Category Archives: winter

Strange Weather

Well, I never thought that I would still be dealing with mud issues just days before Christmas! It’s 8:30 in the morning, 42 degrees and it rained all day yesterday. EVERYTHING is a muddy mess. The one good thing….the barn isn’t too messy ’cause everybody is out in the pasture.

The poor grass is even confused as it is greening up again. I am surprised that the trees aren’t budding!

I worry that without a really cold spell, we aren’t going to be getting sap from the maples to make syrup this year. Wouldn’t that be just our luck now that we own our very first evaporator! We bought the one that Mr. Farmer’s parent’s had prior to their retirement and consequent move out of their home. Kind of hard to travel between NY and TX with maple syrup making equipment! 🙂

Yesterday, when I was outside taking care of some necessity chores around the farm….I couldn’t help but notice the music of the rain. Have you ever just sat and listened to the different tones of the rain?

It makes such a unique and difference sound on each thing it hits and of course it depends on how hard it rains. It was perfect yesterday for listening. No high winds whistling through the trees. Just the sound of the pattering of the rain.

I think the sweetest sound is when the light rain was hitting the steel roof on the barn. It sounded like distant cricket-like noises that all blended together. Then there were the baritones of the drops hitting the roof of the two cover-all style buildings. With them being two different sizes, the pitches and tones were different there too. And even different sounds when the rain it puddles, the ground, the gravel in the drive….

Natures Music! Soft, subtle and completely peaceful.

This is just another one of the many reasons why I couldn’t live in the city. Too much ambient noise to really hear little things like the differences in the sounds of rain hitting various objects. Here, in the country, there may be  an occassional car that drives by or the sound of an animal but I sat on the picnic table in the barn (yeah, I know…nice place for it huh?) listening to the different sounds that created from nature.

It was one of those hours when I sat back thinking about how blessed I am to be surrounded by such beautiful things.

A dying weed on a cold, rainy morning just after the sun came through the fog.
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Out of Sorts

This time of year is really difficult for me. I guess you can say that part of it is the “empty nest” syndrome. So many things have changed and I miss some of them more than I care to admit.

Being a mom is one of the greatest treasures that life has to offer. I have three children (two boys and a girl) of my own and two step-children (one boy, one girl). Unfortunately, I do not get to see my own children. Someday, I will explain all of the details but even five years after the fact…I still tear up and develop an ever painful ache in my heart. No they haven’t died, but the loss I feel still hurts the same.

The step-children are grown. The daughter with a new family of her own. The son, we don’t see often.

Times have changed, as it always does. But, this house feels so quiet, so empty and it’s pointed out more during the holiday season. There are no more month of December crafting activities with the kids. No cookie baking, no popcorn strings, no excitement of getting Christmas gifts……

No one to hang the lights or decorate the tree. No one to listen and dance around the living room to Christmas music with. No class project Christmas Ornaments. No drives through the city to see the Christmas lights. There isn’t even the feeling of closeness that the holiday season usually brings.

I have tried all month to snag the holiday spirit. I just can’t seem to get a good firm grip on it! Yes, the tree is up and decorated. Yes, the two lone stockings are hung by the chimney with care….But, I didn’t do much other decorating this year. All of my plans that I had have evaporated into the unknown. I was hoping that Mr. Farmer would help me with them.

Mr. Farmer is a bit of a scrooge. His holiday shopping includes exciting gift cards for the kids and this year he is talking savings bonds for the granddaughters. Dull, boring and not very exciting. He even complained about me putting up the Christmas tree. His exact words were “I don’t know why you bothered. No one comes here.

See, to me it doesn’t matter if anyone comes here. I just love sitting next to the tree in the middle of those restless nights when I can’t sleep. The twinkle of the lights glinting off the hanging ornaments is beautiful and one of the seasons greatest treasures.

I sit here typing, realizing that my biggest problem is that I feel alone. Everything I do for the holidays isn’t done with family or friends. I decorate alone. I bake and cook alone. I do most of the chores alone. Most of the year, that doesn’t bother me. I guess it is just something about this time of year that makes me want to surround myself with family and friends, laughter and memories, good food and happy times.

Ugg…How depressing is this post? I will leave with happier tidings……..

To all of you out there that are surrounded by family and friends:
Merry Christmas! Make memories that will last a lifetime this holiday season!

Nature’s gifts of the seasons are like opening brightly colored packages, loosely tied with crinkled ribbon.

December Sunrise

Busy Weekend

There wasn’t much time to do a whole lot, yet the weekend was so full there wasn’t much time to get any relaxation in.

On Saturday, I got to spend time with my two favorite little girls! My (step) granddaughters. I have so much fun with them when I do get the time to visit with them! After that, we had a retirement party to go to for one of mine and Mr. Farmer’s old work buddies. He says and I quote “I am busier now that when I worked all the time.” His wife is keeping him extremely busy with the honey-do list.

By the time we got home, it was time to do our chores again. We have been having a few milker pump issues but Saturday evening was the last straw for the new unit we just bought. No pressure in the tank means no pulsator. No pulsator means no way to milk the cow with the claw into a milking pail. Oh, the joys of hand milking a Jersey cow with the smallest teats ever! Not joke….Your thumb and one finger in a rolling motion is all you need! Too bad it gives you hand cramps! 🙂

After chores, we headed over to the other farm to “borrow” another pump and assist with milk testing and evening chores. It was a good time but it was after 11pm when we finally got home.

