Monday, July 23, 2018

If They Can....

Then, so can we!
The most powerful force in the universe is simply...

If two animals as different as these two
can co-exist with tolerance and acceptance...
then shouldn't we humans be able to do the same?

See?  I told you that animals have much to teach us!

We had a quiet weekend on the farm...
and I got my wish.
It poured on Saturday and quenched the thirst
of our parched, hard-as-concrete ground.

Then on Sunday, we received a few more brief drizzles.
And it looks like there is more in store for us this coming week.

The pouring rain could not have been much fun for these two vigilant nest-sitters.

And has made it impossible for me to pick that patty pan squash growing right next to her.

They have been sitting for a couple of weeks now.
I don't know exactly when they began their vigil...
but hatching should occur 28 days after they began.
We'll keep you posted!

By the way, this gal is sitting on at least 35 eggs!

Wowzers... that's potentially a lot of guinea hatchlings!

The cool that has accompanied this rainy weather has been a welcomed relief
for these two gals.

I used the rainy days to do some baking.
We are heading to the beach with our family at the end of this week,
so I have been preparing food and freezing it to take along.
I had an idea to make stuffed soft pretzel logs for a lunch.
I baked thirty of them...

with four types of stuffing:
ham and cheddar and mustard
turkey and swiss and mustard
pepperoni and mozzarella and sauce
Ham and mozzarella and pesto

I have to confess... I ate one.
I had to taste them... just to make sure they were worthy of sharing with my family.
They were.
Now I am considering eating them all myself!
Actually, the rest are in the freezer awaiting vacation.

A fellow who helps us take down diseased trees saved me some hollow logs
from another job he had done.
We picked them up Saturday morning... all 17 of them... and they were very heavy oak.

It looks like next year's landscaping will have to include these.
Won't they look beautiful planted with those lush profusion zinnias?
Now I'll just have to figure out where to place them.

And yes, if you are looking closely at that photo, you will notice that the bunny
gate that I had constructed a couple of years ago is
firmly encased in a patch of weeds.
It didn't work out this year for tilling the pumpkin patch.
However, there's always next year!

I have plenty in the garden on which to focus this year, instead.
There's a bumper crop of eggplant this year.
Have you grown eggplant?
Every year when I plant it... it looks as though it is going to perish for the first month 
or more.
And then, one day, it just takes off and grows like crazy.

Last night I made chicken pomodoro with vodka cream sauce...
with fresh onions, tomatoes and basil from the garden.
I roasted fresh picked carrots and kohlrabi as well.
Oh, how we love eating from the garden each day.

It looks as if it's time to bring a few fresh bouquets into the house.

The zinnias have exploded!

Don't fresh flowers just fill your heart with joy?
May your heart be filled with love, as well!!

We have lots of it to share.

Friday, July 20, 2018

A Feeling

There are days when I haven't got much to say.
That may shock some of you who know me well...
but, it's true... some days are less about words and more about feelings.

Have you ever taken a selfie with a pig?
Yesterday was one of those picture perfect days...
not too hot, not too humid, slight breeze, sunniest of sunny days...
almost cloudless sky...
the kind of day you want to copy and put away in a safe place...
so that you can pull it out and visit it at any given moment...
(like the middle of January!)

I was filled with a very strong feeling throughout most of the day...
extreme, profound gratitude.

for this life, this day...
my family, my friends... the people who make up my wonderful, wacky world.

Gratitude for my home...
a home that we dreamed of, designed, built from wood and filled with memories...
a place that feels like a living, breathing entity of its own.

Gratitude for the mutts that have found their way into our lives...

For the animals who are always happy to see us....

And even for the ones who could care less...

For garden goodness which nourishes our bodies...

as well as our souls...

Gratitude for having all of the senses that we are blessed with...
so that we can truly enjoy the color that bursts forth
in this season of growth.

It's so important to open ourselves to what's around us...
to really see what is there and remember it with our mind's eye....
to live life in appreciation and gratitude.
It's my belief that this is the key to happiness.

It's days like this that help to warm us when the cold January winds blow...
when blue sky and sunshine seem so far away.

I am grateful for both.

Have a lovely weekend!
I am hoping for a little rain.
We'll be back on Monday with more Tales.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Morning Busy-ness

Our mornings are cool and lovely right now.
Our first chore of each day is to bring the horses down from the upper pastures
where they have spent the night grazing.

We bring them in before the onslaught of flies and gnats begin...
and the horses are always ready for us.
As soon as they see us approaching, they trot down to meet us.

This is one of my favorite morning chores...
especially when everyone is happy and healthy and nothing crazy has happened during the night...
like last week's muzzle debacle.

