Category Archives: Holidays

Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising, and tonight’s storm

Well, the Bombogenesis is here.  We on the coast have been having torrential rain and strengthening winds for hours now, and the lights are flickering every few minutes.  I would say that we are probably going to lose power shortly to the wind and crazy fluctuations in the atmosphere.

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

I don’t know how many of you out there are Susan Cooper fans (she is an awesome British author of some of my favorite books – she is also a poet).  I have been a big fan of her fiction for many years.  Her Dark is Rising Sequence series being one of my faves.

Every year around Solstice and Christmas I try to either read The Dark is Rising, or watch it’s movie equivalent, The Seeker: Dark is Rising.  Having to rely on Netflix DVD delivery meant that today was the day I received it, and so we had a wild viewing of it while the lights flickered and the wind howled outside.  Quite the most dramatic rendition I can remember!  It was extremely atmospheric and it made me quite jumpy, what with the wild wind and the relentless rain on our metal roof.  I was very glad when Ian McShane and his friends prevailed over the Dark.  Phew!

Another year.  Again, a wonderful story.  Darkness and Light, the eternal struggle.  One in which most of us are fixated upon as we watch the light gain strength, even as the winter deepens.  It’s a funny thing, winter growing as the light returns.  It’s just one of those things that we can celebrate or fight.  Tonight I am feeling a little bit of hope.

 

The holiday weekend is upon us

The new girls are curious about the other group
The new girls are curious about the other group

And we have hit the wall of the week,  Friday!  Things have been crazy this past few days, and not from a holiday standpoint.  I am always first and foremost handling goat management, as I need to be.  When you have animals, that is really what you do, behind the scenes of everything in life it is always the animals.

We were expecting the vet to be here on Wednesday morning and were all set up for that.  Doing blood work before we mix the two groups of girls together is part of the plan, and when the temperatures are moving into winter range, we want to be able to do that as promptly as possible (getting blood out of animals in really cold temps is not easy.  Been there, not pretty!)  But, there is always a spanner in the works.

I never stopped to think about the fact that Sunday is Christmas, and the vet, luckily, had spoken to at least one of the labs early on Wednesday, and we realized that even if all the labs received the blood late in the day on Thursday, there might be employees on vacation, and it would possibly put the blood at risk for not being fresh enough to test – or at worst, not there yet at all.  At this point we decided to reschedule to Monday.  I am much happier, and as luck would have it, Monday looks like an okay day weather-wise.  That is truly lucky at this time of year.

And so we are in a holding pattern until then.  We are getting ready to cover the empty bare-bones greenhouse with a new tarp, as I am planning on that to be the kidding area.  The new girls we have from Ardelia Farm are all due to kid around the end of February, and thus we need to keep moving forward on all of this.

And so it goes.  Tonight is a screening of The Empire Strikes Back while we wrap gifts.  This is a family tradition, and I am definitely looking forward to it.  (And for anyone who has not seen Rogue One yet in the theaters, go see it ASAP.  It’s amazing!).

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to everyone!

Last Sunday in November, 2016

Was a totally grey one.  November has been pretty true to form, and as the leaves have finally left the trees, we have seen almost no sunny days.  It’s ok, this is what November is all about.  Good knitting and cooking weather!

Guinea hen cup and new skin cream.
Guinea hen cup and new skin cream.

This morning I made my annual trek to Maple Lane Pottery‘s annual small business weekend sale.  I love Robbi, and she not only has a great lineup of pottery items, but she has a few other small business folk there as well.  Cari Balbo of Ridge Pond Herbals was there and I was able to get my new supply of winter face and skin creams in.  It’s always fun and I could not restrain myself when I saw that Robbi had a mug with Guinea Fowl painted on it.  How could I pass that up???

In the Ruit Farm goat world, we decided that today would be the day to take Reddog the Buck out of circulation.  We have had him in with the 4 girls since Wednesday, October 12th, which makes it a total of 46 days.  Goats have an estrus cycle of anywhere from 17-24 days, but the average is about 21 days.  So we are a little over two average cycles, and no one has really appeared to be in a second heat.  Reddog has spent most of his recent time at the fenceline, ogling the girls over there, hoping for some action.  Poor guy, he really didn’t have too much of a challenge with just 4 does to breed.

After we moved Reddog back into the buck paddock with Oreo and Jingle the donkey, we opened the gate between the two girl paddocks.  And there we had our afternoon entertainment!  It took a few minutes for one of them to find the door, but after that, it was a free-for-all of head butting and running around.  Beezus, who has been sharing a pen with Saffron and Battie, the Guernsey girls, turned around and pursued Saffron for at least a half hour.  They were nuts.  Fergus the buckling took the opportunity to try his moves on Pippi while she was busy fighting off all comers from the top of the big rock.  I have to give him lots of points, he really keeps trying!  Zelda the beautiful wandered into the opposite pen and found a new head-scratching post, and ignored the rest of the fray.  Always a work in progress.

