This is the page for our immediate family to share their adventures

Thursday June 28, 2012

Between the heat waves

Interesting summer. Tons of rain but time for it to run off before the next storm. We have been able to cut hay and get it baled and in the barn between rain storms and heat waves. We have not had to handle hay in hundred degree weather yet.

The farm equipment decided to break down one after another. The big disc harrow fell apart. Our friend who was working on its repair had a horse riding incident and now he is broken. One riding mower kept giving us problems but we found out that buying a new battery can be a good solution. The bigger riding mower ran into a hidden branch (left over from last October’s storm). Parts were bent underneath so we have to attack that problem. The small disc harrow lost a whole quarter of itself. We found most of the parts but it will take superman to bend a certain bar so it is straight again. Tonight brought the end to another project. The large rototiller that operates off the back of the tractor started to fall apart. It might be the clutch. That is going to the repair shop in a couple of days. Luckily the planting is essentially done.

What a year for berries! Heat and rain after a really mild winter. I munch on black raspberries out by the clothes line every day. The blue berry bushes have so many berries that we’ll be making pies and jam for months. The girls can fill their freezers so the kids can eat berries all winter.

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Wednesday May 9, 2012

Rain, hay, geese, and pond

After a pretty long dry spell it is finally raining (has been for a few days now). We needed it so we are happy to have it. With all this rain the grass is finally growing at a good pace. Lots of mowing to be done, if the ground ever dries up. If we get a long enough dry spell after this rain we will try to get some hay cut. We are still in pretty good shape with the hay that is left in the barn but we don't want to get caught with too little.

So ... the darn geese have hatched some babies. There are now 20 geese in our little pond and it is like walking in a mine field when you go in the back yard. We put some fencing up next to the picnic area so that they can't easily go there. It is too bad that we have to make our yard difficult to get to just to keep some unwanted guests away. Although the pond is looking healthy right now we know that the algae blooom is coming. It always does when the weather gets warm & the added nutrients that the geese deposit does not help any.

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Tuesday February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day

It is Valentines Day and we are still waiting for winter. We had the sweetest little artificial Christmas tree. It was too sweet to lock away until next year so it is now transformed. The Christmas bulbs are gone and the tree is covered with pretty little red hearts. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to you all.

Up until this weekend it was tempting to start plowing a field or two to get a jump on things. Suddenly the ground is as hard as a brick so we’ll have to wait a while.

David bought a chunk of land to round out our pasture/ hay fields. Nice to be a land owner and great to preserve another piece of the earth.

The two little grandchildren are experimenting with “walking readiness” and figuring out the English language. It is so much fun to watch them learn. It also makes the older ones seem so mature even though they are only aged two and five.

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Wednesday December 21, 2011

Warm and rainy leading up to Christmas

We are all decorating our houses. Broken branches from the October Storm still accent areas of our yard. Most gifts are purchased. Some are even wrapped. The youngest grandchildren will be getting clothes but they won’t mind. It is hard to find really warm clothes for very little people. We will all be together over the Christmas weekend in various combinations of in-laws and extended family groups. Our prolific producing chickens caused us to be in charge of deviled eggs.

This past Sunday a Christmas Pageant was celebrated at church. What a beautiful celebration with participants from under age one to over 60 years. No live animals but lots of lively kids. The shepherds had the energy of go-go dancers. The angels tried to look angelic but the wiggly little one kept everyone’s attention. Sue, Steve and Andrew played the Holy Family. Andrew was pretty excited with the lively Christmas Carols. He was jumping up and down and waving his arms like a hip-hop toddler Jesus. Love his spirit.

Katie and Scott were there with their girls. They were very well behaved and entertained the people in the pews with their smiles.

We still have to put the bee hives in a sheltered location for the winter. Hope it is mild for their sake. Last year was too much for them and some did not survive.
It is getting cold enough to put the de-icers in the animal water pails. No one wants to be chopping ice to drink. It’s nice to have a little warmth to your water when the weather is cold outside.

We wish you all a very Happy New Year.

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Tuesday November 8, 2011

Holy Halloween Storm!

We were just getting ready for Halloween and almost done with selling pumpkins when a forecast came for heavy wet snow. The leaves had decided they weren’t going to fall on time so we were warned that there would be a lot of broken branches and snapped power lines. That happened in spades. There were so many branches and power lines down that most homes in central Connecticut had no power. That translated to no heat, no phones when reliant upon power/ computers and no water for many. Almost no one could or would go Trick or Treating. It wasn’t even safe to walk across the yard.

