Preparing for Spring

We’ve had some glorious three weeks of spring-like weather and now the cold and wind is back!!

Crocus are blooming and the jonquils and daffodils are up.

Crocus are blooming and the jonquils and daffodils are up.

Along with building a new cattle holding pen, hubby and I have been cleaning up around the farm while waiting on our lumber.   We had lots of trees come down during the fall and winter and we’ve been cutting them up for firewood and piling the brush to be burnt (if the wind ever quits blowing).  Hubby plowed the garden this week so if we had any cold weather (which we are experiencing now) the freeze and thaw would be great for the disking when we get ready to start the garden.

Starting to plow the garden.

Starting to plow the garden.

Dark rich soil for a promising 2017 garden crop.

Dark rich soil for a promising 2017 garden crop.

While he was plowing I started cleaning up the yard.  We have beautiful maple trees on three corners of the yard which provide us maple syrup in the spring and wonderous shade in the summer but in the fall and winter they shed their beautiful coats into our yard.  It takes lots of time and strong arms to rake it all up and pile on the compost pile.

Before the cleanup my yard and flower/rose beds are covered with leaves which protect them from the freezing cold.

Before the cleanup my yard and flower/rose beds are covered with leaves which protect them from the freezing cold.

 

 

 

After the cleanup, the yard starts looking like this before the  grass greens, the roses sprout leaves and the perennials show their pretty faces:

In front of the front porch after cleanup

In front of the front porch after cleanup

East backyard after cleanup

East backyard after cleanup

Front yard after cleanup

Front yard after cleanup

 

 

 

 

 

Now, all I have to do is the rose garden and the new perennial bed we made last spring.

We just have to wait for another warmup which we hope is on the way next week.  We’re also hoping that the warmup we had and this freezing weather doesn’t have any adverse effect on the honeybees because they sure were working hard to find food last week.

Spring means new life on the farm and we’re expecting 20+ cows to start calving in the next two weeks.  My hens have picked up on their production and I’m getting a dozen eggs a day now.

You just can't beat fresh farm eggs that come from free range chickens!

You just can’t beat fresh farm eggs that come from free range chickens!

The brownish-red hens with white tail feathers are my babies from last year.  Great brown egg layers!

The brownish-red hens with white tail feathers are my babies from last year. Great brown egg layers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My rabbit does were bred this week and we should have kits around the 30th of March.  They’re all lops and last years babes were a huge assortment of colors.  I think the first batches this spring will go to new homes and the second mating will be meat rabbits.

Marigold visits Sebastian.

Marigold visits Sebastian.

Sebastian was glad to see his ladies.

Sebastian was glad to see his ladies.

 

 

 

 

 

Cleome waiting her turn.

Cleome waiting her turn.

Baby chicks and ducks will probably join us in April and our next big project is to get rid of the old chicken house which is in bad need of repair.

Chicken house is ancient and chickens should love their new abode which is a cinder block building that way back in the day was a hog house.

Chicken house is ancient and chickens should love their new abode which is a cinder block building that way back in the day was a hog house.

The hog house is bigger, has electricity and will be warmer for the chickens. We have lots of cleanup to do to the outside because the wild blackberries are surrounding it.  There's a no-freeze water spigot beside it and there's storage for feed on the inside.

The hog house is bigger, has electricity and will be warmer for the chickens. We have lots of cleanup to do to the outside because the wild blackberries are surrounding it. There’s a no-freeze water spigot beside it and there’s storage for feed on the inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cattle Working Pens

Hubby and I spent most of February tearing out our old loading pen.  It was well over 50 years old and was worn out.  Instead of repairing like we normally do we decided to start over with this section of the pen.  The far end with the working head chutes and calf pens are on the opposite end and were redone three years ago.

This is the working part of the pen we completed three years ago.

This is the working part of the pen we completed three years ago.

Head chute for medical and castrating.  We consider this one of the best investments we've made in regards to working our cattle.  Hubby is less likely to get hurt, less stress on the calves and our daughter is learning to use it too!

Head chute for medical and castrating. We consider this one of the best investments we’ve made in regards to working our cattle. Hubby is less likely to get hurt, less stress on the calves and our daughter is learning to use it too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The boards have been torn off the posts and cut up for kitchen woodstove firewood.  We recycle as much as possible.  The old posts will be cut up for the big woodstove.

The boards have been torn off the posts and cut up for kitchen woodstove firewood. We recycle as much as possible. The old posts will be cut up for the big woodstove.

