Rich's rants, raves, and ramblings

After a long hot summer…

The ducklings are all grown up and loving the pond.
The baby goats are all weaned.
The garden and the weeds have reached their maximum.
The sunflowers have finished flowering and are now bird seed.

Rich lost his life to brain cancer on August 19, 2010.
He left us with hay to harvest and a long chore list.
We will carry on the best we can but his blog will stop here.

The family will now occasionally post our doings on our new family blog

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Saturday June 26, 2010

“I heard it was warm today but it seemed cold inside.”

This blog was requested by Rich since he is in the hospital recovering from a third surgery on his brain cancer. He hopes his family can relay an accurate picture of the past month.

Sue took the four lambs to her house to complete her little farm. Little did she know they would be so noisy. They can see the house and road from their pen and they act as watch dogs whenever they see people. They finally had to create barriers so they can’t see the road early in the morning. Now everyone is sleeping better.

At the end of May we had a wonderful birthday picnic for Rich. All of our kids, grandkids and Rich’s siblings and their kids and grandkids came. Everyone brought food and it was a happy feast.

The next week we celebrated Mary’s birthday and Mary and Rich’s 40th wedding anniversary. Lots of cake and celebrating.

In the meantime David has been working hard to be sure a new shed gets built, the straw gets harvested, the animals are cared for and the garden and fields get planted. I don’t know how he does it while he also does his real job and cares for his grandmother and Rich.

We raised too many plants in the greenhouse and have a large selection for sale in the front yard. Collards, tomatoes or celery anyone?

While all this was going on, Rich was getting weaker and finally couldn’t walk or stay awake. The doctors decided the best approach was to surgically reduce the tumor. That was done on June 22. If you go back in Rich’s blog you can see pictures of what the surgical scar looks like. He now has to regain use of his legs and is in a rehab facility to work on that goal.

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Tuesday May 25, 2010

Today the sun was out and the temperature was in the low 80’s.

Ben Maulucci decided that his hay field was tall enough and dry enough to bale, so he borrowed the tractor and mower conditioner. Tomorrow he will rake it and bale it.

On Sunday Mary’s mother declared her independence and insisted that she return to her home at where she can live by her self with her cats. So after much ado we packed her up and moved her. She now resides there and has visits from the home health aid agency. David often wonders as he says, I wonder how that crazy old lady is doing? As far as I am doing, I miss lying on my couch and looking over to her couch and not seeing her. I also miss not eating supper with her and am thinking if making supper, picking her up and bringing her over here to eat. I know that she enjoys eating a lot and she still needs us to look after her.

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Friday May 14, 2010

Today after a rainy start, the sun came out and the temperature was 70 to 75 degrees.

Last night it poured all night and this morning we found one of the baby ducks in the outside pen dead. The cause of death was poor sanitation and drowning in filthy water. Today we will clean the pen and put down wood shavings.

Yesterday afternoon we received a message that the rest of the bees that we ordered were ready for pick up, so Mary and I drove to Hampton and Picked up 3lb.s of bees and a new queen. While installing the new queen she might have escaped, time will tell. I closed up that hive, but will have to check it in a week or so to see if eggs are being laid. David and April installed the 3 lb. package of bees in a new hive and said that every thing went well. Once again we will have to check it in a couple of weeks.

While I was napping on the couch today the neighbors, Kim and Dory Hunt, stopped by to check on the status of my health and, because they never saw where Sue lived, we took a ride to Granby and saw here house and the new tractor.

Yesterday I also went to see a neurologist to see if he could figure why I keep falling down. He could not and said we should keep an eye on it.

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Monday May 3, 2010

Today it was sunny and the temperature was in the low 70’s. It also rained off and on in the afternoon.

On Saturday morning Mary and I took a ride to Willimantic, CT and purchased four packages of honey bee nukes. This was the first time we purchased bees this way and even though they were more expensive this way they were a lot easier to handle. When we got home, Mary spent the rest of the afternoon assembling the portable chicken pen that I built last year behind the back porch.

On Sunday morning, all 25 of the baby Muscovy ducks were moved from the dining room to the pen where they will stay until they grow.

For supper tonight, Mary took some left over Pumpkin Polenta and added some left over taco meat and eggs with cheese and tomato sauce and made a very tasty casserole. I will try and add this dish to the recipe page on the web site.