Zelda checking out the other side of the fence
Zelda checking out the other side of the fence

And so it goes.  I am hoping that my friend Jane, who co-owns Reddog, can come by and pick him up soon so that he can do some work at her farm.   3 of the non-bred girls are currently for sale, and even though I thought they were spoken for, I think I may need to re-advertise them.  It’s all good.  I only want Zelda, Pickles and Sassafras to go to a good home with someone who will really appreciate all that they have to offer.

And, I can’t believe it’s almost December!

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

My sage has not died back yet, and the turkey was happy to invite it along
My sage has not died back yet, and the turkey was happy to invite it along

A little late, I know, but I hope everyone out there had a wonderful day with family, friends, or just on their own.  (One of my most interesting Thanksgivings was when I was a junior in high school and my parents had gone to Portugal or Spain with my uncle Morty, supposedly for 4 days, the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I think it was to look at what eventually became known as ‘time shares’ and they were offered another free three days, which they took advantage of, but which also meant that they couldn’t make it back for the holiday.  My dog Jason, the sweet Bedlington terrier and I, had a vegetarian Thanksgiving all by ourselves. Well, he ate meat, I did not.  I think I had broccoli and stuffing.  It was a very instructive and insightful holiday!).

Tesser the 14 and a half year old Chihuahua
Tesser the 14 and a half year old Chihuahua, in front of the wood stove, of course!

Anyhow, not being a vegetarian any more, we had a lovely, if very low-key day yesterday with a 22 pound turkey.  Just the three of us and Tesser the Chihuahua.  Of course I make the same amount of food no matter who is coming, because it’s all about the leftovers for me!  The only thing I did not do was hors d’oeuvres, because without real company, it didn’t seem all that important.  We had a toast to our lovely neighbor who passed away this past August, as she (and previously her husband Jim) had been a fixture here every Thanksgiving since we moved in 13 years ago.  And then we took our time eating our lovely dinner, all of us in something other than holiday garb, and closer to the PJ side of things.  A most relaxing day.  (The goaties got to celebrate with some celery and romaine leaves).

Pumpkin/cheesecake pie, mostly taken from the Smitten Kitchen recipe. Delicious!
Pumpkin/cheesecake pie, mostly taken from the Smitten Kitchen recipe. Delicious!

And so it goes.  It’s a very grey and rawly damp November day here today.  I had a morning visit with a good friend, and then came home to sit by the woodstove and perhaps do a little knitting or spinning.  I slept in until a shocking 7 am this morning and have absolutely no reason to be tired, but a quick nap on a day like this could be just the ticket.  I love Thanksgiving :*)

Winter might be coming? But it’s still vacation

Golden Guernseys and Oreo the Buck mugging!
Golden Guernseys and Oreo the Buck.  Winter?

We think.  Tomorrow is predicted to be one of the coldest days of the season.  High of 24F.  Today it was in the 40s.  And it rained.  And rained.  I know we have had a few lovely days in the past week or two, but the overall feeling is of the grey sky and damp.  My arthritis is killing me.  It definitely does not feel like December.

Enough complaining, though.  It is past the Solstice, and we are still just wearing light jackets.  Not too shabby!  My husband keeps the wood stove going, and dollars to donuts, we have to keep opening the back door or the windows.  (I get where he is coming from; he hates to have to restart a fire everyday, so he wants to just keep it humming along.  Sometimes that humming is to the tune of 80F in the house.  Too hot for me!)  So it is this season.  Warm so far.  It feels more like a spring mud season than the end of December.  Mud and water galore in the paddocks.  The donkey didn’t want to go into her shelter in the last few days, and we finally realized that it was too wet where we had placed it over the summer.  We moved it this morning, thanks Sam, and now she is cozying into it.

Anyhow, it’s the holiday break and I am loving it.  Sleeping in until 6:30 a.m.  Lingering over coffee in the morning.  Not getting dressed until I have to.  Reading into the night.  I must be in training for retirement.  Hmm.  Sounds good to me!

Merry, merry 2015

treewithtrainsAnd so it goes. Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas! The year is coming to an end, but the daylight is returning to us. Such a relief :*)

Teaser the Chihuahua loves a ride!
Teaser the Chihuahua loves a ride!

We can’t really complain, though, because even today it was almost 60F! It’s supposed to be getting colder by Monday, and snow is forecast for Tuesday. I will believe it when I see it! A friend posted a photo of the dandelions that are sprouting on their property, and I have heard folks discussing the budding of all kinds of plants. It’s not natural for this part of the world to be so warm this late, but it has been something of a respite after last winter.

