Lauren’s Grape poppies

A Cinderella Pumpkin Story

Not long ago a stray cat started making an appearance at the barn. Three older kittens live there to keep the mice in check. They have all been spayed and neutered. The little orange, peanut butter stray is quiet and skittish but has warmed up over the past couple of months.

I am an animal lover- always have been. I’ve never known life without some sort of pet/family member. Growing up we always had a cat, dog and/or horses at some time or another. Both of my horses came off the local racetrack in the Finger Lakes. My gelding was a pitiful sack of bones. It took some time to put on some weight on his frame and get the steriods out of his system. He lives high on the hog now and his less than stellar racing career is a distant memory. Oh how he loves to run but that is another story… another post.

This post is about the whispy peanut butter cat that started to become very round over the past month. I told Farmboy “That is a Momma Kitty, she is getting ready to have kittens.” Oh dear. There are already three at the barn and we have three in our home. I feel responsible for this poor cat who was probably dropped off out here in the country. Our three house/garden cats all were adopted. Little Helen Chapel is sleeping beside me as I type. (Farmboy and I are “Wings” fans… what can I say? Didn’t you love Helen, those Hackett brothers and Lowell??)

I consider myself a responsible, conscientious pet owner. Somehow I think we have adopted this little orange peanut butter cat or she adopted us. We’d better get ready for the vet bills- as if 3 cats, 2 dogs and 3 horses aren’t enough. LaLa has been thrilled at the idea of more kittens. She is some sort of bizarre savant cat-whisperer. Our rough and tumble Pongo is a tremendous hunter- a very serious cat yet he sits outside of LaLa’s door at night and cries until someone opens the door and he can go cuddle up in bed with her. He watches TV with her and tolerates her packing him around on her hip like a purse. She is the only one of us that he seeks to be with. Toonces sleeps every night with The Bean. When he hears a story being read he is there purring in stereo. Little Helen Chapel sleeps with me and Farmboy at night and doesn’t stir until we head to the kitchen for coffee in the morning. Numerous days I’ve woken up with a “Helen scarf” wrapped around my neck.  We have our companions and all is right in the world at night.

I’ve kept a close eye on Momma Kitty the past week then two days ago I saw her- skinnier. I knew she had her kittens but there was no telling where they were. The next day we saw her take a kitten into one of the horses’ stall. We tried to keep her out but she would only run back in. After we brought the horses in that evening Farmboy saw her take a kitten in through a stall window.

She was determined to nest in the straw in the corner of my mare Paley’s stall. The other morning when I went to feed to my surprise there were four kittens. She was snuggled up with them in the corner of the stall. It cracks me up to think of my spooky Paley with a mother cat and nest of kittens in her stall under her nervous and watchful eye.

So far all is well. I turn into a child again when I go in Paley’s stall and sit in the corner with “Pumpkin” and her babies. The barn comes to life with the sounds of the horses quietly chewing and the busy sparrows flying in and out feeding their new babies. I’m amazed all over again at the circle of life- the beauty and the tragedy of it all. That little momma kitty is a skinny pathetic thing but she is sweet and starved for a caress and a tender word. She is always there with those furry, yawning, hungry, eyed-closed kittens. Soon their eyes will open and they will start to explore their environment which makes me nervous. The plan is to get them out of the stall. I am afraid they will get stepped on. I hope she won’t keep taking them back to Paley’s stall once they are moved. We will see.

I think she is a keeper. We’ll have her spayed and she’ll have a permanent home where she’ll be fed and loved and patted regularly. Hopefully we’ll find homes for the kittens… the kids and cousins will be disappointed. Maybe they will stay and we’ll have them fixed too… the kittens, not the kids.  What if another stray comes next year?  Where do you stop? I don’t know. I’m glad Farmboy has a kind heart. Who knew that Pumpkin carried a four little glass slippers- that we have found in Paley’s stall. Maybe she is a princess after all.