We’ve rehung some gates, tightened up some posts, and put in some posts.  Now, we wait for our lumber to arrive which has been an unexpected delay.  Most of the private lumber mills in the area will only cut for commercial folks.  Here’s some pictures of the work we’ve done so far and I’ll post more as we get the work completed!  I’ve definitely used muscles that have been lazy for some time!!!dscn9079

Fence posts dug, posts placed, quikrete poured and hardened.

Fence posts dug, posts placed, Qickrete poured and hardened.

Heavy equipment used to set some gate posts that we didn't replace.

Heavy equipment used to set some gate posts that we didn’t replace.

Rotted off gate posts at scale house.

Rotted off gate posts at scale house.

Area of most work yet to be done.

Area of most work yet to be done.

Some of the existing gates that we will use again.

Some of the existing gates that we will use again.

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We rehung these gates after we replaced the posts.

We rehung these gates after we replaced the posts.

Generator used to drill the hinge holes in the posts.

Generator used to drill the hinge holes in the posts.

Kubota tractor we used to drill the holes for the posts.

Kubota tractor we used to drill the holes for the posts.

We used our milkcans to haul water for the Quikrete

We used our milkcans to haul water for the Quikrete

The Massey Ferguson was used to haul in the new fence posts and hauling the pallet of Quikrete.

The Massey Ferguson was used to haul in the new fence posts and hauling the pallet of Quikrete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOW WE WAIT!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glorious days-do we dare think spring is here??

There’s a storm coming in so this post is short and sweet with a picture view of what’s going on at Caldwell Farms.  More to come!

Wind damage

Wind damage

Seed order prep

Seed order prep

Tearing out old cattle holding pen

Tearing out old cattle holding pen

Future hen house

Future hen-house

Heavy equipment at new holding pen

Heavy equipment at new holding pen

For the post holes

For the post holes

Replacing gates

Replacing gates

Yard work

Yard work

Garden work

Garden work

Tree limb cleanup

Tree limb cleanup

Rabbits bred

Rabbits bred

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And on top of all that, spring calving season begins any day now!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Varmints on the Farm

GRAPHIC NATURE!!  I went to gather the eggs yesterday afternoon and found one of my last year ISA Brown hens behind the feed barrel dead.  Her head was missing and something had eaten all of the meat from her neck.

The brownish-red hens with white tail feathers are my babies from last year.  Great brown egg layers!

The brownish-red hens with white tail feathers are my babies from last year. Great brown egg layers!

We are having a spring full of varmints.  Hubby has set live traps and caught several huge opossums, three or four skunks and a bunch of feral cats.  We don’t have any cats and we think someone is dropping them on our road because they’re everywhere!  At night he has seen red foxes and a pair of gray foxes circling the pond.  We have a bald eagle, golden eagle and a numerous bunch of red-tail and chicken hawks.  I saw a young bobcat my last week of hunting season!  We are surrounded by the varmints and my egg production suffers from it!!!  I have two young roosters that warn of danger flying overhead but I think they’re too busy being the men of the henhouse to keep close watch on the ground danger!

Egg production has gained strength with the longer and warmer days and I’m getting 10-12 eggs per day out of 24 (23 now) hens.  The “eggs for sale” sign is back out at the end of the driveway and neighbors are starting to come looking for fresh, large eggs of many colors.

You just can't beat fresh farm eggs that come from free range chickens!

You just can’t beat fresh farm eggs that come from free range chickens!

 

Book I’m Reading

Nineteen Minutes is the book that has my attention at the moment.  When I found it on Amazon the story line said “Nineteen Minutes asks what it means to be different in our society, who has the right to judge someone else, and whether anyone is ever really who they seem to be.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult reminds me of all of the horrid school shootings of the last few years.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult reminds me of all of the horrid school shootings of the last few years.

There are times when I’m reading the book that I feel more and more that our world has gone to “hell in a handbag”!!  Kids with guns in a school setting, what’s that all about????  When did parents lose sight of what is going on in the life of their children?  What and why bullying?  Why are there jocks versus nerds, parent versus child, teacher versus student?  Why is our world full of violent computer games, tv shows and movies?  You might say it’s what the public wants, BUT WHY???  It reminds me of the Columbine shootings and yet different.

This is book is a look at both the victims’ world and that of the shooter (who is also a victim, in his own way),  This book is a hard book to put down because the entire time you’re seeking answers.  The writing is riveting and poignant.  The reality of a typical American school environment for students who suffer to stand out in the crowd and to those people who feed in to gain their desires.  I’ve  come to sympathize with everyone in the book as a victim, each experiencing loss of different degrees.  It is absolutely coercive and  constraining buta a scintillating read.  I’m anxious to finish and update it on my blog.

