Friday, September 24, 2010

day to day

Beeker wanted me to start the blog off with this very proud photo of her!!!! She certainly is the star chicken on the farm, and still (in her opinion anyways) the best looking chicken... especially now that her tail feathers have all grown back in. As I thought, it took nearly the whole summer for this to happen after Camille pulled them out last spring. Since that little episode, Camille has not been to the barn unassisted. I do need to get some photos up of the "new" chickens, now that their feathers are all coming in, we have some pretty cool colors..... oh, and the new batch of guinea hens... looks like we ended up with five hens and one cockerel... which I am very pleased about.
Tuesday, Ed got on the tractor and mowed the field. Eventually, we will turn this to pasture for the boys, the hay really isn't "good enough" for hay, but it's fine for grazing and keeping the boys busy. We just need to get more stakes and wire... it's on our to do list. In the meantime, it looks so much better mowed and it keeps the trees and other undesirables from taking over.

So, we're mowing down grass in one area and working on getting it to grow in another. Once Ed got all the rocks raked out, we put down some seed and with some water, sunshine and the Good Lord, looks like we will have a front lawn before the snow. Day by day it's getting greener and greener.... Ed thinks we will need a bigger tractor for mowing, I think we should just get some sheep!!!!

Abbie sporting her Grandpa's hat.... and ready to get to work....

This is my anniversary gift!!! even though our anniversary was back in August. I have always liked "smoke bushes", and I said to Ed that I would love to have one up on the farm. He tried to find one for me as an anniversary gift, but we didn't have much luck, most of the nurseries have this sort of thing in the spring. One day while I was at the post, a local nursery owner came in and I asked her to keep a look out for a smoke bush, and if she found one, I would like to have it.

Well, she found one!!! and dropped it off to us last week. It took me a little while to decide just where I wanted it to go, but I think I found the perfect spot. Smoke bushes can get quite big and I am hoping in time it will hide the transformer that brings the electric into the farm. (it's a big ugly green box thing and I would like it hidden). So, we got that planted. I just felt kind of bad that we dug up the dirt where Ed is trying to get the grass to grow!!!! Next summer I'll get a photo when the bush is in bloom.. they're cool.

AND, we got my sign hung up by the porch door. This sign was made for me many years ago, and all the cockers in it are long gone. For those who might remember them though.. it would be Diggie, Randi, Frosty and Holly.... I have always liked this sign and I am so happy to have the perfect spot for it now. Being on the porch will keep it out of the harsh weather and will be a nice welcome to our guests.

Fall officially arrived yesterday - though we are still enjoying some summer like temps. It's fun to decorate for the season, this is just the start of "seasons for decorations".... I need to make a run for pumpkins and mums, but want to take my friend Kelli along.. so, just need to make a date to do that. But, hope to in the next couple of days...

We had a grand full moon the first night of fall. It lit the whole farm up almost as bright as day. One thing about living in a town with no street lights, the night sky is so beautiful here and you can see every star. I enjoyed a few quiet moments on the porch watching the day come to a peaceful end.....

Monday, September 20, 2010 did it go???

Today was "turn in day" for our Chester. I like to refer to it as "turn in day", because now the real training begins that "turns Chester into a service dog". And even though it was a day of tears, I want to assure all dear readers, that I feel very much at peace this evening, and I feel it has been a job well done. I'm excited for the future and eagerly await progress reports.

For those of you who know me personally, you know that God and my faith are a HUGE part of my life. I live knowing that God is in every part of my life. And not to make this a sermon, but as you read at how this day played out, I am certain you can see where the Good Lord was working His wonderful way. So, "we" started out with a photo opt at the farm. Chester has spent much of his first year here, and I wanted "something" that put this on record!!! Then we loaded up and headed out.

I picked up my dear friend Kathleen.. and Ed, Sadie and Abbie went down and picked up Rick. Yup... two trucks headed down to NEADS.

We arrived safe and sound on this beautiful fall day. I was so pleased to have all this company with Chester and I. Course, my family had not ever been here, so it was nice to show them around. Now, when I talk about NEADS.. they have a clear picture of "what it is".

I took Chester out for a little "pit" stop and the others went in to do the same. When I entered the building, a man came out to the lobby with a beautiful yellow lab. He sat and waited for a while and we smiled at each other. He kept petting his dog, talking to him and telling him what "a good boy" he was. I asked him... "is this your dog".. a huge smile appeared on his face, and he answered "yes, I was matched with him last week"... "he is such a joy and you can't believe how much my life has changed in just this short time". He then asked about Chester, and when he found out I was a puppy raiser and that Chester was being turned in, he nearly teared up and said... "thank you so much for what you do.... people like you do so much for people like me"...( Okay... it was all I could do to already keep it together. )

Then one of the trainers, Brian, came out and said to the man.. "ready to train, we'll head up to the training room". I asked Brian if we could take a quick look at the training room before they started (I wanted Ed and everyone to see it) and Brian said to me... 'come on up and watch us work". This was such a gift for me, because as hard as it was to be turning Chester in... to have the opportunity to talk with this gentlemen and THEN watched them work together, brought back to me... "why" I had decided to give this a try. Definitely the Good Lord.. reminding me what "it" was all about.

