Wednesday, January 28, 2015

After the Blizzard

 It was a real "rip snorter". The forecast got it right for our region: 40 hours of snow with gusting winds of up to 55 MPH causing dangerous white outs and the accumulation of upwards of 2 feet of snow. Check. Check. Checkity-Check. Safe inside home and barn, we weathered the storm with nary a hitch. We were prepared for losing power, but surprisingly, that didn't happen. Not even a blip. The worst part for us (read that Sean) was braving the cold to bring food and water to the critters in the barn and coop. For our family, the Blizzard of '15 was a day spent laughing, relaxing, and eating homemade french onion soap.

The turkeys we worried over awoke confused about their new surroundings, but then in laid-back turkey-style accepted it and set about checking out their new digs. They will be housed in the barn for the remainder of the winter. It makes caring for them easier and for that reason alone, it makes sense. What they will lose in fresh air and yard to roam, they will make up for in dry, secure, warm shelter. Sean captured this image for us. It is a great shot showing the lovely iridescent feathers of Aquila, our Red Breasted Bronze tom next to the more muted tones of Priscilla, his hen. Lazarus is the big tom on the left. His hen, Martha, is facing away from the camera, looking around their new home.

"What did You do?" the bucklings seem to ask. 
It is easy to see that the bucklings were not pleased with the howling winds; tails tucked and eyes wide. Poor lads!

In extreme weather, such as that which we were having, we keep the barn doors closed tight and latched. We go in as little as possible because every time we open the door, heat escapes and a freezing blast of air and snow blow in. Despite the wind pummeling the building and against the metal roof, the goats, Jasmine, Ebony, barn guineas and chicks all rode it out well. I imagine they are going to be a little stir crazy by the time we get the doors to the pasture shoveled out and clear to open, but we'll bring them extra yummy treats to placate them in the meantime.

Sean took this image of Molly. I love her nose and head covered in snow. :) Silly puppy! 

Molly, in contrast, was just loving the new development of snow. That silly puppy whined at the door to go outside repeatedly. She was the image of pure joy, swimming through snow drifts and making a complete mess of herself. We let her play as long as we thought it prudent and then, called for her to come back inside, but she couldn't hear us over the wind- or more likely, ignored our calls in favor of running through another mound of snow. Wet, cold, and shivering Molly raced inside to plop down in front of the fire or onto the unsuspecting lap of whoever was sitting most conveniently accessible to her. With a mighty shake, snow was dislodged and strewn across the room followed by shrieks of "Molly!" An hour's rest and Molly was back at the door to be let outside again.

So how much snow was there really?

3 pm Sean shoveled off the steps to make checking barn less hazardous. 
3 pm Snow drifts up to my waist in spots. Sean shoveled a path to the barn.
4:30 am. Still snowing, but it was time for Sean and I to shovel out the van so
our working people could get to their jobs. An hour and a half later, we finished. 

Some perspective. 

We have a path to the outside water supply, but the front steps will have to
wait a bit longer. I am thinking, Spring thaw. ;)

When the wind died down, the morning snow was sort of pretty floating from the sky. 

The chicken yard was one huge snow drift, but the path shoveled to remained
semi-clear for the most part. 

By noon, the snow had stopped. We certainly have our work cut out in
shoveling off the front steps. 

Sean came home of lunch and we decided to open the door for the geese and ducks. Our coop and it's attached ell has plenty of room for the chickens to roost, but so many birds in close quarters makes for unhappy, grumpy birds. The chickens chose to stay near the door. The geese and ducks eagerly swam through the snow in a flurry of quacks and honks and played until the sun began to set.

With another smaller storm expected to hit on Friday into Saturday, it seems that winter is finally here. We really can't complain, we are at the end of January already. Realistically, it has been a fairly mild winter. Still, I am hoping for an early spring. :)

Thanks for checking in with us today, friends. I am glad you came.

~Sean and Sonja ♥

Monday, January 26, 2015

Maine Blizzard

We have been upgraded and it looks like we are in for it later tonight; a good ole-fashioned blizzard. The forecasters on MPBN radio predicted we could be looking at 40 hours of straight snow with winds gusting 45-55 MPH.

 We live right on the edge of the white/blue band between Belfast and Bangor. Originally, there was a forecast of 15-20 inches of snow in our region. We still had a small hope of the storm blowing out to sea, but as time passed, that hope dwindled. Weather models revealed that we are in the line of the storm and need to take precautionary steps. A blizzard is heading up the coast.

