Sunday, May 31, 2015

Adventures With Porcine

Yesterday evening B discovered that Penelope was lame.  She had cut her foot on a piece of glass.  The interesting thing about living on the farm, is that there is a tremendous amount of history buried around the place.  Much of what the girls have rooted up has been bits of metal buckles and the occasional glass that looks much like sea glass.  Yesterday Penelope found what appeared to be a very old bottleneck that was much too perfectly preserved, as it had not dulled at all.

Thankfully, we have access to what is needed to treat minor problems, yet as it is not what B does day to day, it was a learning experience and the first Ag animal procedure that I was involved with since he was in vet school.....uh when that bull with the open abdomen decided to head butt me :)

She did very well, yet we learned that the sedatives wear off very quickly on pigs, and her somewhat oafy pen mate need be no where near her.

It went relatively uneventfully, yet not something we want to do with any frequency.  Oh, and she got her bandage off even before the sedation wore completely off, so no access outside, clean straw and a few antibiotic injections will be the course of treatment.

Just another day on the homestead.

#100HappyDays :: Day 25

We finished our first canning of the season, and tried a new rhubarb bread recipe yesterday.   I always make and freeze several loves of zucchini bread to pull out at various times after the garden season ends.  I believe that the rhubarb bread was a winner and a couple of batches will also be heading to the deep freeze.  We doubled our rhubarb chutney recipe from last year, which I am thrilled with, we will see what other tasks need to be done for next weeks gardening, we may just have to re-visit this recipe again as not to risk running out!  It is a wonderful feeling to begin to enjoy the produce from the garden and preserve it so that we can taste the flavors of early spring in the darker and colder days of winter.

Friday, May 29, 2015

{this moment}

{this moment}  A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple special extraordinary moment.  A moment that I want to pause savor and remember.

Linking with SouleMama

#100HappyDays :: Day 23

We have a lot of rhubarb, and I am looking forward to spending part of this weekend baking with it and canning a wonderful spicy chutney.  Our main plant is very well established, predates our tenure here as caretakers, and is enormous.  When we established our berry beds six years ago, we headed each one with another rhubarb plant.  Interestingly, those plants all ended up being female and send up extraordinary flowers.  When they are still in their bulb form, much like a zucchini flower, you can stuff and fry them into a tasty treat.  If let go, they become these fern like flowers that look oh so beautiful in the late afternoon sun.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 22

Mabel and Penelope are growing like crazy.  As we walked around last night we went into their pasture area.  When B calls them they come bounding out of the barn.  They can be skittish animals and if they hear a certain noise or sense a movement, even from one another they will take off running.  I can totally see how in a very short time with the momentum they reach that they could run into us and knock us over! I find that I am already bracing myself as they come toward us in case they cannot spatially gauge their stopping distance.  They are always right together, and last night enjoyed munching on grasses and feathery dandelion seeds.  You cannot help but smile while you watch them navigate the world around them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 21

Summer storm season has begun.  They are an experience for all of your senses and I love to watch the dramatic changes of color, light and texture in the sky.  Last night as I headed out to a meeting the fast moving clouds with the sun lower on the horizon gave me quite a show.  It was a quiet and happy moment in the day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 20

Whenever we travel even for short stints whether it be the beginning, middle or end of the growing season, we are always overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks that need to be done upon our return.  Not doing little bits daily on the farm is surprisingly noticeable, especially if there has been rain, which of course there was.  We returned to a jungle of tall grass despite mowing last week, and the garden beds that have been planted needed some serious weeding.  What is the reason that we do all of this?  Just look at our mammoth rhubarb!  It has only just begun to grow and we can begin processing it this week.  With stalks as big and wide as B's forearm, we will can large volumes of the Rhubarb Chutney that we did last year, and satisfy a sweet tooth with rhubarb crumbles this week.  We did our first rhubarb canning June 2nd last year so our season is a little ahead of schedule, a happy thought amongst being a bit overwhelmed :)

#100HappyDays :: Day 19

A beautiful warm morning taking in the sights at Liberty State Park

Sunday, May 24, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 18

We made a lot of great memories in New York with my brother's family yesterday.  We got the best of both worlds when traveling with four kids.  Parts of the city were surprisingly not crowded allowing for a slower paced enjoyment, while other areas were more typical in my previous, albeit brief experiences in New York.

