Sunday, December 27, 2015

Lots Of Updates Coming Soon

Hi everyone, 

Like everyone else this holiday season, I haven't had a chance to stick my head above the busy-ness.  Coming soon will be lots and lots of updates... and there's a LOT going on!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016!

See you all soon!

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Heart Breaks For Paris

Over the years I have been blessed to visit Paris many times.  People have said that the French are arrogant and aloof.  That has never been my experience.  All Parisians I've met have been warm and inviting and happy that I appreciate their city so very much. 

My heart breaks for Paris and its people in the wake of these horrible attacks. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Blast From The Past: Chasing a Pig

Before we started raising and breeding our Idaho Pastured Pigs, we would get a few piglets each spring to raise until fall.  Here is a story of a spring adventure from a couple of years ago.....

We got this year's batch of four piglets on Monday.  I've been too exhausted to write about our harrowing day!

We dropped the first piglet in the pen.  It hit the fence... and kept on going!  It ran into the forest behind our house and so began a three and a half hour pig chase.  

We put up a push-in fence along the road and herded the pig into it in an attempt to slow it down so we could jump on the pig and catch it.  It hit the fence turned sideways and ran around it.  After that, it knew that fence was there and wouldn't go in that direction.

We found that piglets never tire out.  My husband, four children, and I chased that pig until we could hardly move and it never got tired!  It would lay down for a second while we all tried to herd it, but then up and away it went.  We tried hiding and catching the pig as it ran past.  We tried closing in on it in a circle.  It's much easier for a little pig to slide through the forest than a big vertical human!  

After hour number two we started thinking, "roast suckling pig."

Finally, in an opening in the forest, we made a "C" shaped fence enclosure and doubled the fencing.  The children herded the pig into the enclosure.  It ran in at top speed!  The piglet hit the back end of the enclosure, got hung up for a second, frantically backed out and turned sideways, hit that fence, and my husband jumped on it and grabbed its legs!  It screamed bloody murder.  Oh my, did we cheer and dance!  

Now, we've put the piglets in a high, solid board enclosed area for a few days until they calm down.  As they get accustomed to their new home they'll gradually get a little more freedom.

The lessons never stop coming!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

  This is how my Halloween decorations looked ......

.... before the blustery winds blew some of them the way of Dorothy's house.  

Don't be alarmed if you find a headstone tucked into your bushes somewhere!

Halloween is Here
by Debbie

It's time for Halloween,
A day for trick or treat,
When the kids dress up in costume,
And walk proudly down the street.

They ring alot of door bells,
And collect alot of candy too,
And if they happen to see a ghost,
They will be greated with a boo.

Pumpkins light up the windows,
And decorations adorn the front yard,
So be careful when you come in,
Because the skeleton will be on guard.

So go have alot of fun,
And don't have any fear,
Because it will soon be over,
And you'll have to wait till next year.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Autumn Blows Away

We've had lots of rain and windy weather the past couple of days and that generally blows the leaves off the trees and sends us into that dead time between autumn and winter when the trees are bare and the snow hasn't fallen yet.  Luckily, I was able to get a few late autumn photos.  

I don't think there is anything better than seeing autumn from the back of a horse!

And there are always the beautiful country road shots.  

Now we turn our minds towards winter....

In Autumn
by Winifred C. Marshall

They're coming down in showers,
The leaves all gold and red;
They're covering the little flowers,
And tucking them in bed
They've spread a fairy carpet
All up and down the street;
And when we skip along to school,
they rustle 'neath our feet

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

An Abundance Of Horsey Riches

You know horses are like potato chips and you can't have just one!

I started with Lady.  My little white Arabian-esque girl.

Then added Sassy and Bandit.  My mustang and paint.

And now we've added Ever (with a name change to "Willow" because it suits her so much more) to the crew!

Willow got to participate in her first "horsey beauty shop" day this past weekend.  She was terribly nervous at first, but calmed down and enjoyed the attention.  

Lady got a very special mane treatment.  

Horse yawn.  She's bored.  This took a long time to finish!

Doesn't it look lovely?  Our exchange student, Jaque, did the majority of the work.  I just finished the bottom row.

I think Flower must sense the cold weather coming.  I caught her "making her bed".

We've opened the fence between Flower and Tigger for breeding.  Funny thing...  Tigger will NOT cross the invisible line of the opened fence.  Flower has no problem walking back and forth, but he is frightened to death of it!

Fall is definitely in the air here.  There's been ice on the water buckets!

* Update.  Flower went into heat and that was motivation enough for Tigger to cross the invisible fence line.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Autumn Odds and Ends

I had to go out to the Ulysses, Pennsylvania area yesterday for a cross country track meet and while I was there I decided I would pick up the dog carrier I had accidentally left at an Amish homestead.  

