Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snowy Surprise

We were expecting the foot of snow that came over Friday night and continued falling all day Saturday. Sean and I worked hard to remove the snow and keep the access to the animal yards open for us and for them.

We were NOT expecting to wake up to see all that work covered over by another foot of snow while we slept. The forecast called for 3-4 inches max. What the what???!?!?!?! Sean has been really sick since Friday night with a horrible flu. In accordance with our agreement that only one of us can be really sick at any given time, I have been trying to patiently wait my turn and steadfastly refusing to give in to my sore throat, stuffy nose, or cough. The storm took none of this into account.

I have mentioned that I am not Snow's biggest fan in previous posts. After today, I think I am leaning towards joining those folks who actively dislike snow. THREE hours of shoveling with the wind howling and the temperatures dropping into the low teens, and I was more than ready to move somewhere warmer permanently, like the Caribbean or the sun.

Of course, the weather makes life for our livestock miserable, too.

Our chickens do surprisingly well in the snow. They spend more time than usual inside to coop and duck house, but they are not afraid to venture out into their yard. We put down hay in piles around their yard to help to keep them warm and give them a place to stand besides the cold snow. In the early afternoon, a few scoops of chicken scratch sprinkled in the hay encourages them to scratch and dig in it, which keeps them active and warms them up. Digesting the scratch also helps to warm their bodies. As a nice side effect of all this, we are still getting between 5-7 eggs in the nest boxes each day despite the freezing temperatures and shortened days of winter in Maine.

The geese and ducks are nearly unfazed by the snow. When we opened their house for them this morning, the ducks started trying to take a dust bath with the snow. It is funny to watch the ducks trying to swim through the mounds of wet snow. I will try to capture this at some point over the winter months.

Our Vietnamese Pot Bellies have seen many Maine winters. I can't say they like it any more than I, but with fresh hay and a large, clean stall in the barn, the girls dig themselves down under the hay to cover themselves and manage the frigid temperatures just fine. I am sure that they are looking forward to the Spring as much as I am, though.

When the weather gets bitterly cold, our goats spend most of their time inside their stalls, too. They venture out to fill their bellies with hay and then return to their stalls, stand together, and amicably chew the cud or rest in their bedding. Ellie is growing stronger and building her muscles in the relative luxury of our basement. Sean suggested that it might be good to bring Abigail inside for some company for Ellie, but thankfully, changed his mind. It was sweet of him to think of it, but this farm girl can only abide goats living with us when it is absolutely necessary. We are waiting until the temperature goes back up to the 30's regularly to return Ellie to her herd.

It looks like there is no snow in the forecast for the coming week, but we are predicted for the temperatures to drop and stay in the 0-20 degree range, with wind chills dropping overnights to below 0. Brrrr. It is going to be difficult to keep the water buckets free of ice. And, we are going to have to be on the watch for frostbite on wattles, combs, and feet. I guess winter has finally decided to make it's appearance!

Thanks for visiting tonight. Please, come again.
Sean and Sonja♥

Chicken Treat: Take 2

I followed a recipe this time. I found the recipe at Fresh Eggs Daily. Lisa's came out really well and I was excited to give it a whirl. I don't have a bundt pan- a travesty, I know, but that is another story.
Instead, I used a heavy stainless steel mixing bowl. I inverted a cup in the center and pushed the bacon grease, lard, and chicken scratch mixture around it to form my wreath. With happy anticipation, I put the bowl in the refrigerator to set over night.

It worked!

Well, kind of, anyway. My wreath definitely stayed together... it just wouldn't come out of the bowl. I tried heating the outside to melt a little of the fats to release it. No. I tried freezing it for a few minutes to release it. Nope. I attempted  to ease it out with a small, sharp knife. Nyet. I inverted the metal bowl onto a work towel and tapped it with one of my husband's hammers, gradually hitting harder and harder. Nada. This thing was not going to come out! Eventually, I resorted to scooping hard chunks of it out of the bowl with a large spoon, which worked in that it came out- in clumps.