In case we lose power, which seems likely, we brought in extra firewood, batteries for our electronic devices are all charged, and candles are at the ready. We'll fill the bathtub with water for flushing the toilet and for warming on the wood stove to wash dishes and cleaning. We have several Mason jars of fresh water for drinking ready in the fridge. A large pot of French Onion Soup will be simmering away on the wood stove and we picked up snack foods at the store for the girls that won't require heating.
People sorted, we have a short window of opportunity to prepare for the additional work of storm weather animal care. We have plenty of grain stored up and hay at ready. Water containers will be brought inside overnight to keep from freezing or needing to be shoveled out of snow mounds or chiseled out of ice.

Our turkeys are the biggest concern. Usually, they have been moved up to the barn already in preparation for winter. But, with the extra time spent at the shop and the relative mildness of weather so far this year, they are still housed in their regular pen. Sean added some extra protection from blowing winds in the form of a tarp secured over their shelter and extra hay for bedding and this has served well so far this winter. With what might be coming, we'll not take the risk of leaving them there.

We raise Red Breasted Bronze and Blue Slate turkeys- both breeds are well suited to our cold, northern climate. When the chickens choose to remain inside under cover and even the more persistent ducks and geese decide the weather is not to their liking, the turkeys are often seen hanging in their yard, picking through the snow for anything interesting, impervious to the foul temperatures. We have found ours to be a hearty stock. They have sailed through every small storm we've had in their regular pen. But, with the potential of several feet of snow coupled with howling winds and freezing temperatures, the turkeys are being moved this afternoon when Sean returns home from work.

We'll secure a couple panels of the movable fencing we built last spring and create a space for them in the barn. We considered allowing them to roam the barn freely, but we have young chicks and juvenile guineas living un-penned upstairs. The turkeys might see them as a~neat, new companions, b~competition for food, or c~ food itself! Options B & C being less desirable outcomes, fencing them into a secure spot is the best alternative. I think Ebony will appreciate their company more, too, safely separated from her mound of hay.

I'll try to post images and video of the storm to share with you. Stay safe, friends. Thanks for stopping by today.

Sonja ♥

How do you prepare for inclement weather? 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winner Announcement!

Our Give-Away has ended. All that remains is to announce the winners. If you are one of them, be sure to contact us immediately and claim your prize! If we don't hear from you by Tuesday, a new winner will be selected. Here we go...

Lorie Garnett was randomly selected the winner of Cherrie Creations' Snapper Towels and Lally Broch Farm's coordinating Bee's Wax Wraps. Retail value of the set $40.

Reusable, eco-friendl, washable, and pretty. Snapper Towels cut down on (or replace) paper towel usage in your home. Bee's Wax Wraps replace cling wrap to preserve food in your refrigerator or use them for packing snacks and/or sandwiches for lunch bags. Reuse both over and over again. These come with a handy care card to help you to use them to their fullest in your home.

Five readers were randomly selected to win one of Riff Wood Picks unique, hardwood picks~ a retail value of $10 each! They were:

1. Sheryle, who visited Cherrie Creations on facebook.
2. Julie Robshaw who suggested a design for Riff Wood Picks~ " a sand dollar".
3. Roxanne Jarvis who saves the planet by "Coffee to water plants and eggshell candle holders! Scraps of veggies added to soil!"
4. Karlatrx by visiting Riff Wood Picks facebook page.
5. Karel DePaola by visiting Lally Broch Farm on facebook.

The final randomly drawn winner of our Lally Broch Farm Eggshell Mosaic Jewelry pendant set valued at $60 is Kimmy Twombly who picked her brain and entered by suggesting "Maine Moose" picks.

Congratulations to all of our winners! You can reach me at 207-323-4982 to claim your prize or by visiting our facebook page and sending me a message here ------> Lally Broch Farm

Snow's in the forecast, which means we have much to prepare to be ready for it. Thanks for playing along with us and visiting with us today.

~Sonja ♥

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January Thaw

The feeling of needing to get some spring cleaning done hit early this year. More and more, I feel the need to simplify the "things" around me. It started with cleaning out the studio and kitchen areas upon returning from our shop adventure. This week, I tackled the family room. Poor Sean. Every time he leaves, his house changes before he returns.

Before the changes...

