Wednesday, December 31, 2008

bye-bye 08

The last day of a very busy, lots of changes year!!! As I look back on other blogs that I have written, and see "how far we have come".. I have no doubt that this blog will prove to do the same...

We had to fill the water tank this afternoon. It is amazing how quickly we go thru 300 gallons of water!! But having electricity now, we put the tank heater in it, and it doesn't freeze!!! The horses buckets don't freeze either, and they are drinking gallons, which this time of year... is extremely important!!! Next year when we are living on the farm, and the well is getting water to the barn... this too will become a fond memory!!! (or at least I tell myself that today.. as the snow is falling, the wind is blowing, and I am watching ED do the work!!!!)

The "family" arrived for dinner. I cooked a big turkey, made some meat balls, put a salad together, and we made sandwiches. The driving was not good, I am so happy that everyone came just the same. By the time we were done eating, the weather had let up some, and we decided to make a trip to L.L.Beans. We went there last year, and had a grand time, there were a number of activities going on, tons of people and it was a fun way to spend the evening.

This year it was a bit different... there really wasn't much going on, and the store was very quiet. I don't know if it is a sign of the economy, or just too cold, or what, but it was certainly different from last year. Still, just being with our family makes anytime fun.. we enjoyed it.

Kas, Nate and pups spent the night, and in saying goodbye 2008... I will chalk this year up as a good one.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

much going on...

Today was a busy day at the farm... LOTS of company, lots of building... lots of everything!!! Kassy was watching a friend's little girls, so, as a source of entertainment, she brought them up to the farm. It was really cold today, winter has appeared once again, but the girls were good sports and seemed to really enjoy themselves!!!

The first thing they wanted to "try" was the new wagon!!! They climbed right up there and thought it was just great (btw... they are twins!!!) They also liked it because it gave them a good view into the stalls, and they could see the horses.

We then pulled Mocha out of her stall. The girls loved her, they gave her treats, spent some time brushing her, and even sat on her for a little bit!!! Mocha was so good and really enjoyed all the extra attention!!!

And since Banjo will be spending time on the farm and around the horses, we thought it was time that he met Mocha!!! She is wonderful around dogs, and Banjo seemed very happy to meet her!!! He certainly wasn't one bit afraid of her.... nothing better than a puppy that has been well socialized... Kas and Nate are working very hard on that!!!!

"how about alittle kiss??"

While Kas and the girls were there, more company showed up.... these are our dear friends, Chuck and Peg! We have known them forever, and if you ever wanted to meet two really "neat" people, these are the ones.. They have a beautiful farm, and do all sorts of cool things... raise their own meat, make maple syrup in the springtime.. grow a beautiful garden...operate an outstanding boarding kennel... just about anything. I love spending time with them and was just thrilled that they came to visit!!!!

(Banjo...what a ham he is for the camera!!!)

No sooner had Kas and then Chuck and Peg left, when my friend Kim drove up for a visit as well.... it was such fun to have so many friends on the farm!!! Everyone is pretty excited about the house and the progress.....

And speaking of progress.... look at the gables!!! Even though the wind was blowing, and it was really quite cold!! the guys worked today, and got the two gables in place... all of a sudden this house looks huge to me!!!! (and we still have the garage to build!!!)

"Sweetgrass farm!!!"

Monday, December 29, 2008

being "responsible"....

another day of perfect weather!!! temps nearly 50!!! perfect for harnessing that horse up once again, and playing in the field... I can't wait.

But suddenly, common sense steps in.... "notice there is no snow blocking the woodpile.... notice that the wood is dry thanks to the wind that blew all night..... notice that it would be very easy to get some wood in where it will be dry... remember, this is just a winter break, winter isn't done yet!!!" OK, OK... I get it...

I take a deep breath, find my gloves and begin hauling wood inside. It is much easier not trugging thru knee deep snow, and the wood is dry, I will be happy when the winds are blowing that I chose to do the "right" thing and played with wood, instead of horses... BUT ... tomorrow might be another story!!!!!

It's all about a roof now!!! The game plan is to have it up by the end of the week. The gable ends are all made and will be raised tomorrow (when a few more people will be on the scene!!) Eric and Buzz also began to work on the smaller roof that goes over the mud room and the small front porch. It will be good to get that roof on, we are having "issues" with the sheet rock downstairs, and there are several pieces that will need to be replaced, so having this building buttoned up against the weather will make a huge difference.....

Ed went to get our wagon at Dave's today!!! It looked so cute on the back of the big trailer, and Ed said he could see people pointing and smiling at it as they passed him on the highway!!!

We rolled it into the barn, so Tonka and Duke can look at it, I told them it was a gift to them... but for some reason, they were more interested in their grain!!! I am so excited to get one of them hitched to it!!! and then I can't wait to take the family for a ride!!!

