Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blackberries

Weather has not been optimal this summer for many of my vegetable garden plants. We have tomatoes on the vine, but they are very slow to ripen and do not have the best juicy texture. Vine plants such as squashes and cucumbers have yielded no fruit....too much rain in early summer were their demise. Our blueberries were yummy....but not as plentiful as last year. What has done extremely well, though, are our blackberries. The plants are just loaded with fruit in various stages of ripening.
Today I picked some ripe ones....delicious....sweet and juicy and enormous!
In past years, Japanese beetles have eaten the leaves of the plants causing poor yields...but this summer's weather conditions have been a deterrent for the Japanese beetles...allowing the blackberries to flourish.

The Babies Have Arrived

At 5:30 this morning the phone rang. It was my friendly Postmaster calling to say that I had a package arrive....and it was "cheeping". I hopped in the car and drove to the Post Office...arriving at 5:45 AM and was handed my cheeping package. Carefully placing it on the front seat, I started my drive home...careful to not take any turns too fast....my precious cargo in need of a calm, smooth ride.
Upon arriving back at the farm, I opened my box and began removing the chicks...one at a time...and introducing them to their first drink of water (with a little sugar added for an extra energy boost).
My package contained 30 or 31 (hard to count) guinea hatchlings of two different varieties (one being Pearl and the other, I am not sure.) Happily all but one of them survived the trip.After exploring their water and food dishes, they migrated into their warming hut and promptly fell asleep....dead asleep. What a harsh life they have had so far. Hopefully over the next couple of days, they will eat and drink and sleep their way towards strong and healthy and happy lives.
I am trying something new with this flock of guineas. Once they are big enough to free range, I will turn them out to roam the farm freely. However, each evening they will be enticed back to their house with a tasty white millet treat. Hopefully, closing them up each night will keep them safe from their most prevalent predator....the great horned owl (who hunts by night.)

Here is their house and yard. This yard will be their first introduction to the great outdoors...when they are quite a bit bigger.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Interesting Phenomenon

Summer weather has finally arrived here in Central PA. Temperatures have been in the high 80's and the humidity has risen, also. It is not unusual on a hot afternoon to see this sight....
When the temperature rises, it is not uncommon to see the bees hanging out outside of their hives.....cooling off. This front left hive is a very robust hive and apparently a rather warm one. Here is a closer look...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not All Chicks are the Same!!

Last week we had a chicken tragedy. It seems, that at some point in the evening as the chickens were out free-ranging, two of the neighbors' dogs came onto our farm and had a killing spree. Several of our beautiful layers fell prey to these frenzied, blood thirsty canines. Upon finding the massecre, a call was placed to the police and the neighbors were contacted about the attack. The neighbors were ordered to replace the dead chickens as restitution.
On Friday, twelve chickens were delivered to our farm as replacement. I am sad to say, however that the quality of these chickens is poor....nothing like the quality of chickens that we keep here on the farm.
Here is a pictoral comparison of one of our chickens and one of the new replacements......

Ours: (notice the nice feather and comb colors....also notice the condition of the feathers) Now, here are two of the replacement chickens: (the thing that is most striking is the condition of the comb. Notice how it folds over and is so very pale) Whoever had these chickens before, did not care for them by the same standards as we do. And these two chickens are the best of the bunch!

Well, hopefully after a few weeks, these girls will start to look a little better.

Oh, and speaking of lovely chickens. Here are the babies.....continuing to grow....more stunning every day!

Monday, July 27, 2009

House Tour Continued.....

