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Farmboy Calls Fowl…

For showing him this video….

Then he got all soft towards getting chickens. (Actually, I suspect he may have started to thaw last year when he saw an excited 6 year old leaving our local farm supply store with her daddy and a cardboard 6-pack of chicks.)

That’s how it all started this Spring… only 5 years in the making.

Note to self… never take an excited 9 year old to a hatchery to “look” at chicks with the possibility of buying. I was so swept up in the moment that we were picking out breeds like ice cream toppings at Baskin Robbins. Our little flock of 6 is a motley crew. We even have a rocker named Stormy who reminds me alot of Cher in one of her Bob Mackie ensembles!

On the way home from Nature Berry Farm (a hatchery outside of Rochester) I had a mild breakdown… you know the kind. OMG what have I done??? There are peeping animals in the backseat and this is going to change our lives forever. We are now (gasp) “chicken-owners” and they didn’t give me any kind of manual or pamphlet of 12 steps to great egg-laying chickens, or even a chicken coloring book for that matter! Heaven help us… what do I know about raising chickens?

I’ve never been around birds all that much except enjoying them at the bird feeder. We once cared for a friend’s cockatill that always asked “can I come out?”.

That being said I do recall sitting perfectly still beneath a gumball tree in MS. for countless hours in a lawn chair with bread sprinkled all around me as well as piled up in my hands. There were birds everywhere. Now that I think about it… I was Crazy Bird Girl. I think I remember being asked to play football and declining because I had “better things to do” like sit in a lawn chair beneath a tree perfectly still for hours. What were my parents thinking? What were the neighbors thinking? What exactly was I thinking?

And then there was the time I was sitting peacefully on a chaise lounge on my grandmother’s porch petting a cat when a bird flew across the lawn and landed on my shoulder. Before I could register that a bird flew across the lawn and landed on my shoulder the cat jumped up, grabbed the bird and ran off with it. What!? Huh?! Seriously?! But, but, but… what just happened?! Sigh.

There you go. Serendipity or something.

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On a side note… It’s been a challenge trying to blog about all that has been going on around here this summer! It’s too much! My kind husband/editor gave me some insight and I will soon release a barrage of post that have been nicely broken up and organized.

So stay tuned for the full story. You have to meet all of the girls and hear about the wagon adventure.  : )

 

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Riding to the Hounds

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A beautiful day for a ride at lunchtime! Queenie the Pony is a surefooted, sassy pony. Yesterday we rode to the hounds… Oliver and Gracie, that is. Good for the mind and even better for the soul.IMG_1736

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There was significant water play and creek-crossing practice. Sorry for the tilt-a-world… it’s not easy trying to take pictures on the back of a fidgety pony.

IMG_1754Heading home.




Ahhh SPRING!

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Do you hear that faint peeping sound? It’s coming from my garage!!!

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This is what is coming from the garden. : )

It’s been a busy Spring here at the farm. More to come from Countess Cluck (shown above) and her little chickie friends.




Before the Harvest

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A Garden Tango

IMGP6424 My garden and I have done an awkward dance all summer long. Never on the same beat… our tempo completely off. A spastic horticultural tango if you will.

And then this past weekend… I finally had the time, energy and proper shoes that brought us together like the partners that we are. I spun from bed to bed in my red farm coat as the wind blew mightily. Probably a good thing we don’t have neighbors within eyeshot.

Earlier this summer I decided to exhibit at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair in Devon, PA. Normally at that time I would be caught up with orders from the Flower Show, excited about spring, winter sowing and getting ready to plant. This year I was in full production mode for my business and then away for a two week duration.  So much happens on a farm, with children, and animals in two weeks. My “away” time limit was reached and I learned that it was too much at this point, at this time in our lives. I never got caught up… all summer long I was one, or two or three steps behind- in so many areas. My garden went in late… some things didn’t go in at all. Then the rains came. Seedings were washed away while the organic weeds that I cultivate so beautifully grew and grew.

My focus never zeroed-in out there. I was away dancing with other loves like children, family, friends and art. I even flirted with running and taking better care of myself. Gasp! Every now and then the sprinkler was turned on when I could remember.

So Saturday I had the opportunity to stand back and appreciate what happens when I’m not paying attention… when I am not in control, when someone else is leading.

# # # # Newsflash # # # #

It still grows and it produces what its supposed to. Even with my full dance card this summer my partner kept up the beet. (snicker). We could easily have scored a 30 on Dancing with Your Vegetables that blustery afternoon, in my opinion.

 

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IMGP6432A little olive oil, salt and pepper then into the oven… carrots, onions, blue and red potatoes. Delicious.

 




Happy 4th of July!!

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Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Independence Day!!




Summertime!

Ahhhh. Finally. 1st day of Summer vacation for the kids.

