Homeland Farm

Homeland Farm

Friday, March 29, 2013

Brace yourselves...

     I have been writing my blog now for just over a year, and I have to say it has been very interesting. The website I use, BLOGSPOT, lets you read your "stats" regarding your blog and they tell you all sorts of interesting facts about your readers. For example, what country your readers live in, how many readers have ever read your blog, how often they read your blog, how they find it etc.
     I am proud to say I have a huge following in Latvia. I had to ask my son where the heck Latvia even is. Yes, there are 28 people in Latvia that love reading "Life at Homeland Farm." Huge following, I tell you! Actually, I am quite popular in all of Europe. Germany, Great Britain, France, Ukraine all host readers of my blog. Of course, they could all fit around my dining room table, but it is interesting to think of them reading about my crazy stories.
     That is not counting my Russian friends. My second largest readership after the good ole United States is Russia. Why do you think that is? I can just hear some fella from Moscow telling his wife..." This American wooman is crazy person," in a voice that sounds like Boris from the the UNDERDOG cartoon.
      I have had quite a few Canadians, and a fair following in India and China too. I have only had one lonely Australian. They apparently were not even impressed enough to scrounge up one single friend to read the blog..and that is a HUGE country! And I have not had any readers from South America either. See. Fascinating stuff.
      What I have found particularly fascinating, and honestly, very humorous, is how some of these folks found my blog in cyberspace. The "stats" part of my website tells me how the readers came across my blog, and what key words and phrases they used to do it. I will share a few of my favorites.
       Where shall we start..Well, there are a few entries where the reader apparently had an idea of who or what they were looking for. For example, there were several people that found the blog by typing in CARMEN C HORTON BLOG....and LIFE AT HOMELAND FARM BLOG. Yay for them! You were right on the money.
        Then there were quite a few that were....close, shall we say. HOMELAND FARM BRIDGTON MAINE, was typed in a few times, as was MAINE HOUSEWIFE BLOG. Not bad, not bad.
         Then we get into the fun stuff. If you have read many of my blogs, you might remember me talking about having trouble with my knees, feet etc. One resourceful reader found my blog simply by entering MY ANKLE.
         Someone else must have read or heard about the one particular post I did called REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BRIDGTON MAINE. They found my blog with their own rendition called UNREAL HOUSEWIVES OF DOWNEAST MAINE. (That is how I am now answering my telephone these days!)
       Now we get into the really interesting stuff. Oddly enough, one of my most popular blog posts was the one I wrote called GRANNY NIGHTGOWNS NOT JUST FOR SLEEPING. I have no idea why it is one of the most widely read, but it is, and how people have found it, is a hoot.
Here is a list of how readers have found that blog entry..
        Which is why I am attaching the following pictures. I am certain it is 'what the people want.' ENJOY!

Horses saying "RUN FROM CRAZY LADY"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Live from Homeland Farm

  I know the calender says it is spring, but here in Maine it sure has not felt very spring like. So, I found a few videos that will hopefully help sustain your spirits until June. Please forgive the person doing the filming. Chances are she will cough, sneeze, shake, or forget the camera is even running. Thank you for watching.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm sure this stuff happens to other people too...

