Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Sighting?

As I ate my lunch today, I decided to sit where I could see the bird feeder. The cardinal families are eating with a vengeance and are so fun to watch. As are the woodpeckers and even the common sparrows. Everyone has something to contribute to the entertainment around here. Much better than tv.

One bird in particular caught my eye. A dove. By him or herself. Eating with the little birds. No other doves around........watching........thinking.........isn't that odd?.........wouldn't it be cool?.........could it be?..........Woodstock?!? While I have no way to be certain, I grabbed a quick picture just in case.



As a side note, I am trying to go back and label each post so that if, say, you wanted to read all the Woodstock stories, you could just click that label. I started doing this with all the entries several months ago, but wish I'd been doing that all along. As usual, why do I always have to be the one that everyone else can use to learn from my mistakes. Sigh.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Boo Makes A Bad Decision

Poor Boo spent much of his life in a kennel. And while we think he really enjoys living out on the farm with us, we know he'd be even happier if we didn't have a closed gate out at the road.

Boo sleeps very soundly. At least we think he's sleeping very soundly. So soundly that frequently you find yourself staring at him just to make sure he's still breathing. Somehow, even in that state, he's completely aware of what's happening around him. We have yet to figure out how he knows that the front gate has been opened and goes from dead to the world to trotting (now walking) down the lane in literally a matter of seconds.

Last night was one of those times. He apparently had a great time though. It was written all over his face. And doesn't he look quite proud of his garland of dried flowers....and burrs. Holy cow, Boo!!!



Even in the midst of grooming tragedy (from head to tail!), look who's still standing by his friend.



Through thick or thin.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Garden Oasis

We are horribly dry here in central Kentucky, so I was surprised the other morning when I snapped a couple garden shots - green!



We did get a little, much appreciated, rain yesterday, but apparently these late summer plants and flowers can get along just fine. Miss Mollie, the scarecrow, is doing just fine as well, although she's been getting about as much spinning done as I have lately. Sigh.



Equally refreshing, Boo and Comby. I just can't get over these two. I hope Boo's trying to impart some advice about getting along with everyone and staying out of trouble.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Some Pig"




While I can't read "spider", I do have a general idea of what she might be trying to say...

Charlotte's Web remains one of my favorite stories and is one of the few beloved books from my childhood I've carried around throughout my entire life. What were some of your favorites? Which ones did you check out from the library time and time again? Which stories do you remember a favorite teacher reading out loud?

Check out What Book Got You Hooked? Yesterday I voted for the Little House series and asked them to send 50,000 books to Kentucky. Today I think I'll vote for Charlotte. Tomorrow maybe The Boxcar Children... As they say, vote early and vote often and for a good cause.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Birthday Bash

Saint Tim said everyone should get to have one big party. I think one big party might be all you can manage - whew!

Buddy, Boudreaux and Ewen McTeagle sent out the invitations and announced it was my birthday and I wanted lots of presents, but only things that the local humane society could use. They also shilled for some cookies and several people fell for it, to their great delight.

Our wonderful guests filled a trailer with 183 lbs of cat litter, 213 lbs of dog food, 145 lbs of cat food, bags of towels, blankets, biscuits, beds, kennels, bowls, scratching posts, leashes, collars, toys, paper towels, jackets and other miscellaneous items. They also put together $390...as of this morning - goodies and money are still trickling in. Holy cow, you guys!

And, not only are you generous, but you're good company as well. We had beekeepers who opened our hive to check for honey, a spinner working with some beautiful wool and fielding questions all afternoon, another friend who did a very short (too hot!) herding demonstration with one of her fabulous border collies (Iris thought he was pretty cool, too ;-), people who made us laugh, people who warmed our hearts, people we hadn't seen in awhile that were so nice to visit with (way too briefly), some neighbors we hadn't met before that we were so happy to finally meet, and I'd like to think some ghosts of parties past might have been there as well.

And how about that food! We really couldn't have asked for anything more. Well, other than more time to sit down and visit (see second sentence). Luckily some folks brought cameras, because I never even got mine out (again see second sentence). John and Reg took these priceless pics. Thank you!!!


Iris couldn't believe there was actually meat cooking on our farm.


Ben was a huge hit...with the people.


Could this little girl be any cuter?

Special birthday greeting from the real party princess.

The next morning I walked out to check the carnage (none) and enjoyed a cup of coffee under the now quiet tent.



Aren't these flowers just beautiful - thanks to my good friends who braved the heat to walk out to the Frog Pond to cut and arrange them - a truly special gift.

We'd like to again thank everyone, especially friends and family who travelled many miles. We cherish your friendship.

Saint Tim and the crazy sheep lady

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Feature - The Frog Pond

Okay, one of these days we are going to look back on these videos and laugh. Until then, pretend that the fence post tripod is working just fine.

They say the early bird gets the worm. What I was wanting to catch were those early birds waking up out at the Frog Pond this morning, singing their morning songs and swaying back and forth on the cattails. While it will seem hard to believe that the first video clip was any worse than this one, it was, and by the time I got back out there for another try at 7:00, everyone was already sitting at their desks drinking coffee. Sigh.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

Boo came to us several years ago through a collie rescue. He was hard on our cats though and almost didn't get to stay. Finally Brushy knocked some sense into him and Claire Bear soon after and then Eli gave in and they drew up some sort of truce, but have never completely forgiven him.

