Monday, March 29, 2010

Join the Revolution

For those who are following the Jamies Food Revolution on TV there is a great way to show your support just go to www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com/petition and sign the petition about changing the way America will be giving food to our children.

I have been having melt downs about food for years and finally there is a glimmer of hope. It is a small start but all great revolutions start this way. Our country started because we did not want to take what was being shoved at us - now we have to find that spirit again and stand up for what we deserve - not the crap that is being fed to us. No longer should we settle for what is fast and unhealthy - get back to our kitchens, gardens and local farms.... For some of us we have been fighting this fight for all our lives - join us PLEASE!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes




Wonderful Snow Covered Pikes Peak - this is the view from my front deck - I am so blessed to wake to this majestic mountain each morning. Yesterday you could not see it with all the horrible blowing snow but look what I can see today. Gives one hope that good things can happen to you in less then a day...

THAT DARN PECKER !!





Now that the horrible winds have died down and I can get out of the shop door I decided I would check the house and out buildings to see what damage had befallen the Funny Farm. I could not believe my eyes - THAT DARN PECKER!!!

Over the years I have had to fight off wood peckers - but this takes the cake or should I say the wood. On my front deck posts I count 6 holes that this devil has carved out - mind you all within 6 feet of the always full bird feeders. No where else did he do his dirty deed - A whole forest of trees and he has to attack my deck posts. Oh how I wished I had it in me to shoot him, stuff him and then mount him on the deck as a reminder to others to Knock It Off!!!

Seeing it is a wonderful warm day out (typical Colorado weather - blizzard one day and 56 degrees the next) I found my can of wood filler and went to work. After it sits today I will sand it tomorrow and repaint those holes. The never ending jobs here at the farm.

That was not the only damage I found, the signs on the driveway gates where ripped off because of that 78 mile an hour wind. Several shingles on the chicken coop are now located who knows where! Three more bolts that hold the lightening cable to the side of the logs has been pulled out and hopefully did not land in the driveway, I will be out once the snow melts running the magnetic wand all over the driveway because those can take out a tire in nothing flat - no joke.. I will also have about 100 yards of snow fence to replace - the winds do cause such problems and more work for me.

Still today is 56 degrees and the sun is high in the sky - all is right with the Funny Farm today and soon there will be one less pecker in the world I hope...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Looking for ideas - Got Any??



I really needed to have a bit of Springtime in my world today - this is my newest hand dyed "Chartreuse" alpaca fiber that has finally dried. The fiber comes from SilverHawk - a very lite silver long length alpaca boy of mine. I love the way the color turned out because his darker gray did not take the dye the same way so there is very tiny strands of a dark gray and darker chartreuse in the fiber - truely amazing..

I have already passed it thru my Patrick Green once and now I am deciding what I might do next - Any Suggestions??
I would love to hear your thoughts - I am brain mush

Thought I would share - New Bumbs




This is my Patrick Green Electric Carding Machine - isn't she a beauty!!



I am working on a new blend which I just adore - Some of my Alpaca Boys fiber, Some of my Angora Goat fiber, then some Merino from my girl friend, a touch of Tencel and then for good measure some incredible Angora Bunny fiber. It is dreamy and such soft handle.

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If the ovens is still on - Why Not!




I decided to make my favorite Impossible Pumpkin Pie
I have never been one to like pie crusts but I sure do love the fillings so about 30 years ago I found this recipe in one of those cookoff books for Bisquick and have been hooked ever since. It is a simple recipe too - so get ready to be amazed.

3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup Bisquick, 2 Tablespoons Butter, 1 can (13oz) of evaporated milk, 2 eggs, 1 can (16oz) pumpkin, 2 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice, 2 teaspoon vanilla.

Preheat over 350 degrees. Grease a pie pan. Beat all ingred's until smooth. Pour into pie pan. Bake until knife comes out clean 50 to 55 minutes. For High Altitude it is 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

This pie keeps well in the frig. I have also used different types of squash such as acorn, butternut and hubbard - I just increase or change the spices depending on the squash. Happy Eating!

What do you do when the snow is up to your hips??







I decided to make myself some goodies and have the oven on to take the chill out of the air - I made Blueberry with Orange Zest muffins. To spread on the warm muffins I whipped up some Cream Cheese with Orange Zest sweet spread. Yummy, Yummy - that was the perfect addition to my bubbling homade pea soup. Good eats for lunch after walking thru those horrible drifts... I sure burned off any calories I might get from my sweet treat..

Monday, March 22, 2010

Miss Marple in the Pasture with a ?