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Friday April 23, 2010

Today it was sunny and the temperature was in the low 50’s.

On Monday night Mary and I went to Charlie Botticello’s wake. At the wake, I reunited with Charlie’s daughter Carol-Ann whom I took to the high school dance and hung out at her house with her and her younger brother Billy. Carol-Ann has three grown boys and several grandchildren. She now lives in Ohio.

After the wake, we received a phone call from the Bloomfield Post Office informing us that they had a package of ducks in their building and wanted us to pick them up if we could. Of course we did. What had happen is, after several attempts of trying to purchase adult Muscovy female ducks; I ended up ordering 25 baby ducks from a hatchery in Pennsylvania. They are presently living in a large cardboard box on my dining room table.

Today I received a shipment of 10 bales of potting soil from W.H. Milikowski, Inc. greenhouse supplies and spent the rest of the day transplanting seedlings in the greenhouse. The seedlings are quickly starting to pop up fast and before you know it I will be falling behind with the work that needs to be done.

On another note, I hired a friend of my brother to fix the portable saw mill and I am happy to say that it is now working.

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Sunday April 18, 2010

Today the temperature was in the 40’s and it was windy which sent a chill throughout your body.

Yesterday Charlie Botticello, age 95, died. He worked with my father at Jacob’s Chuck for 44 years and lived in Bloomfield. He was a good friend of the family and will be missed.

Also yesterday afternoon, I with my brother Paul, his wife Judy, my sisters Linda and Dorothy, went to the fire house in New Hartford to celebrate our Aunt Lois’s 80th birthday. We reunited with relatives which we had lost contact with or we forgot they existed. A good time was had by all.

Today with the help of the neighbor, James from up the street, I worked in the greenhouse transplanting broccoli. The other seedlings in the greenhouse are starting to sprout and maybe by the weekend some of them will be ready to transplant.

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Sunday April 11, 2010

Sunny day, high in the 60s

Yesterday afternoon my former high school friend and fishing buddy Fitz Walker, Jr. stopped by the house to catch up on lost years. Fitz is President/CEO of Bartron Medical Imaging Inc. which has a laboratory in the New Haven Business Center. After a short visit, Fitzy left and promised to keep in touch. Once he left, I made a blueberry pie with blueberries from the freezer using an Amish pie crust recipe which was quite good and creamy. It is posted on my favorite recipe page.

Last night around 10 PM, when David let the dogs out to go to the bathroom, he discovered that a big white older goat had given birth to two white male goats. The mother goat had cleaned and dried off the babies. The mother’s udder was swollen and her teats were also swollen and engorged. Mary and I went to the barn this afternoon and made sure that the babies were sucking on the nipples.

Tomorrow afternoon, Sue and Steve are planning to board a plane to fly to London to visit Scott and Margie for two weeks. One of Sue’s friends will be taking care of her animals. Mary will continue going to her mother’s house to feed her cats. She will also visit her mother at Seabury.

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Wednesday April 7, 2010

Today was a bright sunny day with the air temperature in the low 80’s

On Sunday afternoon, my friend Bill Vaughn from Pennsylvania decided to visit for a couple of days and showed up in the driveway in a new 2010 Chevy SUV. To celebrate his coming Mary made a bowl of strawberry Jell-O using Bill’s mother’s recipe.

On Monday, Mary and her brother Scott checked their Mother into Seabury’s rehab unit. Their mother cried and accused them of placing her in prison. Bill and I went to Bart’s hot dog stand in Windsor, CT where we filled up on foot long hot dogs.

When the situation somewhat settled down at Seabury and Mary came home, Scott left for the airport to fly back to London.

Monday afternoon, after dealing with a tearful mother at Seabury, Bill, Mary, and I went to the Middlesex Auction in Durham, CT in an attempt to purchase a female Muscovy duck. We were unsuccessful and came home with nothing.

Tuesday morning Bill, Mary, and I took a ride to Southwick, Mass to the Southwick Country store where Bill bought a big hunk of cheese to bring back home to Pennsylvania. Bill and I spent most of the afternoon napping in the sunshine on the back porch and Mary went to work.

This morning Bill left to go home, Mary went to work, and I napped on the couch.