Peace has returned to the herd.
Everyone is sound and getting along fine with everyone else.

It's hard to believe that just a month ago,
we had several tiny Mallard rescues in our barn.

And now... those mallards have grown mature feathers and are just about full sized.
And with that, comes time for freedom...
time to just be a duck.

Yesterday morning we opened the door to the duck hut and allowed the ducks
their freedom.

We did not wait to see if they would emerge,
because this group of ducks is very wild and very timid.
(We purposefully tried to allow them their wildness...
knowing it would serve them well once released.)

It's good for prey animals to retain a healthy dose of stranger fear...
in order to avoid the clutch of predators.

Hours later, I went back down to the pond and found them on the opposite shore
paddling around in the shallow water.

Later in the afternoon they covered the entire pond,
swimming to and fro.

It seems they are content with their home.
Now, if they just have the good sense to stay in the water where it is safer for them.
And although I would love to shelter them from any potential harm,
these are wild ducks and will have to learn their way in the world.
At least they know where to find a good meal if they should need one.

Our barn ducks are getting along quite well.
They get several hours of time out and about each day.

Then by mid afternoon, we close them back up in their yard to keep them safe
from late afternoon fox visits.

We do the same with the turkeys.
Out in the morning... back in by mid afternoon.

Unfortunately, because it is absolutely impossible to herd chickens,
these gals are staying safe in their own yard all day.
For now.

I am loving these cool mornings.
Just wandering around looking at what's blooming makes me happy.

Colors are soft and muted in the early morning light.

I have to thank Jack for how wonderful this garden looks this summer.
He has been vigilant about watering each and ever plant.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

I Love A Rainy Day

Yesterday morning we were greeted by two wonderful things.
This fellow....

and drizzly rain.

After weeks of dry, with the ground starting to feel like cement...
a little rain was just what we needed.
I used the indoors time to do a little attic clean-up.
I have to tell you a little secret.
I save tissue paper.
Yes, I iron it and re-use it.
And so, yesterday I ironed about 50 sheets of used tissue paper and
re-organized my gift wrapping supplies.
Crazy, right?

Noontime brought the mail carrier to the door with a surprise package.

I entered and won a contest on Farm Made's website 

for this picnic hamper

stuffed with Farm Made goodies.

goats milk lotion, soap, bath balls, and washcloths.
What a great surprise!

It's been a very long time since I have won anything,
so I was super excited to receive an email telling me that the picnic basket was being sent to me.

I can hardly wait to pack a picnic in this sweet ole' hamper
and head out to some remote spot on the farm for an old fashioned picnic!


Our poor birds are all on lock-down in their yards...
no free ranging for ducks, hens, or turkeys for a while.

Mr. Fox has been very busy shopping for his dinner amongst my birds of late.
(I know this by the occasional mass of feathers left behind by some unlucky gal.)
And until he learns that this restaurant is closed to his business,
the girls will have to remain in their own safe yards.

We have seen more foxes this year than ever before.
I suppose it's a good year not only for tomatoes and cucumbers,
but also for foxes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

An Explosion

It's hot and humid right now...

which makes for the perfect weather for a garden explosion!

Tomatoes have started ripening; and with almost 40 plants,

we should be enjoying tomatoes over the next 3 months.

It's been the perfect summer for the garden.

I have more cucumbers than I can use.

This was just what was ready yesterday.

Squash and peppers are also abundant.

 With almost 100 blueberry bushes that have finally reached a mature size,
we have enough blueberries for a village!
Next year we may have to open our blueberry field for a pick-your-own day.
We picked 20 pounds of blueberries yesterday and there were still many more left on the bushes.
(Needless to say, the freezer is full of blueberries!)
What to do with so many blueberries and zucchini?

Make blueberry zucchini muffins! (recipe here)
They are delicious... and I substituted one of the cups of flour with whole wheat...
and used coconut oil for the vegetable oil.

I also made this recipe of blueberry bars.

And my recipe of blueberry buckle.

All of this went into the freezer for later consumption.

With regular watering, we have been able to keep our flower gardens blooming.

Showers are predicted for today.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Last winter we lost the electricity to our upper goat pens and chicken pens.
We ran extension cords above the ground to get through the winter.
Now we are in the process of having new electrical lines laid to these areas.
It's never too soon to start planning for the next season...
and electricity is a necessity during the winter!

Last week I mentioned that I am a little worried about my goat, Ash.
She's still hanging in there and seems in no distress.

It's funny, though, she keeps herself separate from the rest of the herd.
There's really nothing we can do for her but allow her the peace she seeks.

I saw this online last night and wanted to share it with you.
A thought for today....


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