To explain, about two weeks ago, after asking around, I found an Amish family that butchers chickens.  I brought them 24 chickens I had raised.  The $3 a bird butchering fee was worth every single penny!  

Yesterday's drive through the countryside was absolutely lovely.  I wish I had taken more photos!

I think I may have to start carrying a better camera.  Although my phone takes nice pictures, these photos just don't really capture how lovely it was. 

I've seen paintings and photos of corn shocks, but had never seen them in real life.  The sheep grazing in the background give the photo a nicely bucolic feel. 

A real working windmill.  I think I have windmill envy!

I posted the picture below on my Facebook page with the quotation: "You never know what manner of 'wild' critters you'll find wandering around here". 

The other morning I looked out the window and couldn't grasp what my eyes were seeing.  Two cows were sleeping in the field next to my house!  

I called around and found out that the word "wild" in the quote above should not have quote marks around it.  These two cows have been on the lam for over a month and are truly wild!

The two cows disappeared back into the forest and I don't know if they've yet been captured.


Monday, October 19, 2015

First Hard Frost of 2015: Brrrr!

It's been coming and now here it is. 

We fired up the wood stove last night and it makes the downstairs nice and cozy.  But I'm just not ready yet for winter's icy grip. 

Oh so lovely.  But if I count on my fingers: October, November, December, January, February, March, April... maybe May, I count 7 to 8 months of cold weather.  There's something wrong here!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Have An Excuse! Meet Bandit and Sassy.

I've noticed in blogger world that lately many bloggers have been a bit lax in their writing.  I'm pretty sure I can attribute it to many people who are busy getting in the fall harvest - I'm on of them.  Spaghetti sauce is made, tons of vegetables are frozen, chickens are butchered, and garden cleanup has begun.  But I have another excuse for being too busy to blog!  

Meet my new babies: 

Bandit and Sassy!

I know this isn't the best picture.  The cute little neighbor girl who helped me with Sunday Horse Beauty Parlor Day was walking my other horse, Lady, back to the field.  If I lead Bandit, the only boy in the group, ALL the girls follow him.  But this picture was taken moments before the two decided to take a walk over to another field.  We eventually rounded them all up and got them in their pasture.  

"Bandit," is my little paint gelding and just an absolute dream to ride.  He has a ton of personality and love, love, loves going out on the trail.   

"Sassy," the chestnut, is a mustang.  She even has the freeze brand on her neck that lets me know that she came from an area north of Las Vegas.  She is a sweet heart too.  

Both horses have pretty much zero vices!  Sure, Bandit will try to duck his head and run back to the other horses if he gets the chance while I'm cantering him, but if I'm firm with him he gives up.  And Sassy has a straight legged gait that jars your teeth, but she'll go just about anywhere you'll point her.  

These two horses have really re-ignited my love of riding!

Lady, whom you can see being led in the background, had a leg injured during a lightning strike which ended up in the demise of one of the other horses in the field.  She's slowly recovering, and I hope she'll be ridable again by spring.  If not, she'll live out her life as a pampered pasture pet.  

So, if you notice I'm not writing as much, it's because I'm out and about on the trails enjoying the beautiful fall foliage before winter weather really sets in and I park myself in front of the wood stove!

Happy Trails!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Taking Back The Language Of Gardening

Chemical Carrot vs. (Organic) Carrot sold as just "Carrot"
Chemical Tomato vs. (Organic) Tomato sold as just "Tomato"
Chemical Potato vs. (Organic) Potato sold as just "Potato"
Chemical Green Beans vs. (Organic) Green Beans sold as just "Green Beans"

Which would you buy?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Blast From The Past: Summer Vegetable Tian/Ratatouille

I've been awfully busy and not able to post.  So I thought you might enjoy a few posts from the past.....

Enjoy this post from September 9, 2014.

I had green and yellow zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes.  What to make?  I scrolled through the internet and found a recipe for a vegetable tian.  Its very similar to the recipe for baked ratatouille, and I had to substitute vegetables.  So I think you could call it either.  The finished dish not only looks appetizing, but the herbs make it smell and taste amazing too!

Here's my version: 

Summer Vegetable Tian/Ratatouille

eggplant, peeled, sliced thin, salt and drain for 30 minutes then pat dry
green and yellow zucchini, sliced thin
tomatoes, sliced thin
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 med. onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried, or 1 Tbs. fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary 
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent.  
Grease an 8 x8 baking dish.  Spread onion and garlic over the bottom of the dish. 
 Place the thinly sliced vegetables in the dish in an attractive pattern.  
Sprinkle with the thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper.  
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil, top with the cheeses, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more.  Until the cheese melts and is slightly browned. 


(If you make this dish ahead and let it sit so that the flavors meld its even better!)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Bread And Butter Pickles


Bread and Butter Pickles. 

My favorite!