Garden Blooms

Happy Father’s Day

I love our little community. This morning we went to the Annual Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast Fly-In at the little air strip down the road and around the corner. We took Farmboy’s dad- Farmer Russ to the breakfast and watched numerous planes fly in throughout the morning. The whole community turns out for this event and the kids get to see their cousins and friends from school. People bring their old cars to share with other old car appreciating folks. The Beatles and country music blast from the DJ’s tent, periodically interrupted with 50/50 raffle giveaways. I feel very fortunate to live in this community and to share this event with my terrific hubby and his father. What a blessing.

Have a great day all of you dads out there! See you next year at the Pancake Breakfast Fly-In!

2010 Summer Kickoff Menu

Herbed Flatbread & Warm Robiola Cheese with Pine Nuts, Olives and Golden Raisins

Chopped Salad

Grilled Herb Potatoes

Fish Kabobs

Grilled Pork Skewers with Chile Sauce

Glazed Strawberry Pie

Thanks to Mike and Ann for letting me post the menu for our dinner club. Farmboy and I will be bringing the Glazed Strawberry Pie tonight. I am so excited to get to use my new food processor to make the pie crust. Yay! If you’ve read the entertaining/recipe posts before you know I have been borrowing my mother-in-laws for years. LaLa and I went this morning to buy fresh picked strawberries from Manley Farms in Elbridge, New York. The most delicious strawberries you have ever seen and tasted! I will post the strawberry pie recipe with photos once it is completed so please stay tuned and get your forks ready! Here’s a little strawberry sneak peak…

Highlights from Allentown Festival

We fought rain, wind and sun this past weekend in Buffalo. It was also quite an adventure getting there. Farmboy decided at 2pm on Friday that it was time to make hay! Make hay! (He insists that it was the HAY that decided it was ready… not him.) It never ends… farming. I had reservations at a hotel in Buffalo for Friday night. Dropped off kiddos at Junebug’s in Rochester and we came rolling into Buffalo at 2am. That wake-up call at 6am was dreadful. Farmboy helped me set up and my sister came to spend the day with me while Farmboy drove back to the farm to check the hay and feed all the animals. Sister and I had a great time catching up while I got a terrific sunburn. Farmboy arrived back in town at 8pm and we decided to head out to dinner.

I’ve always wanted to eat at Mother’s and sitting out on the covered patio was perfect. Had a delicious Swordfish steak with wasabi and ginger on a rice pilaf. Farmboy enjoyed his seared scallops with black linguine and sundried tomatoes. Sister had a grilled pesto shrimp salad with fresh mozzarella, kalamata olives, tomatoes and arugula. Delish. It poured for a while but the air was warm and we were dry so I was a happy camper… a tired, but happy camper.

I have the best customers! It was wonderful to see familiar faces and make some new friends. I love catching up from year to year and I get such a charge hearing when a gift purchased was a big hit when given. That is THE best. My new Baby Announcements received plenty of attention. I was very pleased. Until next year Buffalo… see you then.

2010 Allentown Festival

If you are in the Buffalo, New York area over the coming weekend you will not want to miss the Allentown Art Festival. So many talented artist- I feel honored to be in such great company! The festival is located in the Historic Allentown area of downtown Buffalo. Don’t forget to stop in at my booth and say Hi! I have a NEW location on Viriginia Street- booth #23. Hope to see you there. Farmboy and I will be spending the weekend away from the farm, the animals and the kids… Lookout!

The Topiary Buffalo (shown on the right) was originally designed for the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society and is now available on numerous products including: notecards, limited edition prints, pillows, lavender sachets and linen guest towels. Click here for ordering information. The Snowy Buffalo Topiary- a nice holiday themed design is also available on all of Michelle’s products including holiday greeting cards. Click here for more information.


Hi, I'm Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed illustrations for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, aka Farmboy, my two children affectionately known as "La La" and "the Bean" and a small petting zoo of other family members.


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Philadelphia Flower Show
PA Convention Center
March 5th-13th
Booth #Z-1002

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