Blue and Gold

While I am not sad to see it go, (hopefully, it will go) snow does have its own beauty.


The setting sun casts its long shadows across the crystalline field. I suppose we should appreciate these views, for mud season will soon be upon us.


I think the animals can sense a change is near. Supper time now can happen in the light and my hands and feet are not quite frozen when the last one is watered and fed. I hope that we have seen the last of the negative temperatures, though morning before last was -17 at morning feed time.


Revie, needs a good spring cleaning! I took her warming jacket off as its going to be in the high 30’s and 40’s this week. I haven’t seen her undressed since December.


Revie’s Mom, never far from her first cria.
Looking at these photos, I get a bit excited thinking of shows and fairs.
Last year, we took KatDoll to a large national show in Iowa. A long haul for us; we live in Upstate New York. KatDoll seemed off, we thought it was just the trip. She hardly ever kushed (lied down) during the long the trailer ride, which was half way across the country. Weird right. She did ok at the fair, but she really wasn’t herself. We planned to board her at a friends farm, after the fair; to breed with her beautiful male. Off she went for her intimate vacation.

We were expecting a May baby of this year (2015).

I really never gave it much more thought; until one morning before opening the shop, I went to the barn to collect eggs and to grain the animals. I looked though the open window at the girls. Looked back to the task at hand… suddenly it hit me. There is a baby in there! What? How can this be? The cria was standing almost under her Mom, so I knew whose baby it was instantly. I ran wildly back into the shop to tell Jenn. I think she thought I had finally lost it.


A beautiful, baby she was. A young male had been precocious enough to set up a secret rendezvous. We knew who the cheeky suitor was. Though he wasn’t telling. Long story short; the reason KatDoll wasn’t herself, at the show was readily apparent; we had unknowingly trailered a her at 9 months pregnant half way across the country. Uggh. How awful. Luckily all was well.


Be well, Enjoy the day.

Baby, it’s cold outside…

I Do Not Mind You, Winter Wind

(Jack Prelutsky)

I do not mind you, Winter Wind
when you come whirling by,
to tickle me with snowflakes
drifting softly from the sky.

I do not even mind you
when you nibble at my skin,
scrambling over all of me
attempting to get in.

But when you bowl me over
and I land on my behind,
then I must tell you, Winter Wind,
I mind . . . I really mind!

The wood furnace is dancing with flames, hardly struggling to keep our little cottage farmhouse warm. But boy, is it cold outside; it was -17 in the pre-dawn hours and up to a brisk -5 as I headed out to do morning chores, and check on the chicks and ducks, needed to be sure I didn’t have any “chooksicles”. All was as it should have been; animals in their nests of hay. It even looked as though Syria, our oldest llama had made her own nest of hay; though it was supposed to be her and everyone else’s breakfast..silly girl.

After the chores were done, both outside and in..I settled in to sip hot tea and knit. I am trying to finish a lacy patterned brushed suri, ear warming, head band for Jenn. Then a bit of spinning,I have finished a skein of llama/merino blend yarn(I am not sure what I am going to make that into).

Funny how each season sets it’s own rhythm on a farm. Nature eases you from one season to the next, each with it’s own flurry of activity. Reminding us to enjoy, if you wish, the comfort of home on a cold winter’s day, the refreshing nip of the wind in October, and the warmth of the sun’s rays in May. ( May plantings,oh shivers xoxox)

Time to warm the Earl Grey…

A blend of llama and merino…

Chester, is grateful for his spring shearing…He would be way too hot in his fiberluscious coat all summer.

Thank you for the fiber LLala..(Shangrala)

llama rovings
Llama rovings…

Merino rovings purchased at the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool festival.

kromski My Favorite wheel…a Kromski castle style single treadle.

my wheel 2
..such a pretty wheel,they make.

wheels 2
flyer, whorl, and maidens…

Kromski wheel 2.0

lazy kate
The lazy kate…used when plying the fiber.

Be well, stay warm.

Rainy day with nothing to do …

Remove dead and non-productive vegetable crops.
Apply manure and compost to our clay soils.
Planting crops for late autumn harvest: lettuce, swiss chard, spinach
Drying peppers and squash.
Start new strawberry beds.
Dig up and divide garlic, perennials, iris, daylilies, bulbs, and…
Keep watering properly even as the weather begins to cool.
Clean up all dead fruit.
Fruit trees fed and mulched…

worm and trim llamas feet,
breed 4 girls for early fall cria,

order more minerals,
rake around llamas barns..keeps bugs and slugs down…then,
Remove any dead shrubs and trees.
Mulch trees and shrubs.
Raking fallen leaves and add to compost pile.
Purchase bulbs from nurseries.
Remove spent blooms from roses.
Weed vegetables and shrubs, mow lawns.
clean chicken and duck house,
Start to prepare sheds, tools, and equipment for Winter weather.
locate heated water buckets,
Repair roof on garden shed….oh, and

stack the remainder of wood for heat…

My daughter, Julianne; looking for usable old barn wood; she and Josh are making a table.

