Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Robins in January ???

For 2 days there have been hundreds of Robins perched on all the sumac trees.

Usually we do not see Robins until April.

Everytime I went outside to get a photo, they all flew away.

So it was hard to get a great photo of 6 on each branch.

They are a busy bunch.

There are dozens of sumac trees full of berries around the big fields so I think these wayward Robins will be here awhile.

They are all very beautiful, very vocal and very free with their "fertilizers".....

I am glad I didn't cut down the sumac tree near my garden because a good number of the robins have been sitting and shi.......ing on my garden and compost pile for 2 days.

Lucky me.

Anyone else in a cold zone have robins?


Monday, January 30, 2012

Mothers of the Human Race

Can you name all the breeds pictured here?

Which one is your favorite?

Anyone have this actual poster?         

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bumper Stickers

These are the latest bumper stickers I saw at a conference.

I have also seen some really good ones on the back of trucks recently.
I love a good vanity plate or practical bumper sticker.

Have you seen any good ones lately ?

Got a favorite ?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday in Vermont

The sun is out, the rain has stopped and there isn't an ice skating rink in the garage or cellar.  Still lots of water with no where to go, but conditions have improved.  There will be a mess to clean up after the water level has gone down.

Its a great day to bake while cleaning and studying for an exam.

Texas corn muffins came out Bigger and Better than ever.

Water and slush cover everything outside.   Lots of sumac got knocked down in the rain.

The birds ate several of my giant sunflower heads during the rain and flooding.

I have another 30 or so heads to keep the birds happy for awhile.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Soggy Cow Breakfast

Last night at 8 pm the snow came. I was happy.

I expected to wake up to a winter wonderland.

I did not.

At some point in the night it all turned to rain and lots of it.

The cellar and garage are flooded.  The garage has never flooded before.

All attempts to direct the water away from the building has failed.

The roads have 3 inches of water on them and it has nowhere to go.

Worse yet was that the cows were not happy this morning either.

Wanda was giving me the "hairy eyeball" look as I moved towards the hay rack, showing me her displeasure with my lateness with her favorite meal.

Thankfully, all our hay made on this farm was wrapped this summer since we did not have a barn to store it in. So the hay is dry, tasty and very nutritious.  Wanda approves.

It makes me happy to see the cows munching on hay that is as fresh as it was on the day it was made, wrapped up and stacked.  It smells sweet and warm, exactly like it did in July.

By the time I finished watering the cows and cutting the plastic and twine off the "breakfast bale" I was soaking wet. Even though I had dressed warm and worn my heavy duty raincoat.
Sitting on a slushy, wet, freezing tractor seat really chills the bones.
And soaks the bottoms of my carhart pants.

The cows don't seem too bothered with all the rain.

They are more bothered with the fact that I spent too much time trying to redirect the flood waters away from the house.

Cows wear watches and they always know when its feeding time.  They insist on punctuality.
If you are tardy, they will let you know.

Wanda is my time keeper cow.

I imagine many people are experiencing flooding and water issues today.

I am very thankful that all this rain didn't turn to ice as it was predicted to.  That would of been disastrous and.......the cows would of had to wait even longer for "meals on wheels" since it would of taken me longer to slide down the road to feed them. There would of been a mutiny

It is such a miserable day that the streets in the village are empty.  That is very unusual.

Hope you and your livestock are all staying dry. 

I am going to need my kayak to get to the cows tomorrow if this rain doesn't stop.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Color 4 You

I was desperate to "touch and sniff" some pretty plants today.  Its been freezing here for several days and everything is cold, dark and dreary.

I headed to the local florists.  The smells and colors were heavenly.

Here is some color to brighten YOUR day:

I was so much more energized after I left the florists.       Better than coffee!!

I wonder if it was the colors or the smells?

Spring can't get here fast enough for me!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Sandwich Farmer

We are having sandwiches today with bread that my friend made, cheese that another friend made and lettuce that I am growing.   Fresh milk to wash it all down, plus an apple pie from our own fall apples for dessert.

I have a small field of lettuce growing inside the house and this week it really got some growth on it so it was time for another tasty harvest of it.      Sandwiches today, salad tomorrow.

The only item in the sandwiches that was not " Made in Vermont" is the Miracle Whip.

Not bad for a 15 degree day in January!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Making Cud

Sub zero temperatures make the cows consume large amounts of hay so they can maintain their body heat.

I had fun hanging out with Googly and her heifer calf, Glory, while they snacked on the bale-of-the- day.

This June born calf is still nursing off of her mom.  Proof is this nice "milk face."

Meadow hay and milk keep calves growing strong during this winter weather.

The smell of the hay and the noise they make while pulling hay off the bale and getting it into their mouths is all part of the experience of "visiting" them during lunch.

The facial expressions that happen while they eat were comical.

Similar to my spaghetti eating experiences.

Cows eat quickly because they do not have to chew their food initially.  First they rip it off the bale and swallow it.  Later they will regurgitate it back up, as cud, to chew it properly and swallow it again.

