Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I love how my dog always pays attention to me.
My kids & my husband listen to about 1/2 of what I say but my dog is always listening, watching.
The minute I  shift he is ready to go along: wherever, whatever. Yes, please (...one of the most precious things about a dog.)
Originally, as far as I was concerned we were not really looking for another dog, but my husband and daughter were obviously not of the same opinion. The previous owners had to move to an apartment and there was no room for a big yellow lab; and when my daughter went to meet him she just took him home with her, having conveniently forgotten that I was supposed to be consulted.
It took very little time for that dog  to weasel his way into my heart.
Now I come home to find him waiting for me, he knows when he  has been bad: the other day he trashed several bags of flour that i had left on the counter.
Picture the mess!
He hid when I came home... I was mad mad mad, but I did not beat him; I ignored him...  Caesar would be proud!
Of course he is now forgiven. I come home late at night and see that he has also forgiven me for ignoring him.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


My new horse is not really mine.
Actually, you know,  no animal is ever ours, we just like to think they are.
I brought Red to the farm to be a companion to our 35 year old Arabian peaches, who seemed lonely since the death of his old pasture pal, Beau. Peaches still had a few goats to push around, and I had decided not to put him together with the Morgans since I was afraid that they would gang up on him and undermine his sense of entitlement... or kick the **** out of him...
At first I was not going to get another horse, since a girl only needs 1 and I had 3 at the time... but the situation was right; my friend had a horse who needed a home and I figured if I brought him here she was more likely to visit.
yeah...I can always justify a new horse...
There is no guarantee that a new horse will fit into the herd, and after a few days getting acquainted over the (electric) fenceI turned Red out with Peaches. They had a few spats but for the most part Red sent the right signals, and Peaches accepted him.
About that time Red decided I was no longer his only friend, and  he showed his indifference by turning tail when I entered the paddock. There was no threat, just testing to see how I would react.
He had been parelli trained so I read up on parelli principles; I read up on John Lyons, and other natural horsemanship theories.
When it comes to working with a horse I like to start with a clear sense of process.
I needed to be consistent and I needed a plan.
I decided the way to work with him was to act like a boss mare, and send him away from me until he gave me a submissive signal; so I went to the paddock and shook his halter at him, facing him squarely and telling him to go away; he moved off and I kept up the pressure until he dropped his head, twitched an ear, and started to lick and chew, a classic submissive gesture.
As soon as I saw those first signs of submission I relaxed, turned away, and told him he was a good boy.
A few sessions like that and he realized that if I enter the paddock it is safer and more comfortable to come toward me, and if he turns tail and is rude I'll push back again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cherry tree

I planted the dwarf cherry tree about 10 years ago, right next to my front porch.
I had a fantasy of reaching up from the patio table and picking cherries for breakfast, as we had at my aunt's when I was little. I am aware that I try to recreate the impressive elements of my childhood, here on the farm... I think we all do, in some form or another. While  I am often disappointed, I intend to find happiness in the little things that do work out!
And so the cherry tree eventually fruited,  we had varying harvests, never more than a few dozen. Last year the main trunk split, and we belted it together to see if we could get one more year of harvest. So of course this year it flowered and fruited like crazy, the branches heavy with beautiful glossy leaves.
We watched the fruits get bigger and start to color. Finally a bumper crop... I started to dream up recipes and planned to buy a cherry pitter, only to find that the fruits had developed brownish splotches. I googled cherry diseases and sadly watched most of the cherries wither up into shriveled mummies.
I am transferring my hopes to the sekel pear that has finally set several dozen small precious pretty red pears. Ok, so maybe this will be the year for pears.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


We did not have a TV when I was a kid, and  I had never seen the show "Green Acres"  and so (as often happens to me)...I didn't get the joke when my husband suggested we name our farm Green Acres.
I assumed he referred to the landscape.
One of the plants that came up that first year was Rhubarb; in the wrong place, of course, as far as I was concerned. I dug it up and put it closer to the house. It flourished and expanded.
I researched nutrition and health effects:  good for you... cancer fighting...  fiber and vitamins... cooking it makes it even better. Of course they warned about eating the leaves; so I used the leaves as mulch in my garden.
After several busy years where I only used a little before it went to seed I finally had the brilliant idea to harvest it all, chop it, and freeze several  gallon bags for the following year. I'll experiment with cooking the frozen supply later, in small amounts.
The best thing about chopping and freezing right away was that I actually got a huge amount stored away with little heat/mess/effort.
I experimented and created several recipes using rhubarb...
plenty of failures and successes.

 FAVORITE: Rhubarb smoothie

1 Banana
few spoonfuls (~ 4 oz) plain low fat yogurt (I prefer Dannon, no suger/ flavor added)
handful chopped raw rhubarb
a little water

Blend well. Fibers/Chunks may still be present.
Add Protein Powder if desired.
I use the Magic Bullet Blender.

Substitute: Fresh or Frozen Cranberries