Friday, May 24, 2019

Piggy Kisses

It's fly mask season once again.
The equines wear their fly masks during the daytime to keep
the insects from driving them crazy.

Yesterday afternoon a storm was brewing and it began to rain,
so Jack took everyone's fly masks off.

There's nothing worse than wearing a soggy fly mask!

Of course, Chloe did not have to have hers removed,
because Chloe is just not about to wear a fly mask.

No amount of bribery will convince her that it is even remotely a good idea.
No fly mask for Chloe.
This is nothing new.  At some point last year she just put her foot down
and refused.
Donkeys never forget!

After the equines came in from the pasture yesterday,
we went out and cleaned up manure.
At this time of year we try to keep the pastures clean at all times.
Doing so helps to keep away the parasites.

While we were there, we ran into this fellow.

The dogs were quite curious, but were instructed to "leave it".
After all, there is no good reason to stress-out a turtle!

When the horses leave the front pasture,
the pigs and sheep get access to it.

And of course, seeing us there cleaning up manure...
MaryAnn just had to come say hello.

I gave her a start, however.
She didn't seem to recognize me at first with a hat on.
It startled her and she backed away so that she could get a good look
at who was beneath the hat.

Once she realized it was me, she flopped down on her side for a belly rub,

and a kiss. (of course....wouldn't you?)

I love my pigs...
and I'm pretty sure they love me too!!

Can you believe... it's Memorial Day weekend?
We will be home all weekend... with visits from family.
I'll stop back in on Monday for a quick visit here.
Have yourself a wonderful weekend!!
Hugs, from the farm.... and piggy kisses too!

Thursday, May 23, 2019


It's hard to be sad,
when there are so many smiling faces around.

Everywhere I look are sweet souls with wide eyes, big hearts,

and toothy grins...

always ready to share a moment.

I know that having the responsibility for so many critters is not for everyone.
I get it.

It's a lot of work... a lot of responsibility.

But, for me, it's the best life I can imagine.

And at the end of the day... no matter how the day unfolded...
they are always there with cheesy, furry smiles...

and wide open hearts...

accepting me as part of their family.

I am so grateful for this life...
for this opportunity to care for these sweet souls.
Life is good.

I've got to tell you... I am so loving this spring.
After so many springs that too quickly morphed into summer,
it's great to have a one that stays for a while.
When we awoke yesterday morning, it was only 40 degrees outside.
By day's end it reached 70... absolute perfection.
I know the heat of summer will soon be here...
so I am enjoying each and every one of these cool, beautiful days!

Each day brings new surprises in the gardens.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Today's blog is brought to you by the color purple.

Purple seems to be a predominant color in the garden right now.
And though the lilacs have finished,
the Baptisia (false indigo) is just beginning to bloom.

This is one of my favorite perennials, 
as it grows bigger and better each year...
(up to a point and then it seems to begin to shrink.)

Iris is beginning to pop up here and there in the perennial garden.

Clematis is climbing against the barn wall.

Beside the clematis are peonies... another favorite.

We are enjoying a lovely stretch of spring weather.
Most of yesterday was relatively cool and breezy...

The breeze kept the gnats away, so it was the perfect day to work
in the vegetable garden.
All of the boxes are planted now, 
and in some, the seedlings are mature and veggies are starting to form.
In no time at all we will be inundated with vegetables.

I have been spending countless hours outside these days...
between garden chores and animal chores,
the days are full.

Yesterday morning we received the oddest phone message.
It was from a neighbor that has a farm about a mile away.
She wanted to warn us that someone down the road from her had stopped
to tell her that he had a wild boar (perhaps a feral hog?) with tusks on his property.
After doing a little research, I found that apparently feral hogs
are becoming a real problem in many states.
Now if someone had said there was a "wild bore"...
I would have agreed...

Sammy is our wild bore... resting as usual,
as I clean the front pasture.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence is this scene...

