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





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

 

 

 

 





FROSTY MORNINGS-OCTOBERFEST-GARDEN DELIGHTS-DRYING HOT PEPPERS AND HERBS.

1 10 2017

GREETINGS

The hot and humidity has cleared out and now we are hit with almost frosty temps.  That is New England for you.  We  finally got some longed for rain. And now a stretch of  wonderful weather. 

OCTOBERFEST

 

The Brick Meeting House is active again..  Come join us for lots of local crafts, food and a good time in Colrain.  Next Saturday or rain date is Columbus Day, Monday for a wonderful fair.

GARDEN DELIGHTS

 Sadly none of my pumpkins came up this year but to my surprise one rogue cucumber did come up and is giving me some nice cukes at the end of the season.

 The  leeks did wonderful and I did remember to hill them up occasionally this summer.  Half are in the freezer and I will pull up the rest soon.

DRYING HOT PEPPERS AND HERBS AND RECIPE FOR ARTHRITIS SALVE

 

I bought 10 hot peppers I don’t know what kind they are but after they were in the dehydrator for an hour or so I started coughing and my eyes were tearing up.   Finally after a couple of hours I had to turn it off.  Today I am finishing them .  I am including my recipe for Arthritis Salve which is easy to make and works well.  Please remember when using that this is made from hot peppers …

ARTHRITIS SALVE

 CAUTION PEPPERS CAN CAUSE BURNS WEAR GLOVES AND DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYES OR FACE.  EYE PROTECTION IS RECOMMENDED.

WIDE MOUTH JAR WITH CAP

Hot Peppers  ( they must be dried and sliced )

Olive Oil enough to cover the hot peppers by at least 2 inches

Small amount of Beeswax  It all depends on how many peppers and oil that you use.

Dry peppers (either in a dehydrator or by hanging them up)  Place in a jar and cover the with olive oil then add two inches, making sure that no peppers can reach the top of the olive oil.

Let sit for at least a month.  Mine will sit for 2 or three months.  This lets the peppers infuse with the olive oil.

   Strain the peppers  through a cheesecloth and place in  a saucepan.   Put aside . Melt beeswax over a double boiler and put aside.     Warm up the oil till its warmed through and then add the beeswax a little at a time.  Testing drops on a plate as you do this.  When you find that the drops solidify your are done.  Do not overdo the beeswax. Pour into jars.  

This salve has worked wonders for me.  When you put it on there is no hot sensation.  It works slowly.   It  has also saved me a lot of money.  Fr a small amount of money you can make 10 or 20 jars , and compared to what it cost in the store you could save hundreds of dollars.

 

PRESERVING SWEET ANNIE WITH PLANTS FROM SUSAN BATES HOME AND GARDEN

I started preserving Sweet Annie, which is one of my favorite plants .I finally found the perfect spot for it and they took off..  This year I bought 2 plants from Susan Bates at the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair. She has a brick and mortar store in Ashby, Massachusetts called Susan Bates Home and Garden.     Her plants are of the best quality.  She has lots of wonderful things at her shop, furniture, and antiques handmade things and she also occasionally has classes.  Check her out on Facebook.

 This year I have enough to sell a few bunches and am preserving them in a glycerin based mix.  1 put 1 part glycerin and 2 parts water.  With freshly cut branches place them in the water mix for approximately one week.  They will stay as they were preserved and not turn brown  The smell remains and they are a perfect fall decoration and they repel insects.

Many thanks for reading my blog on this lovely fall day.   Carole.

DOT AND SHE HAS A NEW FRIEND SEE MORE ABOUT HER IN MY NEXT BLOG

 

 

 

 

 

 





THE LOWER GARDEN-CHICKEN THINGS-LOSS OF A FRIEND-GETTING FOOD IN FOR THE WINTER

3 09 2017

GREETINGS

We have  had mornings of nippy fingers and today its a cold, damp rain.  We need it though as things were getting very dry.  I can’t believe it’s already September.  

THE SIDE YARD GARDEN

This garden has been neglected this year and I am weeding and remaking the garden paths, tying up the apple trees and trimming them.  I am hoping to plant some beets soon.  The blueberry bushes produced  more berries than I ever got.

 I am cutting the  spearmint and tying it into bundles and drying it up in the barn to freshen up the chickens nest boxes during the winter.  I have other,mint plants in the front yard to do the same with.  After they are all dry I will mix them with lavender and a few other herbs and store them, keeping a few branches to hang in the coop  It does help to keep the coop smelling better during the long winter days.

A GREEN HOUSE FOR THE CHICKENS 

Every year at this time I think about a nice greenhouse for the chickens to go in during the long winter.  More space to run around and some fresh air.  I always get so busy in the fall and it doesn’t get done.  I bought a make your own greenhouse book at the Library Book sale at the Heath Fair and I am planning on seeing what I can do.  Nothing elaborate and something I can put up and take down every year.    I would like to find some old windows.  It takes time and I never seem to have enough of it in the fall.

LOOSING A FRIEND

Our community lost a friend, mentor and Volunteer Fireman Harry Dunning.  His wife Jane took loving care of him through the long illness.  The service for him was beautiful and inspiring.    In sadness there is beauty and it surely was in that Church on Saturday.  

FRANKLIN COUNTY FAIR

I will be vending at the fair this year again.  One thing that I have done is take an old ,broken down wooden tool carrier and fixed it as best as I could and pickle painted it.  It will be perfect for my bags of wool for needle felting .    I look forward to the show, good company and lots of excitement and return customers makes it a fun weekend.  Pan to have lots of new handmade items there.

STORING FOR THE WINTER

Today hops and catnip are being dried in the dehydrator the smell permeates the house.

