Break out the Inspiration Box

Break out the inspiration box; I’m looking for Spring.

It has to be here somewhere, it just does. No matter that thermometer out side my door reads 7 degrees. Look away.


It is Spring tomorrow, the calendar said so.


I hear birds singing their chilly songs.


There are animals who are waiting to awaken; the sun’s warmth waiting to tell them it’s time.



Be gone with you Old Man Winter, how can we miss you if you never leave. Don’t worry you won’t soon be forgotten.


We have seeds to start and gardens to sow.



There are babies to be born and eggs to be laid.

Spring ducklings

My crocus’ are desperate to break from the frozen depths.

softly coated

Where is Spring? If you have seen her, could you please tell she is missed.

Be well,



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.

October snowfall 1

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
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!

Have a blessed day,
Be well

Meanwhile, back on the farm…

Wonderful Wednesday…this can only mean it’s time to meet a few more of the animals that call Misty Maples Farm home.
Okay ~ Here we go.

Miss Mercedes.

Lil’ Mum, a sikie; who lays the tiniest of eggs.

Andy, how cute is he?

Lexi, when she was but a pup! mwah.

Sophie, whadjudo? I don’t think you belong in the garden.

Doesn’t this look refreshing!? Okay, now let’s see who we have here…Princess and Mercedes, with Camille’s and Breezy’s rumps.(shhh, don’t tell them I posted this)

Daisy,Jemima, Arnold, and Benjamin ~ yup, they are all girls.

Mercedes,Katdoll, and Camille (the bay colored girl)

The girls, with mostly boys names.

Lexington. Always waiting for someone to play.

KatDoll with Little Andy.

Lexi, Lexi, Lexi…

Uhhhmmm? Lex?

Hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday.

You need a strong foundation, and back, and arms, and a hammer.

The important thing is that you have a strong foundation…

I have always wanted a Arbor covered with sweet juicy grapes in my garden.
This past weekend we made it happen. Of course us being us; we used only up-cycled materials. The posts we purchased for a dollar a piece from a sheep farmer nearby, the bolts and such were salvaged from earlier dismantling projects, the top braces were with the fencing we picked up for a song… I love these types of projects; not very time consuming, nearly instant gratification, and every one likes to get involved. Well, except for Lexi, as you will see from the photos.

I planted Concord, and Niagra ( a white grape). Niagra grapes were created by cross breeding Concord grapes with a white grape the Cassidy variety; in the 1800’s. A sweet -tart, think Welch’s grape juice taste…mmmm mmmm I can hardly wait.

Concord grapes remind me of grapes picked as a child to be made into grape jelly.
The Concord grape is a robust and aromatic grape whose ancestors were wild native species found growing in the rugged New Hampshire soil. Being born in NH, something these grapes and I have in common. (just thought you’d wanna know)
Developed on a farm outside Concord,NH…down the road from the Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Alcott homesteads, can you ask for better company?
Early ripening, to escape the killing northern frosts, but with a rich, full-bodied flavor, the hardy Concord grape thrives where European cuttings had failed to survive. I am so happy they did!
Experts found that the antioxidants present in the skin and juice of the Concord grapes have brain boosting powers that helps in improving memory. Perhaps, if I eat enough of them I will remember what I am doing from one room to the next. Did you ever have one of “those” moments; you walk upstairs, or into the kitchen to retrieve something., then have absolutely no idea why you went there!? Grapes, I will eat many, many grapes.

Concord grapes…:)

NY Niagra Grapes…hopefully my Arbor will resemble this!

I tried to capture the steps we took in creating our Arbor…certainly their are many shapes and sizes of structures to be considered if you are to ever plant grapes. I wanted an arbor that would act as an entrance to the garden; i think it will do nicely.

The Arbor.

Daisy, taking in all of the happenings from a distance; she is healing quite nicely form her traumatic encounter with a predator…you can read about that here: ( hope I linked that correctly)

Does Andrew measure up? You betcha.

William, our neighbor giving my husband a hand…

Lexi calls it quits!

After completing the arbor,late on an 85 degree Sunday afternoon, my tireless husband turned to me and asked, “Are you ready to shear a few llamas?”
Me, “nope”.
I am ready for a nice glass of wine. ;)

Be well,

Tragedy and Triumph

Last night certainly had its ups and downs…

My youngest sister stopped by the farm early in the evening to share  her daughter’s joy and pride.  Special Olympic Medals. Courtney was born with a chromosomal disorder.  Trisomy 10p,  about 90 percent of children do not survive , passing away before or during birth and those that do live past birth suffer serious symptoms. Most children with Trisomy 10p die in the first three months of life, and only 10 to 20 percent survive past the first year. It is extremely rare.

Courtney was beaming as she showed me her Silver and Bronze medals; won in the Special Olympic  sports of softball and running. So, to say this is a triumph is an understatement. I was so proud, we shared an ice cream to celebrate!

Later in the evening , when the farm animals are usually putting themselves to bed…(the ducks and chickens waddle and cluck their way into the small barn) I go out at dusk to be sure the barn doors are secure and all gates are closed, waters full.

Last night, started out with Mr. Nasty throwing his weight around…bullying the ducks from their beds.

