Blogging seemed necessary for me after Dad passed away in 2008. It was a way to slow my life down a bit and try to keep some precious memories alive through imagery and the written word. I come from a long line of farmers on Mom's side and it seems that I am inclined to follow that type of lifestyle. If you are interested in the old days check out the links below.
Jessie, my perfect 'first' horse is now 26 yrs. old and a registered AQUA bay mare. Blue, my dominant Appendix, is a registered American Paint. Jessie loves her grass more than her mother and Blue loves eating (period) and 'herding' poor Jess. Both love eachother! Jessie is very smart and warned me of the fox who was within 7 feet of Callie.
LaQuinta, My Elegant and Athletic Egyptian Queen
While showing in Lexington, I stayed at the LaQuinta Hotel and all summer saw this poor cat who was too shy to be caught. On the third try, it took over an hour to convince her that she would be making a good decision!
Little Bear, Our First Baby
Mama Dog, a wild black lab mix who refused to be tamed, dropped two of her pups at our back steps of the new house. Little Bear rules all of her siblings and tries to rule her parents. She is a very good guard dog!
Nugget, The Boss of the Boys
Nugget arrived about a year after Little Bear. At first he refused to come in, so I would wrap him up in thick blankets during winter's cold nights. He is the best dog, and so gentle with children. But, his growl sounds like some monster from a scary movie, no kidding!
Rocky, Mama's Mountain Lion!
While photographing the huge Rockefeller barns at the Rolling Rock Hunt Club in Ligonier, PA, I sadly spotted a dead black cat near the road lying in the grass. When I stood up, an older kitten approached me sporting a white bulging eye. He let me pick him up and off we went to find a vet!
Coty, Everyone Wants To Take Him Home!
While riding Blue in the big field, I heard the dogs barking. My heart sank as I couldn't see well but thought I saw a coyote. We trotted across the field only to find a terribly thin stray in need of our home. Coty is a superb watch dog!
Sammy, Mama's Shy Boy
Sleak beautiful Sammy was watching over Black Jack on a little hill as he laid dead in the ditch beside the highway. He heard my screams of anguish as I picked up our gorgeous brother of Little Bear. Two months later, he chose to live with us.
Callie, My First Barn Cat
One June day, something thin and dark hesitantly showed herself near the entrance of the barn. With a weak meow, she told me she wanted to stay at the barn, pleasing me to no end! Callie is the most patient cat and the only cat who allowed me to put 'antlers' on her head for Christmas.
Cricket, My First Kitten!
Something told me Callie was pregant though she did not show. She was so proud to introduce me to my first and only Grandcat! I never had a kitten before and this cat has totally melted my heart! He is rotten to the core and frequently must be reprimanded with the dreaded 'Love Jail'. Grammie holds him like a baby and pets him gently despite the awful protests that escape his strong jaws. He only receives 'Love Jail' after a vicious tackle that includes biting his mother's back and knocking her over. After his release, he immediately rubs my leg with his 15-inch long tail!
Princess, A Gift from God
The day after Cricket was born, Little Bear let out a weird bark. I discovered a gorgeous long haired cat perched in the corner of the unfinished side porch where the dogs cannot access. Still beautiful despite being starved and bone thin, Princess has become just that...a princess! She does what she wants but she makes up for it by being the most affectionate cat in the world giving lots of kitty kisses.
Daddy Cat was wild! After a year of daily feedings, long begging sessions and quiet study while he hid safely under the horse trailer, I finally won his trust. He now resides in the barn separated from Callie and Cricket who stay in the tack room. Daddy Cat is extremely vocal and affectionate, always thanking his Mama for his new home.
Sharing Farm Tails With You!
Thank You Ali!
Attitude of Gratitude Award
Thank You Ali!
Click on the award and visit Blessed Country Mom
Thank You Paint Girl!
Click on the award and visit Paint Girl!
Thank You JC!
Click on the award and visit Lilacs and Cats
Thank You Leslie!
Click on the award and visit In The Shadow of Juniper Hill
Thank You Stephanie!
Click on the award and visit The Life of A Farmer's Wife
I just received an email called the 'wooden bowl' which was pretty cool. I am sure many of you have already read it as these stories get passed around quite a bit. Near the end, it had several sayings and that one just struck me as totally true....making a living is not the same as making a life... hmmmm, such a good one, especially with the ongoing recession.