Is this the face of someone easily embarrassed?
      If you have read many of my blogs, you may have picked up on a theme, or pattern, of sorts. It seems that I have a certain talent for unintentionally embarrassing myself, and others in my circle of friends and relatives. It is a miracle anyone will be seen with me, in public or at home.
       You remember the story of my cousin Zenya and I slapping the cop at the fourth of July parade. Well, I slapped him, Zenya was my "accomplice", as it were. I think that was one of the last times she went to the parade with me. Odd.
        Then of course, there was the time I totally embarrassed myself by slamming a nice old farmer on the noggin with my tailgate. Knocked him right off his feet. He was very gracious about it, but as they say in many magazine columns .."WAS MY FACE RED!"
         I was equally embarrassed when I got stuck half way up on the backhoe, and Brogan had to drive her head into my 'nether regions' to give me the boost I needed to make it all the way up to the seat. That in itself was not all that embarrassing, as it took place in my own back yard. The embarrassing part was when I found out later my mother was across the field in her house watching, and giving a play by play account to my cousin in Scotland, with whom she was chatting with on the phone. Kind of embarrassing!
       Then of course, there was the church supper where my chair gave way and dumped me very LOUDLY to the floor. Oh yes, my face was very red that day. Everyone was staring, and all I could think to say was "I still have my fork!", as I waved it above my head from my prone position on the floor.
       There have even been times I embarrassed myself, and no one even saw it. Like the time I was working nights at a local hospital. It was several years ago, and I was working 11pm to 7 am. Hard on a single mother, but you do what you have to do to get by.
        I had worked a couple nights in a row and was very tired, as I never had much time to get a really decent sleep at home once I was done work. So, by the time I got into work for my third night in a row, I was exhausted.
       One of the jobs I had to do was make out patient cards for each room, with the patients last name, and then first name, plus the date. It was monotonous and boring and I always put the television on to keep myself awake.
       At midnight, I was pleased when the television station started to play reruns of the old 1970's show "The Dukes of Hazzard", one of my favorite shows. I would watch Bo and Luke Duke, the handsome good guys, and Roscoe P Coltrane and Boss Hogg, the bad guys, while I filled out the patient id cards. Then the nurses would then come down to my department, pick them up and take them to the patient rooms.
        One night I was watching television and filling out my cards. After I finished, I stacked them up and put an elastic on the bundle for the nurses. I called down to the nurses station to tell them to the cards were ready, and went to set them down on the counter.Then I saw the first patients name.
         The very top patient card was made out to "Hogg, Boss." And of course, here comes the nurse to get the cards. I had to tell her she couldn't take them, as I had to find out which patient had morphed into "Hogg, Boss." She never knew why she couldn't take the cards, but I know my face was red. She probably thought I was coming down with something.
          Another stellar moment of fun, was when my daughter had her first 'male friend' over for supper. I spent the day cleaning house, and prepared a special supper for his first family gathering. I had already gotten the "Mother! Don't embarrass me!!" speech, and really had no intention of doing so. Things just....happen.
         I like to cook, and am known far and wide for my wonderful suppers. Okay, I am kidding. I do like to cook, but really should have known better then to try a "new recipe" out on a first time guest, especially a potential beau. BUT! I like to live life on the edge, so it was indeed new recipe night.
        Now, let me go on the record as saying the young man DID like it. And I myself thought it was quite tasty, as I am a big fan of BBQ. But, hindsight being what it is, I perhaps could have handled matters a bit more "delicately", perhaps.
        However, this is me we are talking about though, so as I plunked down that big dutch oven of shredded meat, I of course asked the young fella.."SO! Have you ever had your meat pulled??"
          Ahh, I laugh now as I look back and think about the expression on my daughters face as the realization of what I had just said, set in. I honestly did not even think one thing about it, as I said it. That's because I am as pure as the driven snow (insert wink here.) The fella ended up being only a friend, and still is to this day. I am trying to remember how he responded to my question.....hmmm.
          Brogan has been "fortunate" to have been around for several of my finer moments of mayhem. Like the time we went to a very exclusive store. That I haven't been back to since.
         I have wicked bad knees that cause lots of misery if I am walking in stores for any length of time, so if I am going to be out shopping for a long time, I will use a "BEEP BEEP", as we call them. Motorized scooters are great, but can be a hazard. At least when I am driving them.
         Once when I was driving one, my sleeve got caught on the gas as I was 'dismounting', and I was almost my own hit and run victim. The darn thing went up and over my foot and almost took me off my feet. On this particular occasion, I was okay, just a certain display wasn't.
         We were at a famous expensive store, and I had already been on my feet all day. It was Christmas shopping time and I don't get out much so I was bound to shop til I dropped. (something.) (And I did.)
          Bro got me a BEEP BEEP, and let me tell you, this was a good one! That sucker was turbo charged, I swear. I am used to feeble, slow moving scooters like you see in HOVER ROUND commercials. This scooter was hopped up on steroids. I felt like I was Lance Armstrong! WOOHOO!
  Well, we went here and there, and I quickly discovered a slight issue with the SCOOTER MAXIMUS.
          It was really large (had to be, all those horses under the hood...)and the aisles were rather,  lets just say, tight. Well, Brogan and I were finishing a turn in a particularly narrow area, when CRASH!!!!!!! I went full throttle into a standing display. Of fine, ceramic coasters. Which, oddly enough, were not wrapped in plastic. So, as they crashed to the floor, they A) all came spilling out of their boxes and B) all shattered into many pieces. And there were A LOT of them. Many. Many many, many.
         As I backed down off the top of the display, beeping loudly as I went,  Brogan gasped a very loud gasp, and said something like "HOLY BLEEP, Mother!!!"  I said..."Oh oh..." and here comes a sales dude. Running.
        So, we started putting the coasters back into boxes fast. Well, not we. Brogan did. I didn't want my prints all over those things. The coasters were wildlife scenes, and I couldn't help but notice some moose now had trout tails, and the white tail deer coaster was half deer and half eagle, like some freakish horoscope sign. As she scurried around and righted my wrong,  we told the fella "Nothing to see here...move along!!" Seriously, I only broke..three, or was it four?. Most were fine and the guy was nice. They make a fair amount of money and I am sure I didn't put them out of business. However, I did see a picture of my face with a red slash through it on their door the last time I drove by. Some people just can't take a joke...
If the dog isn't embarrassed, neither am I..

