Friday, September 20, 2019

Farewell to a Buddy

Farewell to our buddy Cody, on September 19, who was a faithful companion to Bev through some trying times. Cody had a great personality--adored Dan and Steve, and was always willing to roll with whatever was going on, so long as food was involved! You could find Cody with the hens trying to figure out if they had any connection with grilled chicken, one of his favorites, with the goats when he wandered into their pen, and couldn't figure out how to get out, with Steve on the four wheeler, having breakfast with Natalie, who always save a little something for him, just hanging out beneath a blanket next to Bev in her reading chair, or in his bed by the wood stove.
We already miss the Cody paws in the hallway and beneath the dinner table, helping us cook and clean up for dinner. It is hard to imagine sitting by the fire without him napping between us, and the "long walks" from the wood stove to the crate when he would walk ever so slowly to bed...Bev promised him we would regularly pick on Homey the cat, who took great pains to tease him and instigate a scuffle. 
 We will miss you friend and will share many stories and smiles recounting Cody stories sitting by the fire. Thank you for your spirit and the many smiles you added to our lives over the years!

Get a Goat Note from Alewive Farm at Etsy 


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Flying Lobster

“It looks like a little flying lobster, with two eyes on it's tail,” Bev said as we looked at the flying creature hovering over the Cleome flower. It was completed undeterred by us watching it as it moved from floer to flower, hovering like a humming bird.

In no time, we were able to find that it was, in fact, called a hummingbird moth. I was intrigued by the thought that this moth was able to flap its wings at a speed close to what a bee might be capable of, and in a much larger body than a moth. I wondered what the caterpillar must look like, and how common these were in our area—this was the first I’d seen.
The Cleome attracts an amazing number of bees and nectar seeking insects, and smells a bit like an onion. By the end of our short season it has turned into a flowering bush.

Get a Goat Note from Alewive Farm at Etsy 


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Fork in the Road

Dirt driveway in the moonlight, pond on the right

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.,” Yogi Berra.

Twilight, as August moves more quickly into September than we might want, the quiet settles in. The frogs and crickets are still in chorus, but the geese have left , and the red-winged blackbirds, who owned the pond for the whole summer.The barn swallows, who chose to raise a second brood this year are nearly ready for flying lessons, so they too will be heading to winter’s quarteters shortly.

It is so cliché to remark that the time goes quickly, but it does seem like yesterday when we were awaiting the longest day, and reveling in the warmer days. Does looking to the future take our gaze away from the present, or is that just a part of the moment, an eye to the future?

Is it possible not to choose the right fork in the road?

Get a Goat Note from Alewive Farm at Etsy 


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

the Hay Wagon

A hay wagon in front of the barn with a conveyer pushing bales into the open hayloft

The hay arrived, of course, just as Bev was driving to Southwest Harbor, and I had the great idea of putting it up myself...I had the conveyer, right? Five bales on the conveyer, run upstairs, unload the bales, run downstairs, 5 on the conveyer.
There is something about the whole process of neighbor Larry cutting the hay. I imagined him on his beautiful 1952 McCormick, cutting and raking hay on a tractor that had been cutting hay longer than I've been alive, and Larry keeping it running, with the other equipment, day after day, when the mowing season arrives.
How many kids know how this works? Hay cut and baled, hauled to a local barn for the livestock to eat during the winter, in our case goats, put into the hayloft and stacked by hand. Do they know what the hayloft smells like on a winter's day when it is not so cold to stifle the smell--it is like a glimpse of late Spring, if you close your eyes. Thet don't know how excited the goats get to try something new, to taste the new hay, even though it comes from land less than two miles down the road.
Many bales had fuzzy seed pods, and I wondered what plant these were from. I imagined the seeds wintering over in the hayloft, to be scattered on the stall floor, as the hay is pulled out of the manger by hungry goats. It will get buried again beneath more layers of dropped and trampled hay until Spring, when the stall is cleaned out. The soiled hay will get piled up alongside the barnyard fence, where it will slowly compost. If that seed lands just right, and many do, it will find the Spring sunlight, composting soil and water, and come back to life.
How does this happen I wonder, and does Larry the McCormick driver cut hay year after year because he knows he is a vital part of this cycle of regermination and eating, growing, cutting, composting, rebirth... does anything really die after all? 


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Barn Swallows

Three small barn swallows perched on top of snowblower cover

This was the first flight of the five nestling barn swallows hatched and raised in the barn. Each year one or two pairs of barn swallows returns to the barn. Last year, one pair stayed and had a second brood. The parents are up and eager to be out of the barn at first light and begin collecting insects for their nestlings. They remain out until twilight, still collecting insects.
 The aerobatics of these birds is remarkable--they maneuver to catch insects in flight, and work the interior of the barn like litlle helicopters, hovering and moving left and right to position themselves in the nest, which has remained the same for several years in one of several rafters.
 Although these birds looked exhausted after their first flight, they will be performing their own acrobatics within days, and following their parents closely "in training." All too soon, both parents and nestling will move out of the barn and onto to who knows where. It is one of the summer's landmarks, when the barn swallows leave...

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Geese presented 4 new goslings this morning...Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Jerusalem Artichokes

I developed a bit of a love affair with the Jerusalem artichoke over the past season, and it continues on into the winter. Yesterday, I made a tuna salad wrap, using a peeled Jerusalem artichoke in place of the the celery I forgot at the grocery store. This had been in the vegetable drawer easily 2 months, and it was delicious.
The Jerusalem artichoke was something new to me last year, when I friend bought some at Whole Foods and explained what they were. Shortly thereafter, another friend and avid gardener asked if I wanted some of his that were sprouting. He pulled his up because they were very popular with some of the wildlife in his area, making a mess of his garden digging up the tubers.
What is a Jerusalem artichoke, or sunchoke? I am no expert, but these are a type of sunflower that grow many flowers--much like a daisy, and store food in a tuber or root throughout the season. The root will winter over and provide nourishment for the new flowers the following year, and produce more plants. In some ways it reminds me of an iris.
In addition to being one of the last veggies harvested in late November, it was also one of the last flowers standing. The Jerusalem artichoke can be eaten raw in salads, and has a flavor similar to a water chestnut, or can be boiled and eaten like a potato! 
 I'll be planting more next year :-)