Hiding Away

Do you ever have those days when you have so much work to do but just can’t get into it?  Do you have those days when you just need to get out of the house but the a guilty conscience tells you “No, not today!”?  Wouldn’t you like to knock that guilt angel off your shoulder and just go?

I have a spot I love to go and don’t have to leave the farm!

My special spot away from home on the farm!

My special spot away from home on the farm!

That would be woods behind our house where my tree stand is located. I could sit back there for hours with a book and camera and just drink it all in!!! If our world gets much crazier I’ll probably be spending a whole lot more time there too!

This spot is my hunting spot about 500 yards from our house but only a few people know where it is.  I hunt there, I read there, I think there, I watch wildlife there and I take lots of pictures there!

Wildlife ventures through!

Wildlife ventures through!

I have shelter from the weather and I hunt there with my bow, rifle but mostly with my camera.

I have shelter from the weather and I hunt there with my bow, rifle but mostly with my camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of my reading is done in this little cottage in the woods!  It’s not a cottage really but it is a 5 x 5 building that has windows on three sides, it has a raised seat that sits one person quite comfortably and it has a hanger for my hat, gloves, camera and bow and it has a storm door on the front with a drop down window for shooting. Best of all it’s not up off the ground!!!  Hubby made it for me!!new-deer-stand-for-bow-season-2015-3 new-deer-stand-for-bow-season-2015-4

This past hunting season I was privileged to see raccoons, deer, turkeys, bobcat kitten, chipmunks, wild birds galore, squirrels  and enjoyed the peace of the woods in a rain shower and a light snow fall.  I read four books while waiting for just the right game to come into focus.  It’s my getaway from this crazy world we live in!!!  Hubby doesn’t mind me slipping off to it occasionally because he has his spots too!

 

The bag of charcoal is in the floor to absorb any human scent so as not to scare off the wildlife.  I have a big  4″ thick swing cushion for the bench so my butt doesn’t get tired or cold.  I take it in after hunting season is over so the mice won’t use it for bedding.  The step is to keep my legs comfortable and not dangling off the edge.  I have a hook latch on the inside to keep the door shut tight.

Do you have a getaway?  Tell us about it!

The 200+ Tree

Our biggest sap producer in the back yard of the mansion.

Our biggest sap producer in the back yard of the mansion.

It’s getting close to time to make maple syrup again and Mother Nature split our best sap producer in half back in late summer.  The tree is over 200 years old and we have pictures of my husband’s family having a picture made at it when his great, great grandparents had passed away.  All of the children were standing/sitting in front of the tree when the picture was taken and the tree was only about 10-12 inches around.

This is a picture of my husbands great aunts and uncles taken at the mansion and the young maple can be seen in the background.

This is a picture of my husbands great aunts and uncles taken at the mansion and the young maple can be seen in the background.

Now, three to four people holding hands around it can still barely reach around the base of what’s left of it.  I’m hoping it may sprout new growth this spring and only time will tell.  We got several truckloads of firewood from it and the rotted was carried to the woods to go back into the earth.  This loss will make a big difference in our sap production but we do have several of the same size on the farm that we have not tapped before and will during our next production season.  We probably won’t have a maple syrup weekend this year due to the crazy season we’re having this winter/spring.  Here’s some pictures of the downed tree and the damage it did to fence and gates but thankfully fell to the north instead of on the mansion (family home of our ancestors).

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That storm in July broke another of our heritage apple trees which seems to happen with every storm.  wind-damage-at-mansion-072016-3  We had another storm last night but thankfully no damage was found but for one huge pine tree in our back fields.  Cattle and fences were spared this time.

January 17th was a very sad day

It’s taken me a month to write this because I start crying!  In January 2004 this little lady was given to me from my husband for a Christmas gift.

Sassy was born on December 8, 2004 and she came to live with us six weeks later.

Sassy was born on December 8, 2004 and she came to live with us six weeks later.

Everyone instantly fell in love with her!

Everyone instantly fell in love with her!  She was also the runt of the litter.

Due to the fact that it has taken me two weeks to get this far in the post I will just show you some of our pictures of her as she grew.  It’s just too hard to put into words what a special dog/pet/family member she was!!

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Sassy twelve years later!!

Sassy twelve years later!!

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Granddog spends the night

For about three weeks or more my daughter and her family have been losing a lot of sleep! The culprit:

This is Jippy!  He belongs to my daughters family and like most single house dogs, he rules the roost most of the time.

This is Jippy! He belongs to my daughter’s family and like most single house dogs, he rules the roost most of the time.

Jippy seems fine during the day but at night around 11:00 he can’t seem to lay for any length of time on his tummy.  He pants from then until 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning.  He wants to be snuggled, ears rubbed and he’s constantly up and down.  This behavior is causing the entire family to lose sleep which is much-needed when you are working away from home or going to school which applies to all in the house!