Monday, March 18, 2013


Nanny and her calf
    My grandmother, Althea Green Smith Crook was a wonderful, kind woman. Nanny, as we grand kids called her,  had a calm, good natured  way about her, and was very well liked by all that knew her. She had a delightful sense of humor, and I don't believe she could have been mean tempered if she wanted to. I just don't think she was capable. She was, in my opinion, as kind and humble a woman as there ever lived.
   Which brings me to the initials at the top of my blog. W.W.N.D, as you may have already guessed, stands for "What would Nanny do", my own personal take on the famous W.W.J.D, which of course is "What would Jesus do."
    I try, and I emphasize the word 'try', to live my life in the way that my grandmother did. I am not trying to BE her, nor do I think anyone should, as everyone is their own person, and has their own personality and traits. What I do think is that if everyone were more like her, in the way that they treat their fellow humans, the world would indeed be a much nicer place.
     Much too often, it is easy to judge someone, or assume the worst about a person, without really looking at the bigger picture. You may think you don't like how someone acts, or looks, or speaks, but you don't take time to look at why that person is that way. Maybe they need sympathy? Understanding? Assistance? Maybe they aren't even aware they are acting like that, caught up in the situation and blind to how they are affecting other people around them. I believe Nanny always tried to look at the bigger picture, and believed in the giving someone the benefit of the doubt.
     I try, and again emphasize 'try' to use the same gentle tactics that Nanny employed in dealing with others. I really can't recall a harsh word or even tone of voice from Nanny, who also never swore, smoke or drank. She was just funny, easy going, and compassionate. In today's tight economy, and difficult world, it is very easy to get caught up drama, and negativity. Bad news abounds, and it is easy to be ill tempered, and short with your words and actions because of it.
     My grandmother never bad mouthed anyone, and certainly never called anyone she knew a bad name. Everyone knows harsh words DO hurt. Even as an adult, to hear someone you know call you a derogatory name is a terrible thing, and not a very "nanny" like action. I know I would not like that to happen to me, so I try not to say hurtful things to or about  people.
      Now that I am more then half way through my life, I really do understand what all those sayings mean. You know the ones...about "to really understand someone, you need to walk a mile in his shoes", and " Don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff" and even Kenny Chesney's song " Don't blink, 100 years goes faster then you think".
       Time does go fast, and soon you are closer to the end then the beginning. Maybe we should learn one more thing from Nanny. Slow down. Rock in a rocking chair. Be nice to people. Be honest as the day is long. Eat more chocolate. Laugh at yourself. Most importantly, live your life so that when you do stand before the only real judge of mankind, you have a lot more checks in the good column, then in the bad.
Nanny and I, with Billy..Dorothea and Aunt Betty in back

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring Glorious Spring

  Time for a new poem. I know you are scared, and you should be. Here we go...

              Spring on the Farm

   Spring is near,
   and makes me cheer,
   and I am not a hog.

   If I were a hog,
   I know I would log,
   many hours in a mud hole.

   If I were a horse,
   I'd need to be brushed,
   spring means shedding, and shedding and shedding of

   If I were a calf,or maybe a
   my cud I would chew,
   along side the sow.