Unhindered, I grabbed some plastic gloves and rolled the clumps into large balls. I was still sold on my idea of reusing baling twine to hang them, so I simply formed the balls around loops made with the twine. That worked just fine. Then, Sean and I hung them in the chicken yard. These were a big hit with all of our feathered friends, who could care less what shape they were in before they began pecking away at them. They ignored their full feeding stations and rushed at Sean who was holding one of the balls to see would they even want to try it. We had no reason to worry on that score. The worry quickly became whether Sean and I would be able to attach them quickly enough to keep our fingers! We did, but it was a close call!

So, though, I have yet to succeed in making a chicken scratch hanging wreath for my yard, I have made some chicken scratch balls that were well received by the intended recipients. And, at some point, I will try, try again.

Thanks for visiting today. We got another foot of snow drop onto us when we woke Sunday morning. I have some footage I am editing of that and of how the critters are handling the now 2 feet+ of snow laying on the ground. I guess, it is officially winter!

Sean and Sonja ♥

This post also shared with Tilly's Nest & The Backyard Farming Connection

Friday, December 28, 2012

Let it Snow...

I am not a HUGE fan of snow, since I neither snowboard, nor ski. Don't get me wrong. I like an occasional cheery snowman in the yard, it brings me joy to lob a perfectly created snowball at an unsuspecting Sean or go on a family adventure involving sledding. Especially, if these things mean that we spend a lazy day home by the fire together.  But, all in all, I would take crisp fall days over cold snowy ones.

Sean, on the other hand, loves the snow. I credit that to his ability to snowboard and that he is a furnace of warmth. But, I think even he was happy when we had finished our first bout of shoveling ourselves out. And, I know he was thankful for a hot shower to warm up with after he and I tackled the last of the 6 additional inches of new snow that covered over yesterday's hard work.

We could pay to have someone plow the snow with a truck, but at $25-$35 a time, that can get pricey. We are very thrifty, relatively able-bodied, and just stubborn enough to shovel, instead. On the upside of this; it is a great work out and it saves the driveway from being gouged and needing to purchase more fill to repair it in the Spring.

This is a video of yesterday's work around Lally Broch in the snow. Like the people, the animals are of good, hearty stock and weathered the storm just fine. Most of the animals prefer to stay inside during bad weather- the exception being Fenn dog and the silly geese and ducks, who are unfazed by the snow. Fenn scared us yesterday when we found him asleep in the snow in his yard. We brought him inside to warm up and dry off, but he immediately escaped out his dog door to his spot in the snow. The ducks and geese were similarly happy to snooze in the snow instead of taking shelter in either chicken coop or their own house. Must be so nice to have a built in down comforter or fur coat.

When we went to bed last night, the snow was still falling and this morning we woke to another 6-8 inches of new snow to remove again. Sean grabbed his shovel and I my snow scoop and we set to work. It took us another solid hour to have us all cleared out, again.

Our system, having worked so well yesterday, was repeated this morning. Sean shoveled a path down the driveway and then, focused on clearing it. I scooped paths to the chickens, cleared the doorways to the barn, paths around the cars, and then, helped with the driveway.
Yesterday, the chickens, pigs and goats were mostly satisfied with remaining inside and fairly quiet during our work. This morning, the chickens were clucking up a storm, themselves. As far as I can translate, it went something like: "We're starving in here!" "It is 8 am already. Hurry with your playtime, woman, and bring us our FOOD!" They were quite boisterous in regaling me with how slow my progress in their eyes. They clearly felt that had they opposable thumbs and shovels, they would have made a much shorter time of it. The hens did not hold a grudge, though, and repaid me with a gift of 6 eggs in the nest boxes.