A few weeks of this 50 degree weather would be a treasure, but somehow... I don't think it's going to be that way...

Christmas was can be spring now!!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

what is this???

two weeks ago today... the world looked like this... everything coated in a thick blanket of ice... and we were without electricity (for 5 days)... temps in the 20's, winds blowing...

Last Sunday, the world looked like this... blowing snow, almost blizzard conditions.. leaving us with 15 inches of the white stuff and cancelling many Christmas plans.....
Today, the world looked like this... NO MORE SNOW... temps in the high 50's!!!! and I am ground driving a horse in my sweatshirt...
is winter over!!!??????
"wishful thinking!!!"

Saturday, December 27, 2008

hennys... hennys....

My guinea hens have been my "tragic-joy".. I never really liked birds, I appreciate them, but never liked them. I like seeing the birds fly about the field on a summer's eve, I like hearing birds singing in the morning, I appreciate fresh eggs, and bug control, but for me and birds, that's about it. UNTIL my guinea hens... now you all know about Ed and I trying to wrangle them in at night... trying to get them out of tall pine trees, making sure that they are safe from hunters of the night... and the fact that I am down to five of the seven... makes me pretty protective of them. Well, on the 23rd... two of my hens actually spent the night outside. For the most part, they stay in now, they don't like the snow, but that day, two went out, and somehow couldn't figure how to get back inside. The last I saw of them was in a tall pine... since I have been thru this before with one or two of them... I simply gave up and hoped they would make it thru the night.
The next morning (Christmas eve day)... one hen had at least found her way to the top of a closer tree. The hens inside kept calling to her, but she would only answer back and not attempt to get out of the tree. I don't know if she didn't want to be in the snow, or she didn't know where her friends were... but I ended up shooing the three outside, and when she saw them... she flew from the tree and joined them. This of course, still left one outside, but the day was bright and sunny and I figured she would eventually come in. During the afternoon, we began to get rain... and then the wind began to blow. Christmas eve we ended up having quite a storm, the wind blew very strong (enough to knock the power out for five hours!!!) and I was quite certain that the one lone guinea hen would be blown away.
Christmas morning when I checked in at the barn, Betty said she thought she had heard a hen outside somewhere, and when we opened up the stall doors, there she was. I couldn't believe she had made it thru the wild night!!!! I was pretty happy to see her.
Today, Ed and I came up with a way of fencing the henny's in their stall. It meant taking chicken wire and closing off the top of the stall, so they can't fly out. It was a difficult job!!! but we managed to do it. Beside from being able to completely lock them in, it will also help keep the barn cleaner... they are birds, and you know they don't care where or when they poop... so they have made a big of a mess. I feel much better tonite knowing that I can (for the most part) control them, or at least once I get them in their stall, they'll stay there.
I'm not sure they're so happy about it... but... too bad!!!!!

and so it is Christmas....

If the truth were to be told, I was actually "dreading" Christmas a little this year. There have been so many changes this past year, and not being in "my" house for the holidays, I really wondered "how I would do with that". Please don't misunderstand me, I love being on our farm (well almost on our farm) and I am beyond thrilled that Kas and Nate now live here, and not only do we see them often, I don't have to worry about them making that long trip back to North Carolina..... and as much as I try to tell myself that "I handle change well"... I don't!!! But I am happy to report that Christmas was just wonderful.

The day started out with Betty calling me from the barn (because we were running late and hadn't gotten that far!!!) to say that she had all the horses fed and mucked out!!!! She said it was a Christmas present to herself to spend time with the horses and a have few quiet moments in the barn. Not only was that a wonderful surprise, but it caught us back up on time!!! We then went to Kassy's and Nate's for Christmas breakfast with the family. This is something that Ed and I had been doing for the past 20 or so years, so it was so nice to have the same tradition.

I was able to hang the kids stockings by the fireplace, as I have always done, and just being "home" felt really good. We opened gifts together with the kids and the Flagg's.. and just had a "non-rushed" morning together.

From there, we went to my parent's house to visit with them and my sister's and nieces... again, a tradition that we have done for many years. The kids came with us and visited for awhile before going onto other extended family's homes.

My Mom has been collecting Santa's for many years, this is a picture of part of her collection. It takes her a whole day to get them all out and set up!!!

And what is Christmas without kids. Well, we have kids, but they are all big now, so it is just wonderful to have our little niece, Naomi, to spoil and watch. Being just 2, she really didn't "get it" this year, but we spoiled her just the same.

When she arrived with my sister, she was sound asleep, so Rachel laid her down on the bed. But after an hour or so, we just had to wake her up to open gifts!!!! (meanies!!).... I am sure my sister would have been just as happy to have her napping, but we couldn't stand that!!!! Fortunately, she had enough sleep that she woke up happy and was ready to open her gifts.