Heather asked me to meet our vet at her home on Thursday and Doc Bowman couldn’t find anything physically wrong with Jippy except for being a little overweight which he has been for over a year.  She drew blood and hoped to have the results back by today.

Me and Papa decided to give them a big break last night and I kidnapped him and brought him to our house to spend the night.  He was quiet and seemed content to be with us and usually is going outside a lot to look for his “mommy” but he didn’t last evening.

We went to bed at 11:00 and he snuggled right in close to me and was fine until 12:00 and he jumped up like something had hold of him.  He turned his head toward me and tucked his head under my hand and I started rubbing his ears (both) and it settled him unless I stopped.  We did this until about 2:00 and then he wanted to take a potty break.  I let him out and he stayed for about 15 minutes.  Once he came in he was restless and constantly panting.  At time he would get under the bed covers and crash for a 10-15 minutes with no panting and then he would come out from the covers and get right in my face panting and acting like he needed to tell me something. He continued wanting both ears rubbed and they were hot. This makes me think there’s something in his ears.  I tried to listen and feel for any tummy rumblings and sometimes I did but not enough to think he had a belly ache.  We’ve all been careful about what he eats since this started.  I felt so sorry for him and wished he could talk!!  Papa slept until 5:00 this morning and  let him outside to potty and then sat in the living room with him the rest of the morning watching westerns together.  I don’t know how Heather, Joel and Victoria have gotten any rest in the last few weeks.  Hopefully, Doc Bowman will find the answer in the blood work and fix the issue quick.  Flu season is all over the state and my kids need their rest to fight that off and stay healthy!

Jippy seems fine now, don’t ya think!

Sleeping peacefully on Sassy's bed in our bedroom while I write this post.

Sleeping peacefully on Sassy’s bed in our bedroom while I write this post.

Feed the Birds From the Garden

One of 27 of my hens that heads straight for the bird feeders as soon as the hen house door is opened.

One of 27 of my hens that heads straight for the bird feeders as soon as the hen-house door is opened.

Part of the bird feeding station.

Part of the bird feeding station.

I love feeding the wild birds in our back yard during the winter.  There’s just so many species that flock to the feeders all during the day including my chickens!

 

I have 10 feeders in the back yard and the wild birds depend on me during the winter months when they can’t find seeds and other food.  I use black oil sunflowers that we raise in our garden, wild bird feed from our local farm supply store, and saved grease from my kitchen which I save in foil pans and stick in the freezer all year round.  We also dry any leftover sweet corn from the garden.  I pick it, shuck it and air dry it in our grainery and then place in mesh bags which are stored in lidded trash cans until feeding time.  I put the corn on a squirrel feeder and the birds and squirrels love it.  We had such an abundance of corn leftover after freezing for ourselves and sharing with our family, friends and neighbors.  I hate waste and the birds love it and so do my rabbits.

Sweet corn dried from the garden and now feeds the birds and squirrels. They love it!

Sweet corn dried from the garden and now feeds the birds and squirrels. They love it!

 

 

 

Another feeder in the back yard.

Another feeder in the back yard.

The wildbirds scratch it out on the ground which the ground feeders love and so do the chickens!

The wild birds scratch it out on the ground which the ground feeders love and so do the chickens!  The bucket holds walnuts that I gathered in the fall, dried and de-hulled for the squirrels.  The bluejay like them too.  The metal feeder, box feeder w/gallon jar and the gourd feeder are all handmade.  At the back-end of the station is another handmade feeder with four sections which the wrens prefer over the others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The collection of birds grows with each year:backyard-birds-2016-7 backyard-birds-2016-6 backyard-birds-2016-9 backyard-birds-2016-1 backyard-birds-2016-14 backyard-birds-2016-17 backyard-birds-2016-19 flocking-to-feeders-01092017-3 flocking-to-feeders-01092017-8 flocking-to-feeders-01092017-9 flocking-to-feeders-01092017-10 flocking-to-feeders-01092017-11

Visit with Carol

I had a wonderful visit from a girlfriend earlier this month and I haven’t seen her for several months.  Carol and I worked together at Virginia Tech and I love her dearly.

Celebrating my birthday the year before I retired from VT.

Celebrating my birthday the year before I retired from VT.

 

We always have so much to talk about including our kids, grandkids, her work and my part-time work and home.  We both love to read and we started a book club soon after we met at VT.

