Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here are the boys and Haley, all ready to go 'Trick or Treating'! We have our soldier, Nate the Great (complete with magnifying glass), and Sludge, the dog. What fun!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nate the Great

My older son decided to dress up for Halloween as the main character from his favorite series of books, Nate the Great, by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. Nate the Great is a detective, so he wears the classic trenchcoat and deerstalker cap. Tomorrow, when they dress up to go 'trick or treating', I'll make sure that Haley gets into the photos. She is going to be 'trick or treating' with him this year, as Nate's trusty sidekick, Sludge, the dog. Nate's favorite snack is pancakes, which he always eats (And shares with Sludge!) before each adventure. The recipe was included in one of the stories, so now, whenever I don't feel like cooking a meal, I just request 'Nate the Great Pancakes' and my son is glad to make them for us!! YUMMY!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Someday this one is going to break my heart and join the military. Not that I have a problem with the military, as a matter of fact, I'm a strong supporter of our troops. However, when it comes to my little boy, it's going to be hard to see him go. He's obsessed - wears camo every day and talks about being an 'army guy' all the time. This year's Halloween costume choice is no surprise! Here he is with his trusty horse, 'Lazy', ready for action!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Here's a photo of my cat. Her coloring makes her hide in the shadows, especially this time of the year when the foliage is so brown. I actually took this photo a couple of weeks ago, but it's raining today, so it's not a great camera day...

Monday, October 27, 2008


I took the dogs for a walk in the woods this morning. Okay, I walked and they ran circles around me! They always love to be out there! Most of the trees lost their leaves during the heavy rain/wind storm that went through Saturday night. There's not much color left in the woods, with one exception. The Tamaracks are a brilliant yellow right now. They are the only evergreen tree in the Northern Forest that loses its spills in the winter, much like a deciduous Maple or Oak. My favorite part about Tamaracks is how soft their spills are - not like the stiff and sharp Pine or Fir spills. I love to run my hands over their branches as I walk by the trees. According to Wikipedia, they are popular as bonsai - maybe I'll go harvest a baby and see how it does in the house...

Anybody have any idea why Blogger keeps rotating this picture????? It's driving me crazy!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mother Goose

Even though she's not really their mother, and they are already as big as she is, our young geese follow her everywhere....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Barred Rock Hen

The Barred Plymouth Rock is a dual-purpose hen, a great layer, or meaty enough for the stew pot. Their coloring is eye-catching, although they look like jail-birds from old-time movies!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Roosty is the patriarch of our farm. He arrived on our doorstep (Someone literally dropped him off while we weren't home!) many years ago. Our oldest, then just a toddler, took an immediate liking to him and carried him all over the place. I kept a close eye on them because roosters don't always make the best of pets, but Roosty was wonderful. And he's always been good to the hens, as well. A couple of times, during the last few years, I have made the mistake of suggesting that perhaps Roosty is getting past his prime and we should replace him with a younger breeding rooster. The boys won't hear of it! So, Roosty will stay for as long as he likes...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Black Hen

Before the boys were born, and while they were too young to have an opinion, I bred several different breeds of 'fancy' purebred chickens. I was selective about which rooster I bred to which hen, in order to maintain the standard for that breed. A few years ago, the boys asked if we could take the incubator into their classrooms and hatch chicks. I thought that sounded like a wonderful project! Which breeds did they want to hatch? Mixed breeds! They just wanted to walk out, grab a bunch of eggs from random nests and see what came out. What came out was an amazingly colorful mix of chicks that were all different sizes since some of my chickens are bantams (miniatures) and some are full-sized. We have repeated that project each spring and the children LOVE it! And we've found that the mixed breed chickens are so beautiful and unique. Take this hen, for example. She displays some of the characteristics of a Silkie - the soft fuzz and crest, dark skin and rosecomb - and the beautiful black plumage of a Sumatra.

A special thanks to Hope, from Knoxville Daily Photo, who presented me with this award yesterday:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Free-range hens..

...are happy hens! All of our chickens are free-range, which means that they can roam the farm all day long. At night they go into the coop, where they are safe from predators. Occasionally we have a visit from a day-time predator, like a fox, but having 2 dogs running around loose all the time discourages them. We prefer our eggs to come from happy hens that get to eat grasses, bugs or whatever catches their fancy. The only thing is, you have to watch where you step!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

A hen and her golf ball...'s a beautiful thing...
The hens don't realize that the ball is not another hen's egg. We place balls in the nests so that the hens (particularly the young ones) know where to lay their eggs. Otherwise we would find them in the strangest locations!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Smokey is a Netherland Dwarf Rabbit. His gorgeous coloring is called 'Siamese Smoke Pearl'. NDs are one of the smallest breeds of rabbit, weighing only 2 pounds! I love their little snub noses and teeny tiny ears!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Believe it or not...

Her name isn't 'FuzzBall', 'SnowBall', or even 'Fluffy''s 'Airplane Bunny'!! When our older son was 3, I let him pick out his first bunny at a 'Small Animal Flea Market'. He chose a very friendly little black bunny. As we were walking away from the vendor's table, I told him that he needed to pick a name for her. He thought about it for a moment, looked up at the sky, pointed to a plane way up high and proclaimed, "Airplane Bunny!" That was 7 years ago, and this bunny is actually her replacement, a Jersey Wooley.
This is actually the second Jersey Wooley that my son has owned. Shortly after getting the original 'Airplane Bunny', he decided to get her a companion, and picked out a Jersey Wooley. They are a miniature, long-haired variety, perfect for a little boy to pick up and cuddle. His name was 'Gunner' and he was the best bunny for an active little boy because of his calm disposition. He sat on our son's lap for hours watching television, rode on the swing with him and even went down the slide, not to mention countless other adventures. He was great! And we have very fond memories of him. As far as my son is concerned, there are no other breeds of rabbits - these are his very favorite. His eyes lit up when he heard a friends' mother announce recently that she has started to breed them. Poor Dad just groaned at the thought of more bunnies... ;-)
Tomorrow I'll show you my favorite bunny...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