Besides being in dire need of a thorough cleaning, my biggest challenges in the family room are the large picture window placement, the lack of room for the recliner that Meaghan dearly loves, and the need to keep the twin bed/day bed available. Sunlight streams through the window, which should be good in theory. Unfortunately, it puts a glare on the family room television, so watching programs for much of the day is inconvenient to impossible. I have lovely, decorative curtains hung, but they do not close all the way, so are of little use.
Acadia and Roamer basking in the sun before I move their warm and comfy perch.  
My solution? I switched the daybed and the television console and stands. Using "stitch witch", which I love, I hemmed a couple curtain panels I already owned to fit the window and can close to remove the problems of glare and privacy.

I am not completely in love with the other side of the room, which now hosts the love seat and Meaghan's recliner, but I can live with it- for the moment and maybe it will grow on me. I think I will be on the lookout for a second recliner and find a new home for the love seat in the near future. But, for now, our family room is clean and cozy.

The temperature stayed in the high 20's-mid 30's for several days. We took full advantage of the warm snap, spending extra time with the animals. It was a nice change to be able to visit without fear of freezing fingers falling off! Since Sean has been in charge of all the animal care on his own for quite a while, I reintroduced myself with treats- these in the form of oranges, pumpkins, and acorn squash for the goats. I have never been above using sweets to gain the affection of animals or small children. Go with what works, right?

Judah is one of our 2 year old bucklings. He was born to Jedi and Leah in 2013. He takes after his Mom's smaller stature and sweet nature. He was very interested in seeing what treats I had with me. 

Keren Happuch is looking healthy and well. At nearly 2 years of age, this is her first breeding season. She hasn't come back into heat, so we are hopeful that she is bred. Keren has been reserved by a friend wanting to begin keeping goats. Keren and her kid(s) and one of this year's bucks, Jesse, will be leaving the farm together this spring to begin their own herd.  
The fencing between the two goat pastures was no impediment to sharing some squash pieces with family. Rachel ate from one side with the help of her youngest daughter, Keziah. While her oldest daughter, Keren ate squash pieces from the other side of the gate. 

Cassie, Jemimah, and Ellie are often together. They eat their hay and grain together and sleep near one another. Off to one side, they had their own squash pieces to eat in peace. They made short work of them! 

Salome (left) and Haddassah (right) were less taken with their treat. They gave them a solid sniff-about and picked at the flesh delicately.  These gentle sisters are the last of our does turning 2 years old this spring. We hope that they are both bred with Asher's kids and that their first kidding goes without a hitch. :)

Our wandering chickens were quite interested in the treats being offered in the goat pastures. This pretty girl sat patiently until an opportune moment and then, swooped in for her share.

We do not feed citrus fruits to the birds because I have read stories suggesting that citrus fruits can lead to them laying less frequently. At this time of the year, when our girls are naturally laying less, it is better to be canny. Whether that is true or not, doesn't matter. Better to be safe, than sorry. We do feed other treats. Today, all the birds enjoyed their share of whole, raw pumpkin and acorn squash. Happy does not begin to describe their enthusiasm. Warning: this video is LOUD! :)

The weather was warm enough that the flooded area of our lawn, thawed into a mini-pond about 6 inches deep. While it was not deep enough to afford a real bath, it did allow for some splash-time for our geese. Justin, our male, was very concerned where his mate, Caitlin was until Sean retrieved her, too. Then, they were quite pleased to splash about and preen for about a half an hour.

Both the geese and duck populations will be moved to live in this area full-time this year. They will be happy to be able to make things as wet and messy as they like. I am sure the chickens will appreciate the change, too.

The last task accomplished this week was creating 15 new pieces of mosaic eggshell jewelry. I planned on trying to make more than that, but other people, pets, and things took up some of my time. Still, I am very pleased with this week's creations. Here are some of my favorites. You can view the entire assortment in my "For Sale" album on our FACEBOOK PAGE, Full description and prices are listed there.

 In response to some requests for bracelets, I have begun creating some new designs. I plan to work on the designs through the rest of the winter, but I am really pleased with the initial creations. These thistles are particular favorites. I love the soft green backdrop next to the deeper emerald green of the thistle itself combined with the violet of the thistle and Swarovski crystal elements. Sterling silver findngs.

My heart is definitely set on spring's arrival. From the flowing blossoms on the tree on the left to the budding birch on the right, it all seems to be pointing to the coming of new life. These pendants are suspended from a sterling silver rope style chain and are pictured without an ornate bale. I am not sure yet whether I will add that or leave them simple. I do love how they turned out. I promise you, the images do not do justice to the colors captured in the backgrounds, nor in the details of the subjects in the foreground. Excuse the conceit, but I really do love them and am very pleased with the results.