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Saturday March 27, 2010

Today the temperature is in the 30’s low 40’s and there is a light breeze outside

Yesterday morning about 3 am we were waken up by a phone call from life alert telling us that Mary’s mother had triggered her alarm and asked us to check it out and get back to them. David and Mary drove to her house and found her lying on the bedroom floor unable to get up. She got up to go to the bathroom and fell down. They called an ambulance and Mary and her mother spent the whole day at the hospital while they checked her mother out. She does not have any broken bones but she is one sore puppy. She ended up coming to our house where she will stay for a while. A visiting nurse and therapist will stop by and check on her.

This morning when we went down to the barn to bottle feed the coco baby goat that was born December 6 and is pictured with Maggie in the January 14th blog we found it dead in the corner of the barn. Apparently because of the cold night, all of the goats must have cuddled together and the baby goat suffocated.

Yesterday afternoon I spent working on the heater in the greenhouse. I was successful and got the heater to work. Now I have to figure out what seeds to order and plant.

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Monday March 22, 2010

Today the weather is raw with light rain falling from the sky

Thursday March 18th, would have been Mary’s father birthday he would have been 90 years old. Mary’s mother really misses him and asked all of her children if they could come to Connecticut to celebrate his birthday. They all agreed and flew up. Stephen and Linda stayed at Scott’s house in Canton, Pricilla stayed at her mom’s house in Bloomfield, and Scott who had to fly in from England, came a day later and stayed at his house in Canton.

On the 18th everyone ended up coming over to my house and we had kielbasa and sauerkraut for supper with chocolate cake for desert. On Saturday when Scott was home we all ate at Mary’s mother house. We had pizza, salad, and another chocolate cake.
On March 20th Steven and Linda flew home and David, April, James from up the street and my daughter Sue and her husband Steve removed the plastic film from the greenhouse. Yesterday, everyone got together again and put the new plastic covering onto the hoops of the greenhouse. Mary and I went to the grain store and bought animal food.

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Monday March 15, 2010

Today is a cool slightly breezy overcast day with light showers. Temperature is in the low 40’s

On March 11th we had a goat give birth to male and female kids. Neither one was nursing on their own so we started bottle feeding them. The female died on John Deere day and the male died last night. We have a total of 9 baby goats in the barn; all of them are either drinking from their mothers or eating on their own. We are not bottle feeding any of them.

Yesterday afternoon David, Mary, and I decided to make almond flavor lip balm. It was the first time we ever made lip balm but we found a recipe on the internet and took it slow. We all thought that it came out OK, now we have to make labels for the containers. Next time maybe we will try a different flavor or color. We are planning to give the lip balm tubes to friends and family members.

Just before lunch, I called Milikowski, Inc. greenhouse Supply Company located in Stafford Springs, CT and ordered replacement poly for covering the greenhouse. They told me that it will be delivered on Friday. I just have to remove the old poly and install the new poly.

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Friday March 12, 2010

John Deere Day Update

Yes today is John Deere day. It’s the one day of the year when the John Deere dealer invites his customers to go to his dealership at 6pm and treats them and their family to a meal.

When April went to the barn to bottle feed the baby goats she discover that another goat was giving birth to another single black male. The mother was in the process of licking it clean. Also when April went to feed yesterday’s new born she found its belly full and the mother goat producing milk.

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Thursday March 11, 2010

Today was overcast and cold in the 40’s.

It was breezy and the animals did not want to venture past the shelter of the barns. The inside of the house still smells of fire from Tuesday’s adventure and there is some melted wax on the tile floor in front of the back sliding door. Yesterday an older white goat gave birth to two kid goats, a female and male. The mother cleaned off the babies, but did not produce any milk, so we are bottle feeding them with goat replacement milk. In addition to the new baby goats on the farm, yesterday, I ordered replacement bees for the dead hives. I ordered four nucs, one 3lb package of bees and an extra queen. This is the first time I have ordered nucs and I will see if they work out. Nucs are bees already living on a frame which will be a part of a bee hive; a package is bees arriving in a box and looking forward to living in a bee hive.

I spent the day laying on the couch in the family room. The burns on my left hand no longer hurt, but the hair on my hand and fingers is still missing.

In the afternoon Katie and my two grandchildren, Aly and Emily came over to visit. While they were here, Aly rubbed bag bam all over my left hand and right forearm which I had removed some skin during a fall and it scabbed over. The bag bam was very soothing and it added moisture to my skin.

