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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SHORTY AND WILLIE – BREAD MAKING TIPS

21 01 2017

 

 

 

The Man EDDIE

The Man EDDIE

GREETINGS

We have had more snow and warmer weather but still not enough to melt the ice that is outside the barn door.  Maybe this coming week with temps in the 40’s it will happen.  

SHORTY AND WILLIE

Willie the elusive Baby and Shorty resting on the sofa

Willie, Shorty and a good shot of the elusive Baby aka Marion

 

Both had had an appointment at the vets.  Willie was quite the ham and loved all the attention given by the Vet and the Vet Techs.  Shorty on the other hand hated the whole ordeal and screamed and snarled which is so unlike him. When animals get older one has to make decisions for them.    Shorty is almost 20 and is entering into kidney failure.  The vet suggested he be on the kidney food and so far I have not done anything about it.   It would mean moving him to his own room and away from everyone else.  He enjoys his life with his friends.  Morning naps on the sofa and afternoons spent eating and relaxing on my bed.  I see taking him away from all this and him going down hill very fast.  I am giving myself a little time thinking about this and would appreciate input from other older cat owners.  Willie is being treated for his respiratory problems that he has had ever since he came here.  He will be on antibiotics for a time and then he is scheduled for a dental procedure.

Because of his age Shorty isn’t taking care of his fur as well as he should, so constant combing and brushing is called for.  At the doctors they had a battery operated  mustache/beard trimmer and off came the mats that I had spent so much time on .  I will be getting one of these soon.

BREAD MAKING TIPS

 

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I love making bread and have been doing it since my children were young.  I just learned a new tip.  I use normal  bread pans and my bread never seems to look like the pictures .  In looking up bread recipes on the King Arthur Four site I found that using a smaller pan will cause the bread to rise higher in the pans thus the beautiful large loaves!!!!!  Learn something new every day.  I will be looking for slightly smaller pans soon.

I am planning to start my hyacinths today.  Looking forward to the sights and smells of spring soon.  The chickens have enjoyed going out most days this winter, which is great for them. Many thanks for reading my blog today and for all the kind comments.  I really appreciate them..  Carole

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WINTER SIGHTS-MABLE AND EDNA- CRANBERRY-ROSEMARY VINEGAR-COSMO

15 01 2017

GREETINGS

I have been out of commission for a few weeks with a wrenched back.    Getting back into the swig of things again.    The weather has sure been fickle and  there are many bare spots now.  We are in for a cold snap of zero temps at night for the next few nights then back in the 40’s for a while.

Winter Sights

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These were all taken in Colrain.

Mable the chicken

I got Mable this summer with Edna.  Both were due to lay  in the fall.  Edna laid beautiful  pinky-beige eggs and I waited and waited for Mable to lay.  She is the second Cuckoo  Maran that I have had.  Maran’s are suppose  lay very dark almost chocolate colored eggs.  I never did get a dark egg until one cold night I was doing my nightly count and I noticed 5 dark eggs on the floor.  Mable had finally done it and the eggs are dark with some chocolate specks all around them.  A delight for me.  These two sweet birds are named for two of my favorite Great Aunts.  This coming year I would love to get another Olive Egger.  The kingdom of chickens has changed since I first started with them.   It’s exciting to have such a selection of birds to pick from in the spring.

Cranberry-Rosemary Vinegar

I have had the most fun making this delightful vinegar during the holiday season.  It’s easy to make and  can be used as a marinate or as a salad dressing.  I used it in making a dressing for Coleslaw and it added a new dimension to the dressing

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If you want to make this find a nice  bottle.  I have friends saving wine bottles for me.  Get some organic cranberries and place them in the jar.  Add one or two branches according to the bottle’s size.  Fill with a quality white vinegar.  Cap and let stand at least two weeks.  A festive holiday 

COSMO

Cosmo has been doing very well, although the tumor has grown.  He snuggles with me in bed now and talks up a storm when I am on the computer.   Each day is a gift.

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

 

 

 

 

 





SNOWY DAY-WINTER- THIS YEAR’S CARD- THE CHICKENS-ORANGE PEEL CLEANER-HAPPY NEW YEAR

29 12 2016

GREETINGS

The snow is coming down lightly this morning with heavy snow predicted for the afternoon and evening.  In the end we are suppose to get between 6-12 inches. I  have mixed feelings about winter.  I love these quiet days of snow.  The time spent indoors doing winter projects.  I really dislike the below  zero days and frozen pipes.  I love the sound and smells of a wood fire but at the end of winter I am ready to give up bringing in wood and cleaning out the stove. I love seeing the sheep with their full coats of wool.

MAUDE

MAUDE

 

  I find each season offers just what I need and I am looking forward to getting lots of winter projects done.  

 Lil wants a pair of ice skates this year.  What fun.  I wouldn’t dare skate now  but would love to!!!!!!  I miss the old days of skating on Bray Lake in Holyoke as a child, the beautiful lake with snow-covered pine trees on the lakes edges.  The fires to warm up with and hot chocolate and marshmallows.  My children were able to enjoy that fun winter activity too.   Maybe Lil will be the fourth generation to skate on Bray Lake.

THIS YEARS CHRISTMAS CARD

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THE CHICKENS

This year I am trying to keep a small part of their outside yard shoveled .  On the days that are above freezing they can and do go out.  I do cover the area with hay.

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Next year the hoop house.

ORANGE CLEANER

Tis the season to eat lots of oranges.  Don’t throw the peels away.  You can make this wonderful cleaner with two simple ingredients.  Cider vinegar and orange peels.  This is my second year making it and this year I need to make another jar of it  to last the year.  And it smells great too.

I usually don’t have enough to fill a jar so I put whatever peels I have and add the cider vinegar to cover and continue this till the jar is filled.  I leave the jar on a shelf for about a month, shaking occasionally before pouring it off into a permanent jar.    To use put two parts water to one part orange cleaner in a spray bottle.  This is so easy and it is antibacterial too.

 

 

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As I write this the birds are flocking to the feeders, Mamma and Papa Blue Jay  brought the three kids to the feeders.  I have watched them grow and its so nice to have the here again. Thank you so much for reading my blog on this winter day.  Wish you all a healthy, and prosperous New year.Carole