So that is what is going on in our little world. I hope this post finds you happy and healthy in yours. Thank you for visiting with us today, friends. We're glad you came.

~Sonja ♥

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Give Away, Give Away!

During the month that we hosted the Creatively Maine Pop Up Shop in Bucksport, one of the extra special incentives we offered was a PRIZE package filled with items donated from the artisans within the shop. We didn't talk it up too much online, since it was mainly available by visiting us at the shop. That can be difficult if you live in places as far away (or further than) High Point, NC,  Mountain View, CA or Liverpool, PA .

But, a winner has been randomly selected by which selected a number between one and 293. It selected number 144. The winner of our prize package is Kim Laplant.  This is what Kim won:

1. CD of original music from Shawn Mercer $10.-
2. Organic soy scent tarts from Lally Broch Farm $12.-
3. Glass Lampwork Bead Earrings from Blueberry Bay Beads $30.-
4. Crocheted Alpaca/Silk Necklace with Glass Beads from Sarah Nugent $25.-
5. Two Bend-wood Heart Wreaths from The Woodshaper Shop of Maine $25.-
6. Cat Toy with Catnip from Ratz 4 Catz $20.-
7. Polymer Tree of Life Pendant from Laughing Llama Beads $18.-
8. Silver & Crystal Drop Earrings from Foxfire Design Studio $22.-
9. Retired Wine Barrel Wine Caddy from Verona Wine & Design $19.-
10. Tissues-To-Go Pack from Nancy Heald $2.-
11. Two Wooden Guitar Picks from Riff Wood Picks $20.-
12. Felted Vase from Rose Whitehead Fiber Fabrication $25.-
13. Retired Wine Barrel Business Card Holder from Verona Wine & Design $7.-
14. Votive Candle and Melts from Silkweeds $10.-
15. Two Goat's Milk Soaps from Gentle Meadow Goat Farm $10.-
16. Knit Cowl from Creations by Rose $12.-
17. Mosaic Eggshell Pendant Set by Lally Broch Farm $30.-
18. 30 Minute Massage from Cloud 9 Massage $30.-
19. Flower Set from Creations by Rose $18.-
20. Greeting Card from Amy Thompson $4.-

*****  Total Value $349! *****

Now, our friends in cyber-space have a chance to win some fantastic prizes, too! I have teamed up with Chris from Riff Wood Picks and Cherie from Cherrie Creations to offer you chance to win some cool loot. This is what you can win:

Five chances to win ONE of the pictured Riff Wood Picks created by Chris Gray. Riff Wood Picks make great gift picks for guitar, bass, and mandolin, and are hand made in Maine, USA. The combination of beautiful hardwoods, both local and exotic, create a unique and artistic pick that has the wonderful tone that only natural wood can deliver! Chris's hope is that those who give and those who receive one will each find joy in them. Visit Riff Wood Picks on Etsy and see their complete line of picks and other hardwood goods. :) Five readers will win one pick each, valued at $10 each.

Using paper products to clean up messes around the homestead is a pet-peeve of mine. I want to remember to reuse when I can, but honestly, I am guilty of using paper and throwing it away. We can go through A LOT of them in a week. I switched to cleaning cloths created from the remnants of towels or face cloths that had seen better days. They work to cut down on waste, but often they go missing. They'd get thrown away or our resident "Sock Monster" would eat them.

This is where my talented friend, Cherie came into the picture. I can sew, but it is not a great love of mine. I explained to Cherie what I was looking for and she created the perfect solution. Snapper Towels were born. These are the same size as traditional paper towels. The front of the cloths are a pretty cotton pattern; the back is absorbent terry cloth. They snap together to form a handy, reusable, eco-friendly, "green" roll of towels. The size of the towels combined with the heft of the snaps make sure that when a towel goes into the wash, it comes back out again. For light clean up, for example; drying water from counter tops, I simply snap the wet cloth back onto the roll and let hang to dry and reuse. For dirty messes, into the wash they go. Each roll has 12 towels.

