Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Day of The Year

It's now snowing furiously, a NorthEaster on the way. The NH Red Cross has called me several times putting the disaster teams on alert and assigning tasks and responsibilities if there is a storm surge, flooding and power outages along the seacoast and elsewhere in the Granite State.  I volunteered to be in charge of two NH communities nearby, should animal issues arise because of flooding and evacuations.  Vermont has not issued any warnings or put any disaster teams on alert, as of yet.   

Earlier this morning I checked on the herd, patted my good cows and made sure they had lots of hay, mineral and bedding to have a comfy 2 days during the storm.  They were all very content. When they are happy, I am happy.

From my herd to yours:
I wish all of you a happy, healthy, safe and humane 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Most Wonderful Gifts

I drove home in a mini blizzard today. 4 hours to go the last 60 miles, cars all over the road and some off the road. Lots of ice under the snow making for dangerous driving conditions.
The big gift giving holiday is finally over. Although I did not recieve physical gifts, I was fortunate to have had a few unusual experiences that involved many many wonderful animals and a few really good honest people. That is a real gift to me.  Real things, not something you have to buy. Other gifts were things that I saw, made by Nature.  Mother Nature continues to create her unique art all over the landscape and here are a few items of interest:

SnowTree Mushrooms

Stone & Snow Retriever

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pony Pals

Spending time in the hospital is never fun.  When ever possible, I always try to find something enchanting to put a smile on my face and make the day a little better.  I found this interesting herd looking me over and couldn't help but smile.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sugar Saturday

Filling jars, adding labels and packing them in boxes to be shipped around the world.  If you thought maple syrup was wonderful, you should try maple sugar~!!!!  Perfect on cereal, toast, ice cream, salads, apples and anything else. Yummy Yummy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fresh From The Source

When ever I need it, my hens make me breckfast or lunch. They are kind and generous.  Here is their exclusive Egg Bank Motel where they make their egg deposits every day.  They constantly rearrange the hay and shavings for their nest boxes. Today they threw it all out.   Must get too hot in there.

Here are some of the happy, smart, colorful and hard working hens. They all have names, of course. Most of them are named after my dearest friends.  Got one named Jeff and another named Eggbert.

Fresh from the flock to the frying pan. Yummy Yummy.  Perfect day for a hot lunch. Nothing smells or tastes better.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Adding Color

Today there was a rather large snow storm eating up most of the midatlantic and east coast of the nation.
This area was heavily hit with 60 mph winds, 12-14 inches of fast falling snow, sleet, black ice and all the complications of some very nasty weather.  Trees fell, schools were cancelled, roads were empty, birds flew south and the Orange Prince would not venture outside at all.  He kept himself well hidden all day long, somewheres in this enourmous old farm house.  The farm dog would only go out once and refused to exit at any other time.  I kept waiting for the power to go out.  It didn't...yet.    
When I ventured out to shovel the vehicles off, I discovered the porch pumpkins had been "painted" by Mother Nature.  I think she did a really nice job of it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Winters Visit

It is now snowing like crazy here with a half an inch already on the ground.  The little smidgon of sun that was here early this morning, quickly dissapeared when the clouds moved in over the mountains.  In a matter of minutes the snow transformed everything that was green into white.

Meanwhile, back in the house, I was glad I had taken a few photos of some ancient plants this morning when the sun was briefly out.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Signs of a Cat.

When an unusual cat takes over your huge house, its important to know where they are.  Since this place has 88 doors and uncountable places a cat could hide, both indoors and out, I created a way to tell where the Orange Prince is.  It started as a quick drawing on a piece of paper and developed into a very workable piece of art that fits in with the decor and is simple to use.  It sits by the "preferred" door and can easily be flipped over when Murphy enters or exits.  Works purrfectly.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Good Karma

A new month and many changes on the horizon. I pray daily that everything works out well.    I have been blessed with a good life thus far.   May the future be paved with opportunity and health for everyone.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Cat Who Would Not Leave