 

 

She bought me a new book and a wonderful tin of cookies for Christmas.  I’m hoping we’ll have more visits like this in the near future.  I fixed lunch for us and we talked and laughed for several hours.  We talked about gardening, her work, my work, families, and of course, our cohort in crime that she still works with, Gwen.  I miss you guys so much!

Christmas tin of goodies from Carol.

Christmas tin of goodies from Carol.

 

 

 

 

I'm pretty sure she told me there were no calories in this batch!! ;)

I’m pretty sure she told me there were no calories in this batch!! 😉

Carol, I hope we can get together for lunch really soon because we have a lot to catch up on!   I’ll call you soon, I promise!

The new book that I guarantee she will finish before I do!

The new book that I guarantee she will finish before I do!

New Fencing on the Farm

I’m not sure why but we just can’t seem to keep up with the fencing repairs on the farm.  Every year there is a field or road fence that needs replacing.  Last year we enlisted the service from a “professional” fencer and though it looked good it wasn’t installed properly.  Electricity was running to the metal gates going into the field.  We contacted the fencer and he told us he would be back to correct the problem but he never showed and within a couple of weeks someone in the community ran through the new fence and didn’t stop.  At this point we had to repair the fence anyway and hubby made the corrections to the electricity himself.

Fencing torn out and repaired.

Fencing torn out and repaired.

We do a lot of patching when we can but Dad is tired of doing that and wants to replace now.  Some of the bad spots look something like these:

These fences are probably 30-40 years old.

These fences are probably 30-40 years old.

Woven wire that gets bad is usually patched with a couple strands of barbed wire.

Woven wire that gets bad is usually patched with a couple of strands of barbed wire.

 

 

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Here’s a look of what the old fencing on the farm looked like before we started the new.

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This year we selected a new fence service who gave us a decent quote and hubby thinks his service was excellent.  His crew worked as hard as Mr. Price and  on days when the wind was howling and terribly cold.   Mr. Price was a true professional and hubby says we will be using his services again in the near future.

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Mr. Price was quick to start the work and his crew didn’t just stand around and wait to be told what to do.  They tore out the old fences, stacked the old wire and piled up the old post which we’ll use for firewood.  You can’t beat locust posts for a hot fire in the middle of winter.

Old fence posts and stacked wire ready to move from the fields.

Old fence posts and stacked wire ready to move from the fields.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s some of the finished work and I know we will be using Elmer’s Fencing again in the very near future!fencing-2016-17-30 fencing-2016-17-29 fencing-2016-17-27 fencing-2016-17-23 fencing-2016-17-17 fencing-2016-17-11 fencing-2016-17-9 fencing-2016-17-8fencing-2016-17-38fencing-2016-17-36fencing-2016-17-35fencing-2016-17-35new-board-fence-at-farm-entry-2016-1 img_0012 img_0011 img_0010 img_0009 img_0008 img_0006

Board fencing with high tensile behind it.

Board fencing with high tensile behind it.

Beautiful new board fence behind Heather's new house.

Beautiful new board fence behind Heather’s new house.

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Isn’t it gorgeous?!?!  The next fence project is a line fence between us and a neighbor and Eddie & I are going to tackle it alone probably in the next couple weeks.

Farm work is NEVER done!!

I Finally Meet My Grandson

On January 20th my son and I traveled to New Jersey so that I could finally meet Declan Bryant Malone-Caldwell!! I cried when I met him and when I left him.

Finally we meet and he didn't cry but Nana did!

Finally we meet and he didn’t cry but Nana did!

I was so shocked at how big he was and what a beautiful little boy.  He weighs 14 pounds and 12 ounces, he is rarely still unless he’s sleeping and when he talks to us he sounds so serious!!!  I hope you enjoy the pictures I’ve attached of this wonderful little guy that was born almost three months too soon and weighed only two pounds and two ounces in July 2016.

Who is this woman???

Who is this woman???

Nana shows me a book from my cousin Victoria.

Nana shows me a book from my cousin Victoria.

 

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We had a wonderful three days with him and I can’t wait to go for another visit but it truly breaks my heart to leave him.  He is a very happy little boy and his mom said that when he has the final surgery she will feel better traveling any distance with him.  She said she would bring him to the farm when she feels she can safely travel any distance away from his neonatal doctors and his regular physicians.

01202017first-visit-from-nana-32 01202017first-visit-from-nana-31 01202017first-visit-from-nana-29 01202017first-visit-from-nana-25 01202017first-visit-from-nana-17 01202017first-visit-from-nana-14 01202017first-visit-from-nana-11Then we had to leave, but I hope to get up to NJ one more time before he turns one year old.  Our son visits him once a month and Declan’s Grandmother Malone keeps in touch with me almost daily and sends us pictures every day that she is with him.

Final goodbye from Nana!

