Saturday, January 19, 2019

A Cozy Moment Before The Storm

Here in north-central Pennsylvania, we are preparing for the big storm that may dump as much as two feet of snow.  

The horses are hayed and their water is topped off.  Sassy, (my 31-year-old mustang) is wearing her blanket - the old girl got pretty spritely and ran all around the pasture after I put it on her - I think she really liked it!)

All the other animals are warm, tucked in, and we're ready to go. 

Last night, I fed the horses and pigs.  Then I walked out for the nightly feeding of the chickens and turkeys.  As I walked back to the barn to return the water bucket and give the horses their nightly "cookie" I saw Lochlin waiting and watching for me and I thought, "this is the epitome of coziness."  

When we get cold and snow like this I think of a story out of a book from my childhood, "Stories That Never Grow Old," edited by Watty Piper.

Inside this marvelous, enchanting book, with its beautiful illustrations, is a story titled, "Shingebiss." 

Shingebiss is the story of a duck who defies the North Wind.  

"'How fortunate it is that I have a comfortable lodge with a good fire,' said he to himself.  And he looked at the great logs that would keep his fire burning until spring came again.  There were four of them - one for each of the cold months."

"Far up in the Arctic, the North Wind lived.  He was a quarrelsome creature.  He liked to come blowing down over the earth, frightening the animals and birds.  Sometimes he froze them to death, if they didn't hide when they heard him coming."  

The story goes on to relate the struggle the North Wind has to defeat Shingebiss as it freezes the lake ice, blows ice and snow over Shingebiss' back, comes into his lodge to blow out his fire, and tries to blow down his lodge.  Shingebiss replies with:   

"Bring your frost and ice and snow; I'm still free to come and go."

I hope that we can all feel like little Shingebiss after this great storm blows through!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Our Little Forest

In December of 2017, we purchased about 23 acres of forest nearby.  The property was lightly logged by Amish (much less impact on the environment) and in the process, a few nice trails were created. 

One of our other purchases of 2017 was a Vizsla puppy.  And the saying, "a good vizsla is a tired vizsla" is certainly true!  Ladybird, our young vizsla, needs me to get her out of the house for some exercise at least once a day or she becomes cuckoo!  Our trails through the new forest give her plenty of running space.  The exercise seems to help our old lab, Daisy, as well.  

The peace of a calm and silent forest is like meditation.  It soothes and rejuvenates at the same time.  

I really enjoy seeing signs of wildlife.  The white-tailed deer travel on self-made highways through our little forest.

And I was confused by the tracks you see below but found that an animal who travels by stepping into their own tracks is probably a red fox. 

What made this track?  I'm not sure.  I thought it might be vole tunnels, but that's just speculation.

Most days in which the wind isn't blowing hard you'll find me taking time in this forest.  I'm leery of widowmaker trees when the wind blows hard and walk carefully.  

What is a widowmaker? In the general sense, it’s anything that has the potential to kill men, thereby making widows of their wives. In a more specific sense, widowmakers are dead branches caught precariously high in trees, ready to fall on unsuspecting individuals below (source:  

I certainly wouldn't want to be standing near this tree below when it gives out!

This forest is a wonderful place for walks and peace, but it serves a much more real purpose in that it will keep us in firewood for years to come.



Friday, January 11, 2019

Deja Vu

I started this blog on July 31, 2010.  

I have written 688 posts! 

Sometimes I feel like I'm out of things to say or I have to wonder if I'm repeating something I've already written!  

But I keep writing.  Even if it has become a bit sporadic.  Because there are people out there who ask me about my blog.  And that makes me happy.  

So, going into my 10th year of writing, I'm trying to commit to writing more often.  

But I would like to know if there is anything specifically about which anyone would like to hear?

In a lot of ways I've sugar coated what goes on on the farm.  Deaths and failures don't get a lot of press, but I think for the sake of my readers I'm going to change that.  

So here goes...


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