As promised, here are some picture of the second floor guest room. This room has a more rustic and masculine feel to it.
I hope to find an antique fishing creel and bentwood fishing net to hang above the trunk...beside the fly fishing pole.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Return to Normalcy

Today was the first day in as long as we can remember that we actually had some free time. With the moving behind us, we have once again returned to normal living. I am cooking good meals again (and not quick ones at all hours of the night). We are organized. And, I even had time to pick blueberries and make a large batch of blueberry lime jam for winter. After afternoon farm chores were completed, we took a little time to just sit and enjoy the animals. Here is Jack with Maddie and Ollie.....Nose to nose.....
It never ceases to amaze me how different species can coexist so comfortably together. Usually, there is a cat (TomTom) in this mix, too. However, two minutes before this picture was taken, Maddie had the pleasure of chasing TomTom back to the barn.

We also spent a little time preparing for the arrival of 30 new guineas early Monday morning. Their house is ready to go, complete with food, water, and warming hut.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Something New

At my age, seeing something I have never seen before is a rare event. But, this fellow parked himself on our loghome the other evening. The colors in this picture are true...he was pink and yellow. Don't you just love the fuzzy hairdo on his head....kind of reminds me of my Polish crested chickens! Maybe he is a Polish crested moth. Have you seen one like him before? Do you know what type of moth he is? And, wouldn't you like to see what type of caterpillar he was? I will do a little research and see if I cannot answer those questions for you.

Addendum: He is a Rosy Maple Moth (dryocampa rubicunda).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Living Room

I know...I had planned to show you the upstairs bedroom....but I have decided to bring you through the front door and show you the living room.


Our doorbell is a bee, of course, but the inside chime quacks like a duck when you press the button. Unfortunately, they had no buzzing bee chimes.








All of the pictures in our living room were painted by a local artist, George Losch. He specialized in nature and farm scenes around our county. Flanking the fire place are two of his bird prints....chickadees and cardinals. The fireplace mantle is home to Hubbs' hand carved bird collection. These have been a cherished gift over the years from my Mother.
To the left of the fireplace is an antique child's rocking chair that was my grandmother's as a child. I have had it in my possession ever since I was a child....having spent countless hours rocking away. I still have vivid memories of watching "Lassie" in that rocker.
It is now home to a little fellow named "Honey".

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

House Tour Continued.....

Today's stop on our house tour is the 1st floor guest room. I spent months planning this room and shopping auctions and local antique stores for all of the special touches.
The bed is an iron antique reproduction and is dressed with vintage white linens. The white crocheted coverlet at the foot of the bed was made by my grandmother many years ago. The rest of the linens are also trimmed in crochet. The chest to the left was a great find at a local auction. Here are some closer looks....


Across from the foot of the bed is an antique corner cupboard that had belonged to my mother. It is one of my favorite pieces of furniture and is now home to my collection of vintage bed linens.
On the wall beside the corner cupboard, a few vintage Christening gowns and bonnet hang.

Another of my favorite pieces is an antique Thomas Edison victrola complete with original records. I rescued this piece from my grandparents' basement about 25 years ago. It works by hand crank and amazingly still works perfectly. On top of the victrola, tea is set complete with lovely faux cupcakes.

Wouldn't you like to come for a visit? If you do, you might want to stay in this room. OR.......you might want to stay in our 2nd floor guest room. I will feature this room tomorrow....it was decorated a bit more masculine.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Farm Time"

We live in a world that is divided into time zones. We know when we travel that we will have to adjust to those changes in time zones. What I have come to learn, living on the farm, is that there is yet another time zone....it is "farm time". It seems that no matter what your plans might be, it is wise to make your schedule a "loose" one....because something invariably throws a monkey wrench into that
schedule.

Animals do not live by the clock. They live by their bodily impulses. Meshing a human schedule with animals' needs can be a bit challenging at times.

Today, for instance, I was ready to go into town for a trip to the grocery and hardware store. I stopped by the barn to throw the horses a flake of hay and decided to let Oliver Twist out for a few moments of grazing. He spent a few minutes munching on grass growing around our outdoor horse shower. Then the most peculiar thing happened. He nosed around the stones on the rubber mats, and lay down as if he were going to roll a bit. He stretched out his legs and fell fast asleep....so deeply so, that I could not arouse him. I was ready to head to town, but he was in the midst of a nap....a nap that lasted for 15 minutes....right there in the middle of that warm rubber mat. I suppose the warmth lulled him right to sleep. So I sat there beside him and stroked his soft baby fur....my trip to town could wait. This sweet time was for savoring.

