LYME-THE LAST OF AN ERA-WILLOW-SHEEP SHEARING

4 04 2018

HAPPY SPRING

  The pussy willow tree is in full bloom  We had some snow showers yesterday an rain today.  Looking forward to planting some peas soon.

lYME

I am now on my medication to treat babesia microti.  It seems my whole day now is spent taking medications.  In 3 months I should be free of all this and get back to a normal life.  I am so grateful for Northampton integrated Medicine without them I would have not found out about the disease or be treated.  It seems that this disease is spreading all over Massachusetts.  I will be spraying pyrthium on my clothes to make sure I don’t get bit again.

It’s a bright yellow in color and chalk  would taste so much better but its here and it should make all those little creatures in my red blood cells die so its worth it.

 

THE LAST OF AN ERA

My friend Debbie called to tell me my Cousin Bill Bisbee passed away.  I last saw him a few years ago.  The Bisbee’s were an old Chesterfield Massachusetts family settling there in the 1700’s.  My Dad spent most summers helping  his cousins bring in the hay. His winter holidays from the Holyoke schools were spent sliding down the many hills in Chesterfield. 

I still love going to Chesterfield, my Grandfather and many family members are buried there and I love  picking blueberries every summer at my cousin’s blueberry fields..  The memories of those wonderful days in Chesterfield are cherished by me, I was such a lucky child.   

SHEEP

The sheep have done well over the winter and they were sheared by Aaron last Thursday.  He is an expert shearer and they were done in less than an hour.  Glad that its done before the warm weather hits

 

WILLOW BASKETS

I plan to make some small willow baskets similar to the one I bought in Ireland for shows this year.  I have a small supply of willow I bought some years ago to get me started and cut what I grew some years ago to add to that when its dry.  I think next years willow crop will be better.

I made this soaking tub with a gutter.  It will work out well.

Many thanks for reading my blog an I hope you have a lovely day.

 





I AM BACK-LYME-THINGS GOING ON AT THE FARM

5 03 2018

GREETINGS

I am so glad to be back in the land of the living.  Sometime in January I started feeling like the Lyme had returned.  I got an appointment in February and had loads of blood test and was taken off all medications and awaited the results.  Meanwhile I came down with this awful chest thing that put me in bed for 3 weeks.  While in bed I found out the results of the tests.  I no longer have the lyme but have a  disease from the tick bite.  It is called babesia microti. It’s a parasite that infects the red  blood cells.. 

I am so lucky that a friend, Vickie told me about Northampton Integrated Medicine  or I would be just walking around with the symptoms.    The blood tests done to diagnose this were not known  to a local lab and my regular doctor told me that  it would be  a short-term of antibiotics.   I will be on a 4  month course of a malaria drug and antibiotics with lots of probiotic.  It takes 3 months for all your blood cells to renew themselves  

I have learned so much since my diagnosis  .  This is spread by the white footed mouse.. It can lay dormant for weeks or years, cause flu lie symptoms, fatigue and others.  More and more people are getting this and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is tracking the people who do get it.  At this time in my small drug store I am the second person taking this unusual medication.

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HOLD NOSE AND SWOLLOW!!!!!!!!!!

If anyone out there has had this please send me a note.  I am sharing this with you because the medical field doesn’t have a lot of knowledge about lyme and are not putting the funding into it.  It’s a dangerous disease which can ruin your life and even kill.

One of the sad things for me about this disease is that I won’t be able to hang clothes out.  I have watched and helped all the women in my family, from my Great=Grandmother to my Mom hang  clothes on the line.  There is nothing better than slipping into a bed with the smell of freshness in the sheets.. I have concluded this is how I had gotten bitten in the fall and found ticks on my inside cats.  I hope that I can figure out a way to be able to continue but at this point I will be drying the clothes inside.

THE REST OF MY LIFE

I am still living in the glow of the trip to Ireland and was so grateful to have been feeling so well during that wonderful trip.

I love  my kitchen, it’s a joy to work in and looking forward to the summertime when I will do lots of canning.

The sheep and chickens have survived the terrible, bone chilling cold of this winter and it looks like another nore-easter is coming on Wednesday.

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Nellie came in during the 20 below days.  She just couldn’t function in that weather and would have frozen to death.   She has enjoyed being inside with lots of snacks and outings and will go out when the weather gets warm with the smaller and gentler hens.  

I am doing a wonderful Maple Sugar Festival in Whitingham Vermont, March 17 and 18.  Come visit me it will be such a fun event.  I can smell the sap boiling now.

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Many thank for reading my blog , hope you have a wonderful day.   Carole.

