Homeland Farm

Homeland Farm

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year in Review

Cliffy and his new pal Molly Magoo

    Once again, it is December 31st. Once again, I say "where did the last year go?" My grandmother always said, the older you get, the faster time goes, and she was certainly right. I can not believe it is almost 2014.
     So, I will do one last blog for the year, and will make it a recap of the fun and frivolity that happened here at Homeland Farm in the last 12 months!
Ferg the pot belly pig came to live with us

Goat on the glider, ei ei ooooo
Doober dog on the well
Stewbeef roasting on an open fire..
Cowboy Cliffy rides again
skinny alpacas came to us from an auction
a wild chupacabra came to live with us in the spring
Speaking of spring, strawberry season was divine..
we were very busy all year..making jam by the case
hay by the ton
warmed baby pigs by the dozen..
paraded down Main Street..no really!
took care of baby bunnies
painted corral fences
fixed soggy corrals
fed good old Mabel and all her friends
fed fat pigs marshmallows.. and then it was fall...and time for..
walking your Belgian
and sunning your pig on the lawn..
and turning your goats loose..
and having a late fall ride before..
winter and snow again..blanket time again! So! Happy New Year to one and all and I hope 2014 is a spectacular year for us all! My resolution..write in my blog more often! Here's hoping I make good on that..for at least a month! :D














Sunday, December 22, 2013

I gave birth...to a book!

Here, just in time for Christmas, is the book I wrote about 20 years ago. It is certainly a long time in coming, but it is here and I am celebrating! (Note the bubbly). SO in honor of the release of my published short stories...a little poem...Ahem..

 Twas three days before Christmas,
  and all through the farm,
  Champagne was a flowing,
  And doing no harm.

  The book it was done,
  a reason to party,
  the author just hoped,
  she would look like a smarty.

  She wrote of horses,and pigs
  riding, and chickens,
  Ok, so it is pretty simple reading,
  and certainly not Dickens.

   But give it out as a present,
   the author surely does plan,
   Christmas is near,
   and it is probably better then jam..

   So the children all snuggle
   deep in their beds,
   and hope that the sequel,
   won't fill them with dread.

   'Cause the next funny book will be,
    about Brogan, Cameron and Liam,
    featuring flying squirrels, and half dead bats,
   and how they all ran just to flee 'em..

    So stay tuned, dear readers,
    and don't shed a tear,
    I promise the next one,
    won't take 20 more years.

  MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE..AND TO ALL, ANOTHER GLASS OF BUBBLY!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Middle of the Night Musings by a Menopausal Mainer

   Ahh, menopause..you are such a hag. My sleeping habits have not been my own since I turned 50. I used to fall into bed and sleep like the proverbial log all night, back in the day. Now, I am hot flashing, and tossing and turning all night, every night.
    It is the same thing about every evening..I go to bed chilly, with cold feet as the floors in this old farmhouse are always cold. I slide into bed, and sigh a happy sigh as the electric blanket has done its job...ahhh nice and warm, says I..at that moment. The Doober dog (Annalee) will usually come in and join me on the bed, and I shove my cold feet under her butt, as that is the quickest way to warm them up. I fall into blissful slumber, and soon hear Cliffy come in to join us. We push and shove the dog pile around to make room for him, although I often feel like the innkeeper in Bethlehem, telling him there is no room at the inn.
Umm..my toes are lower, dog..
      We have one dog, Annalee or Doober as we for some reason call her. Yet, there are often 4 dogs in the bedroom, all vying for a spot on the bed. Brogan has three dogs, two of which have now for some unknown reason decided they like to sleep at "Granny and Grampy's" house better then their own place. The third will just stay when she goes out for the evening, otherwise he stays faithful to his owner..not like the other canine Benedict Arnolds.
..And this is just two dogs..
        So, once we have made room for poor Cliffy, we all fall off to sleep. This will last anywhere from 3-4 hours, and then it starts. I go from, "Annalee, let me shove my toes under you for warmth" to " Get off me dog, I'm sweating my BUTT OFF!" Off goes the blankets and up goes the window. The bitterly cold air blasts in over me, instantly cooling me down and freezing Cliffy to a popsicle.
         And so it continues...electric blanket, off...window up. Holy cow, is it cold..window down, electric blanket cranking.
"Don't touch me anyone, I'm cooking!" Blanket thrown over poor frozen Cliffy, who's only part visible above the blankets is the crown on his head.
         And so it goes on...all night. By 3 am, I am usually wide awake and that's when the weird random thoughts start. Odd stuff, nothing earth shattering. Here is a top 10 list of the most common 3 am musings...