After a day or two of being cold and hungry, many families went to community shelters for food, showers, electrical charging and a warm place to be. Our church (First Congregational Church) opened up to all who needed warmth, a place to cook or even to wash their hair in the sink. At home we have a wood stove and camping equipment so we had “house guests” for the week.

After one week – one day – and one hour our power came back on. Some are still out. They should be OK pretty soon. Hundreds of wonderful tree and power crews from many different states and provinces have come to our aid. THANK YOU.

Just as things are returning to normal, our donkey died this morning. Giuseppe was an old fellow but he was Rich’s favorite pet. Now the two are together at the farm in the sky. God bless the good times we all had together.

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Sunday October 2, 2011

Weather, pumpkins & eggs

David went to Alaska just in time for us to be rattled by an earthquake and blown and rain blasted by a hurricane. A few days later a surprise rain storm flooded us during the night. This place is like a sponge. Luckily the animal housing is all high enough to keep animal feet and hooves pretty dry. The grass is growing like crazy.

We are in the midst of picking pumpkins. Some fields stayed pretty soggy and the pumpkins suffered. Other areas have pumpkins which rode in top of weeds and stayed dryer. They have much nicer looking skin.

Those little chicks that hatched in our house during the spring have just started to lay eggs. Their first eggs were so cute and little. It took two to equal a regular one for a recipe. The eggs are getting bigger now. Pretty soon we will have to make custard and 12 egg cakes.

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Sunday July 3, 2011

Backyard wildlife, power washing, & planting

The backyard wildlife has been pretty active and visible these past few weeks. Among other things we have seen plenty of coyotes, foxes, deer, and rabbits. It's fun to see a nice variety of animals out there.

In the mean time we still have plenty of chores to do ... mom rented a power washer for a day and tried to hit everything that we could in the time that we had. We washed the back porch, the camper, the side of the house, and even brought the washer to Sue's house so she could do her porch. We also, finally finished planting everything in the garden. The last things to go in the ground were some sunflowers and ornamental corn. It's a little late but it has been hard to get in the garden with all the rain. It always seems to rain when it is time to try to do some field work. We still have to put some fences around the fields so that the critters don't eat everything.

Now that the garden is going it's time (really past time) to get some haying done. We just need the rain to hold off for a little while.

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Friday June 10, 2011

Immaculate conception, dance recital & upcoming picnic

So ... several months ago we decided to separate the male and female goats so that we would not have any unplanned babies to deal with. Guess what - the youngest goat had a baby. We were all very surprised because it seems like they were apart for long enough. The only logical answer has to be immaculate conception. Now we have another goat.

This weekend there is a lot going on. Aly has a dance recital and many of us are going. She has been practicing and seems to be pretty excited about it. Hopefully she doesn't get stage fright.

Mom is also planning a big family picnic this weekend so we have been mowing and cleaning up the yard. Even if no-one shows up it's a good excuse to get some stuff done. As long as the rain holds off it should be fun.

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Tuesday May 23, 2011

Ramping up for the busy time

Now that we are into the growing season there is lots to do. We have our agendas and so do all of the critters around us.

We have planting, hay cutting, still some work with the bees, general maintenance with equipment, lawn mowing, and on and on.

There is a lot of wildlife activity out there at the same time. So far the coyotes, foxes, and hawks have all been seen poking around. The great blue heron, green heron, and canada geese are all back. Who knows what else is going on out there when we aren't looking.

The other day we watched a rare blond coyote walking around in the field (they are usually much darker).

Hopefully we will have some time to relax and enjoy ourselves a little in between all of our chores and responsibilities.

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Tuesday May 3, 2011

Wood fire a few days ago, now it’s warm and sunny

The eggs that we were hatching in the house had a wonderful success rate. We now have two dog crates each holding about eight chicks. Their parents are of mixed ancestry so the chicks come in a variety of colors. It will be fun to see what their eggs look like when they get older.

We had a big honey extracting “party”. Steve has a new bee suit with a vented double thickness open weave of material. The hood zips right on. No bee could sting through that suit. After making the kitchen very sticky, we bottled 71 pounds of delicious honey.