As for "farm time", well, I had planned to share another room with you....but time got away from me and before I knew it, the light was wrong. Picture time will wait until the morning light...that is if "farm time" doesn't wreak its usual havoc. Tomorrow is another day.............

Monday, July 20, 2009

Laundry Day

Drive through the central Pennsylvania countryside any Monday and you will see farm after farm with clotheslines hung with laundry. Traditionally, Monday is laundry day. Bee Haven Acres is no exception to that rule. With my washer and dryer hooked up I am once again able to do laundry. However, I will not be drying the wash out of doors this time, as construction continues on the exterior of our log home....with the addition of our screen porch and several decks.

In honor of laundry day, I thought I would give you a tour of my laundry room.....























In the picture on the left, you see an antique grain bin that has been repurposed as a hamper. Its two internal compartments are perfect for separating whites and darks. Above that hangs an antique clothes dryer...which is often used to dry delicates. On top of the grain bin is my grandmother's antique iron and some old shoe molds as well as a bag of French laundry detergent.
Across the room sits my wooden barrel (photo top right), hand-cranked flywheel washer from the turn of the century (1900). It still works wonderfully, so I will have it as a back-up if we are without power for an extended period of time.
Of course there is always the option of taking my washing boards and a bar of vintage laundry soap to the creek and doing the laundry there!


As you enter the laundry room from the garage, there are 4 old shoe molds with their original pegs, which I have fastened to the wall to use for a place to hang your jacket.

My life-long love of antiques has paid off....my collections now have the perfect home. And although most are just to look at...they still retain their value in usefullness should I ever need to use them.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wooooo Hooooo!! We're Home!

After a long weekend and every moment filled with moving and unpacking....I can officially say "We are home!" It feels great to be here and almost settled. Monday will be filled with furniture delivery, and refrigerator replacement (the new one didn't work) and getting the satellite TV hooked up.

I must apologize for taking so long to refresh this blog...but the work had to be done. At this point, I will begin daily journalling of farm stories....starting with the decoration of the farmhouse.

To start, I will share a picture with you of our farm table. We had a local Mennonite family make it special for us. They told us it was the biggest table they had ever made. It measures 6 ft. by 8 ft at its smallest and with extra board expands to 12 foot in length...perfect for those big family get-togethers! It is hand planed and rather rustic....perfect for a log cabin.
We came up with the idea of making the table so wide after this past holiday season. For our holiday meals we had pushed two tables together side by side instead of the usual end to end. This enabled everyone to see everyone else better and conversation remained centralized...with everyone being able to participate.

We even had the chance to use our table this weekend as a couple of our kids were home to help us move.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Almost There!!

It's hard to believe, but moving day is only one week away. The inside of the house is practically complete....except for some last minute plumbing and electrical hook ups. Unfortunately, our master bathroom toilet is on back order....but at least there are others in the house....so we will not have to use the woods!! Here are a few pictures of some of the fixtures...

Master Bathroom

Guest bath....I found this adorable bucket sink and built the bathroom around it. The vanity is made from old barn wood. The faucet looks like an old pump. And, the mirror is one that we found in the attic of the old log cabin on our property. It is very old and was in need of re-silvering; which we had done. I think it looks nice and rustic...the effect I was hoping for.
Kitchen counter with gas cooktop. Note the pot-filler on the wall behind the stove. This pipe dispenses cold water to any pot on the stove as needed. No more lugging those heavy kettles across the kitchen during canning season.

Black iron farm sink and dishwasher...the faucets still need to be installed....as well as the refrigerator in that space to the right. I love the hickory cabinets against the dark walnut flooring.


The front decks are under construction at the present time....here is how they looked this morning....

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