Sean's morning shoveling efforts:

Jasmine loves the snow. As soon as her door was opened this morning, she walked out to frolic like a colt. I didn't have my camera for a video, but I was able to snap a few still pictures of her antics.

"Ummm... I know you are still shoveling to get to me, but my hay manger is empty, so... I'm just going to run around in the snow a little, instead."

"What snow? I didn't eat any snow. I do not have to listen to these baseless accusations."
The folk of Lally Broch Farm made it through the last good storm of the year 2012. (Ammendment: We got another foot of snow the very next night!) I wonder how many storms 2013 has in store for us??? Thanks for checking on us after our snowy day home. We're glad you stopped in for a visit.
Sean and Sonja ♥

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ready or Not...

We are located in the dark band predicting 10-14 inches.
It appears that the snowy weather some of our friends from the south and west got hit with yesterday is making its way north to us. According to our local weatherman, we are expecting 10-14 inches beginning tomorrow morning and ending sometime after midnight. That means, preparations to be made tonight for sure.

1. Bath Tub filled with water to flush toilets. ✔
2. Check batteries in flash lights.
3. Water buckets for animals full & ready. ✔
4. Snow shovels moved to mudroom. ✔
5. Wood brought inside. ✔
6. Meals planned that can be made on the wood stove. ✔

That is pretty much it. It usually snows in Maine- a lot in the winter months. And, for the most part around here, life continues on in its normal manner. It means shoveling out paths to get to the animals to feed and/or water them, but other than that unpleasant task, massive snow falls mean a homey day with everyone snug inside. And, in terms of the animals, in my experience, snow is not nearly as bad as bitter, frigid temperatures for our critters to weather.  If it is snowing, the temperatures are above freezing, at least. The fowl are protected in their coops with fluffy feathers, the mammals in their stalls with thick, furry coats to keep them warm. The piggies, who have neither, have a nice pile of hay to burrow into together inside their stall in the barn. And, Ellie, is planning to ride out the storm in the comfort of her own private convalescence room.

Meaghan took the extra precaution of putting Jasmine's coat on her this afternoon.

This was easier said than done because Jasmine thought we were attempting to saddle her and snapped her teeth at us a couple of times, in warning. A stern. "Knock it off!" was all it took to change her mind, and once the coat was secured, Jasmine seemed resigned, if not happy. I am sure that as the snow flies tomorrow, she will be more pleased with our intervention.

If she hasn't removed the coat by rolling- (where she found more mud to roll in, I will never know! Everything is frozen!!!)

I hope you are all ready for the snowy weather and can stay safe and warm inside. I'll post updates later as the storm arrives. Thanks for visiting today!

Meaghan and Sonja ♥

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

10 Reasons Why We Adore Tasmanian

1. He keeps you on your toes. Petting him could result in peaceful purring or the loss of several of your fingers and perhaps, an eyeball.

2. He tolerates being pet "backwards"... until he has had enough. When that happens, he warns you that your demise is imminent by lightly digging his nails into your flesh.

3. Tasmanian loves Doritos. He would kill you to get to the Doritos in your hand. No, seriously. He is mad about Doritos, especially spicy ones.

4. He still tries to stalk and attack string lures like a kitten. Tas, also, stalks Brighid, who ignores it.

5. He tortures our dog, Angus with his unwanted love and attention. Despite Angus's growls and toothy snaps at him, Tas refuses to budge from snuggling up to Angus every chance he gets.

6. Tasmanian is ever hopeful. Though he plays nicely with all the other cats, Tasmanian harbors a special, singular dislike for Boogie. 10 pounds of muscles heavier, Boogie wins every time. As, Tas limps away, you can see the "next time" written all over his beaten face.

7. Tas drools.... A LOT and on you, if he can manage it.

8. Tasmanian is a traitor. This is no "one person" feline. His favor is mercurial at best and can be bought with treats and lost without warning.