This is what we got to see (among several tasks)... this beautiful dog.. turning on the lights for his owner..... he also fetched the phone.. opened the refrig and got an item out of it...

Opened a door... and closed it behind him.... and several other things. The whole time, this dog worked with such a happy "I can do it" spirit.. and as each task was done better and "more correctly" his owner's confidence grew and grew. You could see it before your very eyes!!! Such a gift for me to see this... I could have stayed and watched it all day.....

Then Dave took us up to the puppy house. There are LOTS of puppies in right now.. and both Kathleen and I have been told, that we will have puppies again by the first part of October!!!! So, I really only have a "couple of weeks off, and it will all begin again" (YAHOO!!!) I don't know "what" we'll get, there were lots of goldens there, so we might end up with goldens again... but there were labs too.. so, guess we'll see when the time comes....

any who, back to Chester.... we took time for some "good bye photos"... here's a good one of the fam..... (missing Kas and Nate!!!)

and then my two buddies... Rick who has been a huge support and sort of co-trainer of Chester (he worked him in many obedience classes!!!) and dear Kathleen... who is about to get her 14TH service puppy to raise and who "talked" me into this whole project!!!!!!

And one last kiss (until we all meet again at graduation).....

And then..... the final walk together.... for me, the end of a good time and many wonderful memories.. and for the golden boy...
one step closer to his future....
"best wishes "buddy"... I will always love you and will always hold onto that little spot in my heart that belongs just to you... and tonite.. in my prayers, I will pray for your future owner and all the wonderful things that you will bring to their life.. because you certainly brought it to mine...."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

week of "good wishes"

Well, just as I have "feared", this last week with Chester has gone zipping by. I wanted to use the time to make the rounds and have Chester say goodbye to all the wonderful folks that have supported and encouraged us over the past "year". Our first stop was at the Down Maine Vet clinic where Chester was so well taken care of. Dr. Spahn did all his vet care for free, so we had to be sure to pop in there. He did a check over and found Chester to be in very good shape, except for a slight yeast thing in one ear. So, he doctored that up and gave us some meds.

Chester, of course was a very good boy - he always has been at the vets. And Dr. Spahn and staff want me to keep them up to date on his progress.

Abbie and Chester have become fast friends. They often play together and I catch them at games like this one. Abbie offering Chester a toy and then deciding to take it back again. He doesn't care how they play... just the fact that they do....

Chester went to the dog club meeting this week. My club has been so wonderful with all their support. I was happy to be able to take him with us.

I took both Chester and Abbie with me to get my haircut. The girls there had a big dog cookie for Chester when we arrived. They were so happy when I said that it was fine for Chester to have the cookie, and he happily ate while I got my hair done.

Saturday, after work. Chester went with us to the Apple Fest.. we saw alot of church/town folks who were all asking when his big day was. And then it was all hugs and kisses when I said "Monday"...
My sisters came for Apple fest and afterwards we went to lunch together. Chester of course came along, he posed for the picture, and then took up his usual spot under the table. I got the "usual" compliment... "oh, I didn't even know you had a dog with you!!!"

My niece Naomi was sad to hear that Chester would be leaving soon. She just had to give him big hugs and told me that "if he isn't a service dog, I needed to bring him back home".... He certainly loves children, and I never met a child that he didn't just adore.

And tonite, we met up with Kelli and Rick for dinner. Chester came along as well... and I realized that this was a special event. The first time we took Chester to a restaurant, we had Kelli and Rick with us.. and now tonite, his last time out with us... They were there again.
The rest of the evening has been quiet. Chester is all groomed - Sadie took him to work on Friday and got him done for me. His health records are all in order and I have done all that I can think of to make him ready for the next phase of training. Tomorrow will be a hard day for sure, but I am excited in some ways as well. I will certainly keep everyone posted on his progress and with "luck" next spring will report on his graduation!!!!

apple season

Here it is again.. apple season. As I drive around our little town, I can find these great piles of apple crates waiting to be filled. But, from what I understand, this is not a great year for apples. We had a freak frost in May, just as the apple trees were blooming, and then a dry summer has taken it's toll on the crop. Some of the smaller orchards that do both commercial and private picking, have decided to do commercial only, so "pick your own" isn't always available. Some of the "warmer" types of apples didn't even produce where the "cooler" types fared better.

Monday morning, our church group met at one of the local orchards to pick apples for "our" pies, sauce and pancakes that will be made for "Apple Fest". It was a cool and cloudy morning, but still fun and I managed to get more than enough for the pies and sauce that I wanted to make.

I found the apples to be absolutely beautiful... but certainly not the "tons" of them that I have seen in the past. This orchards has several varieties, but only a few had big bunches like this.

I picked as many "different" kinds as I could. My "trick" for good pies is to use a few different kinds of apples in one pie, as each apple will add it's own flavor. I ended up making five pies this week.. two went to the church for sale, one stayed here and two were given away. I also got a batch of apple sauce made (which Abbie loved)... and the rest of the apples will be stored away until I need them again.
So, I guess I can officially say... fall has begun.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

11 months....