Final goodbye from Nana!

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Bye Daddy!

Bye Daddy!

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One last bottle from Daddy before we leave.

One last bottle from Daddy before we leave.

Declan lives about 450 miles from our farm in Virginia and it’s about a 7 1/2 hour drive.  01202017first-visit-from-nana-56 01202017first-visit-from-nana-54 01202017first-visit-from-nana-53Daddy will see you in February and Nana will keep in touch daily!

Birthday Gifts From Family

I had a birthday back in December and was blessed with some beautiful gifts from my family and friends.

My granddaughter came to see me and brought me this beautiful bouquet that lasted two weeks.   She spent over an hour with me just catching up on her very busy life!

My granddaughter came to see me and brought me this beautiful bouquet that lasted two weeks. She spent over an hour with me just catching up on her very busy life!

My son-in law came to visit with my daughter and he bought me this poinsettia and the leaves sparkled.  He included a card that made me misty and a gift card.

My son-in law came to visit with my daughter and he bought me this poinsettia and the leaves sparkled. He included a card that made me misty and a gift card.

My daughter as always overdid in the gift department and she brought me these beauties!

Scoop necked t-shirts because I've got bleach spots on all of my old ones!

Scoop necked t-shirts because I’ve got bleach spots on all of my old ones!

Another huge poinsettia and I'm going to try real hard to make them live until next December!  I know there's a trick to it but I haven't figured it out yet!

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Another huge poinsettia and I’m going to try real hard to make them live until next December! I know there’s a trick to it but I haven’t figured it out yet!

She has a real knack for finding cards that make me weepy and they mean so much because I know she meant every word the card had printed!

Heather bought me this beautiful yard ornament for my flower beds and even though the rose garden looks horrid right now this beauty really pretty's the place up!!

Heather bought me this beautiful yard ornament for my flower beds and even though the rose garden looks horrid  now but this beauty really pretty’s the place up!!

 

Up close you can see all the detail in it and it stands about five feet tall and spins in all directions.  I was with her on a shopping trip when she got and didn't even notice!!!

Up close you can see all the detail in it and it stands about five feet tall and spins in all directions. I was with her on a shopping trip when she got and didn’t even notice!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son took us out to eat for my birthday a few days later at a new restaurant in New Castle call Bibo’s and I had the most wonderful calzone I’ve ever eaten.

Hubby never forgets my birthday and he had my gift hidden for a few days at the other farm but it arrived the night before so I could help him get it in the house where I wanted it!

My brand new recliner!!!

My brand new recliner!!!

It swallows me and it's so comfortable and warm!  I just love him for shopping for it because ihe hates shopping and to get something like this is just unreal!!!

It swallows me and it’s so comfortable and warm! I just love him for shopping for it because he hates shopping and to get something like this is just unreal!!!  I look like a big bear hibernating!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got beautiful cards from friends, hand-knitted wash cloths from Margaret (early gift) , birthday wishes from email and blogging friends and this beautiful charm from a special friend that I used to work with!

Cheryl, a Farm Bureau friend, gave me this beautiful charm and I have it on my angel tree in the guest room!

Cheryl, a Farm Bureau friend, gave me this beautiful charm and I have it on my angel tree in the guest room!

All of these are given with love and make me realize how blessed I am to have them all in my life!  I never regret birthdays and getting older, I cherish them and thank God above that he still allows me to be on this earth with my loving family and friends another year!

 

With age, there is wisdom!

Every year for the last few, I’ve started my year out with a list/book of things that needed to be done.  I would get really aggravated with myself if at least half of that list didn’t get completed.

To-Do List for the outdoors

To-Do List for the outdoors

I had lists for indoors, outdoors, spring lists, summer lists, fall lists.

I had lists for indoors, outdoors, spring lists, summer lists, fall lists.

My list of things to do on the farm.

My list of things to do on the farm.I’m not talking about a list of 20-30 things, I’m talking about a notebook with sections for each room in the house, the yard, porch, buildings on the farm, garden, farm work, whatever needs to be done.  

Rather than beat myself up with resolutions and lists this year I’ve changed my tune!  If I’m in the mood, it’ll get done!   My new motto is:

If it gets done, hurrah, if it doesn’t it’ll be there tomorrow!

Handmade Gifts for my Grandson

I still haven’t seen my grandson and he turned 6 months old yesterday.  He’s growing like a weed and Grandmother Malone told me weighed almost 13 pounds at his last checkup.  She also tells me he smiles all the time!

I made these little sets for him for Christmas and my son will take them to him in two weeks.  I hope he’ll still be able to wear what I made and the things the family bought him for Christmas.