9. He is delightfully striped orange and white.

10. He thinks he is a dog. He is the only cat that ventures into the dog's yard, attempts to take food from the dog's dishes, and sleeps curled up next to them. He annoys the pooches by refusing to be chased like the other cats. And, why would he run? He is sure that if it came to a fight, he would take them all.

Terrible Tasmanian lives up to his name, but we love him anyway.

Thanks for stopping in for a visit.
Kristen and Sonja ♥

Sunday, December 23, 2012

With the Goats; With the Goats

William: "You speak of what you do not know! Where will we live? In my hovel? With the goats in the basement during the winter so they won't freeze?"

Jocelyn: "Yes, William. With the goats. With the goats"

At least, that is the version as it would have been written for our homestead.

As you can see on the weather forecast, we are in for some very cold days and nights ahead with lows into the teens or below. And, while that would cause some small concern, with the goats well fed and protected inside their stalls, I would assume that they would come through the cold weather without incident. After all, the deer do in the wild without shelter and our goats have in a lesser barn in years past.
To prepare for the upcoming days of frigid temperatures, Sean and I planned to clean out the stalls and put down fresh bedding, so that if the animals preferred to stay inside their barn, they would be comfortable riding out the cold snap ahead. We cared for the chickens, the pigs, Jasmine and then, moved on to load hay into the goat's mangers.

Abigail, Asher, Ruby and Sapphira all nosed into their stalls to snatch mouthfuls of fresh hay, but I did not see Ellie. That did not register immediately. I went on to add hay to the manger in the other pasture. Jedi, Pepper, Rachel, and Leah all crowded in to eat. I re-entered the doe pen ready to begin clean-out and realized I hadn't seen Ellie. Concerned, I called to Sean to see had he seen her? Just as I called, I saw her laying in the far end of the doe pasture. At my alarmed cry and faster than I, Sean ran to see Ellie.

Sean here:  I ran down and called to Ellie who was laying down on a frozen puddle with her head turned and tucked into her body.  She didn't respond, which she always does.  I honestly thought we had lost her.  When I reached her, and touched her neck, she turned, looked at me and gave a very weak 'meh eh eh.'  As Sonja reached us, I tried getting her onto her feet, thinking maybe she had just slipped on the ice, but Ellie was barely able to stand, let alone walk the hundred or so feet back to the barn.  I scooped her up (she's definitely gained weight since the last time I had to do that) and carried her back up to the barn to get her in out of the wind.  While Sonja stayed with Ellie and comforted her (and protected her from hungry goats who would have no qualms about standing atop her to reach the better hay that is always on top of the pile) I grabbed some towels from inside to get her dry and warm her up.  She perked up inside the barn and happily munched on hay with the other goats but not with quite the gusto as they.  While Ellie didn't seem that concerned, (and honestly, looked like she was enjoying the extra attention) Sonja and I were both terribly worried that she was too weak to endure the cold days to come and grateful that we found her when we did. She would not have survived exposed, wet, and freezing over night, certainly.

Sonja continues: My first thought was that we had to get her dry and warm. The temperatures outside were close to freezing and they were dropping quickly. When Sean returned with the towels, he helped Ellie to stand while I briskly rubbed down her legs and under belly, which felt icy cold. Ellie did not want to stand. She could have been laying in the cold water for several hours. (We had gone to our meeting for worship in the morning, followed by lunch in town before we returned to complete the afternoon chores.) I was worried if that had been the case, her legs and feet might not have the necessary circulation to support her. Once Ellie was dry, we draped both towels over her, locked the other goats out of the stall and rushed inside to gather the things we were going to need: a pot full of warm water with some molasses and brown sugar stirred in; a large, warm towel from the dryer; and a scoop of 16% (protein) sweet feed grain. I thought that the warm water would help to get her internal temperature up (like drinking hot coffee or chocolate on a cold day). I added a good dollop of molasses both for it's sugars and to encourage her to drink as much as she would. The addition of the brown sugar would add some sweetness to the brew and also provide some calories and fast carbohydrates for her body to burn. She was already eating hay at a fairly steady pace, but I wanted to get a small scoop of grain into her, too- for additional nutrition and to help her body heat up as her system processed it.