    If I were a goat,
    I'd go here and there,
    and shoulder, nary a care.

   If I were a boar,
   I know I would snore,
   sleeping the day away.

     If I were a donkey,
    I'd hang out and eat,
    and be happy I'm full
     to the gills.

  But I am a human,
  with much work to do,
  these animals not only eat,
   but make lots of poo!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Busy day on the farm

Digging in!
Poor thin alpacas
      Homeland Farm has been a hopping joint lately. We have had a lot of critters arriving that need a good meal, and some that have had plenty of good meals, but needed a new place to stay. We had a whole herd of Alpacas arrive that fall into the former category.
       The poor 'pacas are just skin and bones, suffering from extreme neglect. They are still cute and friendly, despite their rough past. They are so sweet, and are cute to watch. They look like a bunch of camels (minus the spitting), and when they eat, they hum and make little baby sounds. They enjoy their grain and beet pulp, as we start trying to get them back up to proper weight.
Did you say you have FOOD?
        We also have three big ole hogs, two females and one male. The girls are called Petunia and Penelope, and the big boar is Pig Newton. They were in a small pen and were abandoned by their former owner. Off to Homeland Farm they came. They are happy piggies now. They walk out to the pasture every day, root around, wallow in a wet spot, and sleep in the round bale. Ah, the life of a happy hog.

Hog Heaven!
       The goat trio, Brix, Adelaide, and Blossom are all doing well, and enjoy walking around the farm at their leisure. I hate to tell them, but spring is coming. Once spring gets here, they are going to be very displeased. Lock down for all goats and hogs will be necessary if we want to have any vegetables or flowers. They won't be happy, but I will be able to walk back out on my porch and not have to watch out for goat 'pellets'.
Brix, Blossom and Adelaide (and Bama)
        We have two dairy cows and a little calf that are now here as well. Black Betty, Clarabelle and the calf Bama Lam are a nice addition to the farm. Nice cows...Ever smelled a warm cow? They smell cow-y, but nice.  They are happy girls.
Clara and Betty
         We also have our original 3 alpacas- Alvin, Simon and Theodore. They were loose in a small town near us, and made their way here too. All creatures make their way to Homeland Farm. I think I might have to make that saying into a sign.
Summer, Luna and Kaia
          We have lots of horses too...Some are 'sanctuary' horses, meaning they will live out the rest of their lives here at the farm. Some are very old, a couple have health problems, and one is not safe to be placed in another home, so she will live here forever.
           We have our own adopted horses..Amira a Thoroughbred, Ellie a spotted saddle horse,  and Sabre a Standardbred. We also have some rescue horses. These horses are some that were given up by former owners, or bought at an auction to save them from being sent to slaughter. Right now we have a couple Thoroughbreds called Byrd and Prince, and a new arrival, a nice quarter horse type called Chaos.
Cliffy on Sabre
Chaos arriving today
A donkey called Delilah, a mini horse called Cliffy, some little rabbits and laying hens rounds out the family. It is great fun to watch the comings and goings of all the animals.When you look out into the pasture, and see a goat, and calf walking out to the pasture on one path, and walking into the paddock on another path is a giant pig, a couple alpacas, and a thoroughbred race horse. It would make Noah proud!
Ahh spring!
           It is almost spring now, and it will soon be time to kick it into high gear. Raking, fencing, cleaning, painting, dump runs and horse brushing will soon be a daily event, and it will be all hands on deck. Come on Spring! We are ready to rumble!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beaten, Bruised and Battered ( and I dont mean fried clams)