These photos are getting harder and harder to shoot... sitting still.... not for this 11 month old!!!!

Abbie certainly loves her puppies!!!!

And they adore her.....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

remembering 9/11

This past Saturday was the ninth anniversary of "9-11".. it is unlikely that any of us will forget that fateful day. I had to work at the post office, as usual, and I was pleased to see that a notice came via the computer... saying that flags needed to be flown at half mast. Such a "simple" jester, but one that is very important... so, I took a few moments of quiet prayer and hung the flag at half mast.

After work I dashed off again (with Camille and Chester) to catch up with my Ed. He had gone down to the Harley Davidson Motorcycle place for an event. A local firefighter - Sarah - is battling with breast cancer. Sadly, her prognosis is not good, but there is much support to help her and her family with this ordeal. There have been all sorts of different things going on for Sarah, but today was a motorcycle ride and rally. They had hoped for 150 bikes, and got around 280 riders!!! Certainly a huge success!!!! All the bikes were beautiful and there were all kinds to look at and admire.

Because Sarah is a firefighter and it was 9/11.. they also used the opportunity to remember the firefighters killed at the Trade Center. There were several different fire trucks on display, everything from very old to very new. The Red shirts had been asked if Protection II could come and be display. They were happy to allow her to go, so Ed trucked her down and parked her where she could be admired by many.

Protection II wasn't the only "antique" there, this beautiful steamer was also on display. I could just see a team of horses pulling this thru the town!!! (I also thought it would be a great photo opt for "our" boy)

There was food, vendors and music of all kinds. My favorite --- the bag pipers. They had a wonderful concert and we greatly enjoyed it. At first Chester and Camille didn't quite know what to make of the sound, but after just a little bit, both settled down and basically slept.

One of the bagpipers was even so kind to "show" Chester the pipes... and then gave him a hug to boot.

Kas and Nate were there as well. Nate was pretty excited because a local-semi famous band... The Drop Kick Murphys - had sent a couple of their members to the event. Nate is a huge fan, and to be able to chat with a couple of the guys (and get his shirt autographed) was a big deal.

Sunday, Chester's friend Maggie had to return home after spending the week with us. These two pups have been friends from the beginning and Chester was so excited to have her here (after having the week before with Banjo). This is a bittersweet photo, because it is the last time that the puppies will be together... Chester will be returning to NEADS on the 20th. They are so cute together and I hope that Chester will have other puppy friends as he heads into phase two of his life and for the time there after.

So, another weekend has come and gone......

Sunday, September 12, 2010

labor Day weekend...

I can't believe that "Labor Day" was a week ago. I honestly don't know where the time gets to these days... I take my pictures, think about my blogs, and then it's days before I seem to get a minute to post. But either way, I post when I can. We had the wedding on Sunday, and then on Monday, Dave and Deb invited us over for a cookout. It was a beautiful summer day, and they have the greatest back yard.

Deb showed me her babies.... six little yellow kitties that are about three weeks old. These are the brothers and sister of the kitten that Kas got a few months back. They are simply the dearest things....

and they are orphans!!! A little more than a week ago, Mama kitty went out for a bit, to stretch her legs and have a break from the babies, and never returned. Deb and Dave have a lot of wild life around their farm, anything from fox to hawk, so there's no telling what happened to the Mama Cat. Deb, of course, was just sick about the whole thing, not only did she like her Mama Cat, but now six babies that needed her. Well, it's been round the clock care, but Deb has managed to keep all six babies alive, well, and growing. Another couple of weeks, and they should be able to start eating on their own, but it's been long (and rewarding) work for Deb.

Now, I thought the cookout would be our usual, steak, chicken or hamburg thing.. but Dave surprised us all with these wonderful treats!!! Lobster!!! I've only had it a few times this summer, so when I saw these guys I was more than thrilled....sorry boys.....

in the pot you go!!! and I can't wait to eat you!!! They were so GOOD!! and there's just something grand in cooking outside and sitting down to a real New England lobster feed.

He even got "steamers" to go with the lobster. Fresh corn from his garden, watermelon, potato salad... a warm summer day - a holiday... life is good!!!!

We took a nice hike thru the woods after our feast. We walked and took the dogs with us, but Dave saddled up Buddy and rode a long with us. This is Lauren... taking a little ride on Buddy. Isn't he handsome... he's a Belgian cross, and such a nice boy!!!!

After a weekend of fun, Tuesday it was time to get back to life. Since we had the piles moved and smoothed out, Ed's been wanting to get some grass growing before the cold weather arrives. He borrowed this "rig" (I don't know what you call it) but it's designed to bring all the rocks to the top, so you can clear them away. It works really well, and after a couple of passes, many of the rocks have been removed. It was dusty work, though, we are in need of rain!!!!

He got the seed put down, and now we'll have to be watering everyday for a while... and looking to keep the chickens away, but hopefully in a week or two, we'll have the start of a new front lawn.