 

Assorted dark-colored wool strips waiting to be dried, ironed and put into a labeled boxIMG_8115





COUNTY CORK IRELAND 2017

17 01 2018

 

 

VIEW FROM THE COTTAGE

RAINBOWS EVERY DAY

GREETINGS

After months of planing the trip was finally here.  On the 22nd of November we drove to Providence and boarded a Norwegian Dreamliner for the flight to Cork Airport.  All unfamiliar territory for us.  We are used to flying Aer Lingus and going to either Shannon or Dublin.  We couldn’t pass the cheap tickets offered in the spring for 200 plus tax round trip for each of us .  We were not sorry about Norwegian Air,  great flight and service each way and we loved Cork Airport.  Smaller than Shannon but with all the amenities that Shannon had to offer, and much easier to get around.  We ran into a few difficulties finding our way to N71 and made our first stop the Dunne’s Store.    We had packed light so we wouldn’t have to pay for a checked bag so we needed a few items of clothing.  This is something we wouldn’t do again.  We Would pay for one check on bag for the three of us.

For those of you  not familiar with the Dunnes Store they are a Macy type store dotted all over  Ireland.  Some sell groceries also.  The quality of their clothing we feel is superior and most of it is made in the EU and prices are reasonable.

Our sweet stone cottage was located near the town of Schull (pronounced Skull) which is a town that Cindy and I had stayed in before.    It’s a quaint town located on Bantry Bay.  The house has mountain views and the sea in a distance.  The kitchen was perfect with everything one could want with views of pasture land.  The bedrooms were amazing the internet was good . We had a small turf burning stove which we used every night.  This was one of the best cottages we ever rented in Ireland.I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of recycling done at the cottage.  

There are Farmers Markets  everywhere and we went to the one in Bantry on Friday.  In the market were soaps and herbs, fresh caught fish, meat and lots of veggies.  Spring flowers were potted up coats and jumpers and so much more.  I did find Martin O’Flynn the willow basket man.  I have many of his beautiful baskets.  It was good to have a chat with him.  

We traveled to the Beara Peninsula which is another  place we have been many times.  We stopped in at the Tibetan Buddhist Retreat and chatted with a gentleman from Scotland who was volunteering a months time there.  They are  building a Temple which will be beautiful.  The Retreat sits on a point with the Atlantic in front, people come from all over the world.

 

  After  a cuppa tea and hot chocolate for Chris and Cindy we headed back to find Dunboy Castle one of my favorite places .  For years it was a derelict castle which cattle were in and out of .   Sitting near one of the giant firepLaces you could close your eyes and see what it must have been like when it was built.  Five or so years ago someone bought it with thoughts of making it into a higher end resort.  Cindy and I were excited at the prospect of someday maybe staying there for a night.   They redid the castle, made more paces to stay in back and a pool and gym and ran out of money and now it sits empty again with fencing all around it. 

So sad.  Wish someone could open it again.

Off to the only cable car in Ireland at the end of the Beara connecting the mainland to Dursey Island.  If you want peace and quiet Dursey is the place to go.   There are two villages on the Island.  The island is about 3 miles long and Cindy and I did walk it on one trip.  Unfortunately the cable car had gone and it was getting late in the day. 

You never now who will ride in the cable car with you.

I did find two cottages that were available to rent and maybe someday we can spend a night or two there

I will continue on our wonderful trip to Ireland, Cindy, Chris and I had the time of our lives on this trip and we are looking forward to more trips in the future.  Many thanks for reading my blog on this winter day.  Carole

NANCY THE HORSE ME CHRIS AND CINDY

 

 





NOVEMBER-THE KITCHEN-BOOKS I AM READING-CHICKENS

7 01 2018

GREETINGS

I am back from Ireland and have a working kitchen now.  My next blog I will share the trip to Ireland with you.  Hope to catch up in this blog.  December into January has been super cold  The temps last night went down to over 20 below zero and with wind chill it was way below that.   This morning the temps are eking up but at 11 am its still not above 10 below.  For the first time in 19 years my kitchen is warm and no broken pipes!!!!!!! (knock on wood)

NOVEMBER

I hardly remember November it went by in a whirlwind.  Getting ready for the crafts of Colrain and the trip to Ireland and 2 shows the weekend before I left.   But all these things were getting me ready for the best trip.  Peaceful, fun and adventurous 

THE KITCHEN

The front part of the kitchen is done and it looks great.  It is wonderful to have a kitchen that works and has places for everything.  I wonder how I worked in the old one for so many years.  I have all new appliances and a huge sink or zink as my Mom Mom Morrison use to call them.  Everyone helped and cheered me on when I was washing dishes in the bath tub.  Even though it was a difficult few months it certainly showed me how important family and friends are in one’s life.  I am so grateful.

