Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

Did you see the eclipse?
Were you in the path of totality?
If you were, tell me about it!!

We, of course, were not.
I would have loved to have joined in the astronomical fun, but it would have required
a very long drive....many states away.

Here on the farm the light faded a little bit.
At the same time as the eclipse, a few clouds moved into the sky...
but the sun definitely dimmed a bit.

I received a lot of questions about how the animals reacted.

They were completely unaffected...

and went about life as usual.

Interestingly, though, both of our chrysalis(s) opened and butterflies emerged.
I missed them both.
This was all I found...

Tyler spent the day with us.

Check out this tiny nest in his hands...

We find these horse hair nests on the ground after storms.
They blow out of the big old pine tree by the barn.
They are so very tiny...too big for a hummingbird, but too small for much of anything else.
Perhaps a sparrow?

I am always fascinated by the patterns made by fungus.
I found this one on one of the tree stumps near the barn.

Isn't nature fascinating??

Monday, August 21, 2017

Special Delivery

Friday morning found me driving into our little town to pick up a special order...

Home I sped with my box of cheeping chicks...
25 guinea babies... just hatched!
I quickly moved them into the brooder house and introduced them to their fresh feed and water. 

While they are tiny they will have a heat lamp for warmth.
(our nights have been cold most all of this summer)

With only two guinea fowl remaining, 
we decided that this would be the summer for starting a new batch.

Yes, Guinea U. has a new class...they will be the graduating class of 2018.

Eventually, this flock will move into what is now the turkey house (close to the barn).
At that point, the turkeys will move into one of the emptier chicken yards,
and the chickens will all be combined in one yard with two houses.
Tom, Fred and Ethel are going to be a little confused for a while when that happens.

There has been a bit of excitement in the butterfly garden.
Our first (found) chrysalis is just about ready to open.
It has changed from green to black, and the orange markings of the Monarch wings are 
now visible.

While cleaning our front downstairs porch, 
I happened to find another chrysalis hanging from the porch furniture.

What an adventure this is!
We are an official registered Monarch way station now.

We spent Friday evening babysitting our Littles...

what precious times... I am always aware of how quickly these days pass and how
quickly Littles grow into Bigs.

So, we are really enjoying this time while we have it!

Saturday we visited friend a couple hours north of us at their home in Eagles Mere.

Eagles Mere is the most adorable, quaint, historic town in the heart of Pennsylvania.

It is a vacation town filled with adorable cottages... most of which are not winter-worthy.

There are a handful of full-time residents, 
but most are there to enjoy the town and its beautiful lake just for the summer
or a portion of the summer.

Saturday evening we went to a concert featuring Minnesota's

This young lady has a set of pipes on her that will leave you speechless.
accompanying herself on the piano....AMAZING!
Her band members join in on vocals, bass, trombone, trumpet and drums.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of her shows...
I promise, you will not be disappointed!

By Sunday, we were ready to just stay home with our critters.

The weather was perfect.

We did a little garden harvesting.
the Chinese red noodle beans were ready...

as well as tomatoes and peppers.

I turned the garden's bounty into a big Nicoise Salad

It's great growing one's own food!
It's a good life...different than most people we know...
and we wouldn't trade it for anything!

Friday, August 18, 2017


I have noticed lately that the Muscovy ducks,
apparently quite comfortable with their new home, 
have begun venturing out on morning sojourns.

It's not unusual to see them in the front pasture searching for tasty insects.

Yesterday morning, they marched past the donkeys,
who were out in the front pasture enjoying their cool morning grazing time...

and continued on to the barn...
about a football field's length away from the pond.

While at the barn, they stopped for a visit with the Nellies...
who were, of course, quite nervous at the appearance of these strangers.

The Nellies would peek out of the barn aisle, 

and then go running back into their stall for safety.

They repeated this behavior several times until comfortable with the Muscovies' presence.

The Nellies, themselves, always take their own morning sojourn.
They have gotten quite bold of late and venture all over the barnyard.

The curious interchange between the two duck groups 
went on for about a half hour,
as I watched from the cover of the garden.

I had been there enjoying the wealth of morning glories

who have climbed on just about every vertical surface available.

The garden is looking quite magical surrounded by its vine-covered fence.

It's fun to observe the behavior of my animal friends each morning during chore time.
With some, the routine is always the same.
For instance, each morning the pigs and sheep gather around their common gate...
waiting for it to be opened.

At which point the sheep venture into the pig yard...

and the pigs go searching the sheep yard...

for tasty apples that may have dropped onto the ground during the previous night.

The routine is the same each morning,
and no one is satisfied until the gate is opened.

These animals give me so much joy...
just watching them go about their day is magical.
Different species... tolerating each other... accepting their differences...
and coexisting in peace.
If only humans......

I am so very happy to be back on the internet once again... 
and as a bonus, with a high speed service.
It no longer takes me an hour to upload blog photos!
Life is good! (in so many ways...least of all the internet.)
Have a wonderful weekend...
ours is chockfull of fun!
We'll be back Monday to share our adventures.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hello Again!

Oh how I would love to share my internet woes with you...
but I vowed to keep this blog free from complaining. 
So... I will just share the fact that I have no internet (still)
and that this blog is coming to you via my neighbor's internet...
which is no small feat since I have to carry my whole computer over to their house.

But, I have missed you this week...
so here I am.

We've had a spell of wonderfully (unseasonable) cool weather this month.
Cool....with lots of rain!

(last weekend's rain)
The garden is quite happy.

On a drier day, I trimmed pig hooves...
something that has to be done every few months.

I try to do this task when Amanda is home for a visit
(which she was for the past 10 days).
Hoof trimming is quite easy to do once a pig is on it's side for a belly rub.

Amanda rubs... I trim.

Using a foal sized hoof trimmer I cut away excess growth of hoof...
making sure not to get to close to the quick.

MaryAnn and Ginger are quite trusting...
and as long as they are occupied with a belly rub, they cooperate.

Annie has been happy to have Amanda home...

offering each day to be her running partner.

The two of them head out into the countryside, running the trails through the woods.
About a half hour later they both return... panting.

Yesterday while waiting for the internet repairman (who, by the way never showed)
I roasted tomatoes and sliced sweet red peppers to freeze for winter cooking.

With Hubbs' help, we cleaned and chopped 7 quarts of hot peppers...

making our hot pepper relish... our favorite condiment.

This batch was a milder batch with jalapeƱos, cherry bombs, cayenne, Anaheim,
and chili peppers.

The next batch will be hotter and will include our yet-to-ripen
Ghost peppers...

and Carolina Reapers (world's hottest pepper!)

While I was harvesting peppers, I found a neck pumpkin growing on 
a few of the tomato vines...

Things are just growing crazy with all of the rain we have had!!

Lastly, to answer a few questions from Monday...

Tyler's puppy, Chester, will not be living at the farm, but instead will live with
Tyler and his Mom.
We are hoping that he will be a regular farm visitor!
(By the expression on Oakley's face, I would say that Oakley hopes it's not too often!)

As for the DNA test kit that we use for breed identification, it is this:

I am hoping that by the end of today I will once again have internet.
I have to tell you... I miss the internet more than I thought I would.
We have become so spoiled by having information at our fingertips at any given moment.
This week has been a little like being marooned on a deserted island!
Keeping fingers crossed that I will be back here tomorrow!


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