Ellie was laying down when I got back to the barn with the pot of water. She did not rise, but she immediately drank half the bucket of water and resumed chomping on hay. When Sean arrived with the warmed towel and bucket of grain, that got her attention and convinced her to attempt to stand. She was struggling still, so Sean helped her to her feet. I pinned the towel over her, checked her core temperature, pulse and respiration rates. Ellie was definitely perking up.

Out of immediate danger, Sean and I took the next half hour to muck the doe stall. When we were done, we allowed the other does to return. While the does were busy eating their hay, Sean mucked Jedi's stall and we discussed what to do with Ellie over the next few days. We hoped that getting Ellie up and warm, she could continue her slow improvement to good health inside the barn. (As Sean mentioned, she has put on a good amount of weight since her return to the barn, though she is noticeably thinner than the rest of the herd.) For obvious reasons, it is not desirable to have Ellie living in the basement. However, it soon became clear that Ellie would be better off inside with us. The two deciding factors that finally tipped the scale were: 1- that the other goats continued to knock Ellie off her feet and 2- how we would feel if something happened to Ellie and we could have prevented it by bringing Ellie inside for a couple of days?

As Sean carried Ellie inside, he mentioned he thought Ellie might have worked out this scheme. If Ellie acts weak, she gets special treatment. She gets carried inside and fitted with her warm goat cape. We feed her lots of raw veggies, she gets her own portion of hay and accommodations in a 50-60 degree basement where she can watch TV from her doorway- not a bad situation- for a *cough, cough* sick goat. I would not put it past the clever, wee girl. Even so, for now, Ellie is tucked up into the basement, where on last check, she was standing just fine, chewing on hay and my hand to God, smiling.

We'll re-evaluate the situation in the morning.

Thanks for visiting tonight.
Sean and Sonja♥

This post is also shared with: Farm Girl Friday Blog Hop 88 & Farm Girl Blog Fest 14 & Tilly's Nest

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Cleaning Brighid's Scent Glands

Also, titled: Sean Does Not Get Paid Enough! 
Our house bunny, Brighid had begun to boast an odiferousness to rival any foul odor you may have encountered- somewhat akin to skunk wrapped in a teenage boy's tennis shoes and you begin to come close. I cleaned her cage. I emptied her litter box. Nope- stinky bunny remained. There was only one thing left to do: call in Sean to clean her scent glands.
All bunnies need to have their scent glands attended to; some as often as you trim their nails, some less or more often than that. Each bunny is different. But, it is an important and necessary part of being a conscientious bunny keeper. Besides, smelling badly (world's biggest understatement) the health of your bunny can be at risk. The glands can get impacted and become infected if they are not cared for when it becomes needed.  

Bunnies have scent glands under their chins, which is why you will often see bunnies rubbing their chins against objects. They are, in effect, saying, "That's mine." They, also, have anal scent glands. These are slits located on both sides of their urethra. Though the task is somewhat unpleasant- for both you and your bunny, it is not particularly difficult to do nor painful to your bunny.
You will need: petroleum jelly, q-tips, and clean hands. I suggest protective gloves, too, if you have them available.
1. Hold your bunny so that it cannot wiggle out of your grasp. This is the most difficult part because bunnies DO NOT like to be placed on their back and they will struggle against you. It is helpful to talk calmly and soothingly to your bunny and to stroke them to help them to relax.

Full Scent Gland
2. Carefully, move the fur aside to find the glands. These look like slits. If they are full, they will have a black, waxy appearance coating the inside of them. Once, you locate the gland, use a q-tip with petroleum jelly on the tip to gently wipe away the waxy build up. This will smell VERY, VERY badly. Be certain not to pull hard or push the q-tip deeply into the gland- it is not necessary and could harm your bunny. 