Cliffy and a much more well behaved Standardbred- Sabre
    I went to the doctor 3 months ago for a very painful ankle. She ordered an x ray of the offending ankle. Later, when we meet at her office, she tells me that the x ray was not clear enough to really show her what was going on. Time for an MRI. I endured the MRI, (no fun, by the way)  and return to the office a month later. Hmmm....might need to now have a cat scan, to absolutely show whats going on in there. I was pretty sure the MRI would do that, but off I went for the cat scan.
     Back to her office. Again. Dr says 'well, I'd  really like you to go see another doctor.' WHAT THE!! Yes, apparently it looks like I need to have surgery, but she is not quite sure "how much" surgery, so she wants to get another doctors opinion.
Does that make me feel all confident in my choice of physician?? Umm..NO!
      While I was sitting on her exam table this last time, she asked if I had ever had an injury to my foot. I actually laughed out loud, as I have never been referred to as a graceful swan. No, I have always fallen more into the "bull in a china shop" category. Growing up on a farm and owning horses all my life, I have had plenty of opportunities for "injury".
      I remember one day I was riding our Standardbred ex racehorse, B.J. She was a huge horse, very tall and leggy. She could really move, and I loved to ride her, when she wasn't busy trying to kill me. We didn't have a bridle big enough to fit her large head, so I had to ride her with her halter and two lead ropes, which on a good day, she paid attention to. On a bad day, she couldn't have cared less about what I wanted. Oh, we had some interesting rides.
       On this particular day, I was riding her, and my faithful riding companion Zenya was riding on Ebony, our good natured, lazy old quarter horse. We had been on a nice ride down through the woods, and B.J. had been behaving wonderfully. Until, it came time to go home. Once I turned her head toward home, it was GO TIME. Off she went like, well, a race horse. She tore up that path and when it came time to make the last turn to go toward our gate, she really turned on the gas. She careened through the woods, branches and limbs slapping my face, hitting my head and arms, and totally ignoring my attempts to stop her.
       I was hollering "WHOA!! WHOA!!!" all the way through the woods, as we left Zenya and Ebony to slowly make their way home behind us. She blasted up that path, and then crashed into the closed gate, almost losing me out of the saddle. I was cut, scraped, had a hurt leg, and was madder then a wet hen.
       I jumped off that horse, and opened the gate, hollering and perhaps swearing, as I led her across the pasture to the corral. I got on her, and we had a nice long session of what I  called..." YOU WANNA RUN?? RUN!!" Around and around that corral we went, alternating running with a fast WHOA! We went full out galloping, from one side to the other, with me then yelling WHOA!! as we came to the fence. I swear, I did that for an hour, I was so mad. By the time we were done, Zenya and Ebony had quietly made their way out of the woods, and Zenya had unsaddled Ebony, brushed her, and fed her some oats. Then Zenya, stood and watched as B.J. learned what WHOA meant. She finally was doing exactly what I wanted her to do, and we were both exhausted, sweaty and ready to be done riding for that day.
         I lead her around the corral to cool off and brushed her, gave her a drink and told her I still liked her, but was glad we had come to an "agreement." I limped to the house, and later found a real nice bruise on my leg and knee from banging into the gate..or was it the tree? Hard to tell. I just remember it hurt.
         Another incident I remembered involved B.J. too, but this time, it wasn't her fault. I was riding alone, I believe on this occasion, and was down back in the woods behind the house. My mother was entertaining an elderly lady up at the house, so I thought I would take out my beautiful, bright red horse and make an impression. Boy did I.
          I saw them watching as B.J. and I trotted down back. She was an impressive sight, almost 17 hands with 4 white stockings and a big white blaze. I was doing my best "post", trying to look like a professional english rider, which was tough as I was riding an old western saddle.
        We turned at the back of the pasture, and started to trot back up toward the house, when it happened. B.J. started to buck, totally unexpected. She had done a lot of things with me, but had never bucked before, so I was not expecting it AT ALL.
        She did a couple of crow hops at first, and I was staying pretty well in my seat, but then it turned into all out, wild west, can she stay on 8 seconds cowboy bucking! I was all over that western saddle, and with every buck..I would HIT! THAT! SADDLE! HORN! with my, umm, "nether regions," lets just say.
       I can not say I was ever as happy to fall off a horse as I finally was at that moment. I just wish she was a shorter horse. That wasn't 5 feet off the ground, mid buck. I positively flew through the air, and crashed, totally winded, and in pain.
       I vaguely remember my mother and dear old Mrs.Vose rushing up to my gasping, groaning form on the ground. I do recall for some odd reason what Mrs. Vose said.
However, at the time, I didn't understand what she meant.
       She leaned over and looked at me writhing in agony and on the ground, and said to my mother "Oh dear, she hurt her growing area." I think it was health class where I later learned she probably meant my GROIN area. All I knew was there was no area of my person that didn't hurt, and I can honestly say it was a week or better before I could walk standing completely upright. The cause of that bucking bronco display? Several yellow jacket welts on B.J.'s butt and legs. Didn't even see them coming.
      So, when my doctor asked if I had ever had any 'injury'  to my feet, or leg I just had to laugh. There isn't much of me that has NOT had an injury. If I hadn't always had extra "padding", I would have certainly broken more bones then I did. That time, I only had a broken nose from when she was going up in that buck, and I was going down. Or was it from the time I ran into that low hanging branch.....or was it when I fell down leading one of the horses and she jumped over me, hitting my face with the stirrup...or was it from that time when...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bathed in "Everlasting Sunshine"