When Comby moved in, I'm afraid the three may have tried to set him up. "Yeah, that big dog is really friendly. He loves kitties. Yeah, you should go talk to him. That's what you should do." Either that or maybe Boo just recognized a fellow tough guy. The first time I saw them hanging out together I thought it was just a fluke.



Nope. These two have become good buddies. Which is nice. The groomer noticed today how thin Boo has become lately. At probably 15, I'm glad he has someone to grow old with.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Birthday Gifts


The worst part of August is everything drying out and turning brown. But, just when I think all is lost, something always seems to surprise me.



This is the hardest working little rose bush and I don't have a clue how to take care of it, but it always takes care of me. And what a nice surprise on my birthday. Thanks!

For fun, I made and painted a swing to hang out in the barn. I've got some festive yellow rope and Stella's on her way over to help me hang it from the rafters. I looked online for some basic knot tying instructions and think I've got it figured out. If I don't make it to my next birthday, you'll know why.





Hap-bee Birthday to me :-D

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sturgeon Moon




While still beautiful, this photograph in no way resembles the actual view from Equinox Farm this evening. I will learn to take a better picture though someday. I just have to. We have some of the most beautiful sunsets, sunrises, big moons, sun dogs, fire flies... Visions that I keep filed away to call into my mind any time I need them.

The moon tonight is one day past full, but still so big that as I headed in from the barn I couldn't help but stop and stare. At the size, the luminescence, the pits and craters that I could see with my naked eye. A moon so incredible that as I watched it "rise" it seemed to move so fast that I wanted to grab a tree trunk and hang on for dear life so as not to get pitched off a spinning planet.

I thought of Saint Tim under this same moon out on a big lake in northern Wisconsin tonight. The last night of a wonderful getaway for him (at least I hope he comes home). He called as I was looking up its name. He'd just caught (and released) the second largest fish he's ever caught and they were all excited as they headed back to shore. I was happy to share what I'd found - it's the Sturgeon Moon - when the native Americans found the large fish up in the Great Lakes a bit easier to catch. All lakes are great.

Goodnight Moon.

Berry Nice

A testament to early and late raspberries. Worth the wait!



I really like this picture - the color, the lighting, the composition. And, as I was admiring my lucky shot, I remembered a lady from Ireland who was visiting Stella a few weeks ago. I had shown her the sample for the Trinity Vest (from the Tour de Fleece) and she immediately called it blackberry stitch. After looking at a couple books, I believe blackberry stitch and trinity stitch are indeed one in the same (I'm hoping someone will correct me if I'm wrong) and why, yes, it does look just like a berry.



So, I'm 4 1/2 inches along on the vest, and as usual, learning a lot. There are three, three strand braids running up the back. Two are visible in this picture...if you know where to look. The effect of dark and light yarn on patterns is amazing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Feature - Let Sleeping Lambs...

Miss Emily and Caspar Belly always sleep in this corner. Heidi and Sunshine sleep in the opposite corner and Woolliam and Petunia sleep side by side over by the little door to the right. I am standing at the full door looking in. I frequently spend more than one minute watching.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Double Trouble

Saint Tim is trying to put in a water line out to the newest paddocks. His help is not so great.



Comby can't even supervise properly.







You should really click on that middle picture for a close up of Comby's face.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Favorite

I was cleaning out a fence row the other day and cut this sapling before I saw what was attached.



Even though the egg looked pretty old, I placed it back on the fence in the same location just in case the momma was still out there. I went back out to check yesterday and the branch had either blown down or the neighbors cows had knocked it loose. As the egg was still firmly seated, I think it had been sitting there quite awhile, and as I carried it up to the house, I hoped I was not at fault for its demise.

This nest is interesting to me not only for remaining egg, but also the construction - note how it's securely tied to the tiny branches.



And what makes it my new favorite? The wool, of course ;-).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tobacco

Even just five years ago, one of the prime crops here in Kentucky was burley tobacco. Big fields full of broad leaves - small in the spring, as tall as me as the summer wears on, and turning yellow as it becomes ready to cut.

Now, as times have changed (in 25 words or less), tobacco fields are fewer and farther between. Here is a pretty field just up the road with, coincidentally, a tobacco leaf pattern painted barn quilt hanging on their modern metal tobacco barn.



Our big black wooden barn was originally a tobacco barn - a older style common and fairly unique to this area of the country. These older tobacco barns are vented by long doors that open to the side or, as ours does, propped out from the bottom. My favorite tobacco barns are painted red with white vent doors.

In addition, most barns have an attached room off to one side. This is known as the stripping room, where the leaves, after they've cured out, are stripped from the stalks and baled to go to market. When City Boy came down to visit us the first time, we had several friends and neighbors over. At some point during the evening, the subject turned to hanging winning card game scores on the walls of the stripping room. We didn't think a thing about it until the next morning when City Boy announced that he really liked our friends, you know, the strippers (said in a hushed voice).