Quiet time in the greenhouse for Zelda and Beezus
Quiet time in the greenhouse for Zelda and Beezus

2015 has turned out to be quite a year. I have not really had a chance to fully take stock, and we had our downs as well as our ups. At the very least, we were able to finally welcome our first Golden Guernsey goaties to the farm, and I even managed to get Pickles bred a few days ago. Thankful for all the little triumphs!

I hope everyone has had a peaceful holiday/holidays, with your loved ones. Time to look forward to the new year.

Spring fever in December

Spring fever!
Spring fever!

I know that it’s even warmer down in the mid-Atlantic states, but 53F on December 12th is pretty unheard of around these parts!  No complaining from me, however, as I know Winter will catch up with us soon enough.  I am pleased for the skiers that it has been cold enough for the resorts to make snow, and they have also had a few precipitation events that brought snow to the mountains, leaving rain for the coast.  That’s the way I like it!  (Don’t get me wrong, I love snow.  Just not as much as we had last winter, with negative temperatures to match.  And even though I love it, I think I am still reeling from last year ).

Hose is still running
Hose is still running

We have been trying to make the most out of this weather, and did quite a bit of outside work yesterday.  My biggest pleasure of all:  the hose that comes out of a dug-well that we use to water the animals, is still running!  Usually by this time we are wrestling gerry cans of water into the tractor and driving them up.  What a treat!  We did get enough cold weather in the past two weeks that I had set up the tank heater in the big trough, and plugged in the 16 gallon heated buckets in the other two pens.  Yesterday I scrubbed all the tanks, all the feeders, and Sam got the inside of the greenhouse cleaned out, on the large girl’s group side.  Lots of stuff got checked off of our list!

What a sky
What a sky

It still feels like an early spring morning out there today.  It even smells earthy and fresh.  The girls are being very frisky and flying around the paddock like they are kids, too.  The big rock is covered in flecks of mud, there has been so much frolicking going on.

lit treeToday I must do some baking and present-putting together.  Sam got the lights on the tree, and that is where we have stalled out.  Gotta get going on that as the grandboy is anxiously awaiting Grampy’s train set around the bottom.  I think we have our work cut out for us! Hope everyone out there is enjoying their Sunday as well!

Post-Thanksgiving weekend

New girls
New girls

I hate to say that it is Saturday night already.  Holiday weekends just seem to fly by.  Wah, wah!  It’s been a nice one, and I don’t want it to end.

We had a quiet holiday.  Tuesday afternoon around 2 PM I began feeling like I was coming down with a cold, and I hurried to do the last of the Thanksgiving shopping and get home and just veg on the sofa.  I took my Emergen-C and rested for the evening.  I don’t think I got the whole brunt of the virus, but I definitely appreciated that we weren’t going to have a ton of company and that the meal was going to be a very simple one.

So we took our feast across the street to our elderly neighbor’s house and we had a lovely, very laid-back time.  Friday was a day for catching up, sleeping in a little bit, working around, and just enjoying being home.  This morning I took a ride to a friend’s pottery studio for her “Shop Small” Saturday.  Maple Lane Pottery is one of my favorite places, and Robbi didn’t disappoint us.  I was able to enjoy visiting with her as well as finding some lovely holiday gifts.  Robbi is a very talented potter, and her animal-themed pieces are some of my favorite kitchen pieces.

Robbi had another small farm business there, Ridge Pond Farm, and it was lovely to finally meet Cari Balbo, the owner and maker of all kinds of herbal treats.  Face creams, hand and body creams, herbal tea mixes, all were as beautiful and wonderfully-scented as I imagined.  I make my own very simple hand and body creams (because I am allergic to everything!), but these are amazing concoctions and I hope her face cream is my favorite thing for a long time to come.

Marigold. Alert, but no better.
Marigold. Alert, but no better.

And so it goes.  The weekend is almost over, and I am sorry to say that our Marigold is failing.  We are going to have to make the final decision on her within the day, not that I believe there is anything to decide.  She is not getting up, and is falling behind on where her recovery should be.  She isn’t suffering yet with something like pneumonia or bloat, which could be a problem since she is not mobile, and is eating but not recovering any of her backend movement.  So that is that.  Breaking my heart, but there it is.  The ugly end of livestock farming. I will keep giving her all her little treats until it’s time to put her down.  A big loss to the future of our little farm.

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us here at Ruit Farm North.  I hope that everyone is having a peaceful and relaxing holiday with friends and family.  I am very thankful that both our sons are in the area for now, and that we can be spending a lot of time together.  And I am ever so thankful for all our friends, both human and 4-legged.

And thank you all for being a part of our farm family!