summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Story...of sorts


I was shopping in Wal-Mart and just happened down the Christmas aisle.  I do not need any more Christmas paraphernalia as I have bunches…from my Grandmother, my Mother and my own. I just like to look at the new items being offered for the current year. I prefer antiques.


But, I saw and decided to purchase a $2.00 plastic resin donkey figurine.  It was being sold with other Nativity figures.  Our Nativity needed a donkey. I scrutinized each donkey looking for the best of the bunch.  I am a bit fanatical that way. The figurine seemed to be just the right size to blend in with the other figures in Glenn’s Nativity.  (I purchased this Nativity in a local antique store as a Christmas gift for Glenn two years ago.  Glenn is not fond of antiques, but he did not grumble over this purchase.) And, we just had to include a donkey since we have a real donkey on the farm…makes sense to me. Besides, let’s not forget the story...mode of transportation - a donkey. A donkey was required to complete our vignette.


I gingerly placed the donkey in my cart so that it would not fall and break.  I still had plenty of other shopping to do, so I needed to be very careful for quite a span of time.  At the checkout, I asked the clerk to double wrap the figurine so that it was protected.  I then placed it in a bag that contained two towels I was purchasing for the guest bathroom.  I nestled the figure carefully within the towels for additional protection.


I loaded that bag into my car with more care as I placed it in a location where no other item, especially a heavier one, might fall on it.  When I unloaded that bag from my car into the house, I again took extra steps to unload that bag first, carry it into the house and place it in a safe place on the counter. 


Hours later, I decided to look at the towels. I whipped them out of the bag and gave them a good shake. I heard a loud thump on the floor.  You guessed it…my donkey. 


Unfortunately, an ear broke off my donkey - yikes!


Days later,  I returned to Walmart to buy Krazy glue since Glenn said our Elmer’s glue was not strong enough for the repair.  I decided it might be just as easy to purchase a new donkey, but alas, they were gone.  All that was remaining were a few wise men and two sheep.  I thought about getting a sheep since we have real sheep on our farm, too; but their faces looked so cartoony that I decided not to increase the size of the flock roaming around the manger.


So, off to the office supplies section for a tube of Krazy glue.


When I got home, I took the glue package, read some of the directions and decided to repair the donkey’s ear immediately.  I began by lightly dabbing the tip of the glue tube, as directed, on the head of the donkey where the ear was to return.  Without warning, all the glue spewed from the tube covering the donkey and the majority of my thumb.  Within a split moment, my thumb was attached to the donkey.  I panicked.  I pulled and pulled and pulled until my thumb released.  I quickly tried to attach the ear part. 


Initially, I was hoping for a flawless repair…NOT!  The body shined with dried glue and the ear was out of alignment.  Boo Hoo!  And, my thumb was sore from ripping it in my desperation. 


I went back to the directions where I read…if skin gets stuck to item, DO NOT pull - use acetone to soften the glue for an easy release.  I guess I should have read All the directions before starting this project. 


Well, said tube of glue is empty from one teenie tiny repair job, the donkey looks a bit odd covered in gloss sitting in his assigned position next to the manger, and my thumb is on the mend.


I think, next time, I will stay away from Krazy glue and stick with that white, washable Elmer’s glue instead.



Friday, December 20, 2013

Recycle, Upcycle, Reuse

This is Becky’s feed shed - freshly painted, an original farm outbuilding - NOT!

 Glenn obtained this wooden structure years ago when the Forest Service decided to replace many of these rustic structures with more modern, concrete ones. 


Yes, this was an official federal government outhouse - two doors, two stalls, male and female - we removed the informational signs.


I remember when Glenn and I went to remove the obsolete structures (we got two) from the government facility - a campground.  Once loaded on our flatbed, we slowly drove the 20 miles homes, stopping for lunch at a small, country store/gas station.


We got plenty of looks.


We used one of the buildings for years for our cattle feed storage.  Three years ago, we changed our management to grass-fed only…no supplemental grain.  The building stands idle at the corner of our yard, looking like an outhouse.  


Recently, Becky added pigs to her farm.  She needed a place to store grain for her pigs.  The transfer between the farms was obvious.  Glenn and Becky loaded one of the ‘outhouses’ (the one hidden in a corner of the pasture, of course) on the flatbed and trucked it to the ’55 farm’.  Again, the sight caught the attention of many. (See blog Oct. 13, 2013 -A Most Unusual Haul)


Becky placed the storage structure as close to her pig feeder as possible to make the filling of her feeder easy and yet accessible for a large truck which would supply and fill the structure with bulk feed.  Nestled between the barn and the silo was the most desirable location.


Then, Becky did something we had not for all those years the building was in our possession.  She repaired it and, most importantly, she painted it.  Doesn’t’ it look good?


And now, the structure is undeniably a farm outbuilding, not a recycled government outhouse.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oink, Oink

These are Becky's pigs - all gilts (female)...wandering around the pasture and waiting for the boar.

I am waiting for the PORK!