I had already taken some pics of my flowers this morning so they seem fitting for today's post. The sunflower was planted by a bird, thank you bird, you chose a perfect place! So, instead of food for thought, I am thinking flowers for thought...and I have lots of thoughts swirling around up there! ; >)
Evidently, last evening was fawn time! I was given the pleasure of seeing four babies! Brownie and Bossy continue to hide their twins but Beauty's light colored baby tagged along, Long Tail and her twins made an appearance, and I couldn't tell who the other belonged to as it hopped around visiting everyone, but I think it was Sunny (Brave One's fawn). The good husband brought home dinner and was able to see these spectacular little things cavorting around the corn yard while driving down the lane. I had no desire to go in to eat so I stayed in the field surrounded by these amazing creatures watching and learning more about their personalities. Blue whined with envy as he wasn't getting any attention, but Jessie was content to cool off in front of her fans.
Hi, Mom, got milk?
Grammie Brownie, you love me don't you!
Aunt Cocoa, how come you don't 'got milk'? Uncle Nub, you are very nice to me and do not push me away like Aunt Cocoa!
Love you, Mom!
Can I come play with your twins Long Tail?
I think that is Beauty's baby with Long Tail's twins
I awoke very early one morning last week and saw this out my window.
I thought, hmmm, maybe there are some really neat photo opportunities, so outside I went in search of wonderment. I hadn't seen the house and farm in this lighting before. It was very interesting. In July the farm is bathed with so much summer color, but this morning, it was basically black, white, greys, etc. Everything was muted and mysterious.
It was very quiet. Since the day was a special one for me anyways, I was given a unique gift!
Brownie and Cocoa! They wondered why I was up so early and took advantage of the opportunity to get some corn! Brownie, where are your babies? She only showed them to me once, when I got back from vacation.
I guess sometimes the early bird does get the worm!
Okay, these aren't 'those' kind of beans...just having some fun! I thought I would show all of you bloggy buddies what I have been up to last week, as if you didn't know!! I canned 63 quarts. The good husband did most of the picking except my 'hour' that I picked Monday. We both strung, and I canned. I was up til' midnight each night as it takes so long. Thursday was a twelve hour day with no breaks except for barn chores and animal feeding. You know how if you have been driving all day and you dream of the highway when you sleep? Well, Tuesday night I dreamed of stringing and canning beans! No kidding. Friday was a special day for me, so I took a break and got out of the house and ran errands. The good husband knew I worked hard and didn't complain one bit. He picked some more that day, strung them himself and froze several gallons. The tomatoes are ripening so I will make some salsa next week. For those of you who grow corn, our frozen corn from last summer still tastes so good! We don't blanch it, we kept it on the cob and there is no weird cob taste either. We boil water, pop the ears in for only 5 minutes and the taste is out of this world! My friend's 8 year old twins gobbled up 5 ears for dinner one night! And we all know how picky kids are these days!
By the way, the good husband's brother has informed me that he was going to 'beat' me and that the race is on...okay, I never heard of a bean competition before...I think he got jealous that I canned more than him so today he bragged that he is up to 70 cans now. Hmmm, I thought the hematoma was going to set him back; evidently it didn't! He needs to give me back my huge bucket of beans that I so kindly gave him on Monday and play fair! Bad brother in-law...what a bean head!
This is a cute idea from Ali over at The Blessed Country Mom that I have been meaning to participate in...but life gets in the way especially in the summer time...I hope I am doing it correctly, Ali! Find Me Friday is when we post photos of something partially hidden. I don't have a lot, but when my animals are hiding, I now think of Ali's idea. Thank you Ali!
This morning we learned that the good husband's garden buddy (brother) hurt his leg so he is unable to pick beans. Poor good husband, he was all upset so I decided to pitch in... the normal routine is that the men pick and the wives can, but this time it will be different and wouldn't you know the days are back to hot summer scorchers!
