Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm pleased to announce that our farm stand website, is up and running. Please check out our selection of hand spun alpaca yarn, roving, and knits.

Monday, October 19, 2009

ok, I realize I may sound like "the crazy alpaca lady"

but isn't this (poorly recorded) video the CUTEST?

Friday, October 9, 2009

fall has fallen

It's that time of year. Time to shut down the farm, and buckle in for winter. Every year, we do the usual pulling of the garden, and trimming back the perennials. This year, however it takes on a new spin as we prepare to winter our alpaca and chickens.

We've noticed that the alpaca have really "fluffed up" recently. As some of you may know, alpaca -like sheep- are shore once a year, usually late spring. That way, they carry their biggest fleece through the winter, when they need the warmth, then spend the summer cool and comfortable (and skinny!) Nature is an amazing being. The cool weather comes wafting in. . .and right on cue, the alpacas start to "buff up" for winter.

So . . . . cold weather. . . .here we come. At least we know the alpaca will be warm :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the arts farm

I'm so happy to be able to share with you all my parents beautiful new website:

The Arts Farm in Deering

Friday, September 11, 2009

geese flying south

My plan to stave off fall is to just ignore being cold. I think this should work, if I just refuse to turn the heat on, or even wear a sweatshirt, then it really can't get colder, right? When I saw mums for sale in mid August (middle of a heat wave, no less) I thought "my goodness, what are they thinking, too soon!" then the white hydrangeas started to tip pink, and my theory was "oh, they must be turning early this year, from all the rain we had in june" (I admit that one was a stretch)

However today on my way to bring the boys to school, I saw a flock of geese flying south. I suppose I can deny it no longer. sigh. I guess fall is here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

acorn acres rainbow

I realize a picture of a rainbow always falls completly flat- but the sight in person took our breath away

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

can't hear alpaca?

note on that video- you have to pause the music on the blog (left hand side) to be able to hear the humming over the tunes :)

what does an alpaca say?

Poor quality from my phone, but a cute clip of my alpaca "humming" :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

tagg's baby

You never know what kids will play with!

A few weeks ago, Tagg was out walking with Grandpa, looking at the fruit trees. Watching from afar, my mother and I looked onto a precious bonding time between the two. Walking back up to the house, Taggart clutched something in his hand (and, as a mother of boys, I'm always Leary of my children coming inside holding something- you never know what it might be)

He bounced into the house to show me his treasure. A peach that had fallen off the tree early. Well, technically, I suppose it was a peach, even though it was little more then a pit covered with golden fuzz. He told me it was his "baby." I asked him what he was going to name his baby. After looking quizzically off into space, he told me:

"Peachy the Cucumber"

Ok, so now the fuzzy pit has a name. Peachy the Cucumber. For the next hour or so, he plays with Peachy the Cucumber at my parents house. Giving him (or, hmm, her? Never can tell the sex of peach pits) rides in his trucks, and tucking him in for a nap at one point.

Obviously, he brings his baby home with us after our visit. He and Cooper are buzzing around the driveway, riding bikes and playing in the sprinkler. Well, out of NO WHERE, a leghorn chicken (who had clearly been stalking this pit) flies right up against Tagg, and snags Peachy the Cucumber out of his hands. Tagg shouts: "MY BABY!" as the chicken wobbles away, content with it's prize pit. Cooper, the valiant big brother that he is, starts chasing the chicken telling his brother how it's going to be ok, he'll get the baby back.

So, picture this. Tagg is laying on the driveway, sobbing. Cooper is chasing a VERY fast chicken around, who desperately wants to keep his stolen treasure. Finally, Cooper out turns the chicken, and rips the pit out of his mouth, while shouting to his brother "Tagg, I got your baby back!"

Tagg was thrilled to be reunited with Peachy the Cucumber. Even though the wrestle match with the chicken left the little pit all scraped up and wet. Tagg had his baby, and his brother had save the day :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

we're officially farmers!

The alpaca came home yesterday, with much anticipation and excitement. It's really been an easy transition for them, they seem to be doing very well. Curious, as alpaca are by nature, they follow us everywhere outside. If we're outside, they are outside, closest to us as they can be. If we're in the barn, they are in the barn. They think the chickens are fun to chase, and they are very interested in Carlos (who, being scared of everything, is pretty much ignoring them) check out the pictures!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

next weekend...