Someone obviously dumped him, and another cat, out here in the middle of nowhere. Both cats found their way to this farm over a year ago.  Upon their discovery we immediately started feeding them outside. They lived in the many connecting barns and we left other treats for them to snack on until I was sure I could capture them and get them directly to the local vet.  Both cats were skinny, dirty and looked typically feral, so I needed to be guaranteed that they would be free of feline aids and other diseases before incorporating them into the household with an older, disabled, inside cat. And do it before harsh winter weather set in.  With 2 traps set up, it took a week to trap the orange boy and somehow in that same time period the black cat dissapeared and was never seen again.  Surprisingly, the vet discovered the orange boy was already neutered and declawed.   His blood tests came back negative, so he was vaccinated and wormed.  I brought him back to the farm and brought him directly into the large old farm house to start his new life. He had the good fortune to already have sniffed the resident dog and cat thru the thick screens on the front doors all summer, so I hoped all would go well.      And it has.

It took a few weeks for the Orange Prince to find all the rooms and secret hidding places in this ancient old farmhouse and he was initially a bit uneasy with the quick movements of the farm dog.  He has his own idioscycracies: such as refusing to use any litterbox at any time, no matter how desperate he may be.  He insisits on going outside at 5 am each and every day and returning several times per day to eat and then go immediately back outside.
I found myself being a doorman to his constant in and out needs.  If it was raining he would refuse to go out the front door, wanting to exit by the back door that goes directly into the barn instead.  A very smart cat.  When he would return in the evening he would eat and then go immediately upstairs to the most comfortable bed in the house and curl up to nap until 4:59am the next morning.    His personal grooming was non existant, yet he would not let me close enough to brush him.   From any window in this house, he could be seen prowling the several hundred acres here morning, noon and just before dusk. Ranging far and wide. He stuck out like a fireball, and I prayed the local coyotes and foxes would not notice.
A year later, after 3 trips to the vet to get him updated on vaccines and worming, he has improved his personal grooming habits, gained 2 pounds, jumps in my lap when I am on the computer and snuggles up with me for his night time sleep.   Getting him adjusted to daylight savings time has been an ongoing struggle.    "Murphy" as he is now called, is independant, entertaining and one of the 2 dominant personlaities in this household.  He obviously has decided to stay.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Breeze of Change

The incredible mild weather has allowed more walking and exploring some hard to reach places.
The warmer temperatures has also allowed more folks to come look at the cows. Unfortunately both groups that have come to shop the herd, have been dairy farmers who both had sold out ALL their dairy cows within the past 3 days.  The goverment subsidized dairy buyout program is a complicated, and sad project.
Today my hardest working cow, Wilma, left for her new home. The new owner has lots of hay and feed for the winter.  We do not. And it is critical that my cows find new homes before the really bad weather kicks in.
Wilma gave birth to a set of beautiful twin heifer calves in April. There were a lot of trials and tribulations along the way and we survived them.  She was gentle, calm, smart and easy to deal with. May you become the Queen of your new barnyard.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

November Trails

This week has been full of wonderful Indian Summer weather. Temperatures in the low 50s, sun & gentle breezes have been a welcomed surprise and an invitation to explore.      I found a wonderful trail I had not seen before and followed it to a small stream.

I saw small trout darting amonst the rocks and have decided to come here in April when fishing starts. The area is well hidden and there are not any signs of humans coming to this location. Lots of wildlife came and went in the time I was there. Always a good sign.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Warmth Within

While the remnants of Hurricane Ida make the weekend miserable with rain and very cold temps outside, my Christmas cactus blooms in its glory, inside.  

Today is the first day of hunting season and many deer and uncountable hunters are getting very wet and cold.  The rest of us are enjoying the wood stove, hot soup and relaxation that comes with a long rainy weekend day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Light, Leaves & Trees

Fall is in full swing with leaves making their presence known in so many different ways.   The sunlight here is different now and in short supply.  The light, the leaves and the dead trees make every thing look like a unique canvas of art.