I am glad to see this "child being brought up right!!!" She got a "my little pony" as a gift and fell in love with "her" right away. I asked her if she was named Mocha, but Naomi quickly said..."NO, auntie Sue... it's my little pony!!!"... oh well, I tried!!!I told her to bring her pony up to visit Mocha and she said.."ok, I will"....

After that, it was time to think about heading home. The day had zipped by for me, but I had doggies waiting at home, and horses waiting to be brought in... and in both cases, I am sure it was a long day for all of them. So home we came, got everyone "taken care of" and spent the evening quietly together. A nice ending for a very nice day. And I can't help but think of next year, and the idea that we will be in the new house and settled in on the farm....I hate to say it, but it will be here before I know.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas eve surprise....

Christmas eve, we are so blessed to be able to spend it with family!!! Tonite we went to the Flagg's and had a grand meal with Deb, Dave, Lauren, Sean, Kassy, Nate, Bill and Ed and I. It was so much fun just being together, enjoying each other's company and the anticipation of Christmas.

After dinner, Dave wanted all of us to come out to his shop and see the "new toy he was working on"... so, nothing doing, we bundled up against the weather (raining) and headed out to his shop...

What was there put me right into tears and left me speechless for many minutes....

A BEAUTIFUL WAGON!!! Painted in "John Deere colors" with the words... Sweetgrass Farm and Ed's and mine names painted on the side!!!

A wagon that can be pulled by horse power or tractor power!!!!

Even as I try to write this blog... my mind is just spinning!!! I can't even begin to say thank you to Dave!!! (Nate, Sean, Bill and the rest of the family) for such a wonderful, thoughtful..... talented gift!!!!

I can't wait to hitch Duke and/or Tonka up and try it out!!! I can't wait for future hay rides!!!!

I only hope reading this blog and the next will make some sense, because I am still so excited, that I probably am not thinking straight...

but, I wanted to get this posted as soon as possible!!!!


You can't really appreicate our beauitful wagon until you see this post!!! THIS is what our wagon started out as!!!! An old wagon, that had been left to rot in the woods.... Dave was asked if he could haul it off... and from this "eye sore"... he created our wagon!!!!

Talk about a dimond in the rough!!! Now, I have seen things go from looking like this to items that are amazing... but the fact that Dave (and "crew") did it in such a short amount of Deb said when Dave dragged this home..."you'll have it done by THIS Christmas???" and hours of labor and love... he did!!!!

On Thanksgiving, Dave shows Kas his "game plan"

Sean and Nate put many hours into it as well... Sean did the welding, Nate did painting and woodworking!!!!

The tires came from brother Bill... off one of his antique trucks (that now has a new set of tires)... and the lettering was done by a friend of Bill's...who is "officially" retired but came out to do the work as a favor to Bill

And if you have noticed the date on the photos.... it was just finished up yesterday!!!!
I dare say, there will be many more stories about this wagon!!! and if Christmas isn't exciting enough... I probably won't sleep a wink tonite!!!!
thank you SO much Dave.... it's just way beyond words!!!!!!

Christmas carols......

I'm not sure if it's "We wish you a merry Christmas" or "Deck the Halls".... but it certainly ISN'T "Silent Night!!!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

one of my favorite days...

For many,many years, December 23rd has been one of my most favorite days of the year, the reason being is... Christmas is so very close, but hasn't quite begun. All the surprises, happenings and memories are yet to come, it's the "looking forward" day!!! My kids always thought this was a bit strange, but I think now that they are a bit older they can appreciate my thought behind it. We call it "the day before the day before..." and this morning both my girls made a point of contacting me to wish me a happy "day before the day before!!!"

Ed had an early morning doctor's appointment in York, so we were on the road first thing and decided to use the trip to finish up some errands in Portsmouth. He took me out to lunch (in celebration of "my" day) and we got our errands done. It was early afternoon before we were home again, and we needed to pop down to the farm to take care of the horses and check on the guys. As I pulled onto the property I could hear a saw running, but I noticed right away... another sound was MISSING!!!! NO generator!!! which could only mean one thing... we have REAL power!!! I ran over to check the meter and sure enough.... it was running!!!!! Finally!! I know the CMP guys have had a long trek with all the storms and such, but lugging water, banging out frozen buckets (that don't freeze when they are plugged in!!!) racing thru chores in the evening so you can still see... was getting old. Now, my dear friend Betty works for CMP in another department, and she took it on herself to do some snooping and see what the hold up was with our order. Basically, there wasn't any "real reason" why we hadn't been finished up, and she began to "squawk" at some of the higher ups for us. Ed was also calling and being a "polite pain in the neck"... and yesterday, we finally got an answer that we would have power by the 30th, maybe sooner. But, I am quite certain that because of Betty.... the "sooner" turned out to be today!!! I almost cried when I thought of what this means!!!! suddenly, barn chores have become almost easy. The horses took long drinks of semi warm water tonite, I fed with the lights on.... it was wonderful!!! A real present on my favorite day for sure!!!!

