Sunday, December 25, 2016


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
(from over the rivers and through the woods)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Stories

I was telling the sheep the Christmas Story the other day as they were munching on their hay.  I told them about how important the sheep were in the story of the Christ Child's birth and how the shepherds took them to see the Baby.  I told them the sheep probably even helped keep everybody warm in the stable that was like their barn.

I decided Not to tell the geese about their ancestors roll in the Christmas stories.  Maybe though, they would be proud of all the people that were fed Christmas goose, as long as I don't tell them it is still a tradition.

I can't think of any Christmas story, off hand, about chickens.  Just as well, the chickens don't come to me and gaze into my eyes like they are looking for a story.  

Stories are important and story tellers.  What if the stories of Christ's birth had not been passed down.  

I like stories that you get to hear over and over by many story tellers, who all embellish their favorite parts of the story.  It doesn't matter if all the details are correct or if many facets are deliberately skewed to tell a different story.

When Wednesday and Lyndy were growing up we certainly read and told our share of stories.  Lyndy always seemed to be very interested in the characters, more than what happened in the story.  I guess I feel that way about The Christmas Story; I don't care what time of year Christ was born, I don't care what the timing was of the shepherds visit or the wisemen.  I am just glad to hear the story.

Susan Kerr, wrote a chapter, in her book Intersections of Grace, entitled, "Coffee with the Nativity".  She put out her nativity set and each morning invited a different piece of the nativity to have coffee with her so she could ask them about how they felt in their role in The Christmas Story.

I love all the other Christmas stories too.  Maybe I will dig out a few to read through the Christmas season.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Perfect Bite

One of our holiday traditions is the "Perfect Bite".

The perfect bite is when you sneak into the kitchen just before the meal is ready to be served and you load up one fork with previews of the dinner to come; a good example is: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, and maybe a slurp of cranberry sauce and into your mouth for a slow savor, um um.

I never know if it tastes so good because of all the combinations, or if it is just the "long awaited" first bite.  Often, one person loads up the fork and feeds it to another.  That too might be why is tastes so incredible.  My mouth is watering just writing about the "perfect bite".

The sheep at Cabin Spring Farm have the same tradition except it is not reserved for holidays.  Every time I go out to feed the sheep some hay, they get so excited.  Amelia always wants to help me get the hay.  She tries to open the gate with her foot.  I tell her, " thanks, but I can get it".  I load up with 3-4 flakes of hay and walk back to the gate.  I try to open the gate while they are pushing against it but eventually they step back enough for me to squeeze in.  And then, everyone but Zorra, comes over for the perfect bite.  I stay still for a few seconds and hold on tight to the hay.  Once they have all grabbed a bite and are chewing, I walk to the hay feeder to unload the rest of the hay, feeding Zorra (at the end) first, since she has not yet had any.

So, is it the long awaited first bite or the fact that I am feeding them, that makes the bite at the gate, the perfect bite?  It can't be the combination of foods, since it is all just hay (no gravy).

I get a similar reaction from the geese.  They like to take a few blades of hay while I am fastening the bungy on the inside of the goose run.  Unfortunately, the geese don't then go over to their bowls.  Instead, I have to walk in carefully, trying not to step on any feet.  Once the bowls are filled, all is quiet and I can go get some fresh water.  The geese also consider the first bite of hay under the hay feeders ( that they have driven the sheep from) another perfect bite. Or is that "the grass is greener" if you get it from someone else's stash.

I don't think the chickens get the concept of "the perfect bite".

Saturday, December 17, 2016


This was the morning sky when I woke up yesterday.  It was 17 degrees but the wind had died down so it didn't feel too bad to me.

It was so quiet that you could hear all the little noises, like you hear when you ride up a ski lift and there is a crack of a branch or a a gust of wind blowing by, or a porcupine in a tree.  One sound I heard yesterday, was  when one of theses sheep 

pushed into the cattle panel to get another bite of hay.  It was a metal on metal high pitched whining that carried through the thin air like on the chairlift.  The geese weren't even chortling or the chickens cooing?  

I love when everything goes right like 5 sheep grazing at this hay feeder and 4 at the one above; no crowding or pushing and the trough heater is working.

On these cold mornings, the chickens are in NO hurry to come out.  Note the black hen in the coop 15 minutes or so after I opened the coop.  