Our 100% Cotton Bee's Wax Wraps are the perfect companion item for households who, like me, are concerned about the potential of BPA, estrogen, and other compounds leaching from some plastic products. I wondered what people used to use before the convenience of cling wrap. The answer I found that intrigued me the most was "homespun and bee's wax". After a little trial and error, I developed my own spin on that concept. I create colorful Bee's Wax Wraps using 100% cotton and bee's wax, a naturally antibiotic substance. Since the wax permeates the cotton, food particles do not stick to it. To wash, just rinse with lukewarm water and hang to dry before reusing. With usage, the waxed surface will naturally show signs of wear and foxing. To revitalize them, simply place them in a warm, sunny spot to melt and redistribute the wax. (You can also use your microwave oven to do this, but be sure to cover your surface to protect it from melting wax.) Each roll of Bee's Wax Wraps contain 2 large 11" x 11" squares (perfect to wrap around casserole dishes, larger plates or to wrap sandwiches in) and 4 small 9" x 9" squares.

We've been selling our Snapper Towels and Bee's Wax Wraps at Craft Shows and Art Markets. Now, they are available online on the Lally Broch Farm facebook page and will be coming to Etsy shortly.

One reader will win both, valued at $40 :)

Our final prize is a Lally Broch Farm Mosaic Eggshell Pendant Set. This set was painted to represent the branches of a symbolic family tree; that we are all part of one human family, interconnected. The tree is painted against a sunrise to bring to mind the dawning of a new day with all the hope that comes with it. A fresh slate. Another chance to get it right. One person will win this pendant set valued at $60.

This give-away begins at Midnight tonight and lasts until January 23rd at Midnight EST. Winners will be contacted with an announcement on this site and with another on the Lally Broch Farm facebook page. Winners have 48 hours to claim their prizes or the prize will be forfeit and a new winning name will be randomly drawn.

How to enter? Just use the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Our Final Days...

This is our final week in Bucksport- which is bitter sweet. On one hand, I am really looking forward to going back home to my family, homestead, and studio. On the other, I will miss the fun of setting up displays and chatting with all of you... and making money. I have to be honest that I will miss the steady stream of income. Having the shop has taken a lot of pressure off of Sean's shoulders and much worry from mine. Much, but not all. This is winter in Maine. Things freeze. Things break. Things must be replaced. But, if we are very, very careful, we just might have enough money to get through the winter drought and pay our expenses until the farmer and art markets open. Maybe.

Everything at the shop feels like "the last". Yesterday was the last Monday. Today is the last Tuesday. And, soon, it will be the last time I close the door and turn off the lights. That is a sad thought, but not one that leaves me saddened. This shop did what I hoped it would do. It brought some fantastically talented people together and showed us all what a true co-op might be like. Sure, we had it easy in that our rent, lights, and heat were paid for us. But, the bones of possibility are there. We had the chance to reflect on what worked and what didn't. We'll see what dreams may come.

After talking with Sean about what we can do to bring this experience to a close with a "Bang!", we came up with this thought~ "It is better to close the doors with a little more money in the bank and a lot more hay in the barn than to bring home decorations for the shelves in the studio." With that in mind, this is what we are offering from now until Saturday, January 10th at 7:00 pm EST: 


*** OR ***


These are some of the great deals to be had:

40% off = $18.- OR 50% off = $15.- 

PAINTED PENDANTS: $40.-40% off = $24.- OR 50% off = $20.-

40% Off = $36.- OR 50% Off = $30.-

Maddock Stitches Fabric Bowls
25% OFF, starting at $14.50.


Medium planters (pictured above) $15.00 marked down to $10.50

Hanging Planters (side) $25.00 marked down to $17.50

Large planters (right) $45.00 marked down to $31.50
 All CREATIONS BY ROSE cowls are Buy One, Get One 50% OFF
starting at only $12.- each.

All River Wind Woolies Wrist Warmers from Recycled Sweaters. Buy One, Get One 50% OFF.
Regular Price $28.- Sale Price $21.- each when you buy two. :)

For those of our friends who live "away", you can take advantage of this sale, too (with some exclusions- I am *not* shipping plants <g>). Payment must be made with credit or debit card by calling 207-323-4982 or through Paypal to Shipping rates apply. More images will be posted on our Lally Broch Farm Facebook page. If you are interested in an item, please leave a comment and send me a message so we can make arrangements. Until payment is made, the item is up for grabs, so speak up soon! :)

Shop Hours: 11 am - 6 pm Tueday (tonight), 10 am - 7 pm Wednesday-Saturday.
Location: 74 Main St. Bucksport Maine
Phone: 207-323-4982

I hope you take advantage of this offer. I enjoy being able to give you all special deals and I especially enjoy creating beautiful things that provide for our critters' care. Thank you for your support, friends. I appreciate it more than I can say. ♥

Sean and Sonja ♥