When April came home and went down back to feed the baby goats, she discovered that one of the older nanny goats had given birth to a black single male kid. The mother does not have any milk in her udder so this is another baby we have to bottle feed.

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Tuesday March 9, 2010

Today was a sunny windy day with temperatures in the low 50’s.

After eating breakfast I decided to melt down some of the wax from the dead bee hives and place it into loaf pans for use at a later date. I placed the honey combs in a pan and heated it up on the kitchen stove. I did not pay good attention to the melting of the wax and it caught on fire! I threw the burning pan off the back deck toward the greenhouse. Upon hitting the ground the leaves in front of the greenhouse caught fire which then caused the poly on the greenhouse to burn. The plastic planting boxes which were lying on the greenhouse benches near the poly covering also caught on fire and melted. I then grabbed a 5 gallon pail, filled it with water several times and put out the fire. Before going back into the house, I raked the burnt smoking leaves away from the bottom of the greenhouse. When it was all over I have first degree burns on my left hand and about 20 feet of the greenhouse plastic had burnt. I guess that before I start up the greenhouse I will have to replace the poly cover. I will work on the bee hives on a different day.

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Sunday March 7, 2010

Today was a sunny windy day in the low 50’s

The ice on the pond is gone and the snow has melted. The ground is still frozen but the top 2” s has thawed enough to get the truck stuck when you try driving on it. I have been splitting fire wood in the back yard for the past two days, but today I decided to check on the status of the bee hives. Of my 12 hives, I found that 7 were dead and 5 were alive. When checking on the bees, one little bee got under my hood and stung me on the head above my right ear. One of the hives that was alive was a hive under the cedar trees which the cover blew off during a snow storm and I wiped out the snow and recovered it back up. This surprised me because at the time I though for sure the hive was a goner. I found 2 mice nests in two of the dead hives and wax moths in the other dead hives. All of the honey in the dead hives had been eaten. I will have to clean up the hive bodies and frames and before I order replacement bees.

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Monday February 22, 2010

Today was an overcast cloudy, cool day. Temperature may have hit 40 degrees but I did I did not work nor did I want to be outside. I just laid on the couch next to the wood stove.

This morning when I went to the barn to feed the animals I found the last pregnant sheep dead in the pasture. Apparently she went and laid down in the field and froze trying to give birth. I removed the body and fed the rest of the animals.

Over the weekend, Mary and Sue went to the Honey Brook Fire company mud auction in Lancaster County, PA. When they returned on Sunday night all they had to show for their trip was 5 pies and some clothing that they bought. If I had gone who knows what I would have spent my money on.

Mary’s mother complained about being away from her home so much that on Sunday we brought her home after first cleaning her refrigerator and cleaning up some of the cat manure. Katie brought her to the grocery store and made sure that she was able to move around her house safely.

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February 18, 2010

Today was a bright sunny cool day in the low 40’s

When David and I went down to the barn this morning we found two more baby lambs were born, a black male and white male. We caught the babies and mother and placed them in the horse stall where we had placed the other baby’s lambs and their mothers. One of the two baby lambs that were born on the 13th which was a male died on the 15th. The other lamb that was born on the 13th is a female and, with the exception of diarrhea, is doing fine. At lunch time, when I went to the barn to bottle feed the black goat that lives in the house at night, I found the white male lamb that was born this morning dead. All of the other lambs appeared to be doing fine.

On the family front, late this morning we received a call from Mary’s mother that she had fallen. This was the third fall this month and she said that her ribs were sore. Katie brought her to the doctor’s office and was the told her she had broken some ribs. The doctor said that she should not go back to her house to live by herself, so we got a bed from the attic of the garage and brought the bed and grandma to Katie’s house where she agreed to stay for the time being.

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February 14, 2010

Happy VD day. Today is sunny in the 30’s and breezy

On Wednesday we had two white lambs born on the farm a male and a female.

Yesterday we had two black lambs born we didn’t check out the sex of these two, but all of the babies and the two mothers are doing fine. David has posted their pictures on the sheep page of our web site. David has also posted new pictures of the goats on the goat page that were born this year on the farm. Feel free to post any comments or questions about the animals or their pictures on our comment page.

So far this year I have sold enough firewood in the front yard to pay for the new log splitter. The splitter works well. The only problem is I can only work so fast and the wood pile that needs to be split seems never ending.

I still sleep a lot and hopefully warm weather is on the way along with an increase in my energy level.