Last night the good husband brought in a mess of beans that were beauties. No blemishes. So out came all the canning pots, jars, lids, etc. I put on a huge pot to boil water. Thankfully, the good husband used to own a really nice restaurant and we have these super sized stainless steel pots. I boiled my jars, then let them cool, poured boiling water over the lids (not supposed to boil those according to the 'book' as the rubber gets ruined), we both strung beans (yes, good husband, you did most of them!), I washed them several times, then began the process of putting the beans in the jars and packing them tight! I pour water in the jars to about 1/4 inch from the top, tighten the lid and put them in the Presto cooker. The process takes awhile as the pressure cooker needs a lot of time to cool out before the lid can be released. The good husband purchased another pressure cooker for me yesterday. All of the cans 'popped' (sealed) and are very pretty. Where am I going to put all of these beans? Before I forget, I was taught to can by one of the most wonderful humans I know...her name is Janet and she is truly gifted in gardening, canning, cooking, etc. Thank you Janet!!
Today I picked for an hour. It is a killer job on the back so I sat down between two rows! With three stress fractures and a little bit of arthritis, I will find the most comfortable way to labor! No bunny this morning, just a lot of beans and a few bees. I gave my pickings to the injured brother before my hair appointment. While I was gone, the good husband refused to wait until the sun went down and picked more beans!!! So, a lot of work awaits me and I still haven't gotten the barn chores done. Now you will know what I will be doing for the next few days. All is well on the bean farm!
The Big Man Garden is flourishing! The beans are ready to be picked as we speak, the tomatoes aren't really pretty yet, but we are getting a few good ones. The green (yum) and hot peppers (yuck) are doing fabulous as is the cabbage. The eggplant is so pretty but just beginning to grow a beautiful purple 'fruit' and the broccoli will be ready in about a week. The corn however is disappointing. The hard rains along with the timing of the planting did not bode well.
We gathered some 'bounty' yesterday evening and just as we were leaving, I spotted a bounty hunter! Uh oh! I told the good husband to go on and that I would walk up to the house. He knows me too well but not well enough as he warned that I was not going to find a turtle in there...what, a turtle? Who was thinking of turtles?? Silly man, but I acted as if nothing was going on...he saw through me and just sat there in the Kubota patiently watching...
I felt like a hurdler, carefully straddling the bean strings, trying to catch up with this perpetrator without breaking any delicate stems. It darted fast and hid well. Darn! But, my eyes are still good. I finally caught up with the cute little thing after about 10 minutes as it decided I was not going to hurt it and sat in the open beside a bean plant. Upon my return, the good husband asked if it was a rabbit or a woodchuck as he must have seen the flashes of brown. I told him. Then he asked why I didn't shoo it away...uh, hello!!!! My blog name is Kritter Keeper, we have 13 animals and I feed several deer, an occasional fox, a raccoon and a couple of rabbits their nightly corn and I also feed the birds...now why would I shoo that tiny thing away when the huge Big Man Garden will offer more than we can eat, store and give away to friends.... besides, I told the good husband how to keep those tiny garden ghouls from entering as I learned how from a garden magazine this Spring and he didn't listen, so now he has to learn to share!
Catch up time! Long summer days keep me busy, but here is a quick review...
When we got home from vacation last week, there was note from the 'pet' sitter that Rocky had not eaten in two days. Lovely...and why was there no call alerting us after the first day and asking for advice? If a human child had not eaten for that long, don't you think the parent would be notified? (I remain thoroughly disgusted to this day over this lack of care for my kitty especially since I was promised that this expensive care would be excellent. I believe I had successfully hired a house sitter and not a pet sitter). Off we went to the vet the next morning. He was constipated, given sedation, and cleaned out so to speak. He was kept over night which was fine. The bad news is that his BUN and creatine levels are high which means kidney issues which is bad news for felines and could mean a shortened life. Well, of course there are going to be kidney issues in a small animal when it hasn't eaten or consumed water due to sheer pain...so he is now on a special Purina canned food (thru the vet only) that I mix with warm water, a kidney med, and Miralax. The good news is that his bowels are great and the Miralax is far better than the prescribed Cisapride that another vet recommended a while back. The bad news is that it cost a whopping $500. So, to look on the bright side I am choosing to think about this entire situation as a positive one unless the kidney's do not recover. Rocky is much improved and his bowels have never been more regular and normal for three years. (Rock has had this problem before and the 'pet' sitter was forewarned and told not take any chances and get him to the vet). Rock seems happy and continues to attack Tiger thus remaining the big domineering Mountain Lion! I found railroad ties! That is not an exciting thing to most folks, but I have been looking and begging for a year now! So, the contractor that refused to put on my layer of limestone dust agreed to haul 50 ties. It took three hours to get them, bring them back and unload them. He wasn't going to charge me since he knew he 'owed' me, but I don't use people. I paid him very well and hopefully he will learn something from that...he loaned me an excellent tool...it is a claw like thing that grabs heavy objects. I chained it to the bucket and it worked like a charm! Hmmm, maybe he will let me keep it?