My cows like to go to a special place to lay down and relax while they chew their cud.

Usually under the trees after breckfast and on the hay mound after dinner.

Mothers always eat with their daughers.  Side by side.

And no matter how big the bale is, mom and daughter will share the exact same area of the bale.

Cow ettiquette is important in this herd. 

After they eat they go together to the water tub for water and then they go lay down, together again, to chew their cud and keep warm during this -10 degree night.

Hope all of you and your livestock are staying warm and safe during these extreme tempertures.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Muffin Fires, Ice & Bloomers

Day 3 of the New Ice Age.

Just a "regular" -12 F degrees on the outside thermometer here this am.  Don't know what the wind chill is, and I would rather not know.

The bushes and trees are frozen

The tractor is frozen, even though it was plugged in all night.

Got a pipe that's frozen, even though we had heat on it.

(Plumber is on his way.)

I am frozen, even though I have 4 layers of clothes on and a cup of hot chocolate in my hand.

Its so cold outside the mailbox door broke in half.

Cows are fine, birds are eating all my sunflower seeds and suet and my geranium is blooming.

Bean soup for supper.

Dreaming about planting squash, beans and melons.

Murray McMurray catalog is on the way. (Lord, give me strength and self control)

Searching for Appleyard ducks to be my "weapons of mass snail destruction" but can't seem to find any.

For all of you folks who asked me to share my secret, yummy corn bread recipe, here it is:

Follow the complete, exact instructions on the back of the box.

Add 2 tablespoons of local honey and use only fresh eggs and the taste will amaze you.

Because of my muffins there is a rumor going around town that I am a fabulous cook. I was utterly shocked when I heard it!

Now, everyone is asking me to bring my corn bread muffins to every event I attend.  Even the church ladies want me to make 10 dozen for their bake sale.  

I hate rumors.    Little do they know that the smoke alarms in my home get a screaming workout twice a week and...

We just had to replace one of the fire extinguishers 2 weeks ago because of one of my cooking adventures.

But the muffin recipe is simple, usually fire-less and quick to do.



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cow Hero

My hero is coming to Vermont.      


Temple Grandin is coming to talk about humane handling of livestock.

 If fate is on my side I will have not only a front row seat at the workshop, but will be driving her to Logan Airport later...... Use your imagination..... Janis & Temple in the same vehicle.....

Click on the link above to read the info about her planned arrival in Vermont.

     Register for the workshop on January 21st.

My cows are making "Welcome" signs!

It should be an incredible experience.

Don't miss out.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Horse Dreams

Another great day, another wonderful adventure.

More barns and a few unusual equines.

I saw these yearlings and had to stop and talk with them.

They were all ears.

I observed a few different traits on these youngsters and was curious enough to try to find out what kind of horse they were.  I had my suspicions.

With determination and persistence I got my answer.

Wish I had a few of these myself.  I would even trade one of my cows for one.

And I never say that.

Guess the breed......  Don't be shy.

And whats your favorite breed AND color combination for a horse?

"If wishes were horse, we would all ride." 

I am still wishing and waiting to find one on my front lawn.....


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cow Chute

I never know what I may find as I drive the back roads and mountain streams.

Today I found a portable cattle chute 18 miles from home.

My neighbor is looking to borrow one to work his cattle in because the Department of Agriculture's "loaner" chute got drowned and destroyed during Hurricane Irene.  So there was none to lend, until I went a driving over hill and dale and saw this vintage beauty sitting in a field with nothing to do....

It ain't pretty and it looks like it will jostle our old bones some, but it will get the job done.

Needs some oiling, that's for sure.

Hope we can talk to the owner and get it borrowed some day.

Any other suggestions on how to get this ancient chute up and running smoothly ?


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Barns of Peacham

I have discovered Peacham and I am liking what I have found.

Quiet rural back roads, old barns, open fields, great views.

The barns are BIG.

The barns are RED

Loved all the windows on this one.

Newer barns.  Very nice. 

Big new fencing highlights the field and the barns.

Nice design style, well thought out so that people and livestock stay dry and secure.

Peacham is one of the first Vermont towns.

You can drive through "downtown" in 4 seconds.

Great General Store with Vermont products and friendly customers.

In its September 2005 issue, Yankee Magazine designated Peacham as the best village in New England. "Of all the villages in New England, Peacham (population 665) is unsurpassed."

A vintage hard working barn.

Needs some repair to keep it weatherized.

A barn with actual shutters in good condition.

This barn was added on to years ago for better hay storage.

Many of the old barns built in 1776 when this town was settled have been added on vertically and horizontally.

There are several "barns inside of barns" in this area.

The kind of barn I would love to come home to.

Acessable, cute, well built and I hear it calling my name....

I have barn envy.

Barns are built on hillsides since this is a mountainside town.

Vermont has made hillside farming an art form.

Barns of all sizes.  Really like this pair.

Wonderful winter decorations all over town and in the rural areas too.

I am going back to see more.