We will be official alpaca farmers! :D Our boys come home to live with us next Saturday. It's been a whirlwind of a summer preparing for their arrival. I am amazed at what Aaron and I are able to do together, the work we've done by ourselves is astonishing.

Also on the farming front- we've been getting eggs from our chickens for a few weeks now. We're up to a dozen a day, so Aaron's been bringing eggs to work, and we've been supplying my family with farm fresh eggs . They're delicious!

I'll be sure to post lots of pictures next week of our alpaca's homecoming. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

wedded bliss

Eight years ago Aaron and I took that long walk down the isle. I don't think either of us truely grasped what a perfect choice that was.


Monday, July 13, 2009

how does cooper feel about the weather?

After what seems like a summer's worth of rain, the weather pattern has changed, and it's finally swimming time. Cooper is all pumped!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

mommas night job

With private lesson enrollment down (I don't think I need to tell any readers that the economy stinks!) I decided I needed to get a part time job. To avoid paying a sitter everything that I make, I decided to look for a second shift job. Apparently I'm not alone in looking for shift work, because it wasn't as easy to come by as I thought (and yeah, I don't need to tell any readers how tight the job market is) Well, I got a part time, second shift job at Robin Hill Farm- a residential facility for brain injured adults. The hours are 3-11pm, perfect, as I only need a sitter for a few hours until Aaron gets home.

I thought this would just be an in and out summer job, but actually, I LOVE working there! It's great to work with adults rather then kids all day (hey, I love my students, it's just nice to be able to curse every now and then should I choose to!) I enjoy the residents, and my co workers. I thought I would dread any job outside of the teaching field- as I've NEVER had a job outside of music and or teaching my entire life- but I'm really enjoying working there.

Now, I've realized for some time now, that I've enabled Aaron in the cooking department. I've cooked every breakfast lunch and dinner he's eaten in our home for eleven years now. Granted, I enjoy cooking, but Aaron's gotten to the point that if I'm going during a meal, and don't leave something out for him, he'll just go hungry till I get back (when did we turn into my grandparents?)

Not only is this job good for me, and good for finances, but it's been great for Aaron and the boys. They were all definitly grumpy about me leaving at first (ok, mostly Aaron) but last Friday night was the first time I didn't leave a "heat and serve" dinner, for them. I left Aaron all the ingredients for American Chop Suey. He was sooooo pissy about having to make dinner (and really, we're talking about three ingredients. Doesn't get much easier) But when I got home from work later on that night, I peaked into the fridge to taste the leftover Chop Suey- it was GREAT! The next morning Aaron went on and on and on about what a great meal he made (yeah, he was kinda a pain in the ass about it, but I let him brag because he earned it)

So we're all learning lessons about living in a difficult economy. I have learned I can stay up past my bedtime. The kids have learned that it's possible o go to sleep without Momma tucking them in. And Aaron has learned that the pots and pans in the kitchen actually won't self destruct if anyone other then me uses them :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

throwing in the towel. . er. . .post hole digger

From day one, Aaron and I have been all about building our farm by hand. Our motto has been "why do with machine what hard word can do by hand?" The paddock is a great example. Each post hole was dug down three feet by hand. We stand back and look at the paddock with a good ol farmer "ahhhhhh" on our breaths. It's beautiful- and we did it ourselves, with kids pulling at our pant legs.

T O T A L L Y overrated. This is BEYOND hard work, it's near impossible. At this pace, we'll be bringing our alpaca home by 2011. Being the queen of savings, I hadn't even though of hiring someone to put these post in. What kind of weenie farmer does this? um. . .smart ones?

The biggest hurdle with our fencing (with any fencing) is driving in all those posts. Well, I sucked up my pride, and found out what it costs to rent a post hole driver. Yes, they make such a wonderful piece of equipment.

I've been a compete chump. We can rent a post hole driver to FINISH our project in less then a day. So yes everyone, sometimes you can work smart, not hard, and not sell your soul.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

congratulations Uncle John!

This past Friday, Aaron's youngest brother John, graduated basic training from the US Army. We are all so proud of him :) He's off to AIT, then has some time off to come home before airborne training. In celebration of this big day in his life, I gave all the boys a good military haircut.