Yellow toboggan/beanie and mittens.

Yellow toboggan/beanie and mittens.

Dark blue toboggan

Dark blue toboggan

Baby blue toboggan & mittens

Baby blue toboggan & mittens

Crocheted coverlet for bed, carseat and floor to play on.

Crocheted coverlet for bed, carseat and floor to play on.

I want to make some bibs, which no baby ever has enough of, a quilt and some more hats and mittens if he’s grown out of the ones he gets very soon!  I want to make him some booties but need to wait until his Dad can measure his foot for me.  I’ll mail them to Grandmother Malone for him when they’re made.

Babies Six Month birthday

Isn't this the happiest baby face you've ever seen?!?!?

Isn’t this the happiest baby face you’ve ever seen?!?!?

He is six months old today and looks adorable!!! He always has a smile now and looks like he’s been out in the sun!!
Nana, Papa, & Virginia family love you Declan!

2017 Bucket List

My Bucket List for 2017

1st and foremost, meet my baby grandson that lives in New Jersey!

Declan Bryant on his first New Years Day!

Declan Bryant on his first New Years Day!

2nd Finish the snowman quilt and sampler quilt in my sewing room.

Block for Snowman quilt

Block for Snowman quilt

Blocks for Sampler Quilt

Blocks for Sampler Quilt

3rd  Dinner once a month for my kids at our house.

I love family meals!!

I love family meals!!

4th  Paint or have my living room renovated and painted.

5th  Clean up and clean out my laundry room which used to be the pump room/milk house that our ancestors used to keep the milk products really cold.

6th  Build up my rose garden.

The rose garden isn't very pretty in the winter time.                                  The rose garden isn’t very pretty in the winter time.

7th  Landscape my gazebo and put in a fire pit at the gazebo for nightly star-gazing!

Gazebo summer 2016

Gazebo summer 2016

8th  Move my chickens into their new abode.

9th  Have one more yard/estate sale at the mansion with my daughter.

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2016 sale went quite well and we’ll have just as many treasures in 2017!

10th  Take a one-day road trip with hubby just to get away!

This doesn’t seem like a big list but finishing it within 12 months will be a huge undertaking.  Wish me luck!

Blessings for 2017

 

On New Year’s Day and the whole year through, I hope the kindness you’ve given to others returns many times to you.   I wish you all peace and harmony in this New Year 2017!  May peace and love fill your heart, beauty fill your world, and contentment and joy fill your days.  

Most of all have a safe, happy and peaceful end to 2016!

Happy New Year

Rita

Merry Christmas to ALL!!!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and to remind all to remember the real reason for the season!! I’m wishing all of you a very blessed 2017 and hope to hear from you through my blog in the coming year!!! Blessings to all and on this joyous day, and throughout the coming year, may your life be filled with good luck and prosperity.

Furry Friends Enjoy the Back Yard

We have some fox squirrels that keep the feeders empty all year round.  I’ve made a point of gathering walnuts, hickory nuts and chestnuts for our squirrels every year.  We’ve had a few lean years in the way of food for all of the wildlife.  We have orchards for the deer to feed in but these guys will move out of the area if there isn’t any feed and we love watching them from our kitchen window.  I found out last year that all of the excess sweet corn at the end of the growing season is also great for the cattle but the squirrels, wild birds and deer will eat the sweet corn after it dries up.  We pick it off, shuck it, and then lay out on a screen to dry and then store the whole ear in barrels with a lid for the really bad winter when the ground is covered with snow and ice for long periods of time.  We saw a small buck in the garden last night digging up frozen turnips too.  If you love watching the wildlife as much as we do, help them out a little.  Baby, it’s cold out there.

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Eddie built this squirrel feeder about 10 years ago and the wildlife still love it. You’ll laugh yourself to death when you see a full-grown squirrel in that gallon jar!!!

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This guy watches me when I’m moving around in the kitchen or the bathroom.

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Trip to Eastern Shore – Stockton MD

Last year my daughter, Heather, and I started our 1st Annual Girls Trip but this year Heather’s trip was a week before mine and that was good so Dad wouldn’t worry about both of us on different roads at the same time but it did spread the worry out a tad but we both made it just fine.

On September 23rd, I went on my very first long distance trip alone to visit Margaret who lives in Maryland. Margaret has been my best friend for more years than we can count and started sometime in the teenage years of my children.  We have so many like interests and have each other in tears catching up on our daily lives.  You have to know we “talk” almost daily by email but it’s just not the same as being in person.  I almost lost her last year and had to go to her to reassure myself that my friend is working really hard to stay in this mad world to keep me sane and out of trouble.  I love her to death!!