        I had an interesting trip to the pharmacy the other day..Well, I thought I was in the pharmacy. By the time I got out of the aisle 5, I wasn't sure if I was in the grocery store, a local bar, or on vacation. Let me explain.
       I was in need of a fresh bottle of body wash, so I moseyed into the local pharmacy, found my aisle and then, got lost. Well, I wasn't really lost, but it felt like it. I stood in front of the vast array of bottles, and was overwhelmed.
      First of all, do we really need row after row of choices? I remember having a choice of "Ivory" or "Zest". Now, I had so many choices I almost forgot what I went in for by the time I left. A bottle in every size, shape and color stared back at me from the vast rows of liquid soap. Then, came the names. This is where it went crazy.
      I really wasn't sure what I should do with most of them. Somehow bathing with them seemed all wrong. I actually had the makings of a great muffin recipe right in front of my nose.
Lets see..Mix up "Oatmeal and Shea butter", add "Milk and Honey",one tsp of "Heavenly Vanilla", throw in some "Coconut Apricot" and "Fruit Peel", and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Wash it down with a cool glass of "Coconut Water" and you could have quite a snack!
      Better yet, if you have a bottle of rum, you are in for an afternoon of tropical adult beverages, let me tell you. Lets see..Mix a shot of rum, with a  slug of "Tangerine Guava", and a belt of "Citrus Splash", and garnish with "Sweet Pea" and you have one refreshing drink! Of course, you could go with three fingers of vodka, and fill with either "Pomegranate Tangerine" or "Mango Splash"..YUM YUM!
        If you don't feel like a "mixed " beverage, just pour yourself a wine glass of  "Vino Moisture", made with crushed grapes. It is supposed to moisturize your skin, if you don't mind that lovely reddish/purple hue you get from using crushed grapes for soap.
        I think any of these lovely drinks will indeed make you feel all warm and fuzzy..almost like you are on vacation. You remember that old phrase.." Calgon, take me away" ? Well, apparently these soaps actually tell you where they are taking you. "Tahiti Sunset" anyone? or perhaps "Fiji? "Hawaiian Tropic" sure sounds good to this Mainer.
         I decided I wanted a non fruit or vegetable soap. My final choices? After much consideration, I had it narrowed down to the following five. "Evenly Gorgeous" sounded good, as I didn't want one part of my anatomy more gorgeous then the other parts of me. But then, "Passionate Spell"..wow, who doesn't want more passion and I'd love to be able to cast a spell. "Tempting Whisper" sounded interesting, but I wasn't sure what I was going to be tempted to do...Maybe eat that whole bag of "M and M's " in my basket? Hmm..better not take a chance with that one. "Everlasting Sunshine" sounded pretty good as it has been a long, dark snowy month. Sure beats the heck out of "Snowy, Grey and Cold" body wash. I made that one up, by the way. The others are legit names.
         I remembered that diamonds are a girls best friends, so I thought I would choose " Diamond Powder and Calla Lilies", as it is supposed to "moisturize and illuminate" the ole hide. Who doesn't want to be illuminated by bath soap.
         "Look Vance! The Calla Lilies are in bloom again." Sorry, had to throw that Pee Wee Herman reference in there. I think Calla Lilies are a popular funeral/grave flower. Not sure I want to bathe in that after all. Just the "Diamond Powder" would be sparkly and wonderful though. But maybe a bit too much like glitter.
         So, after 35 minutes of careful consideration, I chose "Everlasting Sunshine." I just wonder if I will need sunglasses in the shower...
Not Calla, but Tiger Lilies