On Sunday morning, I still didn’t have the new milker pump set up, so again it was off to milking by hand. The temperatures were just under 20 degrees, which meant that all of the water was froze and then when I went to fill the jugs…the water lines were froze. So, after a cup of coffee inside the house, Mr. Farmer and I went out to heat up the lines and find out why the lines were frozen. Needless to say, we need some heat tape and now have to bring the hoses inside every day.

Now, it was time to set up the new milker pump and vacuum. Other than having to lift it off the back of the truck, that went fairly easily!

Then we cut enough firewood for our furnace to last about a month! That’s always fun when you have pulled muscles in your stomach. Mr. Farmer is still sporting some fairly sore ribs too since they were separated about a month or so ago and he is still on the road to recovery. Aren’t we just a barrel of laughs?

After that, it was time to do laundry, work on Christmas gifts, fixing dinner and also talking with one of the guys we allow to hunt here. I will be the first to admit, I was ready for a nap by 3 pm!

I haven’t been this thankful to see Monday in a couple of years. Thank goodness everything is up to date and back to normal! Now today, I need to clean house, make cheese, finish up a slideshow and still get all those animals taken care of…..Not much time to be chatty today!

Hope you all have a great day!

Snowy Days

I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVE the snow! I love the flakes when they start to fall. I love the snow covered ground. I love how it makes the world look.

Yeah, the frozen pipes are a pain….But to get over it, just step outside and look around! Everything is covered in a blanket of white, glittering like diamonds in the sun.

This IS my favorite time of the year and another one of the reasons why, if for some unforeseen reason, if I ever have to move….I want to go where they have seasons, mostly for the snow!

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People Ask…

People ask me questions sometimes that make me really sit back and ponder life in general.

Most Common Question:
“Why do you farm?”

My answer is simple, yet complicated.
I love cows! I love chickens! I love animals…period!

Calves holding a "discussion"
Bubba J and Rosie playing in the snow on a warm winter day.

Then of course, there is the food stuff! From canned, stewed tomatoes to home grown sweet corn, making cheese to eggs for breakfast…without the farm, I wouldn’t have those things like I do.

Right to Left: Canned Beef, Sweet Corn and Stewed Tomatoes

Question: “What is it about your farm that keeps you where you are?”

There are a ton of reasons on this one. One of them isn’t the taxes, I do need to specify that!
There is an easy answer to this one! It’s the sunrises/sunsets. It’s the views. It’s the private pond….and so much more!

The morning sunrise
Sunsets as seen from Barrows Pond

There are many more questions and a whole lot more answers…..But I think this will give anyone a good idea on why I love farming. I think it will also give you a fair idea on why I love being here!

Of course, Mr. Farmer has one very big reason……this land has been in his family for 6 generations! The deed reads out like a genealogy report!

Out to Pasture

Katie out for a run

When the weather is nice outside like it has been lately here in NY (60 degree the last week in November), I like to let the calves out to get some exercise. It gives them time to stretch their legs and play.

Katie, shown above, really enjoys running around the pasture as fast as her body will allow her to go!

DJ and Katie

It also allows the calves to mingle and socialize.

DJ follows like a puppy

That is…IF they don’t follow me around like puppy dogs anyway. DJ is my best bud and I really enjoy spending time with him…with both of them actually!

Katie shows some Love
DJ giving kisses

Planning Day

Well, today turned into a HUGE planning day! After my morning chores, I decided to try my hand a couple of different craft things that I have been thinking about for a couple of years.

Oh wait, I almost forgot….I am obsessed with Christmas decorations! Handmade, custom decorations…not those store bought glass blown jobs but, homemade straight from nature. Or maybe some things made out of recycled Christmas cards from last year or from old clothes.

I really only have three small boxes of things that I keep around every year. Some of the ornaments tucked within were my Grandma’s. Then of course I have the lights. Which are a complete tangled mess! And my angels for the top of each tree….yup, I do two separate ones! Crazy I know. One is artificial and the other we always get real from our Christmas patch that is just off from the Sugar Bush. Another annual tradition.

Here’s my list of things to go out wandering for:

Pine, Pine and more pine – One large 7′ tree, four at 3-4′, 10-12 of them that range from 6″-2′

Pine Cones – I need lots of them this year in all different sizes and shapes, thinking somewhere around 100-125

Red Berries – We have some wild roses that have perfect berries on them this time of year and lets not forget the spearamint berries either! We have about an acre of those growing around here and there.

Leaves – All different kinds, if I can find some that are in relatively decent shape.

Dead branches – Since we have broken apple limbs out in the orchard, I will start there.

Wood “plates” – Oh goodie…chain saw time! I need a “slice” off the end of one of the logs we use for firewood! Maybe two.

Grape Vines – I need to pull some of them back and out of the trees in the lawn anyway. Might better put them to good use.

Burdock and Thistle heads – AS MANY AS I CAN FIND! Wait til you see what I do with these!

Moss – Not much of this, about a milk pail full.

Stones – White and Peach colored Shimmery Quartz stones in all different sizes. Need to start with around 15.

Chicken feathers – Specifically from the Rhode Islands.

Turkey feathers – preferably the fluffy ones.

Dead grasses – the tall stalky kind with bigger leaves.

And of course, firewood chunks for in front of the fireplace.

Since I like to be organized for this BIG project, I draw everything out and make notes!

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There will be tutorial photos coming up as I go through some of these projects!

Happy Holidays!