 Catnip did well where I placed it this year, plenty of sun is what it needed.   I bought some Pennyroyal from Sue Bates also and it is living near the catnip and it loves it there.  Its next on my list to dry.  Susan has the best plants and always brings them to The Massachusetts Sheep and Wool show.   She is at Brimfield this week, check out her booth at Quaker Acres.

I picked a pail full  of hops this week and they will be going into dream pillows today.

The small Hazel Nut tree produced a box full of nuts.  They are safely in the car for drying, which was the suggestion on the internet.  I think I got them just in time as some of them were ripe.

 

I am now getting Roma tomatoes and today will get them in the freezer.  Peppers are on the agenda too and so far I have one large bag in the freezer.   I need about 6 large bags to get me through the winter.

BANTAM HENS

 

Morticia and her daughter Violet have been nesting for months now.  I have separated the side yard chicken area and they along with Opal who had the sneezes when I got her, will go outside in the converted dog house tonight.    They all need to change their life styles!!!!!!!In another month they will all come in and I hope to have the big front coop separated so the Bantams have their own space.  Eventually I hope to have all Bantams as they need less room and require less work..

Many thanks for reading my blog today.   The leaves are just starting to turn on Route 2, It looks like a fabulous fall.  Carole

 

 

 

 

 

 





LAVENDER FEST-THEY ARE BACK-LIL’S RECITAL -OPAL

1 07 2017

GREETINGS

We have had typical summer weather hot and cold.  I have had to have the heated mattress pad on the past several night.  We will be getting rain through the weekend. they expect 3 inches or more.  My son got the last 20 bales of hay in the bar last night.

I am picking bouquets of  Yarrow on the roadside  and drying them for winter bouquets

THE LAVENDER FEST

What a beautiful two days full of visits with friends and new and old customers.  Saturday started off raining and cleared to be one of the most beautiful days. Wisby clouds and slight breezes.  New England at its best.  Thank you Sandy for holding such a wonderful event.

 

some of my booth at the fest

THEY ARE BACK

This winter I had a terrible rat infestation.   Many other farmers in the area had the same problems.  I won’t use poison so got my handy-dandy have a heart trap out and these rats have gone to college and figured out if they flipped the trap over they could get out.  I invested in a much larger and very clever trap and it worked.
This morning I went out to see if there was anything in it and all I could see is white.   A closer look revealed 2 baby skunks.  Adorable and very welcome here at the farm.  I unlocked the cage and one went reluctantly out and got into a bucket turned sideways , had a moment where he couldn’t figure how to get out and then he walked away.  The other one took more time to get out, i got some food and he ran out and got the food and went back into the cage and ate it!!!!  He finally came out and I talked to him. I want him to get familiar with my voice so if he remains here he will not be afraid of me. He tried to charge me but only went a couple of inches,  Then he went under the chicken coop where I expect he was born.

 

I will make sure and see my neighbor who killed and trapped and released all skunks that were here.  Because of his actions I now have thousands of dollars worth of damage done by the rats.  They ate through my front siding and some walls.  He was worried about grubs in his lawn.  I was totally disturbed that people like him could trap and kill animals.  In Massachusetts the law states if you trap them you have to kill them.  I am going to check out the law and see if there is a law that will protect me from the likes of him.  This is the country life we have all sorts of animals here you can’t disturb the balance of nature.

Anyway I am glad to have them back and hope they will stay.

LIL’S DANCE RECITAL

Lil took ballet lessons this year.  She loved it and practiced lots.

 

 

Lil is in the middle

A NEW BANTAM

Her name is Opal and she is an Olde English.   She is in the house for th time being as she has the sneezing illness and I am working on curing it.  She is sweet and loving and could be a companion for Emma if Em would let her.  But Emma likes being by herself.  That really doesn’t work around here!

Many thanks for reading my blog on this hazy summer day.   Carole

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE EGG MYSTERY-SHEARING-PEAS PLANTED

12 04 2017

GREETINGS

I am back after a long absence.  Feeling more like my old self again.  I am now taking a yoga class which is helping me so much.  Spring has sprung and tulips are coming up .  Today temps will be in the 80’s!!!!!!  The Farmers market starts in Greenfield the first week of May so I am busy getting ready for that..

THE EGG MYSTERY

 

Egg production this winter has been good, but recently has slacked off.  The new girl Molly should still be laying  but no eggs were found.   Morticia the black bantam slept high up on a shelf all winter long.  So yesterday while cleaning the coop I decided to check the space and give it a clean and lo and behold I found all these eggs!

I will be check this spot every day now.

THE SHEEP

The sheep have been shorn and look good.  My shearer Steve is retiring  so I have gotten a new shearer Aaron Loux for next year.    We are both on The Massachusetts Sheep Breeders Board.

MAUDE

 

 

 

LUCY, CAROL K. AND SALLY

 

PEAS

It’s pea planting time here on the farm.  I had them soaking for 24 hours and now they are going in the ground.  I plant to put another packet in soon.   The hot peppers and basil are doing well and I plan to repot them soon.   My regular supplier of veggie starts is taking a year off and I will miss all the heirloom starts she had.

Many thanks for reading my blog on this beautiful spring day.    Carole

 

 

 

 





SNOW SNOW AND MORE SNOW-THE FARM IN WINTER

13 02 2017

GRETTINGS

SNOW SNOW AND MORE SNOW

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The howling winds are blowing snow into mini twisters this morning.  Snow is piled  almost up to the porch floor and I am running out of places to put it..  More expected on Wednesday.  I used 1/2 of a cord of wood in less than a month just to keep the kitchen pipes from freezing.  I liked last winter so much more.  Although I must say the chickens were out a lot this winter but of course since the snow is now up to their doorway they are in to stay till spring. The sheep are in today too as the winds from the mountain will fill the barn with snow.  

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