While I was outside taking pictures yesterday, suddenly there was this almost overwhelming noise coming closer and closer to me. It took me several minutes to figure out what the noise was - it was a huge flock of grackels that had gathered together for the trip South. They were flying from tree to tree, making an unbelievable racket. I tried really hard to get a picture, but this is the best I could do...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Looking North at the Pinnacle

Okay, there was something missing from yesterday's photograph. And I didn't even realize it until I walked out the front door this morning and there it was - sunshine! So, I hobbled my way to the other side of the horse pasture, (The doctor says that some walking is good.) and took some pictures of the side of the Pinnacle. Tomorrow I'll show you what else I discovered out there...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

'The hills are alive'...with color!

Here I have zoomed in on the hillside across from our house. This is my favorite time of year to live here because of this patchwork of color! This is the same spot where I photographed the sunrise a few weeks ago...

Monday, October 13, 2008

From my front door...

So sorry I missed posting yesterday - I've injured my back, so I'm confined mostly to the couch, with a little bit of walking around the house allowed, as I feel up to it. I was racking my brain, trying to think of something interesting to post, and came up with this idea - repeating my very first post! Compare the view out my front door today, with the view back in February...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Here Piggy Piggy!

Today piggy decided to let us scratch between his ears. Now he lies down like a dog so he can be scratched. He just can't get enough scratching! He is growing up so fast!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Pleasant Surprise

I don't know where these came from. They just popped up in my garden and started flowering a couple of weeks ago. Finally, this afternoon I got a photo of them. They're so pretty!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ummmm...I think I took a wrong turn...

Have you ever walked into a room and just didn't feel like you belonged? And everyone turned to stare at you? I think that's how this cow must have felt...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cow Pony

You've heard the phrase "Attitude is everything", right? Well, this little pony personifies it! She's smaller than most of our cows and yet she's amazing at Ranch Sorting. She's not the least bit worried about heading into the herd (Unlike some of our big horses!) and the cows always do exactly what she tells them to do. Her little legs move so quickly that they are blurry and it's awesome to watch her work the cows.

The woman on the right hand side of this photo is the judge. She is positioned right over the gate that each cow has to be driven out of, in order. As each cow exits the pen, she clicks the lap timer on her stopwatch. The team that gets the most cows out, in the shortest amount of time is the winning team. If however, a cow that is not in chronological order should slip out of the gate, she is right where she can see it, and she will raise her orange flag and disqualify that team.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Weekend Cowgirl

The nice thing about team penning is that you can forget your normal life for a few days and pretend to be a cowboy/girl. My friend seemed so contemplative here though, that I wondered what she was thinking about. As soon as she saw me, she lamented that she hadn't been smiling for the photo. I told her it made for a nice image and I refused to take another one. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back off, Brother!

Yikes! This is when 2-Man Ranch Sorting gets really nerve-wracking! Right behind the cowboy on the right is a 12 foot gate that he is guarding, trying to prevent the herd from running through it. The cowboy on the other side of the pen is supposed to only be driving the one cow with the correct number on its collar out that gate. However, he has just given his brother the really tough job of stopping several cows. I couldn't stand the suspense, so I looked ahead and not only did he stop those cows, but the one on the right was the correct cow and in the next picture he was heading out the gate, while the others turned back to the other side of the pen. Whew!!

Monday, October 6, 2008


Teeny, tiny Charlotte is practically our team penning mascot. She is always at our events because her whole family helps out while her 'mother' rides. She is just the sweetest little thing, everyone is always threatening to put her in their pocket and take her home with them - I know that I would in a heartbeat, if I didn't think it would break her little heart. I've never seen a dog that was so devoted to its owner! She roams all over the grounds, keeping an eye on things, but if her mama whistles, she's off like a shot, running to find her. I took the cutest picture of her last year, sitting tall in the saddle...

Cattle Handler

This gentleman is one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet. He is one of the cattlemen that helps manage the herds during our penning events. Doesn't he look like he's having fun?!

Homecoming Queen/Penning Princess

Sorry about the lack of posts over the weekend - I was at a team penning event and forgot the USB cable to my camera, so I had no way to upload images and get them posted to my blog, even though I did have a computer & Internet connection. Today you get a bonus - 3 posts!

You've seen the cowgirl on the right here and here, but this week, our 'Penning Princess' was crowned 'Homecoming Queen' of her high school! We are all so thrilled for her, although we missed her Saturday night when she had to go to the Homecoming Dance, and missed our evening festivities. She is such a sweet girl - she always has a smile on her face. This photo was taken Saturday morning after her team won the Open Sorting class. The woman on the left is her mother and the cowboy in the middle is her cousin. Congratulations!!

Please excuse me for a moment, but I'm going to pat myself on the back here - a photo that I took in July of the cowboy in this picture, is on the cover of the October 2008 issue of The Horse's Maine, a local equestrian paper!!!!!! You can see the image over here on my personal blog...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Season's end...

These wildflowers are enjoying one last gasp before fall sets in with its freezing nights. We've had several frosts already, but these are hardier than our garden varieties and are still blooming away...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Silly Squirrel

I call him silly because he thought that if he froze, then I wouldn't be able to see him! In the second photo you can see where he is - he had scaled the stucco wall of our house and was headed for the roof! What amazing agility!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Not quite as spectacular as the sunrise, but these clouds were pretty, nonetheless. I took this from my back deck yesterday evening...