Then Ed told me to take a quick look at our chimney, and waiting there was the mantel.... all in place!!! It's called "blue stone", and it looks beautiful!!!

Ken and crew were working roof top again. The plan is to have roof framing the first of next week.
So, a number of wonderful Christmas gifts have arrived early for me....lights, mantel and almost roof... what more could I ask for??
OH... and in case you didn't notice... the daylight was one minute longer today!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

perfect timing!!!!

We woke this morning with about 15 inches of snow!!!The wind was howling, but the sun was out, a good day for "cleaning up". I decided it was time to get my hat out....

I made this hat!!! I seldom make things for myself, but I just could not resist having a hat of my own. Last spring, I went to the wool festival with my friend Linda, it was great fun (hope to do it again next year!!!!) and I bought a few things. One was the pattern for this hat (which I wasn't so sure I could do, but obviously I can!!!) and the other was a beautiful skein of grey wool. Then as a gift, Linda gave me a skein of alpaca wool that came from her alpaca and that she had hand spun!!! So.. I thought I would "spoil" myself and make a special hat just for me!!!! I combined the wool with the alpaca wool!!! Not only was it GREAT fun to make, but it came out really well.... and talk about being warm!!! It was wonderful on day such as this!!! At first it felt so light weight that I wasn't sure how warm it would be... but it was very warm..... so, Ed has his "silly"hat.. I guess this one is my "silly hat"....

Now, my friend Barbara had asked me if I could come and help her when her Aussie Lula had her puppies... of course I said...SURE!!! Then I found out that the puppies were due around Christmas eve... yikes... we have so much going on, but I told Barbara to call me just the same, and if I could come I would. Well, first came the ice storm last weekend, and then two snowstorms this past weekend, and I worried that Barbara would be calling during one of those times... but she didn't.

She called me around 11:00 this morning, saying that she was pretty sure that Lula was beginning labor. I told her I would pop over (she only lives the in next town) but not to get too excited, because I have never delivered a litter of puppies during the day... they ALWAYS have them in the middle of the night. Well, when I got there, Lula was in "serious" labor!!!

What perfect timing.... no stormy weather to drive in, I was bright and "with it" because I had a good night of sleep, and plenty of daylight to see by..... Miss Lula was quick to boot!!! Her first puppy came at 1:15 and the last one somewhere around 5:00...... 7 beautiful Aussie puppies, five boys and two girls!!!!

This little chap is ready for a good meal... he is about 3 minutes old in this picture!!!!

Here's the proud Mama and her litter!!!

Babies all snugged in and enjoying their first meal and the first few hours of life...
now, that's a real Christmas gift......

Sunday, December 21, 2008

bit of snow...

Our deck railing is about 36 inches high...

this is a picture of the thermometer yesterday afternoon.....

And here is it, about 10:00 pm tonite...
think we got a "bit of snow".........

changed the heading...

as much as I liked the air photo of the farm.. all that "green" doesn't seem to fit the bill ... so... now that I have figured out how to play with the heading... I think I will change it up every so often... this, by the way.. is Duke enjoying the first day of winter.

the first dayof winter...

Welcome "winter solstice".. the first "official" day of winter and the shortest day of the year... tomorrow the days will begin to lengthen!!! We are in the middle of a good old fashion snow storm, the second one within two days!!! Originally it was to begin around "mid afternoon", but the more I listened to the weather, the more it changed. As we were leaving for church, the snow was already falling.

Our Pastor said, "these are the days that you dream about when you are young.... the surprises of Christmas just moments away, the snow falling outside...." and to be honest with all of you, I spent almost as much time looking out the beautiful church windows as I did paying attention!!! I'm sorry, but I just couldn't help it... something about singing the Christmas carols and watching the snow fall, was simply magical.

We opened the barn and let the horses out while we were at church, on the way home, we stopped to do chores and bring everyone in. Not that they really wanted to be "in", but I felt better knowing that they would be safe and "warm" inside.

My camera lens fogged as I got out of the truck, but I thought this was a neat picture of "camp" just the same!!!!

This is what the field looked like tonite when we went back to feed supper. With the generator on, and lights in the barn.. it looks quite inviting on a snowy night.... (the shadows in the transom window are the guinea hens!!!)

So, with animals all taken care of, wood brought in for the stove, supper going on the other stove, Ed and I settle in for a snowy night and a good movie..... nice way to begin the winter season.......