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February 5, 2010

Today is a cloudy overcast day with temperatures in the low 30’s

On Monday, the John Deere dealer delivered a Wallenstein log splitter with a 4 way wedge that runs off the tractor hydraulics. I now have a total of five different log splitters to split the fire wood on the farm. The problem is there is only one operator, me, to run them.

After lunch today I cut up some logs into firewood and used the new splitter until I got cold which was about 3 pm. I then decided to lie on the couch next to the wood stove and asked David to take some pictures of the baby goats so we can update our animal pictures.

Mary came home a little before 5 pm and went down to the goat barn to take the pictures. The day light was poor so the pictures will be taken tomorrow. Hopefully we will get some good pictures tomorrow and sell some firewood from the boxes in the front yard.

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Sunday January 31, 2010

A bright sunny day temperature in the upper 20’s

Although it is bright and sunny outside it is still very cool and one does not want to stay outside. I went outside only to fill empty firewood boxes then I retreated into the house to sit by the woodstove. On Thursday it was windy and we had a slight snow shower which drifted all over the yard. On Friday I noticed that two bee hive covers had blown off and the hives were packed with snow. I dusted the snow off and replaced the covers, but I am afraid that the bees are dead. Once this snow melts and the temperature warms up I will be able to tell which hives are alive or dead.

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Sunday January 24, 2010

A cool day with rain drizzles in the afternoon

Yesterday morning when heading down to the barn to feed the animals, we noticed that there were a lot of duck feathers on the neighbor’s yard next to the pond. All the ducks, with the exception of the three males who started sleeping in the chicken coop and one who sleeps in the goat barn, were killed and eaten, probably by coyotes. Ever since the pond froze, the ducks had taken up sleeping on the neighbor’s lawn out in the open with no protection making them easy prey.

After feeding the rest of the animals and feeling sad about losing my ducks, I spent the next five hours splitting fire wood. When the time comes I will order new ducklings otherwise this will be the second year in a row without baby ducks on the farm.

This morning I replaced the empty box of fire wood and filled up the back of the gator with more wood either for the wood stove or another empty wood box. I parked it in the garage. After lunch, Mary and I took a ride to visit Sue then returned home where I took a nap on the couch until supper was ready.

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Thursday January 21, 2010

Today is a bright sunny cool day with temperatures in the low 30’s

Yesterday I had to go to the hospital and meet with the doctor who operated on my brain cancer. After he reviewed the MRI he informed Mary and I that he did not detect any new growth only some slight swelling in the area where the tumor was. He wants my next check up in March to see if conditions have changed.

On Saturday upon waking up on the couch in front of the TV, I noticed that the UCONN
Girl’s basketball team was killing ND. I also noticed that the baby goat got tired of the game and had moved into an empty dog wire cage which we had placed in the family room and had gone to sleep. This cage is where the goat sleeps at night. During the day he sleeps and pees either in the kitchen or near the wood stove.

On Monday when we went down back to feed the rest of the farm animals, we were greeted by a new black baby goat that was sporting white stripes of hair on its head. The baby goat was completely dry and was being taken care of by its mother. The size of this new goat is much larger than the goat that we have living in the house. When we get a chance we will post photos.

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Thursday January 14, 2010

Today was a sunny dry day with temperature readings in the low 30’s

Today I had to go to the hospital for an MRI. After the MRI Mary and I met with the doctor who informed us that there was still some swelling in the brain where the brain operation occurred but he could not detect any new growth. He told us to schedule another MRI in March so he can see if any changes have occurred.

The white baby which was born on January 8th that had a tan strip of hair going down its back died 3 nights ago because it had aspirated some milk into its lungs and developed a respiratory infection.

On January 9th when David went to the goat barn to feed the bottle feed the baby that was born on December 6th he found another baby goat, coco in color, cold and lying in the barn. We brought the goat up to the house and it is living next to the wood stove, where it is warm and drinking from a baby bottle. This goat as you can see from the photo is very tiny any I believe it is the smallest ever born on the farm.

Ted has replaced the blown engine on the log splitter with the engine from the riding lawn mower that he had traded for. He split some wood with it but he did not have the gas tank secured. I spent the day yesterday making a bracket for the gas tank. When the weather improves I will split some wood and see if everything works the way it is supposed to.