Dead trees take on an entirely different form in the fall and winter.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

First Snow for The Baby

We got our first snow already. It blanketed the fields and roads with a cold carpet of white.

Shortly afterwards, my dear sweet twin calf, Whisper, left for her new home.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lots of Bad News

Today I found out that we have to sell more than half the herd.  There isn't enough hay to feed the number of cattle we have through the winter. The new haymakers were not dilligent enough to continue making hay after September 1st.  Many of my cows have to find new owners.  It's a hard decision. I have strived for the best grass fed genetics, certification and an excellant reputation and now it's all down the drain.  This present economy makes it impossible to find buyers for premium cattle. I have been advertising since April in every available media with no response.   Many other farmers are in the same situation.     My cows are my family.
If we can't sell them in a reasonable amount of time before it starts snowing, they will all have to be shipped for slaughter.  Unthinkable.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nature's Welcome Home Card

My recent journey home was met with a celebration of color.  How lucky I am.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One of a Kind

She sticks out like a sore thumb in a herd of 50 red cows, but JulieBob is a real cute heifer and always greets me when I visit the field. I just hope she is not mistaken for a black bear during bear hunting season. It does happen.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Turkey Thursday

A rare slate blue tom turkey. First one I have ever seen. He isn't going to be the host at any Thanksgiving day events as he is way too important for that kind of a job.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ted Kennedy, Animal Advocate

Remembering Ted Kennedy: A Lion for Animals, As Well

The nation mourns the loss of Sen. Edward Kennedy—but in a different way than his three older brothers, all of whom were cut down in youth or midlife and long before they completed their work on Earth. Ted Kennedy had to deal with a degree of trauma and loss that few of us can ever know, and with the abrupt and unexpected deaths of three of his closest family members, he was thrust into the role of patriarch of his famous and large but shrunken family.

Yet the tragedy and the responsibility did not debilitate him, but somehow infused him with an added measure of commitment to public service and the common good. He triumphed in the face of adversity and lived a full and complete life, leaving a mark over the last 50 years that few public servants can ever hope to achieve. He was not only a champion of many important social and economic causes, but a brilliant legislator who leaves in his wake a raft of laws that embody the values that he held so dear and that gave meaning and purpose to his life and the lives of others.Though animal welfare was not one of his signature concerns, he was always there for the cause, and he had all the right instincts on the subject. It was personal for Sen. Kennedy. He loved his dogs, and he could often be seen at the Capitol with his furry companions at his side.
His beloved Splash "narrated" his wonderful book introducing young readers to the Congress and the legislative process.Photo credit Chris HartloveHis compassion extended far beyond his own family’s pets. He was a stalwart ally over the years on a wide range of legislation to protect companion animals, farm animals, animals in research, and wildlife. Measures he cosponsored and voted for included those to crack down on dogfighting and cockfighting, ban horse slaughter, curb abuses at puppy mills, end the slaughter of “downed” animals (those too sick or injured to stand and walk), limit federal subsidies for very large factory farms, condemn Canada’s commercial seal hunt, halt poaching of bears for their viscera, block oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and restrict taxpayer funding for use of steel-jaw leghold traps on national wildlife refuges.
Sen. Kennedy also consistently joined calls, beginning in 2001, for increased funding to ensure viable oversight and enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and other key laws.For eight years, he led the Senate on legislation to phase out the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics on factory farms—a reckless practice used to keep animals in inhumane, overcrowded and highly stressful conditions, which hastens the development of antibiotic resistance and threatens the availability of effective medicines to treat sick people and animals.Sen. Kennedy also championed the first-ever legislation calling for development of alternatives to animal testing—as part of the NIH (National Institutes of Health) Revitalization Act of 1993—and he was the lead Democratic sponsor of a bill enacted in 2000 that strengthened and made permanent the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, to encourage the use of non-animal or less invasive tests that are more humane and can be more accurate and cost-effective than antiquated animal tests used for products such as cosmetics and cleaning supplies.As chairman of the committee with jurisdiction over the NIH, he played a key role in enactment of a bill in 2000 to establish a national sanctuary system for chimpanzees no longer used in medical research but warehoused in small, barren, and expensive cages in federally funded laboratories.In addition to his work on all of these specific issues, Sen. Kennedy had an extraordinary talent for inspiring people to become involved in public service and social change. He helped inspire many activists to pursue their passions, including animal protection.
He participated in the Humane Society Legislative Fund's Party Animals program about three years ago when he joined on a call with thousands of activists across the country to help energize their work on behalf of legislation to protect animals in disasters, which led to the passage of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act. "I wouldn't leave the house without Sunny and Splash," Sen. Kennedy said on the nationwide conference call. "It's no surprise that so many people in New Orleans flat-out refused to be rescued if they couldn't take their pets with them." The PETS Act, he said, "is not just about saving animals; it's about saving people, too."I spoke with him on a good number of occasions, including this year’s Inauguration Day, and never did he exhibit anything less than enormous comity and kindness, even though his illness was severe and had confined him to a wheelchair. He always had a wonderful word to say about Mimi Brody, The HSUS’s director of federal legislation, who had worked on Sen. Kennedy’s staff for nearly a decade prior to joining our organization. Mimi’s own remarkable and highly focused work on animal issues with us since 1999 put an exclamation point on the oft-expressed testimonial from Capitol Hill mavens that Sen. Kennedy maintained the smartest and hardest working staff on Capitol Hill.
He was passionate about the issues he advanced in the Senate, but he counted among his closest friends many Republican senators whom he had policy disagreements with. He often spoke about wanting to create a “Canine Caucus,” and said it would be one of the truly bipartisan groups on Capitol Hill, because he shared his love of dogs with Republican senators like Mike Enzi, Kit Bond, and Elizabeth Dole. His warmth and kindness on Capitol Hill were legendary and should provide a lesson on model conduct for elected officials and any of the rest of us who deal with contentious issues on a regular basis.Our condolences go to his wife Vicki, his son, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and the rest of the Kennedy family. His demise from brain cancer is a moment of profound loss for the country, to be sure. But his record of service is a testament to the ideals of tenacity, compassion, and grace, and in the work that he did, he provides inspiration to the living.