The ducks retreated into the llama pasture for safety. I walked behind them encouraging them to waddle into the back barn, where there is a sleeping area with  a little exit door….Here you see Malokai thinking he should sleep in there…

Mali, you are not a chicken or a duck…

You didn’t fit, did you….?

I was satisfied they would be safe inside; I checked waters and llama gates, then headed into the house. Put on my pink flannel jammies and set about to put my feet up with a big mug of chamomile tea…

…my moment of relaxation didn’t last long…what a ruckus!  My son Justin and I ran out back  to see what in tarnation was happening!   2 ducks were near their swimming pool ~ quacking to beat the band.  Wait ~ “2” ducks?  Justin one of my ducks is gone?  Don’t panic Jessica, remain calm…too late!  JUSTIN!!!!!! MY DUCK IS MISSING!!!!

He runs to get the lantern as I try to find my way around in the dark…Jenni is just coming home…she meets Jus on the porch as he is running out back with the  light…Jenn joins in the search…

I hear the fence snapping…so I head there, “duck feathers”!..broken fence…frantic llamas!  Justin follows the trail of feathers…to the edge of the woods….”QUACK”   “Mom, she’s in here…”  “MOM!” ” She’s in here with a coyote!”  He begins hollering and yelling…the predator drops the duck…..”Mom, she’s hurt”.  “I can’t believe I was 4feet from a coyote with no gun! I can’t believe we found her!” I can’t believe she’s alive!”    “I can’t believe I was 4 feet from a coyote with NO gun!”     I hurried into the brush to gather up a bleeding and scared little duck.

Justin fixed the fence, Jenni put the other 2 chickens in the small barn…Mr. Nasty be damned, and I brought daisy into the house to clean her off and assess her injuries…a few puncture wounds and probably a bit of shock.  Becky, my neighbor and I applied an antibiotic ointment to the wounds and placed her in bed of dry straw in a dog crate with water and food. I will keep her in the house for the night.

Not too much sleep last night…with every quack my dogs jumped and so did I.  We all ran downstairs at about 2am she was making a racket…though she was in some terrible pain or something. She laid an egg.   Let’s go back to bed dogs!

I let her out as the sun was rising this morning; she found her friends, then set about searching for delicious bugs for breakfast!  I hope she recovers well, I think I will clean her again tonight.

Did I tell you my husband is away…why does everything happen when my husband is away?

Be Well,


City Mouse ~ Country Mouse

They say variety is the spice of life. And as much as like to get away from time to time; I am always eager to come home. To the familiar,the comfortable,… I take a deep breathe and the pace slows.
Apparently, once you’ve been part of a farm, it sticks, like pollen on a bees feet.
I love my life here, for it’s differentness from town or city life…a magical place. A place that I love to share with others.
A come as you are, as often as you’d like kinda place. Do I sound Idealistic? (I bet if you google the meaning, my picture would be there smiling back at you.) I tend to form visions,create dreams…always reluctant to to let these go. They have to be! They must. Do you know what I mean; “On my farm I will have beautiful creamy white ducks, fluffy white chickens, elegant, stately llamas, joyful, exuberant dogs frolicking about, children running free, free to get dirty, free to play, free to help out with chores,…clean,cute barns. A farm with friends and family enjoying lemonade with dinner on the porch with a freshly baked pie for dessert”.
Mostly what I get is, blisters, calluses, dogs chasing the chickens, whilst I chase the dogs, pooh in the barn as I am emptying the wheel barrow full of pooh, from the barn just mucked out..llamas in dire need of their spring haircuts and good wash, taking a moment to have a now cold grilled cheese sandwich followed by my now cold coffee, sitting on the concrete stoop- cuz my bums too dirty to sit in the cushioned chair. Yet, I am smiling from ear to ear. I love this place!

Prepare to get cozy.

simple blossom

look up!

shine through...

Dutch influence.

let's swing!

looking through the pretty at 55mph.

sculptured roadways

unlikely bonds...

Gio soft and sweet

walkin through life..


a rusty little fairie

lovely colors..

As with so many things, what is true in life is reflected in what I try to capture through photography. We can see incredible things around us everyday…{sunlight through a leaf,patina in a centuries old buildings, unlikely bonds} memories in the making. All we need to do is slow down long enough to notice.

Be Well,

nothing stays still for long..

Spring is here; it is officially the first day of Spring! we have been very busy here, tilling, planting early spring veggies, starting later season crops,herd health activities (wormings and such)… and the list goes on.
I always have plenty of help and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Here Andrew is thinking and then asking: “Jessica, what do you want to do now?”

We set out to follow a bee busily collecting pollen.

As we were very near the girl’s pasture,they wanted to know what we were doing…

From there; because a 4 year old will be a 4 year old, we filled a little pool for the ducks (yup, it was that warm, in NY in March).

As the afternoon progressed, we watched as Howie tilled up the garden, as only he can…

Tie up the stakes…they need to support our peas. Thank you.

My youngest sister, my personal Master Gardener, helps me set the onions, and wrestle chickens, that’s another story…

After a long, warm beautiful day…

Have you begun spring chores? Do you have any traditional spring rites?
Enjoy this glorious day, it is supposed to be near 80 here!
Be Well,