Thursday, December 31, 2020

Is it Over Yet?

Bojangles, the retired barn cat peeking out from beneath some wrapping paper Christmas morning after getting more than his fair share of catnip made the perfect picture for the count down to the New Year, "Is it over yet?"

Here's to smoother sailing and a steady breeze in 2021.

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Friday, December 25, 2020


Two planets separated by thousands of miles in a rare convergence in the night sky over Bethlehem inspired the hope that with this meeting comes greater light.

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Saturday, December 19, 2020

First Snow

Even though the first significant snowfall this year didn't come until mid December, it felt to me, early, too soon, burdensome, like something more that needed to be added to the morning schedule. It wasn't until later, after the storm had passed, the wind subsided, and the snow blower put away that the season seemed to settle in. Sometimes in the late spring and summer, we go from project to project, in the fall, trying to wrap the projects up. It isn't until the winter that the outdoor projects slow down and things grow quiet.

I walked into the barn one evening after this snowfall, in the late afternoon twilight, and could nearly feel the spirit of the Nativity scene, with the light in the barn. the smell of hay and animals, the trumpeting of hens with feathers in a flurry as they pecked at grain, the goats munching on hay, and the cat seeking refuge from the snow, sitting on a bale of hay. It was like a harbor of food, light and life in the midst of the approaching winter evening of frost and cold.

It is a time to pause from the projects of the warmer weather and long days of daylight, to think about the world sleeping, with the daylight of spring on the other side. A moment to look at the moon suspended in the night sky, and the snow covering all of the busy-ness and the hustle and bustle.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Turning a Page

 Simone the goat with Half-Pint

 Simone, the matriarch of our small herd of goats passed unexpectedly on Friday, November 20. It is like reaching the last couple of sentences in a favorite chapter. We will turn the page, but go back often to this chapter, with its pictures, notes in the margins, dog-eared pages, and warmth.

Simone was one of our first goats, and came originally from Joel and Ann, who are "real farmers," who raised goats for both cheese-making and meat. She was the first of our goats to give birth to kids, was the best mother to those kids, and kept us supplied in milk and cheese as we got our hobby farm underway. The stories are endless, and often funny--


 Like Simone's first date with Jack, the Buck. Often heart-warming, in the way she tended to her newborn kids--

As sad as it was to say good-bye, it was comforting to have her mates gathered around, aware that she was ailing, offering their support--Scout sounding the "alarm" when Simone was unable to get up, Piper and Fanny checking in and reaching out with a hoof as we sat with her waiting for the vet to arrive.

Yes Simone, it has been a wonderful chapter, one will cherish and continue to share for years to come. You will be sorely missed on the farm, and your spirit will continue to enrich the chapters yet to come! 


Simone the goat with Scout and Fanny

Fanny, Simone, and Piper in front of the barn with hay wagon nearby and conveyer going to hay loft

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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Where's my mask?

This is the year many of us have been feeling dressed up for Halloween, just to go to the corner store. Very early in the pandemic I felt very self-conscious walking into a store with a ball cap and a face mask on, thinking that at any other time I would be mistaken for someone trying to rob the store, or some other misdeed for which I wanted to hide my identity.

One of our Jack-O-Lanterns this year reflected the theme of wearing a mask to ward off the evil COVID spirits. So far we have been very fortunate or our Jack-o-Lanterns were effective! 

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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Time Passing

Each Spring, these deck chairs get stationed somewhere in the yard, and we both smile thinking how little they will get used! Several years ago, my parents were visiting and they spent some time in the chairs looking out over the pond in a shady spot, feeling the breeze.

In the Fall, as the afternoons grow shorter, we dance around the day when the chairs will go into the barn, with the picnic table and other outdoor gear. I think about how little time was spent in the chair, watching the red-wing blackbirds, nesting in the cattails, listening to the frogs, watching the sunset. The Winter seems to close in fast.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Milking Lolly

Lolly, the goat on the right in the pic, was the only goat in milk this year and it was a real treat to have fresh goat milk each day for coffee, and the cheese Bev made. The dwarf goats, like Lolly, have a milk with a bit more fat than the other breeds, like Simone, the larger goat in the pic, who is more an Alpine goat.

In year's past there were enough goats to justify a milking machine, but that was sold earlier this year, knowing that there would be only one goat. Lolly was milked by hand or by using  a pneumatic milker. In spite of her smaller size, Lolly produced a lot of milk for several months, and the freezer is full of a soft cheese, like cream cheese called chevre cheese, we will be enjoying for months to come. Bev also made a simple cheese called Farmer's Cheese, made with vinegar, that caused the milk to curdle. The curds were added to lasagna with delicious results!

Thank you Lolly!

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