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Mandatory sleeping in and pajamas until noon. Cinnamon toast with my sous chef Lala and cherry picking in the garden!!! Farmboy is getting a sour cherry pie very soon. Don’t tell. Doesn’t get much better.

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I had a huge order to ship this afternoon. It went out.

Balance.

Somedays it is tangible- other days elusive. Today I touched it and it was beautiful.

Lala and Jack

The day ended with climbing on hay bales in the night pasture.

Happy Summertime… wishing you some beautiful balance!




Back in the saddle…

Me and Momma riding

Junebug and I taking Paley and North for a ride.

I finally got back in the saddle… because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t.

The last time I lost a horse I was a freshman in college and I didn’t ride again for 10 years. It was too emotional and I was used to loving and having a relationship with the knowing beast that carried me around.

I got back in the saddle- on my gelding North who seems lost and displaced since we said good-bye to my mare Paley. She’s been a dear friend to me for the past 18 yrs.

I haven’t been blogging because I have been grieving with the knowledge of having to let her go (and then adjusting to “after”). I felt an undercurrent of sadness that rose to the immediacy of calling the vet to come as soon as he could.

Family life, farm life… it’s what I write about. It IS my life here as an artist. But I couldn’t talk about what was happening. I couldn’t give my name to the receptionist at the vet on the phone. I couldn’t trust myself to speak when the vet came to the farm. Farmboy had to be there all the time. I didn’t know if I would sob, be silent or speak.

So. On a cold and windy Thursday in Dec. we said good-bye… Farmboy, my sister-in-law, me, the vet and North. It was both beautiful and heart-breaking.

One day I will write about that experience, what my vet insisted on to allow my gelding to say goodbye and how it changed what was happening. He was wise and right and I am thankful for his years and insight. The picture in my mind haunts me and reminds me of something that I always considered as one of the sweetest and saddest things I’ve ever seen.

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Paley and North saying hello for the first time. He was very malnourished- only off the track a couple of days.

I got back in the saddle to help North find a different purpose than being her companion and to help me connect because he and the pony Queenie have been second string- the supporting cast.  She was my priority. I feel like I could walk away from riding right now. My spark is gone. She was my etch-a-sketch. When we went out, I came back shaken up… erased. Fresh and new… mentally and physically. My step was lighter and I could conquer much.

I got back in the saddle. It’s a start, right?

1st pic of me and Paley

The day we bought Paley.

Me and Paley Hunting

Our first ride in the hunt field with Cherry Valley Hunt. 




Happy Fall… Happy Dance…

I’m updating my website today. Oh my, what an undertaking. I completely forget all of the ends and outs of the software… but I am planning a sale soon (woo hoo!) and I want to make sure all of my designs are available on the guest towels (hint, hint).

The Clothesline Festival was fabulous in spite of the fact that my sister and I had to hold the tent down in the wind/rain storm that blew through. No fun. Nothing was damaged, thankfully, and it seemed that most of the people that were put off by the forecast on Saturday did come to shop on Sunday. It was wonderful to make new friends and see familiar faces… I have the some of the NICEST customers!

Recently framed paintings and drawings for the show.

There was an exhibit at the gallery titled “In Company with Angels- Seven Rediscovered Tiffany Windows” – it was exquisite. After having read “Clara and Mr. Tiffany” this past summer- it was such a thrill to see some of the exhibition lamps that Susan Vreeland wrote about. If the exhibit comes to town near you… you must go see it! You’ll be glad that you did.



The kids are back in school. Whew. Sigh. Yippee. Can’t quite ever decide. I supposed its a bit of everything. The first week in September is always a challenge- prepping for the show, Labor Day weekend and back into the school routine. After two full weeks LaLa was home sick today with a cold and fever. My how quickly THAT begins. : (

We used to call the school bus “the big yellow dog” when I was growing up…

Our “little yellow dog” passed out in the yard after a walk and a swim at the pond.

I am embracing the peace and solitude of Fall. The dogs are happy to go on their daily walks and my body, mind and spirit are thumping their collective tails with gratitude too. I occasionally hear the Canadian geese flying over and am reminded that it will soon be time to dig out the coats, scarves and gloves.

My favorite sugar maple is starting to turn. It is one of the first and I feel the immediacy of soaking the color in before it’s gone.

The fact is- Summer wears me out. Does it you? Is there more gazpacho and salsa that really needs to be made? My food processor has gotten a better work out this summer than my body has and I’m ready to put that thing and the garden to bed.

The Black Krim, and Brandywine tomatoes were delicious this year!

… except there are those tulips, crocuses and lilies that I promise myself every year that I will plant more of when Fall rolls around.

It’s time for planting and painting. I’m excited… and doing a Happy Fall dance. : )




Morning Chores in the Kitchen Garden

 

 




ABOUT

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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