The following day we hired a man to help arrange the ties. It threatened rain, so the day was not stifling hot and there was a slight breeze. I thought this would be completed in a couple of hours max, but no....it took several hours to say the least. I will say this, the man cannot see straight and my ties looked like a snake when one side was complete. But, not to complain...the strong 'Grampie' genes came through as it was I that had to do most of the rearranging of 90 pound ties that were tightly aligned despite my ignored suggestions not to push them tight as we could rearrange when they were all placed...I was completely exhausted. After a shower, I had to lie down! My arms and back were very sore the next day, but I chalk that up to good exercise. I looked like I came out of a coal mine and when I washed my hair, the water was brown! Yuck!!!!
The next step is to find the right sand...coarse, angular, and washed twice...and that will be no treat either as one cannot have any vehicles on the packed limestone. The sand will have to be dumped on the sides and manually spread out until half way then the tractor can do the rest as the newly laid sand will prevent marks on the base.
Friends of ours experienced a devastating fire a few days ago that consumed their entire home around 2 in the morning. I cannot fathom their pain and to know they are suffering is simply horrible for all of us. Though we are not in each other's 'inner circle', they have been at our farm and we invite each other to parties. I am really fond of their family and they all are good, good people. I do know that several of us rallied around them and their closest pals arranged for us to give what 'green' we could manage to help out. I know our contributions will not bring back their antiques, photos, etc. but I hope they will know that we care so much and are here for them. Hopefully the insurance company will settle quickly. The fire initially began at a neighbor's home. The neighbor was away on vacation and our friends were baby sitting the dog. It was the dog's incessant barking and clawing at the door that awakened them and saved their lives. Bless the animals! Nobody was hurt! I felt privileged to pet the cute poodle mix and told him how wonderful he was and that he is a hero! The sad thing about this entire tragedy was that they had to call the fire department twice. The department located only five minutes away took a good 20 minutes to reach the houses and by then it was too late. That is just not right especially with all of the fees the city folks have to pay for such services or lack of services I should say...
Got back from the ear, nose, throat doc a couple of hours ago....all is well, thank God! I have been experiencing a tightening and sometimes slight pain on the front right side of my neck. The slight enlargement is the carotid 'bulb' and the tiny knot that sometimes hurts when I lift weights or overexert is a 'u' which is a blood vessel. I am so blessed. TYG!!!! What a relief. With so much cancer in our state, one never knows what to think when a bump or a pain is felt anywhere on the body. It is good to check regardless.
This weekend will be busy too as we have a wedding to attend and the good husband mentioned that the beans will be ready to pick....that means canning!!!! BYW, the photos are just a bunch of recent pics from this week, nothing that matches the content...sorry!!
After living 15 years in a very beautiful urban setting on top of my husband's highrise, it became obvious that I was out of place. I began riding about 12 years ago, purchased an awesome sport horse and competed in novice eventing. I needed to find all of us a beautiful place to live so that I could be the one to care for my Jessie, not a hired farm hand at a boarding barn that might close on a whim. We were blessed to find our old historic 80 acre farm tucked away in the woods that surround scenic fields. Hailing from generations of Vermont farmers and horse lovers, I felt right at home. I could now have another horse, dogs, more cats, plant flowers, grow veggies, mow the yard, feed and hear the birds chirping, listen to frogs, walk in the woods, and do all the things we did as kids. Kudos to my awesome husband. Without him, I would not be able to experience these blessings that God has bestowed upon Woodfield and all of its inhabitants.