Thanks Ted for helping those that had no voice, just a wet nose and paws, hooves & feathers.

Alpaca & Reptile Disaster Training

A whole day dedicated to learning about the good, the bad and the ugly about handling exotic animals in disaster situations. Mother Nature cooperated, as usual, and the rains poured down on us for 8 hours. Just like a real disaster situation.
Us students learned how to herd, handle and load animals for transport. We were taught where the most dangerous parts of an alpaca are and how they respond to human interaction in most situations. In the midst of our class, two alpacas gave birth. What perfect timing~! One was a normal birth and a normal cria and the other was an abnormal birth and a premie cria.
After the alpaca training it was time to learn about reptiles~!! Lizards, turtles and snakes topped the guest list~!! The class was held inside so all the cold blooded reptiles could stay warm. There was lots to see, touch, capture, handle and learn about. The disaster responders that came from all over New England went home with many new skills and alot of knowlege about some little known species that need special care and handling in disaster situations.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer Gold

After a very long, humid week away in the city, I am thankful to be back where I belong with kind friends, clean water and fresh air. The simple joy of watching good dogs enjoy the local stream and explore the woods is unexplainable.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Brookside Whisper

Whisper is keeping up with the herd as it moves from field to field. She usually brings up the rear when we move the herd across roads, but she greets ALL the traffic controllers with a gentle personal greeting-searching their hands andpockets for snacks. Today I found her with the other calves in the woods, drinking out of the cold mountain stream. She is peaceful, well fed and content. Her peers are much larger than she is. It wasn't long ago that she was the largest calf in the herd. Her near death experience will probably take 6 months to really recover from. Until then, I check on her, feed her grain, spray her with fly spray and rub her favorite spots. She is a delightful calf to be around and learn from. Please keep Whisper in your prayers for a full recovery.

Sunday, August 9, 2009