The back part of the kitchen where the wood stove was will have to wait till warmer weather as the floor has to  come up and a new base for the wood stove has to be built  I sure  do miss the wood stove on these cold days  but it needs to be done  The floor has sunk down about 5 inches.  I am planning on replacing my Vermont casting stove with a smaller more efficient Jotul  wood stove.  I  Don’t need that big of a stove anymore with the new insulated walls.

 

BOOKS I AM READING

I bought some books in Ireland and my favorite magazine    The Lighthouse Keeper a memoir by Gerald Butler  I had read a review on in a newspaper and decided it would be a book I would search for  Every book store was out I was beginning to think that I wouldn’t find it but on a trip to Baltimore in the tiniest of stores there it was   I started reading it that night  It is about the life of one of the last lightkeepers in Ireland.  His great-grandfather was a light keeper and so was both of his parents  Most of his lightkeeping days were on the west coast of Ireland where we were staying    Many exciting tales of his rescues and of his time at Fastnet Lighthouse with waves coming over the top of the light house  A great read

The sea and lighthouses always have fascinated me.  I always though I would live near them.

COUNTRY LIVING MAGAZINE UK

 

As many of my followers know I have been getting this magazine for years  I finally found it at the end of my trip thanks to Cindy and Chris  With stories about topiary, making casks, and so much more.  I find it a back to the rural life plus views of the city magazine   If you have never read this magazine its worth buying  or borrowing a copy .  

 BACKYARD CHICKENS by Dave Ingham

I found this wonderful book at Avoca Weavers on Molls Gap in Ireland.  I do have lots of books on Chickens but love to add to my collection    Every person raises chickens  differently and new ideas and how to handle illnesses are something I always look for in a new book  This has them and  it is a delightful read too

MARGARET

Margaret is in for the winter she is now in the cage I bough for Helen   She is in back part of the kitchen  She has had the sneezing and coughing thing before I left and was in the house  briefly and seemed to be better  But a few days after I got home she was sneezing again   She still has some problems but  is back to her old self talking and cooing  I let her out everyday as it is a smaller cage  She loves the private sleeping area  She will be back with the flock in the spring 

MYRTLE

MYRTLE came in today  I found her standing still just trying to keep warm today not eating or drinking . Like Humans some hens just can’t take the cold and need some  help.  This is exceptional weather we are having and I think she would have been fine with normal winter weather.  She will return out in the spring.

The personalities of these two birds is like night and day.  Margaret is demanding and wants wants wants.  Myrtle is happy with anything  you do for and asks for little.  

JUNIPERS WITH BLUE BERRIES

I have wanted to get 3 of these trees for some time  Not many places carry them but I plan to go to a tree nursery in Hadley, Mass this spring and see if they have them  to further my dream of having all my live Christmas decorations right in my own yard  As a child I remember them in cow and horse pastures 

I found some this Christmas season in a place where I would have never thought to look, Home Depot an it was the last bunch there  I have scattered them around the house and catch their scent when I walk past .

Juniper Oil has been used in many things for years  I love it for a bath  It is said to help arthritis .

Many thanks for reading my blog on this cold winter day.  Carole





CRAFTS OF COLRAIN-TICKS-MISSING COSMO- SURPRISES-SHEEP SHENANIGANS -LOCAL RUG HOOKERS

12 11 2017

 

 

 

GREETINGS

Winter winds were blowing off the mountain a few days ago and bits of snow-covered some of the branches.  I think the cold weather is here to stay.  I still have the coop to finish winterizing.  It will get done this week. 

CRAFTS OF COLRAIN

The tour started yesterday and the crowds came .    What a delightful day seeing old customers and friends and meeting new ones.  Today is the last day, stop by and visit, see  how the kitchen is coming and Eddie (the rooster) will give you a greeting too.

TICKS

Yikes, Sammy and I both had ticks embedded in us a few days ago.   It’s so funny that the other cats don’t get any on them.   I have decided not to hang my clothes out as I think this is where they are coming from.  And next spring I will find some spray for the side yard. 

MISSING COSMO

The vet felt that the cancer had spread throughout his body.  For the first time in well over 20 years I only have three cats.  Shorty who is 19 (and the last of the Maryland cats) ,  Willie who was abandoned in  a house in my neighborhood and he is 10, and Sammy who is 4 and still is active like a kitten.  Shorty will have nothing to do with his shenanigans but Willie gets caught up in the chasing and playing.

  Cosmo lived upstairs and wanted no part of the other cats.  I think this was because of the loss of his eye which happened right before he came to live here.  It took him some time to adjust he loved sleeping on a blanket that was my Dad’s.  I hold a special place in my heart for him. 

  Another cat or two will come my way when the time is right, they always do.  They never replace ones that have gone on before them but serve as a memory of them.