We've been having some very cool, damp weather and I'm starting to see signs of powdery mildew on some of my plants.  I'll combat it as best I can, but I know it's jut a matter of time.....

Oh horror.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Sheer Curtain Experiment Was A Success!

Last year, I acquired a box of sheer curtains and thought that maybe they would help keep the cabbage moths off my growing broccoli. 

 I'd grown broccoli in the past but was completely grossed out by the number of green worms that fell out when I steamed it.  "How many did not fall out!?!," I thought.  

I had tried using garden row cover fabric, but even the lightest fabric seemed to generate a lot of heat underneath.  The growing vegetables had a "cooked" smell to them!

Inspiration hit.  I clipped the sheer curtains to a string above the growing broccoli and tented them into a loose teepee.  As the plants grow larger, they easily push the teepee up and away.  

I picked and cooked my first broccoli heads last week and not one bug or worm fell from the whole bunch!  (And trust me, I checked!)  


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tiger Lilies

It's bloom time for the tiger lilies.  Growing up in New York state, tiger lilies could be found in ditches everywhere.  To me, tiger lilies around a mailbox epitomize rusticity and "hominess". 

What I know as tiger lilies are also known as ditch lilies in parts of the country.  

There is much confusion about Tiger Lilies. An oriental variety is very similar. The major difference is that the oriental Tiger Lily propagates through a bulbs that forms at leaf axils. The common wildflower Tiger Lily  is a profuse propagator by means of tuberous roots. Both varieties have edible roots and have been used for medicinal purposes. Source:

The oriental tiger lily seems to have more defined spots than the wildflower variety and not grow as tall or prolifically.  I love that I can plant a few of the wildflower variety along a wall and within a few years they completely fill the space.  

Aren't they just lovely?!?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Update: Sad News About The Duck

Well, I have sad news about our adorable little duckling.  The mother duck stood on it and killed it.  The rest of the eggs never hatched and upon inspection I found that they were not good.  So, no new ducklings on the farm.  For the future, I think, I'll take any ducklings away and put them under heat lamps.  I think they'll have a better chance.  

The three little chicks are doing well!  They're tiny but growing fast!

The nest I found, that I thought was a bobolink nest is not.  I checked the other day and some type of little brown wren flew off as I peeked at it.  The eggs have hatched and there are three naked little chicks lying in the bottom!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why I Can't Mow Inside My Chicken's Pen

I've been wanting to get out and mow the tall grass inside my chicken's pen.  I feel like they're not utilizing all the area they have because they can't get through the grass to catch bugs. 

But then yesterday morning, while I was feeding the chickens, a hen came out of the tall grass and I heard peeping.  

After looking around through the weeds I found three little chicks!  I was able to catch one and take a picture.  

Then with some poking around, I found the nest buried deeply into the bottom of some weeds.  

I don't know if the hen is still sitting on the remaining eggs.  I guess I'll find out in the next few days!

While I was looking for the hen's nest, I found another nest.  I don't know what bird's eggs they are, but they're pretty small - about the size of a robin's egg.  

And this is why I can't mow the grass in my chicken pen!  I don't know how many other nests might be hiding in that tall grass and I sure would hate to destroy them!

Now I'm trying to decide if I want to take the new little chicks inside under the heat lamps or leave them with the hen.  The mortality rate is much, much higher if I leave them with the hen so I think I may try to catch them.  

Three very wet chicks came out of the weeds this morning.  The other hens were not kind to them and I decided they had a much better chance of survival if I brought them in and put them under lights.  So far they are thriving.  

Research tells me the eggs in the bottom nest are bobolink eggs.  We've had a huge uptick in their numbers this year!

Monday, June 29, 2015

We Have A Duckling!

We've had one duckling hatch from our batch of Peking/Muscovy mix duck eggs.  If the mottled eggs are any indication, we may get at least two more!  

How adorable is this? 

One egg, the mother had pushed into the middle of the goat pen and it had a fully formed, but not live duckling in it; another egg had a little poked in area and when I looked at it, I sadly found that a chick had not formed.  I have hope for the five remaining eggs.    

Will we get more than one duckling from this batch!?!

Monday, June 22, 2015


One of our Muscovy ducks bred with our Peking duck drake.  I'm interested to see if there will be any offspring.  From what I've read, there might be, but they'll probably be sterile.  

The muscovy picked one of the few places in which she could sit on her eggs in peace.  In the goat pen!  She eats with the goats and goes out when we put them out for the day.  

Who is this strange creature in our pen?

I am sure it is NOT a goat. 

But I like to share the food it eats.  

We leave these round things alone because it hisses at us if we get close to them.  

The neighbors don't mind it though.  

I've read that a muscovy duck sits on her eggs for 35 days.  We have a couple of more weeks before we'll find out if the eggs are viable.