   10.  Hmm..is that the furnace? I wonder how much oil we have..will have to check that in morning. (never do..)
     9.  Wish I had something chocolate..(thought all day every day)
    8.   Which dog farted/is snoring/or hogging the blankets?
    7.    Oops...it wasn't the dog....
    6.    I need to go grocery shopping..we have nothing good..
    5.    What is that sound? Are the horses loose? (Yes, they most likely are..)
    4.     I wonder if this is good blog material...(No, it most likely isn't..)
    3.    (Singing...) "It's beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMASSSSSS"
    2.     Chinese would be good...(Hey, it has been a long time since supper...)
      And the number one most random middle of the night musing.."Hark...is that the sound of a cat throwing up?" (Yes, it was.)
       So, another night, another sleepless few hours. I particularly hate waking at 3am..It is really too early to stay up and make coffee. 4 am -I could do it, but 3 is just too early. Ok, now I am cold again, so will head back to the bed to warm up, and that will make me sleepy.
        "MOVE OVER DOGS! MAMA'S COMING BACK AND BRINGING HER COLD TOES WITH HER!"
Cliffy and the latest "Molly Magoo"

But then..spicy chicken wings..ummmm
         GOODNIGHT WORLD!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

 
Ahh the holidays, my favorite time of the year. It is easy for me to say that since I am inside cooking, cleaning and doing other domestic goddess stuff, while the rest of the kinfolk are OUTSIDE during the cold and snowy mess. I have long retired from the daily "chores", now leaving that to the other more able bodied folk here at Homeland Farm. Besides, BLOG I MUST! But, oh man, I have been terrible at this.
Liam-pro snow shoveler
Cliffy hauling poo, a cold winter job

Brogan hauling sawdust, while I take pictures..(someone had to do it!)
Ree Drummond, my personal blogging hero, does such a great job. She blogs every day, often many times. It certainly isn't that I don't have much to say, as I am well known to never shut up really..but it seems hard for me to make time to plant my bum in my computer chair long enough to get an update down for all in cyberspace to read. I like to blame it on my newly evolving dialysis schedule (see KIDNEY KHRONICLES.BLOGSPOT for the latest with all that..), but I am not sure that is entirely it either. And it certainly isn't my devotion to all things housekeeping, as I will pretty much avoid vacuuming and dusting at all costs.
baked goods for sale!
      No, I think it is just the unexpected "stuff" that happens, that seems to take up a lot of the hours in my day.
Like..cooking..I recently went on a bake-a-thon, to help raise money for my son Cameron's testing. He has no insurance, and needed a large sum of money as a down payment for the doctor. I did a lot of baking, and between the actual cooking and dish washing, it seemed I had no time left over for anything. Supper was often MYO..or Make Your Own, as we call it. At the end of the baking day, we had lots of delicious looking baked goods that we could NOT TOUCH..and nothing we COULD eat. Bummer.

"Sorry about the skunk juice on your bed mom.."
   Now that the testing is over, and paid for, (thank goodness), I figured I would have lots of free time to get ready for the holidays, and yet, there still isn't enough time in the day. I decided I needed to change the bed today, as my young (dumb) dog Annalee got sprayed by a skunk, and naturally jumped up on our bed and rubbed her face on the blankets. Nice. So that is a job all in itself..King size bed making is a feat for two, not one. Unless you don't mind making a dozen trips around and around, trying to get the blankets and sheets just right.
Liam and Molly Magoo
Cliffy hauling hay
     Plus, time is taken up just feeding animals, inside AND out. We recently added another dog to the pack, making 4 here. A little Pekinese came to join our gang, and has bonded very tightly to me. I needed another critter at my feet during the day. With Brogan's two dogs here in my house (where they are most of the time) and now these other two, plus 4 cats, and two strays, it makes feeding almost a 40 hour a week job. That of course, is not counting the 20 plus horses, bull, alpaca herd, three pot belly pigs, the peacocks and chickens, ducks and Guinea fowl. Those fall on the OUTSIDE crew..the dogs and cat are my critters to feed.
And this is just the dogs...
   Well, I have lost most of the morning now and must get busy. Blankets and sheets are ready to dry, and I have to clean a litter box or three. And, well, the cats need food..and I have to figure out something to make for supper..and the dogs are wanting to go back outside..and I thought I would vacuum....or not...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