She lives in Stockton Maryland which is 408 miles from my home and about 7 1/2 hours including potty breaks along the way.  To get to her I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which was awesome, astounding, long, and surrounded by water!!!

This is as close as I wanted to get to the side of the bridge!!  :)

This is as close as I wanted to get to the side of the bridge!! 🙂

I get seasick quite easily and there had been a week of storms prior to my going to see her and the water was very high and choppy and I could feel an uneasy feeling coming so I made myself have tunnel vision to make it across and back without throwing up my innards!!  That I must say was the only bad part of the trip.

Margaret's home where we spent so much time laughing, eating and catching up.

Margaret’s home where we spent so much time laughing, eating and catching up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While there she took me to a place called “Furnace Town”  and if you are ever over there you must go to this little town museum!  Margaret used to make costumes for their annual events.  It was set up as a self walking tour or you could get someone to go with you to explain what you were seeing.

Margaret entering the Blacksmith Shop

Margaret entering the Blacksmith Shop

We met a very educated gentleman that was the tender of the gardens and he told us so much about the heirloom garden he tended himself and then took us into the school-house which was awesome.  After that we took the tour on our own and it was definitely like walking back into another era.  The Furnace Town church on the property was absolutely gorgeous. What a spot for a wedding and they were setting up for an evening wedding at the site the day we were there.

Map of Furnace Town

Map of Furnace Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While there I bought a wonderful book called “The Weaver’s Girl” by Gracie Ayers which is based on this town.  Great read!!

While in Stockton, we also went shopping at all (some) of her favorites spots which are now mine!!   We ate out, drove to the waterways that are close to her home.

George Island Landing

George Island Landing

 

 

 

drove the area she lives in and

 

 

saw some beautiful old mansions,

One of the mansions close to where she lives

One of the mansions close to where she lives

 

 

 

 

 

 

ate in (wonderful cook), told stories, ate some more,  met her great grand-daughter, Maddie.  Maddie is a beautiful little princess!

Princess Maddie

Princess Maddie

We got caught up on most everything in four days, laughed, cried, watched “chick flicks”,  considered the problems of the world and what we think needs to be done to fix it (HA) and had a most awesome visit.  Then I had to come home but we promised to get together again next year either at her place or someplace in between with Heather and Ashley!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Letters to Declan

Declan is growing!!  He is our second grandchild and only grandson!

Declan is growing!! He is our second grandchild and only grandson!

Dear Declan,

Nana and Papa are in what looks like a Halloween fog today but it’s supposed to warm up later this morning. Hunting season is very unusual this year and it’s too hot to hunt.

We’re preparing for winter even though it’s very warm. The woodhouse is almost full of firewood and I’ve filled three large boxes with kindling. The few apples that we had this year have been picked and made into applesauce which I bet you will love and Nana canned 20 half gallons of apple juice. We don’t buy a lot of food that we eat unless it flour and sugar. Granny Barbara can tell you about all of the fruit and vegetables that we grow and can. We’re a natural farm and raise chickens, cows, and rabbits. Victoria adopted one of our bunnies from the last batch and named her Leila.

This is Leila and Victoria's new baby!

This is Leila and Victoria’s new baby!

She’s brown and very pretty and loves to play with Victoria. Her cat, Boo-Boo and dog, Jip, are afraid of the bunny. Isn’t that funny?!?!?!

We have about 65 cows and 30 calves on the farm now and three bulls. The farm looks like a golden forest at the moment but those golden leaves are falling really fast.

We have three ponds on the farm and each one holds different breeds of fish. The big pond has bass, perch and carp in it. The carp help keep the pond clean and we have a paddle boat that we use during the summer. Victoria loves to go out in the middle of the pond in the boat and read where it’s quiet. The smallest pond is used to raise minnows that Papa uses to trout fish with. The middle pond is loaded with bass and catfish. We want to catch out the bass and put them in the big pond.  Victoria wants to teach you how to fish when you come to the farm.

I’ll tell you more about the farm as time goes on and hope that Granny Malone will read this to you. She has been to the farm and likes the quiet and beauty of the country. I hope one day you will be able to come to the farm and learn to love it as much as we do.

I hope you have a grand day with Granny and want you to know that we love you very, very much.

Love, hugs and kisses, Nana

Recipe Pages Updated

Fall is in the air and cooler weather keeps me in the kitchen making comfort food.

Fall is in the air and cooler weather keeps me in the kitchen making comfort food.

I’ve added a few more goodies to my Recipe Page if anyone is interested. Hope you will enjoy them as much as we do! They include Pumpkin Pie Squares, Steamed Asparagus, Grilled Chicken Salad, and Pumpkin Cookies.