until the afternoon sun turns it to gold.

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Mercedes’ shadow cast on the barn wall.

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Intent on supper…”oh, are you still there?”

Mercedes

Mercedes, always so graceful , never in the front, never pushy, or needing to be the first…always patient and full of grace. I want to be like her.

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Andy, is so frail; he did not have the benefit of his mother’s milk and nutrients pat the age of 2 months. I worry about him in the cold; he is wearing 2 polar fleece vest, a goose down vest, and a rain jacket with the arms cut off, ( all zipped up across his back) to protect him from the frigid temperatures. He sleeps, always, between KatDoll and Camille…they keep him warm.
I am going to have him gelded, so that he never has to leave them.

the crew
Even the chickens head to the llama barn for warmth and protection.

The winter blues. How do you deal with this issue? Or is it not an issue for you? Where do you find your patience?

Be Well,
Jess

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.


I am not complaining, I love my little farm, and all of its critters…yet, there are mornings I would rather not venture out quite so early. Like this morning all damp, and cold. Once I step out of the kitchen door, everything seems as it should and I relax in to the morning’s flow of activity ~ happily ~ if not admittedly a  skosh weary.

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Mind you this is not a glamorous undertaking.
This is how I usually go about my chores:

Farm Fashion, or early chore attire

By the time I get out the sun is usually cresting just above the east hills; the roosters are crowing, the ducks are squawking; and the llamas are chewing their cud quietly greeting the new day. They all know the routine; the girls (llamas) line up at the fence line. The Chickens and ducks come running full steam ahead to greet me raucously at the fence gate; ducks scurrying past the Roosters so as not get pecked.

I call him Mr. Nasty...this could be an entire blog. Let's just say he makes egg gathering an adventure.

I call him Mr. Nasty…this could be an entire blog. Let’s just say he makes egg gathering an adventure.

We use large round bales, and have a covered shed for the girls to munch at their leisure, just outside of their barn. This morning it was empty, wiped clean…guess that is where I will start this mornings chores… The farm truck is at work with Howie, so I’ll cut the twine surrounding the huge bales, then pull down the hay that peels off in fragrant sheets, layer by layer; fill the wheelbarrow and head up the hill to the girls shed – repeated as necessary. Gym membership, who needs a gym membership? My blood pressure is 112/60, my pulse is 62! Who ever would like to save their membership fees…come on over.
snowy morning in December 7
Morning goes something like this…
smooch big dogs
feed big dogs
love
start tea water (and/or have a cuppa coffee)
fill water buckets
fill dog and cat waters
lay out 14 feed bowls
measure out sweet mix for all llamas
measure out beet pulp for all llamas
fill bucket with layer pellets
make tea..(if I haven’t had coffee)
let dogs out
Andy Claus
carry 12 of the bowls to the girls pasture
carry 4 bowls to stud pasture
fill poultry grain feeder
gather eggs as I defend my legs against Mr. Nasty (bantam rooster with king sized attitude) – no eggs today :(
carry water bucket to replenish girls water
carry water bucket to replenish studs water
carry water bucket to replenish poultry water
bring hay to the girls
pick up all bowls
pick water buckets
dogs and I head in…In that moment – animals fed and watered,on this damp cold morning, the smell of hay and the sound of llamas chewing contentedly,dogs frolicking in the yard… I am at peace. Maybe mornings aren’t so dreadful after all.

good morning

Note to self…remember to enjoy tea!

care
Have a blessed day,
Be well
Jess