Clean Scent Gland
3. When the first gland is clear, repeat on the second side. Dispose of the gland build up, q-tips and definitely wash your hands!

Whenever we (read that: mainly Sean) have needed to clean a bunnies scent glands, it has been our experience that said bunny immediately returns to having no notable smell, which is the desirable outcome. After Sean attended to Brighid this evening, she was much more pleasant to be near, for sure!

Bunny snuggles when all is done.
Just now, bunny is snuggled next to Sean's leg getting ear rubs. All seems to be forgiven on her end- though, if I were he- I would not fall asleep in her vacinity any time soon.
Thanks for stopping in to visit this evening. We are sure glad you came!
Sonja ♥

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Too Many Roos!

It is interesting how posts take on cycles. First, it is new goat kids that gain all the attention. Then, baby chicks, ducklings, or goslings have the focus. The pigs will get into some kind of mischief. A goat will begin milking, escape inconveniently, or become sick. The cats will hunt something out of the usual. Soap or cheese or crafts to be made. Barns and coops to be repaired, built, or finished. As new events happen or take precedent, my posts seem to follow.

Right now, the concern around here is the resident rooster population. When we hatched chicks to increase our flock of hens, we knew that statistically, we would get more roosters, too. And, there was a plan in place for what would happen to those lads, which involved eventually ending up in either our freezer or a friend's freezer. That was last Spring.

There are 8 roosters in this shot. 5 escapees and 3 on-lookers.

Now, on the 2nd day of Winter, I sit typing this to the sounds of 10 raucous Roosters. Yes, you read that right. I wrote 10. As in, 1/6 of our flock. Clearly, some of these have to go- for their happiness and well-being and for the health of our hens. Our roosters are handy and handsome. They protect the hens by sounding a warning should a predator approach. They provide baby chicks. They break up hen fights and often protect the youngest hens or those on the bottom of the pecking order. That being said, their main activities consist of eating, crowing, tussling for dominance or breeding- and they are fairly fond of that last one. And, that is a problem- too many roosters will run our hens ragged.

Here is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. We cannot keep 10 roosters. It is absolutely out of the question. On the other hand, they are so friendly and well-behaved. And, they have fledged into very handsome roosters. I don't have the heart to pen them up and send them to their demise. I thought about having Sean do the dirty work, but that didn't feel right, either.

So, New Plan: attempting to sell them as breeding stock for another backyard chicken flock. To that end, I took some pictures of the lads this morning and yesterday. The thought is to post them on Craig's List, Uncle Henry's, and The Maine Market Place. I will also post them here, tweet, and add them to our facebook page, too. I realise that in selling them, I have little assurance that they will escape ending up as some one's dinner, because ultimately, most people are carnivores (ourselves included) and chicken are livestock. But, I will certainly vet anyone interested in purchasing them to try to mitigate that outcome. I am hopeful that some like-minded individual or family will enjoy adding a good, friendly rooster to their flock.

Willie is a 6- month old Americauna-Buff Orpington Hybrid Cross hatched and raised here at Lally Broch Farm. Willie is very personable and likes to wander outside the fencing. He is unbothered by cats or other small animals. Willie has not begun crowing, nor does he yet have any spurs. He has a rose comb mostly hidden by a jaunty cap of cream crest feathers and speckled colored feathers over his back and haunches. His tail feathers are a lovely iridescent green. He has creamy white legs.
Rusty is a 6-month old cross between a Rhode Island Red hen and Americauna rooster. Rusty does not crow yet can CROW, but he does not yet have his spurs. His is very friendly and takes an interest on all the happenings in the hen yard. He does not attempt to wander the yard with the rest of the horde of roosters. Instead, Cassanova spends his time with the hens. He loves the ladies. ♥ Rusty has a rose comb. His crest feathers are creamy ivory. His back and hackles are speckled red and white. His tail feathers are iridescent green. Rusty's legs are yellow. His is a very pretty rooster and one of my favorites.

