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Gracie’s story

This is our little Gracie. She was Olie’s little sister and what a handful she was. Today her face is getting as white as can be. She came to us as a puppy- a large puppy who was too much for her elderly owner. Here on the farm she could use up some of that supernatural puppy superpower. Oliver was patient and kind and taught her the boundaries. She was always over the top- joyful. I frequently thought that she was joy-puppified.

This is Gracie helping in the garden.

This is gracie looking for her keys in the snow.

This is gracie playing in the mud.

This is gracie in her happiest of places- the middle of the pond next door. Oh, how this dog loves to swim.

I have never had a dog that likes vegetables as she does. She picks cherries off of the tree….

she picks peas off the vine…

and she pulls carrots out of the garden before I get to them!

She was kind when Olie got older and finally respected his space. Much to her chagrin after Oliver passed away Theo came along and he was all the puppy that she was- stealing toys, herding, nipping and basically being a pesky younger sibling.

Now she’s the grandma to Lil Roux- a Weimaraner/German Shepherd mix.

She is patient when Roux wants to chew on her ears and steals her bone. She is sweet and loving but still a bull in a china shop. She doesn’t bound across the yard like the joyful gazelle she once was when we drive up the driveway. Now she just walks slowly out of the garage with her tail wagging and stalls in front of the car. Her happiest days are filled with riding up or down the driveway in the UPS truck or waiting for a treat from the mailman. She was my model for the Yellow Lab design. She is truly a love and ever so joyful.

Many of you know that I am an animal person. Since this blog started we have lost and gained a share of lifetimes. Each with a special place for us. What joy I have known to host and love these souls for this short time. Thank you to everyone who has shared their loves and their losses with me over the years. I consider it a great honor.

Update: This was written in January but not posted. Since then we have had to say good-bye to this sweet girl. Her presence in our family is greatly missed…

it’s an understatement but I don’t have the words…




Oh Happy Day!

Egg

Well, it’s finally happened. We have eggs. It’s like Christmas morning every day. Philamenia, Lucille and Stormy are such good chickens. I swear Lucille comes to the door to tell me to check the box if she is out and goes back in the coop to lay her egg.

On a different note… Countess Cluck is now apparently Captain Cluck and looking for a good home.

While he is only doing his chicken-y job… chasing people with claws and spurs bared doesn’t go over well. Gracie has become a tremendous asset. Captain Cluck will not go after us in the garden if Gracie is there! That little turkey… Cluck not Gracie. I know what you are thinking. Can’t go there. ; )




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.

Chicken-Sketch2

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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Make hay while the sun shines…

What a beautiful weekend here in Central New York! Big sky. Gentle breeze. Great haying weather. Thankfully. Farmboy cut the field behind the house Thursday evening as the sun was setting. Once its cut… you’re committed.

Ryder reading with Toonces on the deck.


Friday was nice but Saturday was amazing. Farmboy brought over the older tractors to spin out and rake the hay. Ryder drove the tractor that Farmboy learned to drive as a boy. It was monumental and sweet. Having not been raised on a farm, I am fearfully afraid of spinny things and children being around heavy equipment.

Farmboy is a good, patient teacher. : )

La-La got a ride in with her dad.

Oliver is my right-hand man while documenting events.

Farmer Russ (grandpa) and I got the fancy tractor to bale in… complete with an air-conditioner and stereo. For the record, I did not run into anything large and metal. Although I did accidently back over a bale with the baler as I was practicing my backing up (who knew one fell out?). If you have seen me trying to back up my trailer at a show you will understand why I need to practice whenever possible. Parallel parking… no problem. Backing a trailer/implement… shoot me now.

 

The horses will be happy this winter… a little taste of summer.




Spring Plowing in Waves of Umber

It’s that time of year again. I am so ready. Spring has finally arrived in Central New York. Did I say that I was ready… that my mood is greatly determined by the temperature this time of year? A chilly day can make me feel down right cranky and completely out of sorts. I wait like a child at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning for those first bulbs to pop up. Sometimes its a challenge being transplanted from a warm climate to a cold one. We won’t go there…

Spring planting. It’s a busy time of year here at the farm. As soon as the ground is dry enough to work the harvesting equipment gets moved out of the way and the planting equipment starts to make an appearance. The plow gets new points, worn out pieces get replaced and the planting depth gets tested and set. When Farmboy and I were dating I often rode around in the tractor with him. Seeing the plow systematically slice through the earth and turn it on its end was quite an experience. I found it mesmerizing… almost hypnotic, artful and lovely. The soothing way that waves roll onto a shoreline, the waves of green sod would turn, roll, fold and come settling down upon itself to expose the dark loamy soil underneath. Powered by an enormous tractor, the plow cuts the earth like butter. Smooth. Clean. Almost effortlessly until an underground stone is snagged sending one of the blades springing up into the air with a loud bang.

I find it interesting- the beauty and simplicity of the process juxtaposed with the forceful way the carpet of the earth is sliced and then exposed. It is harsh yet graceful. From a solid carpet of green comes a textured pattern of umber. Down folds the sod, full of nitrogen to fertilize this year’s crop. Up come the grubs, worms and bugs- a feast for the birds following behind.

I told Farmboy that I wanted to photograph the process and he suggested making a short video which I thought was positively genius since it would show the action. If you look closely you will see the vertical rotating wheels in front of the end blade slicing into the surface leaving a clean path for the crest of the dirt wave. I hope you find it visually interesting. Double click on the image below to start the video.




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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