It cracks me up to see all of the horses trying to crowd into the donkey house.
Inside, lurking in the shadows are two Littles, as well.

Flitting around the pasture was this little butterfly.
I've never seen a swallowtail this tiny...
not much larger than a dandelion.

The barn kittens are becoming more and more friendly...
allowing us to pet them and pick them up.

They spend their day outside on adventure, but never out of sight of the barn.

Another bit of good news...
Bobby is starting to walk on his front leg again.

We never did figure out what was wrong.
Luckily, whatever it was got better!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

I Don't Mind Spiders And Snakes

If there is one thing that country life gets one accustomed to...
it's all things creepy and crawly!
It's unavoidable.

Some people have an innate response of revulsion at the mere sight of
these creatures.
Luckily, I am not affected in that manner.
I have learned to take these creepy-crawly and slithering beings in my stride.
Hubbs, on the other hand is not a fan... especially when the element of surprise
is added to the equation.

Last summer, one morning, as I was raising the garage door on the tractor shed,
a snake fell from overhead onto my shoulder and then down onto the ground.

Amazingly, I was un-phased.
Many would have passed out, I am sure.
Last week, the same thing happened to Jack.
Door raised... snake fell from above.
Amazingly, he, too, was relatively un-phased... 
although it wasn't the type of surprise he enjoys.

After that incident, Jack did a little investigating inside the garage,
only to find that Sir Snake (a black snake) has made the garage
his home and spends much of his time on the horizontal wood that runs just beneath the roof line.

Sometimes he can be found lounging directly above the garage door,
sometimes, on top of the cabinets.

The up-side of having this fellow (or gal) hanging out in the garage is
the fact that he/she will keep the rodent population in check.
As I see it... this is the major benefit of having snakes around...
and why I am all for it!

Yesterday, Jack was getting the picnic pavilion ready for the summer.

He opened the gas grill and found this

in the warming tray.

"Let me get its picture!" I called.

And then I decided to go one step further....

helping Mrs. Slithers find a new home.

The warming tray was a brilliant escape from the storms of the past 24 hours, I am sure.

We are now quite damp again... which is good for the garden.
Fog settled over the farm yesterday morning...

making all of our grazers look just a little mysterious.

It wasn't long until the sun burnt off all of the fog to reveal a spectacular, sunny day.

The right combination of sun and rain has helped to make everything
that I have planted this spring start to grow.
The fairy gardens have filled in nicely.

And we are once again eating from the vegetable garden on a daily basis.

Not in the mood to make pie crust, I used our garden rhubarb 
and made a strawberry rhubarb crisp instead.

When my travels through the countryside reveal a new greenhouse,
I find that my car just automatically turns in and parks.
It's been so much fun filling up the gardens.

Last week I found this new (to me) plant... called a Popcorn Plant.
When you rub the leaves between your thumb and forefinger, it releases
the scent of fresh, hot buttered popcorn.... I kid you not!
The popcorn cassia (Senna didymobotrya) comes from central and Eastern Africa and is a legume.

And lastly... the show that I saw this weekend in NYC was this...

a story about the days immediately following 9/11...
when the small town of Gander, Newfoundland 
extended their hospitality to the passengers of 38 planes
that were ordered to land in their airfield when the skies over the US were emptied
of all flights.
If it ever comes to a city near you... make sure to see it.
It is a gem that will make you laugh and cry, and remind you of
the greatness of which humanity is capable.

To "The JR"... Ginger and MaryAnn are indeed Kunekune pigs.
They have a stall that is always open to their yard through a door
that is just big enough for them... too small for a bear.
They have a large Dutch door on the front of their stall -
of which the top remains open in the summer for better ventilation,
but closed in the winter to conserve warmth.
The only animals that get closed up at night are the birds -
to protect against fox, coyote, possum, mink, raccoon and any other critters
who think they might like a chicken, or other fowl, dinner.


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