Sue decided that she couldn’t stand listening to her sheep baaaing at her every time they saw people so she brought the noisier two to our house. We have not noticed them making noise but they also can’t see the house. Her remaining two are quieter but got in trouble today by eating her tulip plants. The flowers had not yet even opened. Boy, are they in trouble!

The babies are doing well. Julia is a precious little fairy. Her sisters love her so much. They are such a sweet and active trio. Andrew decided it is a baby’s job to eat and grow. He has grown so big in his three months of life that we might need a wheel barrow by the end of summer just to carry him.

Time for you to get out into your garden. Have a good spring.

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Monday March 28, 2011

Trials and tribulations of chickens and eggs

After the hawks ravished our chicken population last fall we went into the winter with only 8 chickens (2 roosters and 6 hens). During the winter molt we didn't get any eggs between November and early March. We decided that we would probably have to get some new chicks in the spring.

Then our first egg came along in the beginning of March. It wasn't a big egg or even a regularly shaped one but it was a sign that more were coming.

Then we got a call that someone had to get rid of their chickens because the neighbors were complaining. It turned out that the chickens belonged to the younger sister of a friend. She gave me 6 new chickens (2 roosters and 4 hens). They quickly started laying lots of large eggs. Then a couple of the chickens went missing and we weren't sure if they were sleeping somewhere else or if something was starting to prey on them. I felt really bad so I decided to gather some of the eggs from the chickens, both new and old, and put them in the incubator. Hopefully, in a few weeks, we will have some new baby chicks to replace all of those that have gone missing.

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Saturday February 26, 2011

Oh happy days!

This has been an exciting month. Yesterday Katie and Scott delivered a new daughter: Julia. She is a healthy, cuddly little joy. I can’t wait to take a picture of the four grandchildren together. Rich would have loved it. He really enjoyed babies (of all species) and he was excited to know that Sue and Katie were both expecting a baby this winter. Just so Julia doesn’t miss out on the beauty of the season, it is supposed to snow again tomorrow. That ought to clean up the landscape for Katie and Julia’s journey home.

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Monday February 14, 2011 - HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

What fun it is to have little ones in our lives

Friday it was supposed to be house cleaning helping time at Katie’s house. She is due to have a baby in two weeks and might need the help. Instead, we ended up going out to lunch at a restaurant. It was probably Great Grandma’s first time at a Red Robin. She didn’t quite know what to do with a wrap but she managed to devour the whole middle of it. Aly and Emily made short order of their food but really had more fun smiling at the wait staff and enjoying their balloons. We did actually do some housework after eating. Katie’s dog and cat decided to give us lots of licks and kisses. The girls are always fun and we look forward to welcoming their baby sister.

Sunday Sue, baby Andrew and I went shopping. I could not believe how good he was. We were gone for four hours and Andrew did not ask for food the whole time. He is only 3 ½ weeks old. The Mall area was so crowded you would think it was Christmas time. Of course with all the snow we’ve been having, some of the road lane did not exist. That really squeezed the traffic.

In other news - the farm is starting to show some signs of spring. With just a couple of days of thaw we are getting puddles and mud everywhere you walk - just wait until all this snow really melts. We also had a visit from a coyote last night. One of the ducks is walking around with a bloody neck and some missing feathers. One of the other ducks was not so lucky - there is a trail of blood and endtrails across the snow in the garden. I'm surprised this hasn't happened earlier becaue the snow makes great cover for all of the wild food sources for the coyotes.

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Saturday February 5, 2011

Snow what - just enjoy it

Lots of people around here seem to complain about the snow. I know there are inconveniences but you have to know that, if you live in certain parts of the world, it is going to snow. If people can't learn to enjoy it then maybe they should move. Snow is pretty & if you have to shovel then you have an excuse to get outside and breath in the fresh air. Go outside and have fun.

In other news Sue had her baby on January 19th (see the family tree). The baby seems to be healthy and nursing. We gave them some extra hay & Sue, Steve, and Andrew are happy. Titan and Koda (Sue's dogs) got to spend about a week at the farm while everyone got settled in at home. The only one who is a little upset is Titan - but he should be fine soon enough.