There is an entire culture based around growing tobacco, with it's own vocabulary and encyclopedia of knowledge. Our "stripping friends" can climb like monkeys all the way to the top of our very tall barn - a talent acquired growing up working tobacco. I always "set" a few plants somewhere in our yard and think it's a beautiful plant.



A real tobacco farmer would "top" the pink flower heads to encourage thicker leaf growth.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lyin', Cheatin' and Stealin'...

Or how Miss Weaslie spent her summer vacation.

I received the funniest email the other day. A reader in Florida had seen pictures of Miss Weaslie (aka Miss Tilly) "swimming" in the Frog Pond and wrote that she too had a corgi that liked to swim and "I thought this behavior was atypical, but after seeing your pictures, I guess corgis are natural swimmers."

I hurt myself laughing.

You see, while it sure appears that she's swimming her way to a gold medal,



what is indeed happening is, yes, fake swimming,



as proven by the instant stop to stand up and look at something.

Among her other favorite summertime activities - stealing corn ears from the Adventure Chickens. And I'm pretty sure they didn't tell her it was okay to share like she's trying to convince us with this innocent expression.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Feature - Sheep May Safely Graze*

One thing (of many) I've really enjoyed about running a blog is learning to do all sorts of new things. I remember, not really that long ago, when someone was showing me how to just get on the internet and how to use email. Now I'm formatting web pages, uploading pictures and basic videos and getting ready to learn how to edit my videos so they are actually enjoyable to watch.

Today's Friday Feature is just a minute of some of the adult sheep out grazing. It's not a great video, but here are a couple things I found interesting. Ford is the big horned sheep that walks up to me today. As he does, you see Henrietta walk away. In the background you see Beanie Baby pushing Elizabeth out of the way and Jester bumping Allie off his clump of grass. I like to watch my sheep throughout the day as I'm doing other chores and I just love to observe the general herd dynamics.





But let's go back to Ford. I've been wanting to tell you a story about him anyway. He was our breeding ram a few years ago and has since been "fixed". Fast forward a couple years to one day back this past winter. I had everyone up for a general check and to trim their feet. Ford (like all of our rams) has traditionally hid in the back behind all the girls. That day however he was out in front and it almost seemed like he was trying to hang out close to me. While none of our rams have ever been mean, you just don't, for safety reasons, ever trust a ram or want him hanging out with you, especially if he's acting a bit abby normal, as he was.

I tried to get him to back off, but couldn't. If you think hard enough about something like that, there is always an explanation - sort of like Border Collies, except sometimes you have to think really hard to figure out what they are thinking (just kidding Iris ;-). It finally dawned on me that the herd dynamics had changed and Ford's son Beanie Baby had taken over as top "ram" and therefore he was in the back of the pack and Ford had been kicked out. Ford didn't want to be out in front any more than I wanted him out there, but once we understood each other, everything worked just fine.

That he calmly walked right up to me out in the field today is unusual. None of our Jacobs except Henrietta have ever been very chummy with people and Ford tends to be one of the most shy. So, as I'm sitting on the mower today, I'll have something interesting to think about. Unless Iris figures it out first.

*Sheep May Safely Graze is from Bach's Cantata 208 and not a reference to safety on our farm, although if Boudreaux doesn't quit biting me while I'm trying to take pictures, he should maybe be learnin' to play that famous piece.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Weeds

In spite of my poor maintenance this year, the flowers in the native plant pond are shining. Normally the invasive exotics would have been kept in check, but since they weren't, we'll just enjoy them (until the weather cools a little).



My usual gardening buddy, Brushy, elected to stay on the porch this afternoon. Comby braved the heat and was good company.



As I snapped this picture, I thought of this one from a few years ago.



We don't have any idea how old Brushy is, but he's not making as many Frog Pond ventures as he used to. That's okay, we'll just enjoy him, too.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ya' Big Baby

We've had lots of farm visitors lately and David caught some really cute pictures of our favorite (now BIG) baby - thanks!!! I'm so used to thinking of her as tiny, that seeing her from someone else's eyes was quite a shock.



She still wants to put everything in her mouth, but from the look of her chubby little tummy I'm guessing at this point it's mostly curiosity, and shhhh, we know nothing about where those teeth marks came from on your hat, Saint Tim ;-).



Here she's taking her first "cookie" from Brittany. I've tried to give her treats, but we know where that gets me. If you look up "brat" in the dictionary, you'll most likely find a picture of Sunshine.



I'm a little worried though. I'm afraid she might be getting a little spoiled.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Feature - The Honey Factory

I'm going to try to post a weekly one minute farm video. There are many beautiful, yet simple, scenes in each of our lives, no matter where we are. We just have to take that one minute and pay attention. I hope you enjoy your minutes at Equinox Farm.




One of our honey bees working in a clover patch on the farm.




A close up of the factory.

I tried to get a quick inside tour, but when they say bees get cranky when it's hot, they ain't foolin'.

I apologize for the video quality. Looks like some new camera toys are required ;-).

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