Upon initially asking the kids what there favorite part was when we got home, Charles loved the feel of the city first coming out of the train station, and climbing the rocks at Central Park the best.  Sid loved the street vendors selling artsy jewelry, graphic tees and artwork, and said her favorite place was FAO Schwartz.  That both surprised me and made me smile, this girl so much grown up, but also eager to maintain her carefree imagination.

I have some great shots from the day, and I do not typically appreciate blurred images, rather many times they irritate me.  However, two of my favorite pictures from the day were blurred, a softened image of the day.  Much as memories soften, happy images to look back on.

#100HappyDays :: Day 17

As we are traveling, I am posting day 17 a day late.  Friday was a relaxed day spent shopping, hanging at my brothers home in New Jersey and barbecuing.  Due to circumstance happy or sad, the cousins have gotten to see each other on a fairly regular basis over the last twelve months.  We hope to keep up the trend of visits going to allow their connections to grow.  Seeing them get to spend time and strengthen their bonds makes my heart smile.

Friday, May 22, 2015

{this moment}

{this moment}  A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple special extraordinary moment.  A moment that I want to pause, savor and remember.

Linking with SouleMama

#100HappyDays :: Day 16

Beautiful washes of morning sunlight.
A happy beginning to any day.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 15

A happy spot in any day is watching these crazy fowl.  They serenade us with a cacophony of still chick-like cheeps each morning as we approach to replenish food and water.  They are quite a group and our morning and evening walks to check on everyone always reveal new and quirky behaviors as they grow.  I especially enjoy watching our goose pair.  As this is our first year with geese it is fun to watch how very different they are, the stoic way that they lord over the ducks makes me smile.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 14

The kids have been marathon watching Friends and we have been catching our fair share in the evenings.  It is so much fun to watch it again.  This time around we get to laugh and debate about episodes and favorite characters with the kids.  I love seeing it again through their eyes!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 13

Even on the most crazy and uncertain of days you can find a moment of peace.  Walking out the doors at work, the trees were full of butterflies that fluttered all around me in greeting and reassurance.

Monday, May 18, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 12

It was a busy day of planting, weeding, animal care, attic clearing, soccer, and doing the general things that need to be done to get ahead when you are getting ready to leave town for a few days.  The warm weather is bringing all of the lilacs out at once and the air is beginning to fill with one of my favorite scents.  A happy relaxing spot at the end of the day.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 11

Six years ago our dinner club the tastebuds was born.  It has been a forum for friendship, laughter, cooking, and amazing food and drink.  Our kids have grown up with the tastebuds and look forward to it each month as much as we do.  Yesterday's happy spot was a bitter sweet one, as this group is our family away from home and one of the families is moving away this summer.

Of course among all of the revelry I took more photos of the food than the people, but a photographer friend of ours came over and took a commemorative family portrait of us all.  Our theme was Steven Raichlen BBQ and as has become our experience, the food we cooked as a team was out of the park.  A toast to the best of food and friends, distance will not change that, just allow for field trips! ;)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 10

Our pigs are set up pretty nice.  A large section of the granary is theirs.  They have a bedded sleeping area and separate feed and water area inside, then outside they have a fenced area for rooting.  As they have rooted around we have found this area is pretty sandy, what a bonus!  Yesterday Morning, B got the fencing up in the front pasture so that the pigs could roam and graze.

When they first got out they were cautious, but it only took about two minutes for Penelope to run, buck and frolic like a big dog.  As we sit and watch them, they come up to us freely now for scratches.  We found out that a special favorite of theirs was dandelion flowers.  Happy today for free range pasture pigs.

Friday, May 15, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 9

Last night was the spring band concert at school.  Always fun to see how the kids have changed since the winter concert.

They also presented the kids who participated in the solo and ensemble festival with their medals.  Charles was the only sixth grader, and there were four older kids who went on to compete at the state level.  Charles let B know that he got rated a 1, but was too young to go to state.  Next time kid!

{this moment}

{this moment}  A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple special extraordinary moment.  A moment that I want to pause, savor and remember.

Linking with SouleMama

Thursday, May 14, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 8

Every three years we have to go through a rigorous recertification process to maintain our hospital's AAHA Certification.  It is no small thing, with almost 900 standards of veterinary care that we strive to maintain, only about 12% of hospitals nationwide endeavor for certification.  Yesterday was inspection day and we passed with flying colors.  Though I had no real concern that we would not, it is always nerve wracking to have an outsider come in and evaluate your business and standard of practice.  A happy spot indeed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 7

 I love watching the kids come out of school every day, animated and talking with their friends.  It is fun to catch a glimpse of them in their element, navigating through their social circles.  It is hard to believe that in only a few short weeks and I will have a high schooler in the house.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 6

Each evening we take a little time to walk the property.  We survey the growth of what we have planted, check in with all of the animals, make to do lists and dream.  The picture above is the same hickory branch, a day later.  As you can see this time of year you can literally watch the growth happen around us, a happy spot in every day.  In case you were wondering, no our barn is not pink, there was some crazy light last night!