The moment she was born she has been figuring out things - she was first to figure out the weak spot in the pen layout, she was first to figure out that if she gives me sad eyes I melt into a puddle and give you what you want. She was also the first to understand that Chief will let you do just about anything to him including share his goodies from the house. She is a bright little penny with tons of brains and loads of personality. She is a bit shy and never makes a noise until it is necessary. I have always been a big fan of the Miss Marple stories and she just reminds me so much of that cute little lady who could out smart everyone around her while she never skips a knitting stitch. I am sure there will be plenty of stories to write about her in the coming months....

Rebecca's Boys



Meet Butch and Sundance - those wild and adventurous heart throbs. The two of them are always thinking, ploting, getting into trouble. When I catch them doing something naughty they just give me a look as if to say "How can you be mad at us"? All the while giving me those baby blue eyes a sweet little glimmer. As a young gal I was in love with Robert Redford and Paul Newman - such lovely men. I had always wished that I could have been lucky enough to have them in my life - See dreams do come true!! Now I have these two in my life - and such heart breakers they will be. Devilish good looks, wild and rash but with a sense of right and wrong. Rebecca always produces the finest boys around but these two will keep my hands busy and my heart full.

Miraculous Monica



When Monica first lost her mother Masquerade I worried so - she never left her mother's side and was not well received by the other goats. For two days I kept Monica with her half sister Mishka but since Mishka was my bottle kid they did not seem to get along. Now some might think the animal world is cold and uncaring but I can tell you from living with my animals - that is not always true. Mishka did not show the least bit of love for the sadness Monica was going thru. She kicked her out of the warmth of the heat lamp, hogged the grains, always took first drinks in the morning when I poured the warmed water - all I can say was I was very disappointed in the kid I raised... Monica was really starting to worry me when she did not show interest in her food and did not care that Mishka was hogging it all. So I thought how about we try something new. I took her out of the pen and went outside with her feed. There she stood looking at me with her mother's eyes. I sat quitely and watched her eat. Just then the other goats figured out that Monica was getting special attention and special feed. They came running towards her and I stood up - which means back off!!! Monica let out a little cry because they scared her and out of the barn came Mishka running - I mean RUNNING!.. She ran and stood in front of Monica and threw back her head. A show of aggression. Mishka then stomped her foot and again thru back her head. My heart swelled with pride - My Girl is sticking up for her half sister.

I went back into the barn to see what would happen if I where not standing guard and sure enough Kate went after Monica. Kate knocked into Monica's side and gave her a tumble - just then Mishka charged and ramed Kate in the side and knocked her off her feet. Kate jumped up with surprise in her face - Monica ran behind Mishka as her sister stomped her foot again. Just then the other girls turned and walked back into the barn. Since that time Monica has now found a protector. Mishka still hogs the warm water, takes more then her share of the hay and takes the warmest spot under the heat lamp but now Monica gets to sit next to her and relax - she knows that she has someone who will watch over her - not like her mother did but still a furry angel during these tough times.

Mishka has also found that that when she put's herself out for another the other girls respect her more. They now treat her like she has a purpose - before she was just a spoiled momma's girl but now she is a caregiver. A few of the Mothers are even letting their kids play with Monica now - Such Joy!!! Monica will be fine now..

Pinocchio




I AM A REAL BOY!! Mother Gooses little boy is coming into his own. He is brave, strong, kind and full of vinegar. He was first to go play in the snow and last to come in when night was soon to fall - his adventures are limited because of his protective mother but he is becoming such a big man... Pinocchio is also a great one for jumping into feed bins, crawling under gates and hiding behind his mother when life gets a bit too busy. He has a shy side first thing in the morning when he is just getting the sleep out of his eyes - he loves to have me sing him songs and rocked like a baby just before morning naptime.

Sometimes when you wish upon a star your dreams do come true!

Olivia and Ozzie





It is hard to take pictures of the sweet one's because they move so quickly but here is Ozzie (with the dark markings) and Olivia with that sweet angel face. I moved them to a different pen because after lossing Oliver they would spend their time wondering around the pen calling for him. The change of location seems to have helped and I do take them out to play with the other babies twice a day. The problem is Esmerelda is not wanting to feed them so I have to go in every three hours, grab her by the horns and hold her while they nurse. Well worth the work for those sweet babies but I must admit Esmerelda has gotten on my last nerve. Each time I grab her my ribs that she fractured from last year screams out and I have to count to 100 so I will not just end it all with her. Then I get a grip on the fact that I do this so those babies will have a chance - LOOK at those sweet faces....