# NEVERSLEEPING AGAIN

     I don't have a twitter account, but I sometimes think of the random stuff that happens to me, and how it would be a "fun read". If you have been following my blog, you know the kind of "random stuff" I am talking about. Not sure, oh..well, let me give you a small example.

      I went to bed tonight at 8 pm, as I was tired after a long day. I am pretty sure I was asleep in 2 minutes. I was awoken, ummm no, I was JOLTED out of bed 2 hours later by a SCREAM beside me. Ya know that term, "blood curdling"? Let's just say, my blood is sufficiently curdled.
       I bolted upright, and snapped on the light, expecting the worst. I think I kept saying "What?? What?? What???" over and over again in fear and dread.
        I look at Cliffy beside me, who has his arms up in the air in defensive mode saying.."Horses were going to fall on me or something..." and then rolled over to FALL.BACK.ASLEEP.
        So, if I were going to "tweet" this little incident..I think it would go something like the following..

#WHAT THE HOLY HELL?
#THAT WAS A DREAM??
#EASY HEART SLOWDOWN
#ARE YOU SERIOUSLY BACK ASLEEP
#NEVER SLEEPING AGAIN
#TWEETING MAKES ME WANT TO EAT HASH OR PLAY TAG
#NO, JUST EAT HASH

     So, as Mr ACTIVE IMAGINATION slumbers, I think I have a date with a fry pan and a few potatoes. NIGHT ALL!
#Glad someone can sleep...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall is upon us

     
Cliffy and Mabel, our free range draft
Holy smoke, where did summer go?? I think it seemed even shorter then usual this year as it was such a rainy year. I managed to spend most of it on the road going to dialysis training, or so it seemed. Made the 4 "off days" extra busy as I tried to cram 7 days worth of work into 4. Funny how much you find out you do when you don't think you do much.
       The kids are back to school, or should I say kid. I am down to one child still in school, and he is in seventh grade this year. Hard to believe..Makes me feel O-L-D. Liam enjoys school though, and that makes it easy for me. He is very prompt and organized, unlike his mother. I don't even have to make his lunch, or get him up. He has to get ME up, if he needs papers signed or we have a teacher meeting. Did I say O-L-D? That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Liam on the first day of school
        Cameron and Brogan have both returned home to live..(all my little chickens are home to roost...)Cameron is staying for the winter while he plans his next move, and Brogan is here of course sticking me with needles (dialysis) and running her rescue. We have had a steady flow of horses into the rescue this summer, and a slow trickle out as she places them in permanent homes. Sure seems a lot easier for them to come in. The economy being so tight has really done a number on horses being given up for adoption. This isn't even talking about pot bellied pigs, alpacas, and goats. It is fun to watch the cars slow to a crawl as they drive by. HORSES, ALPACAS and PIGS, OH MY!
Pretty ponies
Cliff surrounded by dogs (and a fat pig that sits better then the dogs)
     
At last..everyone is sitting

Contessa
Now it is apple time and I think we are going to pick some this weekend for our usual applesauce cooking day. We make it every year and freeze enough for winter. Mighty tasty come February, and cold snowy weather. We will be doing that soon, as it is already headed into the second week of October.
         Time to go shower, and hit the hay. It has been a very busy weekend for this farmgal, and I managed to even stay up until midnight one night..a regular party animal I was! Now, excuse me while I go conk out for the next 12 hours to recover! See ya in the orchard!   
 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mabel

       I awoke the other night for a quick bathroom run, and ended up sitting there for an hour while I penned this poem. I have to say the poem turned out well, but it wasn't pretty when I went to stand up an hour later. I almost tore the skin off my bum, and I swear there was a deep line ringing my nether regions for a couple hours later. Gives new meaning to "a ring around the moon." So, without further ado..my latest nocturnal ramblings...