Simon is a 5-month old Americauna rooster. Simon is very personable, though a little stand-offish. He enjoys announcing the day, the presence of anyone in his vicinity, or pretty much anything else via loud crowing. Simon is often found outside the pen area, wandering the farm yard. He is quite the lady's man, dancing for the girls in the hopes of romance. Simon has a single comb, creamy white neck feathers that extend down his back. His breast and leg feathers are black. Simon's tail feathers are black and iridescent green. His feet are green. He would make a wonderful Alpha for a flock of his own.
Charles is a 7 month old Americauna rooster. He is gorgeous. We were really hoping that he would be a she, but as Charles grew and developed, it became clear that a rooster he was- and then, to confirm it, he began crowing. Loud, perfect cock-a-doodle do's through the morning and day. Charles is ready to be an Alpha in his own flock. He regularly leads the horde of young roosters on their daily escape from the pen and takes a few pullet hens with him. Charles has a single comb, long cream colored neck feathers flowing into gold feathers across his back, green feet, and long iridescent green and black tail feathers. Want to hatch Easter-Eggers for yourself? This is just the lad to do the job!

 Rocky is a 5 month old Americauna rooster. He doesn't crow and his spurs have not arrived, yet. Give him time. He has promise. Rocky has a single comb, white neck feathers that continue down his back, speckling with his black under belly. His tail feathers are iridescent green and black and his feet are green. He is going to be a beautiful boy when he comes into his own.
We have enjoyed them all and it will be a little sad to find them new homes, but we cannot keep them in one yard. I know this is what is best for all of us.
Thanks for stopping in for a visit tonight.
Good night.
Sonja ♥
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Boston Aquarium Visit

I beg your indulgence while I play with changing the theme of our blog to reflect the winter that has finally decided to visit us in the Northeast. I will try to settle on a look I can love in the coming days. Meanwhile, be prepared for titles to be off center, colors to randomly change, and backgrounds to appear and disappear faster than afternoon scratch tossed to hungry poultry. Your patience is appreciated.

And, if I can stretch your patience a little further, today's post has nothing to do with farm life at all. It is all about our weekend to Boston with the girls to visit the New England Aquarium. We were only away over night, but we all had a delightful time. Sometimes it feels like all we do is work, work, work... because that is pretty close to the truth. But, we all needed some "away" time. Not a lot, but enough to relax: to walk around the aquarium and look at a slew of beautiful critters that we aren't required to muck out after, swim in a pool, soak in a hot tub, sit in a steam bath, and dry off in a sauna... and guiltlessly order a cheesy meaty take-out pizza delivery after 10pm. No. No. No. I wrote, "guiltlessly" and I meant it. We all needed a little vacation and that is exactly what we had. ♥

Since, much of the activity on the farm front has mostly settled into hibernation-phase, we are eagerly waiting for Spring to begin all kinds of new and worthy projects, welcome new babies of various kinds, and plant for the future. I will have much to share in the coming months of cold days, shoveling snow, chipping out ice containers and stalls, carrying wood, creating crafts, and the like. For now, I thought that I would share some pictures Kristen and I took of the sea creatures we visited with at the Aquarium.

I hope you enjoy!

Banggai Tetras.


I forgot what this was called. :)

Cuttle Fish.

Sea Lions.


Sea Horses.

Leafy Sea Dragon.

Jelly Fish.


Blue Jelly Fishes.

Jelly Fishes. (Kristen is smitten with them. We had over 50 shots of the jellies alone!)

Jelly Fish.

Meaghan, Micayla (our niece), and Kristen before final check out at the Sheraton Hotel.

Thanks for visiting today. We hope you'll come back again soon!
Sonja ♥