Ozzy is a real little billy - he snorts, paws the ground and let's out those little boy sounds whenever he thinks he needs to be a big boy. However, Olivia runs the pen. She puts Ozzy in his place when he gets too big for his britches. Olivia also is in charge of all the other babies - if she says move they move. She will take her place in the first line of head girls - she has even gotten Chief to listen to her. He loves when she naps with him - curled up around his big furry paws - safe and sound - friendship growing while they dream of spring grasses and warm nights.

AT THE FUNNY FARM CAR WASH










After arriving home from going and getting food for the farm I looked outside and this is what I saw - SHERLOCK deciding the mud on the truck was just too much! Now I am not one to take this truck to a car wash because out here it is just a waste of time, water and energy... At first I thought he would stop after a couple of minutes but no this sweet guy spent the whole day and part the of next licking every inch of the truck that he could reach. SPOTLESS!!!! You Go Sherlock. Around here everyone pitches in.. Don't you wish you had such a hard worker???

Catching you up on the Funny Farm

Where to start - Well, my mother came out to the farm on Friday the 12th. She had not been here since last year so I had hoped for good weather but of no such luck. We finally exchanged Christmas gifts and some face to face time. We talk on the phone a lot but it is different when you are face to face. Then Nick and Brooke came out on Sunday to get the baby sewing done and catching up before the baby arrives.

All was going well Sunday morning - I went out at 5 am to get the chores done before everyone arrived. As I came around the corner of the goat girls barn I knew something was wrong. All the girls where outside and Cheif was standing guard in the doorway. As I pushed him aside there was Oliver with half his body on one side of the pen and the other half of his body in the other pen. He was crying and in pain. I ran and jumped the pen to get to him. I picked his limp body up and ran him into the house. I started the hot water, made a bottle, wrapped him in blankets and started to work on him. His tongue was cold and he could not get sucking - so I tubed him some warm milk. Then checking him from top to bottom it was clear that he had broken ribs, internal bleeding and was not going to make it. WHAT A MORNING!.. Now with a house full of folks this was going to be even worse. Once Nick arrived all I could do was say "I'm sorry" for this is not what my sweet son needed. He has had to deal with death too many times and this was to be a good day not a sad one but there was nothing I could do but keep saying " I'M SORRY". We all took turns holding the sweet little Oliver because here at this farm we never let an animal die alone if possible. Even during this horrible time we managed to get sewing done, share stories, ate a wonderful dinner of corn beef and cabbage and once the snow started flying again it was time to send Nick and Brooke home before the roads got too bad.

It was not till 9:15 that evening did Oliver pass away but during that whole time he was held, loved, stroked and talked to - what a way to go. We should all be that lucky. I took him back to the barn for everyone to say goodbye. I also took him to Kasha to say her goodbyes because she was very concerned because she heard his cries and she knew what was happening but I could not have her in the house while there where people in the house. She does not like a bunch of people and why add to the drama that was already going on in the house. Kasha did say her goodbyes and gave him a lick on the face - even Olivers dad came over to say goodbye. Sherlock is the dad and he too gave him a kind rub on his head with his lips and then gave a soft talking too - such a kind big billy...

So - a well planned day around here can slide off into the ditch quickly but as I find myself saying a lot lately "IT IS WHAT IT IS" Enjoy each minute with those you love because you never know what the next day will bring....

I must admit I was glad that by Monday afternoon I had my house back to myself - not that I do not like company but I do love the routine of my farm. It gets me back to center. I also can then deal with the loss of my two sweet goats without having to do that in front of people. Much love, hugs and silent conversations are what will be the order of the day around here - Oh and a bit of my Rocky Road along with a very hot bath. Breathe and Release...

Another way to ease the pain a bit




As I said hard outside work helps me put things back together after such a horrible time but I admit my Cashew Rocky Road is also part of my recovery plan. I am not much for sweets but when I get way down in the dumps I must admit a spot of chocolate works.

This is an easy recipe and within hours you have a great treat. I spread on a parchment lined tray as much Sea Salted Cashews as I wish. Then I sprinkle on Marshmellows. I then melt dark chocolate in a double boiler with a bit of butter and a drizzle of whipping cream. Stir till well mixed then drizzle over the nuts and marshmellows. I then do the same with Milk Chocolate. I drizzle again over the previous addition. This will give you a great stripped look and so many different tastes in each bit. Cool till hard and cut into nice large squares. I place mine in a nice tin and then in the shop frig. I like it in the frig because there will be no chance of melting and also I have to walk all the way to the shop's frig to get a piece and that helps in getting rid of the calories some. So does cleaning the barns, moving hay and crying all those buckets of tears.

Hope you treat yourself to something good today - we are worth it!

Many Thanks

I want to thank everyone for the kind words and loving support I received from all my dear sweet followers and friends. I can not put into words how much it means to me that you shared your feelings with me. I truely am blessed to have you in my life and to allow me to share my grief with you.