Aren't they cute?

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Glimpse of Next Season

This morning I awoke to icy surroundings.  I am glad that I was able to stay inside.


The ice was beautiful as it covered my world in a thin layer of glass altering each and every object into ethereal fascination.


As the clouds moved on, the deep grey sky abruptly transformed to one that was super bright, almost blinding.


The perspective quickly changed to sparkles before slipping away drop by drop.  Soon, only a wetness of the earth and vegetation remained.


I was glad that I was able to experience that magical moment.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Spending Time with a Friend

A few weeks ago my friend Ann came over. 


We spent a lot of time talking and a little time working on a Christmas craft that was originally scheduled for 2012.  One year later, we finally found a bit of time to create together.


We each covered a foam tree shape with pine cones scales.  This process sounds easy but, at times, was a bit abusive to our hands as the super dried cones (Ann collected them over one year ago and I squirreled the cones away to be saved for this particular project) were sharp and difficult to break into the components, the scales, we needed for the project.  Also, tacky glue stuck to our fingers made the task even more challenging.  Ann and I both are many years out from the time of Glue 101 in elementary school. 


Then, came the finishing of the tree’s top.  We tried the scales set into a closed triangle and that looked odd.  Then, we cut the bottom, non-stem section, of a pine cone and placed it at the pinnacle.  That also looked odd.  Finally, Ann had a revelation.  She inverted this bottom section and it fit nicely over the tree top - perfect fit.  The finished product actually looked ‘right’.


We each ended up with a rustic, country-style tree to add to our home d├ęcor - a perfect addition for the Christmas season, for any season.


The best part of the day was not the resulting tree, as cute as it is, but the hours Ann and I spent talking, sharing and most of all laughing.


Life continues to be good!


My advice…call a friend over and share in a hands on project together - food for the spirit and soul.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

JAKE - More Than Just A Farm Dog

Jake, loyal farm dog and loyal companion extraordinaire, has died.  I miss him dearly.


I thought I could write this blog without tears…I cannot!


Jake entered our lives, almost 15 years ago, as a bouncing and very excited fluffy puppy.  Becky wanted a dog and we agreed to let her have a short-haired female.  Jake was neither short-haired nor was he female. But, his disposition made up for these shortcomings.


For the first years of his life, Jake grew under the guidance of our black lab mix, Pepper.  Pepper was a wanderer and Jake, the obedient pupil, followed.  After Pepper died, Jake matured into a loving, loyal stay-at-home dog.  He followed us everywhere.  He never wandered.  He had the best personality.  We all loved Jake.


Jake was the only dog on the farm for a few years.  He and the three cats became great friends.  Jake would share his food with the cats.  Jake would share his bed with the cats.  Jake would groom the cats.  But, there was something missing in Jake’s life.  He needed canine company.  So, we eventually added a border collie to our farm.  Jake was happier.  Jake was now the teacher.  Buddy the pupil. 


The kids moved off the farm for various reasons.  The two dogs became my responsibly, and quickly my bosom buddies.  All was well, even on those days that I forgot to feed them.  They never complained.


Then, Jake began to age.  Buddy became his caretaker, watching to make sure he returned from their daily constitutionals. Buddy would sit and watch the woods waiting for Jake.  Eventually, Jake would emerge and Buddy could move on with his activities.  Jake returned the favor by searching the sky for birds for Buddy to chase.  Jake would announce the birds with a solid bark. This is something he did only during this last year.  Every day, the energetic step of Jake’s became less lively.  When I walked faster than Jake, I was sad.  I knew Jake was on the downhill. Unknown to me, Jake remained ‘top dog’ though, which I discovered after he died.


Jake would never miss our frequent walks, no matter how far behind us he would follow and no matter how slow.  I called his pace ‘Jake speed’.  I, too, frequently walk at ‘Jake speed’ these days.


The morning of the day Jake went down, I watched Jake and Buddy playing in the barn lot from an upstairs window - a happy moment to witness.  Soon, Jake was down, never to gain his footing again.  Becky came over and sat with Jake all day, hours in the cold air sitting on the cold ground, comforting him as he began to die.   As evening approached, the temperatures dropped even more, so Glenn and Becky moved Jake into the store room next to the main door of the house.  Buddy kept vigil and the cats curled in Jake’s furry tummy as was their routine.  Jake, with very sad eyes, just lay motionless.


Jake slipped away during the second night.


 I cried every time I thought about Jake. Buddy was uneasy eating alone.  The cats continued to look for Jake and their favorite napping spot.  Buddy began to chase the cats.  The cats began to hiss at Buddy.  There was no ‘top dog’ to keep everyone in his/her place.  The harmony was gone. 


Buddy is still very lost.  Buddy misses Jake.  The cats continue to look for Jake in all his favorite places.  The cats miss Jake.  And, I still cry when I think of my totally faithful companion.  I miss Jake.  Glenn misses Jake. Becky misses Jake.


Jake was a GREAT dog. 


Jake will always be missed.