We love you, and are SO proud of you Uncle John!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

digging post holes

Seriously, how did New Hampshire settlers dig post holes for their livestock fence by hand without power tools? Oh, I know, they DIDN'T. They built stone walls, because building walls out of granite was easier then digging three feet into New Hampshire soil.

We're slowly plugging away at all the fence posts needed to build the paddock and fencing in the field, Generally, the auger only gets us 18 inches or so down, then the rest is hand digging, as rocks and hard packed clay bind up the auger easily.

We tried to focus on one fence post at a time, but it's easy to get overwhelmed at the total number of posts that need to go in. There is no doubt about it, this is hard work. But you know what they say, anything worth having isn't easy to come by.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

my alpaca inspired truck

So, I decided I was annoyed at asking Aaron to use his truck for picking up fencing/chicken feed/alpaca related stuff. My van was up for inspection next month, and it would cost us (once again) nearly as much as it was worth to have it pass inspection. As lovely as it was to live car payment free, we decided to take the plunge and get a new (to us) truck for me. A quick "we're thinking about getting another truck" phone call to my brother resulted in an immediate trip to Maine auto to see this truck. I'm in mad truck love :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

lots o' work!

So we're busy preparing for the alpaca. . . which translates into LOTS of work. We finished the pen inside the bar, and got an excavator for the weekend, to grade the driveway around the barn (hey, a dry alpaca is a happy alpaca!) I am amazed at how much work Aaron and I are able to do together, when we're working with two boys tugging at our pants, asking us for things. ( not to mention chickens getting in the way!) I once saw a statistic about farmers having a lower divorce rate then non farmer couples. I'm sure it's because farmers have to learn how to work together :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

tee ball

In two weeks, Cooper starts tee ball, and he and I are both very excited. After a nice chat with his new coach, she told me that she still needed an assistant coach. So yeah, I took the job :)

Cooper's comment to me working with his team:

"Wait Mom, you're the assistant coach? But you are a girl"

"Even better Cooper, the coach is also a girl"

"Oh. Well, girls can be truck drivers, so I guess they can also be tee ball coaches"

Very PC of my son, eh?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the big O three

Tagg turned three today . He was SO proud to be such a big boy. . ."As big as Coopie" as he said, while puffing his little chest :)

we've decided

we are naming our farm Acorn Acres :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

slow and steady.

We're getting ready to bring the alpaca home, slow and steady. Now that the snow is gone (can I get a collective hooray!) and the ground is ready for digging, we're starting the process of building the pen inside the barn, and the paddock / field area. I've also started spinning alpaca roving (and even got my own wheel!) to prepare myself for all the fiber that is to come.

We are all quite excited to get "our boys" home. It's difficult having them at another farm, and not getting to see them as often as we'd like. But alpaca live to be quite old- so we'll have MANY years to come enjoying their company :)

I'm not sure Aaron has quite realized this - but since I've done all the planning on the size / construction of the pen / paddock / field for the pacas, I've made sure we have plenty of room for two more animals . . .so I'm sure there will be even more fiber in our future ;)

Friday, April 10, 2009

yes. I rock.

Nova is doing great, and getting all her "big girl feathers"

I'm happy to share my "chick healing knowledge" without anyone who's crazy enough to give a chick warm baths, syringe fed meds, and tummy massages.

Monday, March 23, 2009

chicken doctor

Last weekend, Aaron and I finished the chicken coop, and put the two dozen pooping machines outside. (and, as a side note, Aaron and I worked quite well together on chick-u-topia, as we so appropriately named it) It's a good thing, they are much easier to care for. . .in other words, no poop in my basement. . .when they are outside. Plus, they LOVE their new space, they fly all over the coop, in their awkward new-wing flight patterns.

We soon noticed that one of the Ameraucanas is quite smaller then the others, and having a hard time passing stool (what we call a "blocked vent" in the chicken community) this is usually a sign that the chick isn't going to make it. Well, I'm certainly not going to let a blocked vent ruin my streak of "perfect mama hen" care. So, for the last few days, I've been giving Nova (yes, we've named quite a few of the chickens- and yes, after all the girl names that we like, and have no other opportunity to use) warm baths twice a day, and hand dropping a mixture of yogurt, molasses, and olive oil into her beak- three times a day.