Monday, May 11, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 5

We have a fairly heavily wooded property, as a result there are years that we lose old trees, but to counter that we also have baby trees that emerge in different places.  One of our favorite trees is our old shag-barked hickory.  Over the last several years we have had a few come up in scattered areas, the nuts having been hidden by squirrels and then forgotten about.  This baby hickory tree is about 4 years old and already stretches well over our heads.  They have a unique flower like pod through which the new years growth and leaves push through.  We are always happy to see these baby trees that we nurture come back each spring.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 4

Being sick sucks, thankfully it is a rare thing for me, but as we approached this big soccer weekend away, I knew that I needed to make sure I was functional.  May I say, a Z-pack when you have pharyngitis & sinus infection is the bomb!  Mother's Day weekend has been a soccer weekend since Charles started club four years ago.  These kids are dedicated, and I must say that their parents and coaches are equally so, as we travel with them, watch them grow, and cheer them through the high and low...always encouraging.

I think we find little families throughout our lifetimes.  Having this soccer family makes for a happy day.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 3

This year both of the kids wanted to switch things up a bit on their birthdays.  They wanted me to make their favorite desserts and they each chose a restaurant to go to for dinner instead of eating in.

Charles chose Mexican and his meal began with table side guacamole a happy starting point for his big 1-2, and a bright spot for his mom who has been fighting the funk for the last few days.

Friday, May 8, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 2

We let the first growth of lawn go perhaps longer than most, but it is for the benefit of the homestead.   It makes me happy to see the bees taking advantage of the multitude of blooming dandelions that we have left for them.

They are a busy bunch and already dramatically increasing their numbers.  Soon this one hive will become two.

{this moment}

{this moment}  A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple special extraordinary moment.  A moment that I want to pause, savor and remember.

A few words this week.  Wishing the happiest of birthdays to my inventive, caring, smart, busy, musical, athletic boy.  It's hard to believe you are twelve!

Linking with SouleMama

Thursday, May 7, 2015

#100HappyDays :: Day 1

The service berry tree is covered in blooms that take on an ethereal look as the cool spring fog begins to settle in.  As we finished our morning chores, B put the eggplant and peppers into the cold frame to harden off.  What a great way to start the day, Spring is truly here!

***After watching julochka and now lost star, I too have decided to undertake the 100 Happy Days challenge.  With life at the moment increasingly busy, I want to focus on keeping myself grounded in the here and now, those special happy things that come from each day, no matter how hectic.  I think it rather a good sign that the final day of this challenge will be the same day that we head to California and one of our favorite places for vacation!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Spring on the Farm & Visitors

In the last ten days or so I have spent time with an amazing group of women for a weekend of  laughing, sharing, practicing yoga and pampering ourselves.  This was quickly followed by family arriving for a busy week of catching up.  It is spring after all and even when we have other things going on, we must pay attention to the farm, even if it is in short bursts.  Over time we have found that these bursts can be concentrated bits of energy where we get a ton done in a short amount of time.  It leaves us feeling very accomplished and quite sore.

We did some minor repairs to our chicken tractor and moved it to a new location for the season. The ducklings and goslings have quadrupled in size and we were thrilled to move them from the indoor brooding area outside to the chicken tractor.

The pigs are growing by leaps and bounds and really behave like big dogs.  It is so fun to watch them run around and play.  As I mentioned they were fast friends and virtually inseparable.  They sleep together, play together, and have taken to grooming one another.  The year we moved in we lost a giant willow tree.  The logs have been piled behind the granary since then.  As this is now part of the pig enclosure, we moved all of the logs to the newly cleared out bonfire pit, and left lots of new rooting space for Mabel and Penelope.

The cool weather growing season is well under way!  B added compost to and broad forked several beds preparing them for planting.  We have lettuces in the cold frame that are absolutely gorgeous, and only a few weeks from harvest.  The asparagus has begun to emerge, onion sets are in the ground, radishes beginning to get little bulbs, and the cabbage/broccoli/cauliflower bed is looking robust.  We're off to the races!


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