Again, thank you so much - it really means the world to me and helped ease the pain.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

R.I.P. Masquerade 1989 - 2010

Very Sad News from the Funny Farm today - Masquerade has passed this morning. She has graced this farm for 13 years and has taken a large part of my heart with her today. It is hard to put into words how this old gal was a cornerstone of my furry four legged family and she is already greatly missed. I have not stopped crying since I found her at 11:05 this morning and I do not think I will stop anytime soon.

The morning started as it always does with me making her soaked oatmeal and spinach because she had only one worn down tooth. She loved her oatmeal and I often sat with her while she ate. This morning was no different and she was in good spirits and wishing me to move faster to give her the food. I gave her the morning scratches around the neck, rubbed her horns and a kiss on the forhead. As I left the barn to continue my chores all was right with the world.

As I proceeded with my morning - answering emails, pulling sales and hoping for a shower this morning I decided I had earned another cup of coffee. As I looked out the kitchen window I notice all the goat girls who do not have babies running in circles outside the barn. This is never a good sign so I went downstairs and got on my boots and headed their way. They ran to the fence, crying all the way - another bad sign so I quicken my pace. As I got to the gate they just about ran me over - now I am very concerned so I ran to the barn door and as I crossed the doorway I could see Masquerade down and on her side. There sat Monica (Her baby from last year) right next to her Mom with a scared look in her eyes. I moved Monica aside because I had hoped Masquerade has just fallen and was having trouble getting up as she so often has done - no this was it - at 11:05 she had passed. As I slumped next to her the tears just exploded out of my eyes. Chief came running to comfort me - he is such a kind soul in the body of a Great Pry. He was trying to lick away the tears but they are just too many. As I sat with her, Chief and Monica each one of the goats came up to check her, then me and then stood in silence. I lost track of time for a bit as the goats all said their goodbyes. I then wrapped her in a blanket and started to carry her out.

Monica ran around my legs as if to say "Don't take her", so I put her down and scooped up Monica and placed her in the pen with Mishka. They could try and comfort each other for the loss of their mother - at least that is what I am hoping for.

As I proceeded out of the gate with Masquerade in my arms - Ebony came running as if to say one more goodbye. I must admit my heart cracked a bit more with Ebony giving her a soft touch on the nose. As I walked back to the house with her in my arms I could barely see thru the flood of tears. Now I am not much for crying - in fact I HATE IT but I just could not stop... It was like a flood gate opened and there was no way to damn it up.

Once reaching the house I got my scissors and gently lock by lock clipped the ringles from around her neck. Those perfectly formed ringlets that she loved for me to tickle and run my fingers thru each morning are now sitting in a box for the time being, awaiting the time when I can touch them without crying. I am not sure when that will be but time will heal the hurt.

After gathering my strength I carried her out to the forest and found just the right tree to set her under. At this farm when a soul has passed I return it to the flow that Mother Nature has put into place - for some this might be hard but I truely believe that to honor the animal and it's life you must return it to the way it was meant to be... I sat there for a bit saying my goodbyes and thanking her for all that she has brought to my life and I hope she felt her time with me was good as well. As I walked back to the house I noticed every animal was watching me walk back with a quite sadness that animals do show if you look. As I reached the house Kasha (for those who might not know she is my soul in the form of a female Great Pry) gave me a look and again I burst into tears. Her and I sat for a long time crying and hugging. She is my soul and it scares me to know that her time is not far away.. I really do not know how I will make it thru that but today I have her with me and she is my rock.

Now the way Grace can come to terms with sadness is to WORK - I mean get out there and work till you can not move. So, I started moving bales, cleaning up poop, stacking pallets and all the while crying my eyes out. Over the years I found this starts my mind, body and soul to remember the good times and to heal from the sad times. Some folks get drunk, others eat a pound of chocolate - I do outside hard physical WORK.

After about two hours of hard labor I was ready to sit down and tell you what happened. I know it is never easy to share this with folks. Most times I feel so guilty to make someone sad but I have also learned that if I share the hard times with you - then you will understand why the simple things in my life mean so much to me. I am blessed to have each day with these wonderful four legged family members. I am so honored to care for them, to get to create with their incredible fiber they with me and my customers, to share their births and now their deaths. When folks ask me "Why did you decide to do what you do"? - it is days like this that remind me why - it is those scratchs on the neck, those kisses on the head, the tons of poop I clean and hay I move are the moments that make my life worth living. Even in the passing of a dear sweet old gal such as Masquerade I am so honored to have had her in my life that I would not wish to be anywhere else but here - even at the end.

Love, Light and Peace go with you Masquerade - I will miss you.