YESTERDAY’S SURPRISES

Life does hold surprises.  Yesterday Cindy and her friend Nicole came  as they always do and brought a package for me from my Son in Law Rick.  A beautiful  hundred year old map of Ireland,  Beautifully framed.  Its perfect and  its up in a perfect spot . 

 

Ricky stopped by and helped me too.  He is in college and working so time is precious and I loved him stopping by.  The day ended with a lovely meal with my son and his family.

SHEEP SHENANIGANS

Charlie went up to feed the sheep yesterday and found them all together.  Somehow, Sally, Carol K, and Lucy got into Maude’s area.  It looks like things may work out after all this time so we will take  it day by day.  It sure does make it easier.

RUG HOOKERS IN MY AREA

A wonderful Lady new to Greenfield but not new to Rug Hooking wants to get together with other hookers.  It would be wonderful to have a group in Franklin County.  Please e-mail me wspines@aol.com and we will try to get something going.

Many thanks for reading my blog on this chilly, November day.  Hope you can stop and visit today.   Carole





GOODBYE COSMO

9 11 2017

GREETINGS

 

Cosmos has had cancer since September of 2016.  Of course he didn’t know his diagnosis so he kept right on being  Cosmo.  They gave him up to 6 months but he kept on.  Every night I would say a little prayer that he would live longer, he had been through so much, changing homes and having an eye out right before he came here. He loved the Fancy Feast and Baby food and occasional treats but stopped eating yesterday.  I knew it was time even though I didn’t want to think about it.   The cancer had spread.

.   I will miss him so much and am grateful for Sue and Genevieve  for picking me to be his caretaker and companion.

Thanks for reading my blog today Carole

 





TORRENTIAL RAINS-THE KITCHEN-TICK BITE-CRAFTS OF COLRAIN

6 11 2017

 

MR. PEEPERS AMD PHOEBE

 

GREETINGS

Getting ready for winter, shows and The trip has kept me busy   The weather has remained reasonably warm so getting things cleaned up in the yard has been possible  Not to say that I am done but I am not wearing mittens and

 

TORRENTIAL RAINS AND WIND

There are still people who don’t believe in climate change, to me its astonishing .  I never remember having rains like we have had this year  It comes down in bucket fulls  I am so grateful that the grading of my land in back of the barn has worked, although several times this summer I have had to remove dirt  Last week alone we have had two storms with winds and torrential rains  Trees have fallen and electric has gone out, rivers rising to their banks and in a few days it’s all normal again      We have done it to ourselves and now have to accept what is happening   I do hope that we can figure out a way to not use fossil fuels

THE TICK BITE

The weather has been perfect for tick breeding and there are tiny ones all over the place   On a Friday night several weeks ago  my arm ached and when I went to look at it I found a tick deeply embedded with swelling and redness around it.  My son tried to take it out but it was in deep so a trip to the ER was necessary   I have been holding onto a RX of antibiotics and hoping to start them after my trip  Taking antibiotics for  long period of time is a balancing act.  Probiotic’s have to be taken either two hours before the antibiotics or two hours after  Who wants to be thinking of that while on vacation.  Well I will be doing just that and glad that I found the tick and hope that I started the med’s in time to avoid symptoms.  I really wish that Lyme’s disease would be addressed seriously  One doctor at the clinic I go to told me antibiotics was a waste of time obviously he has not had lyme’s disease or he wouldn’t say such a thing.    Anything you can take to alleviate  the symptoms is worth it

CHICKEN CATCHING

Last week Charlie and I spend an hour trying to round-up 5 Bantams and on regular size hen   What a calamity  The ground was muddy and very slippery from torrential rains from a few days ago.  The chickens decided that they want to remain in the caravan.  Finally we got them all and they are safe inside the barn.  There area is temporary but safe.  They look like a bunch a sad sacks for a while but now have gotten  adjusted.

THE KITCHEN

The plumbers came last week and within three hours I had a water connection and new forgiving pipes from the cellar.  The new to me door is on and the drywall is up.  It is snug and warm in there for the first time in 19 years!   The counter top is here  and the faucets will be bought this week and the stove comes on Thursday.   It certainly is an experience putting in a new kitchen, not for the faint hearted, but now I can see an end and its coming out quite nice.  Family and friends have gotten me through.  Soon the plants will be back in the windows and everything will be easily accessible and in working order.  

CRAFTS OF COLRAIN

Come visit me for the Crafts of Colrain next Saturday and Sunday.  You will be greeted by a sign explaining the kitchen and the porch will be loaded with boxes of kitchen things and cabinets etc.  But this is real life on the farm and the dining room and living room will be inviting and cozy.  Hope to see you here.

COSMO TESTING THE NEW CAT TOYS

Many thanks for reading my blog on this rainy day.   Carole

LAST ROSES OF SUMMER