                                      Mabel

             Mabel is a Belgian horse
             who came to us one day,
             scared and hungry and of course
             really wanting hay.

             We took her in as anyone would
              if you have a heart at all,
              and lead her to the big horse barn
              where she quickly picked her stall.
           
             Mabel is a big old horse,
             the biggest we've ever seen,
             she is missing lots of weight everywhere
             head to toe and in between.

             She has made a friend in Jubilee
             a hard working mule,
             eating and gaining weight has become
             part of their favorite duel.

             Mabel has a very kind eye,
             but really my favorite part
             her lips which are droopy and so soft
             they touch me in my heart.

             She worked so hard all her life,
             and was treated very poorly
             her owners fed her nothing much,
             noticing those ribs, oh surely

             So now she is here and eating well,
             and getting lots of food
             she looks much happier, you can tell
             "carrot craving" is her latest mood.

             The reason she is here today?
              My daughter she likes her horses.
              She rescues them, and feeds them too,
              getting them all on right courses.

              Mabel, Jubil and the rest
              of the hungry, eating herd
              needs lots of hay, grain and veterinary work,
              the cost of which, my word.

              Times are tough for everyone,
               I know this to be true,
               but if you could spare a little change,
               it would help buy a bale or two.

              So skip that coffee! Skip that toll, oops!
              Skip that dinner out!
              Make a donation to ARU,
              it will make us twist and shout!

              Mabel, Jubilee, Annabelle too
              will really be so happy,
              to eat more hay, relax and doze
              makes us feel all sappy.

              Thank you from the bottom of
               hearts both horse and human,
               your kind donation really helps.
               Now we are off to do some grooming.

      ANIMAL RESCUE UNIT..
      PO BOX 50
      NORTH BRIDGTON, ME 04057


SOOOO thin

Jubilee the mule and Mabel sharing a lunch
Jubilee
       

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Soggy, hoggy summer

A beautiful rainbow after MORE RAIN
       What can I say..So far the summer of 2013 has been a lousy one for us folks in Maine. We have had rain, followed by showers, followed by torrential downpours ALL SUMMER! Now, I am certainly a fan of everything being nice and green, but it is starting to look like a rainforest around the old farm. The corral is a swampy mess, the weeds have taken over my flower beds, and we have a bumper crop of mosquitoes from all the standing water pooled up around the place. The only creatures that seem to enjoy all the watery, mucky mess are of course the pigs...they can't get enough.
Happy as a pig in...MUD!
          The pot bellied pigs are loving the water holes to wallow in at their leisure, and they have been doing plenty of that. The humans are not so enamored with the muck, as it makes for difficult manure cart pushing!
           I should mention that when it is not rainy, damp, and cool, it has been almost one hundred degrees out. I am not kidding! It is either blazing hot and too humid to move, or rainy. As odd as it is, there is a reason for this weather conundrum. I bought a new bathing suit. I ordered it online, and the very day it was delivered, the 6 day inferno broke, the humidity cleared, the over night temperature dropped to 45 degrees, and I swear I saw the Canadian Geese flying over in their V pattern, on their way south. So much for summer, or as we say in Maine..SUMMAH.
              I hope August brings more sun, less humidity, less rain, and most of all less mosquitoes. They make an evening out (when it isn't pouring) very hard to enjoy. We Northern New Englanders have such a short summer, it is a terrible thing when it is wasted by bad weather. So, we watch, and wait and hope for SUN. We have a lot of painting on outbuildings we would like to work on, but of course need warm, sunny days. Come on August!
Beautiful ponies!
Cowboy Cliffy haying
Here are a few summer pics
around the farm!
Fine feathered friends
Ferguson and Chupie enjoying bread, while chickens try and figure out how to snag it
        
Someone needs to supervise! Nolan and I take our job seriously!
Baby piggie