Each morning, I go to check on the chickens, fully aware that I might find Nova dead. Every morning, she's still kicking around. This morning, her little vent actually looks pretty good (well, as good as a chicken ass can look, right?) so it seems as though the chicken doc is actually doing a pretty good job.

If this chicken doesn't make it, I'll tell you, it won't be for lack of trying!

Friday, March 13, 2009

alpacas? bring it on!

We've decided. . .we're going to be alpaca people :) After a whirlwind week of visiting alpaca farms, we've decided to go local, and get our new family members from Clark Summit Alpacas here in Deering. The owners are great people, and seem truely happy that their (well loved) boys are coming to live with us. We've got a lot to learn (and do!) before we can have them here, and James from Clark Summit Alpaca has been awesome giving us tons of information and tips about raising alpaca. Here's a link to the farms website, with pictures of our beautiful boys, Julian, Santana, Sabre and Mikey.

if anyone is looking to get a good workout. . .well be installing lots of fencing once the ground thaws :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

farm life?

So, I get a call from Agway that there are still chicks that need homes . . .so of COURSE I go pick up another six, giving us a nice round two dozen little fuzz balls. That should do it, eh?

Aaron knows how I long to turn our little family into a small farm. For a while I'd been thinking goat, but after the realization that I'm really not a big fan of goats milk (good reason not to have a goat) we've turned out sights towards other creatures.

I want Alpaca.

So now, chickens, Alpacas, soon enough I'm going to feel like we've got an official farm. We just need a farm name. A unique quality of our property is that it's lined with oak trees. I'm thinking something like Acorn Acres, or Oak Wood farm. . . . .any ideas?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

february peepers

I know, I know. . .who gets chicks in the middle of the winter? Apparently, we do. Our "Easter chicks" arrived early- like, super early. Well, the manager at Agway did say they would be in by Easter. Oh well, I guess this just means that we'll have eggs sooner.

Needless to say, the kids are quite excited. Bless their hearts, they are being very gentle and loving to the chicks. I have had to stop Tagg from putting books and toys in the brooding box (he told me "mama, but the chickies look like they need something to read") but just caught him with his little face over the box, singing "Sweet Baby James" by James Taylor to them. (I can hear the collective Awwwww's when you read this)

Cooper is certainly the most excited, as he's known for a while that collecting the eggs is going to be his job. Last night, before bed, he told me

"I'm SO excited to collect eggs this weekend!"

I didn't have the heart to tell him how long it will actually be before we're collecting eggs.

The one in the house least excited about the new additions is Carlos, our 85lb golden retriever. He is absolutely petrified of the chicks. I guess I don't have to worry about him eating the them. He's scared of the basement now. . .I just watched him walk by the door cautiously, and scoot by real quick when he heard the smallest "peep"

my big ol' watchdog :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

ít's a bird. . .it's a plane. . .


Ahh, the time honored tradition of jumping off high places, and into the snow. If you grew up in New England, and never jumped off a low roof line, deck rail, or at least a picnic table in the winter, well then- you must have had a boring childhood :)

This took a little talking into. Cooper was really unsure about his first leap, but his father reassured him that it was perfectly safe (well, as safe as jumping off a deck railing can be) and that once he did it- he'd want to do it over and over again.

Aaron was right.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

tagg's first joke

The other morning, just after waking up, the boys and I were having our daily cuddle-in-bed-before-starting-the-day ritual. I told them I had a dream about the chickens we will be getting in a few months. This - of course - launched the boys into a thousand questions and comments. So Tagg says to me:

"Mommy, the baby chickens say Borak Borak Borak Borak"

His little hands were bouncing around the bed, apparently the way little chicks would walk around. Then, out of no where, he starts giggling like mad. I asked him what was so funny, and he said:

"Mommy, we should name the chickens Obama, because they say Borak!"

You tell me, what two and a half year old makes a political joke?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

surviving winter so far

Nine days without power, and a month without school. Honestly, I feel as thought I can take anything at this point. (Did I just jinx myself or what?) Both kids were troopers throughout the power/school/friend/normality drought, although I started to wither towards the end of it all.

We had a two hour delay yesterday, due to more ice (really, how much more ice is there to fall?) first day back after a month off, and it's a delay, go figure. Anyhow winter is half over (right, I can call it that now?) so were getting there.

Already picking out spring flowers. That's not putting the cart before the horse, is it?