Family photo

It is September after-all.
Be Well,

Why do they they do it….for love.

Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming.

They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants.

They love to live in the presence of animals.

They love to work outdoors.

They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable.

They love to live where they work and to work where they live.

If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.

“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago.

Until then, where was all the food?

Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World.

‎A farm is a manipulative creature. There is no such thing as finished.

Work comes in a stream and has no end. There are only the things that must be done now and things that can be done later. The threat the farm has got on you, the one that keeps you running from can until can’t, is this: do it now, or some living thing will wilt or suffer or die. Its blackmail, really.

A farmer friend of mine told me recently about a busload of middle school children who came to his farm for a tour. The first two boys off the bus asked, “Where is the salsa tree?” They thought they could go pick salsa, like apples and peaches. Oh my. What do they put on SAT tests to measure this? Does anybody care? How little can a person know about food and still make educated decisions about it? Is this knowledge going to change before they enter the voting booth? Now that’s a scary thought!

Commercial farming as I see it…but a temporary blip until the land is used up, the water polluted, the neighbors nauseated, and the air unbreathable. The farmhouse, the concrete, the machinery, and outbuildings become relics of a bygone vibrancy when another family farm moves to the city financial centers for relief…

Commercial agriculture can survive within pluralistic American society, as we know it – if the farm is rebuilt on some of the values with which it is popularly associated: conservation, independence, self-reliance, family, and community. To sustain itself, commercial agriculture will have to reorganize its social and economic structure as well as its technological base and production methods in a way that reinforces these values…

Alright, I will come down off the soapbox now…it seems a long time between posts lately; but with tomatoes and squash coming out of my ears and our youngest to get off to college, days have seemed too short. As I harvest the vegetables, I can’t help but think about something I read awhile ago. A writing by Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution. In this he wrote,” If each person were given one quarter-acre, that is 1 1/4 acres to a family of five, that would be more than enough land to support the family for the whole year. If natural farming were practiced, a farmer would also have plenty of time for leisure and social activities within the village community. I think this is the most direct path toward making this country a happy, pleasant land.” I can’t help but agree.

Be well,

Blow outs and pedicures…

Part of caring for and sharing your life with animals involves some rather, well, distasteful chores..other than the obvious scooping of the poop(we’ve already talked about that,haven’t we) We must also, trim the llamas nails. Yup, nails; they don’t have hoofs, camelids ( llamas, alpacas,vicunas, camels) have two toes and soft pads ~ as you’ll see in the photos to follow. My husband is quite expeditious in completing this chore…3 snips per foot; once across each side, then one last clip across the top of the nail. Voila llama pedicure; do you think the girl llamas would look cute with pink polish? Me too! Though, I don’t think they would enjoy that much.

On our farm we shear once (at least) each year. We try to give them a good shampooing the day before, the fiber is cleaner for harvesting, and it’s easier on the clippers. Less grime and grit. To obtain the best fiber, your llama should be as clean as you can possibly get them.

Blow outs! Ah yes, first we blow the llama out. They have so much dirt and hay particles in there! You see llamas LOVE to roll in the sand or just plain old dirt; they think it adds to their beauty. Then I brush them out a bit while using a de-tangling spray. The brushing sometimes takes hours to days depending on the animal and density of the fiber. The llama in my last photo “Bandit” took several days to complete.

After all of this, at long last, it’s time to shampoo! I try to pick a warm sunny day. A quick blow out and a good scrub. Any type of shampoo will work, though there are “special” shampoos just for llamas. For my white llamas I use a whitening shampoo (with blueing). For most others I use a conditioning shampoo (the inexpensive kind). Next step, I apply a conditioner and just sort of rake it through the fiber…rinse! (thoroughly rinse -not always as easier as it sounds) Almost done (unless there is a show) they are set free to dry naturally in the sun.

Oh Yes, one more thing….they will immediately upon returning to the pasture, seek out their favorite place to roll; look up at me, bat their long lashes and smile…as if to say, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”

No worries, all the newly deposited dirt comes out fairly easily.

If the animal is fairly light wooled and depending on the temps, sun, and time of day…you can clip them the same day.
Most of the time, we wait until the next day.
Wow, I’m tuckered; good thing this only happens once a year!

Little Andy showing off his lustrous waves. :)

My Kromsky Minstel Wheel…((love))



Camille won’t mind if I show you her un-manicured feet…( I hope)

A little snip here, a little snip there..

Andrew…Why? “Jecasa”

He is just too sweet for words…really, I have none.

Ah, Andrew…because; that’s why.

Here is the first llama , I delivered…he was such a big cria…his Mom is the “foot model” above. :)

Are you as tired as I am? Ok, let’s do this again next year, shall we?
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,