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Thursday January 13, 2011

Snow effects

On Monday, predicted 100% chance of heavy snow. Like many people, we were hit hard with the snowstorm on Tuesday. This was the first year that we’ve had a heavy snow storm, with low barometric pressures but haven’t had a whole bunch of baby goats born by the end of the storm. It’s nice not to have to worry about all of the little ones being born in such nasty weather but I think we’re going to miss seeing the adorable kids grow up. Thankfully there were no other “kids” born into our family during the storm.

While digging out from the snow David noticed that the tractor was a little sluggish and that the bucket was having a little trouble moving properly. The repair man from Stanton Equipment came over and fixed the bucket but he said that the clutch on the tractor was in pretty bad shape. We will have to schedule an appointment to get it fixed so that we aren't stranded without a working tractor for too long.

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Monday December 13, 2010

Family Disney Vacation

This family really needed a vacation so we decided to go Walt Disney World. Katie’s family, David and Mom went just before Halloween. Magic Kingdom was decked out in orange with giant pumpkins all over the place. The visitors wore the best costumes you could imagine. Aly dressed like a princess and Emily was Snow White. The rest of us looked like tourists from the north. Entertainment and characters were everywhere. Katie had created an autograph book which the girls had signed by all kinds of princesses and other Disney characters. It will be a great keepsake.

We stayed at a cabin at Fort Wilderness Campground. The campground was peaceful and took us away from all of the hustle bustle. From the campground we could take a bus (or boat) to any of the Disney entertainment parks. We made sure to do it all. We spent time at Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and, of course, Magic Kingdom. We trudged on through really hot weather, warm rain and cold days that prepared us for our travels back home.

As the week went on, we watched the transition from total Halloween to full Christmas. No more orange marigolds. Now it was red poinsettias, wreaths, garlands and twinkle lights. There must be a billion elves working every night to get all the work done. What a magical place.

It was a first visit for some of us and almost twenty years since the rest of us had visited Walt Disney Word. I am certainly not waiting twenty years for the next visit.

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Sunday October 17, 2010

Updates and hauntings

Even though we didn't have a very good year for growing pumpkins we did harvest enough to sell. They are set up in the front yard but sales are very slow. There are a few chain stores and another farm stand selling imporeted pumkins - so that is probably impacting sales. I also found out that someone stole several large pupkins from one of my fields. I guess it's a good thing we don't rely on the pumpkin sales to keep ourselves fed.

We are almost done getting our hay in - very late this year. We are pretty sure that dad is haunting our haying efforts. As we were baling one of our fields we noticed that a part of the tractor had broken off. The piece, which was suppsed to be held on by six bolts was down to 3 bolts. A couple of the broken bolts had, apparently, broken off some time ago. The tractor dealer had to special order a part so we were without the tractor for about a month. Once we got the tractor back I started cutting more hay and one of the front tires popped. After fixing it we started baling the hay then one of the tie rods on the hay wagon broke. We switched wagons then the timing on the baler went out of synchronization. Everything is fixed, except the wagon, so we can continue haying again.

There is still a lot to do but we are chipping away at the chore list.

Yesterday we celebrated grandma's birthday. We brought her here and Katie and her family (Scott, Aly, and Emily) and Sue and mom's brother Scott and his daughters Megan and Kristen came over to celebrate. Mom made a cake and we all had a nice time.

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Friday October 1, 2010

Happenings on the farm

After an extreme draught which dropped the water in the pond by about 2 feet we are finally getting a decent amount of rain (maybe a little too much at once).

Over the past few weeks David and Steve started working on the bee hives. We had to add some frames to the smaller hives and swap out full frames with empty ones on the bigger hives. There is still some work to do but at least some of the critical work is done for now.

The dry weather has severely hurt the pumpkin crop. Even though we planted a lot of them the fields are only yielding about 1/4 of what they should be (if we are lucky). We will be picking most of what is left this weekend.

David, Sue, Steve, Mary, and April started baling the hay but then the tractor broke. We put up a couple hundred bales (with the help of some of David's coworkers) but we still have more to do & it is getting late in the season. The tractor should be home soon so we can finish what needs to be done.

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Welcome to our family blog. As our family continues to grow and our adventures expand beyond the Wintonbury Farm home base we will share some of our stories and experiences. If something interesting happens and we feel like sharing we will post it here.

Please check back occasionally for updates to our adventures on the farm and beyond.

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Page Last Modified: July 21, 2012