AH, so quiet and beautiful....  And then I let the geese out and the scene changed.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Reciprocity is the word I have picked for 2017.

A few years ago, Gail told me about the idea of living with one special word for a whole year.  About now you contemplate which word you might choose.  Then you focus on your word in different ways and bring it fully into your life.  There is actually a website that talks about it a little more but it does not seem to be very active now. 

One of the suggestions for living with your word is to have a group of friends do this simultaneously, each with their own word.  Then you check in with each other and support each other.  There may be 3 of us going off on this venture come January, so if anyone else wants to join, let me know.

Reciprocity has been calling to me since I began reading  Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.  It just jumped out in front of me and asked me to take it home.  I have brought it home and now I will live with it for a year before I find a new home for this word.

Reciprocity is a word that I have really just become acquainted with but I am finding that many of my near and dear friends know her quite well.  I am very excited to get to be comrades on a year's journey.  Where will we go?  How will it be living so closely?   Will she be chatty or quiet?  How long will it take to become really acquainted?  Will we become good friends?  These are some of the questions I have now.  Meanwhile, I guess I should prepare a place for Reciprocity to reside.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Winter is Coming.....

I read that Ernest Hemingway, before sitting to write a new novel, would spend hours peeling oranges and gazing into the fire.  He said he was preparing his soul to write.  No wonder he was such a good writer.  I think I should get some oranges and try this.

Meanwhile, let's see what comes out after eating popcorn.  I do have a nice warm fire to look into.  Today seemed very cold.  I think the temperature only got to about 35 or 36 degrees.  The day started out at 17 or so.  The animals don't seem to mind as long as they have good food to eat.

  I put extra straw in the run and plunged in the geese water bucket.  I put up the winter panels on the chicken coop.  I made sure the heater was working in the sheep water trough.  The other night when it was windy as well, I closed the doors on the north side of the barn.  I guess we are ready for winter.
I am SO glad I am not hauling buckets of hot water from the house to the barn like the first winter.

When I was first starting out as a sheep farmer, I read forums where others were also raising sheep.  All I remember were the accounts of women in Montana or Minnesota with sick sheep hundreds of miles from a vet with howling wind and below freezing temperatures.  Maybe that is why I haven't gone back to that forum in years.

  I need to check in with my neighbor who just got 3 goats.  He is new to farming and was converting an old shed into a goat barn.  I hope he got most of that project done, Karen says goats don't like the cold or is it just cold rain and snow?  He has a wife and four  kids and a dog so I guess a few goats in the house wouldn't be too bad.  He has a fine chicken coop but I am not sure where the pigs hang out in the cold.  Ah, winter farming.

I want to build a solar heater for the fiber shed.  From what I have read, they do work, and I need a new project.  Oh, but I am not finished with the woven bird house and I am doing a quilt sample, with multi textures using wool as well as cotton, for a talk at a local quilting group meeting in January.  But I did finish Lyndy's couch (picture soon). And if I got the fiber shed warmer, I could do more projects out there  instead of bringing them into the house.  I do like my spinning wheel in the house for the winter but any more than that makes too much clutter.

I love winter but it does take a few days like we have had this week to get me ready.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

More Reflections

I have been taking my camera down to the barnyard more, lately-- actually, when I saw the reflection in the puddle pond (Dec.6th post) I went up to the house to get my camera.

 I am often disappointed when things are so incredibly beautiful in real time with the human eye and then a photo, of same, does not reflect the amazingness.  Occasionally you get an interesting illusion or some interesting angle or special effect but that is not the same.  Actually, I like both.

Last summer, a photographer friend of Beverly's showed us some photos of reflections he took that were incredible!  I have been noting reflections, from a photographic stand point, ever since.  That awakening, I think, is what it is all about.  I think reflections are God's way of encouraging us to pay attention to what is around us.  Why else would the trees and barns be upside down.

 One of the perks of living in a "just right house" must be a greater awareness of the natural beauty that surrounds us and a sense of peace.  That is my hope for Lyndy.  Actually, Lyndy is one who is already in awe of nature but one can never be too full.

The last time I visited the tiny house, I was reflecting on ALL the hours of working, imagining, and dreaming,  that went in to that build.  One of our jobs, this last time, was to reinstall the skylight in the sleeping loft that was taken out for transporting.  Now Lyndy can study an upside down tree and reflect.

Reflections December 2016

December is always a time of reflection so here are my reflections.