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Friday January 8, 2010

Today is a cloudy overcast day with falling light snow flurries

With the arrival of the New Year we have had several things happen at the farm. The major issue is Mary’s mother. She is elderly and lives alone in a house a mile from ours and she is having difficulties. Her main hobby in life is going to the grocery store and buying food items that she does not need or use. After some of her trips we receive a phone call from her stating the she has left her cane at the grocery store and asking us to retrieve it. When we do, and bring it to her she accuses Mary of sneaking food into her house and wants Mary to remove it.

Besides all the trips to the grocery store, Mary’s mother has locked herself out of her house this winter on about three different occasions and hit her emergency alert button. The emergency call center places a call to our house and we travel over to her house to see what the problem is. Usually we find her in the garage without a jacket on and cold. She usually has removed her spare key from the garage and has placed it in her house shutting and locking the door. Once again she states it is Mary’s fault and accuses her of hiding the spare key. I wish Mary’s siblings lived closer so that they could help their mother on a day-to-day basis. Right now we have to maintain two households and at times it becomes overwhelming.

This morning about 1 am the phone rang and when we answered it, it was Mary’s mother asking us if we took down her artificial Christmas tree and placed it outside by the curb. We told her that we took it down, but that it was still in her living room and we were planning to place it in the attic on Saturday.

On January 5th a white older goat gave birth to a white female. The mother goat and baby are doing fine and the baby is nursing without and problems. The bottle fed baby goat that was born on December 6th that I stated was a male goat, is a female goat and is starting to eat grain.

Our friend, Ted has traded a cord of fire wood for a riding lawn mower that has a working gas motor. We are planning on replacing the blown motor on the log splitter with this engine and junking the riding lawn mower.

When David went to the barn at 6pm to feed the baby goat, he discovered that another goat had given birth to a white baby which has a tan strip of hair going down its back. The mother has a bad case of mastitis and we will have to bottle feed the baby. Mary went down to the barn and offered the baby some milk, but it only drank 0.5 oz., hopefully it will drink more later.

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Thursday December 31, 2009

A cold overcast day

Today when we woke up it was snowing. It is now 4:30 pm and the snow has stopped. Total amount on the ground is about 2 to 3 inches. All of the firewood boxes in the front yard are empty and both Dave and I do not feel like filling them up. The State snow plows have done a good job clearing the roads, but we haven’t plowed our driveway or farm roads.

Yesterday around suppertime, my friend Bill Vaughn from Pennsylvania came over the house to spend some time with Mary and me. Today we went to the Feed Warehouse in Southwick, Ma to buy animal food.

The animals on the farm with the exception of the Guinea hen with the broken leg are doing great. The Guinea hen with the broken leg has been missing for about 10 to 12 days and we now think it is history.

Dave, Mary, Richard, and all of the cold Farm animals wish everyone out there a very Happy New Year.

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Wednesday December 23, 2009

A sunny, windy, cold, raw day.

It is almost the night before Christmas and all through the barn not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. Mary and I have made 6 pumpkin pies and they are now baking in the oven. The pie crust for these pies is a recipe that I found in an Amish cook book. If it tastes good I will post it on the recipe site.

Three days ago when we went to the barn in the morning to feed the goats, we found a young female goat dead in the barn. This female had a bad case of diarrhea; this along with the extreme weather did her in. We removed the dead animal and made sure everyone else had food and water.

The two baby goats are doing fine and the Guinea hen with the broken leg is living in the barn. The leg did not fall off yet.

Tomorrow we are going to Sue’s house for a Christmas meal and will be bringing some pumpkin pie. The sale of firewood is strong and I am finding it hard to keep the wood boxes filled.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas

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Saturday December 19, 2009

A cold windy cloudy day

Today the weatherman said that a northeastern snow storm would blanket the State. According to the weatherman the storm was suppose to start around 6 pm and last until late Sunday night. It is now 9 pm and the storm has not started, but it is bitterly cold outside and we have been selling firewood as fast as we can refill the boxes.

Yesterday Mary and I went to Marianne’s (coworkers retirement party at Suzanne’s (another of her coworker’s)) house to celebrate. I made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and Mary made Caribbean grilled cheese sandwiches. Both were hits at the party so I have posted the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies recipe on the Wintonbury Farm recipe web site.

Before yesterday’s party I had thrown down some chicken food in front of the barn to feed the ducks, chickens and Guinea hens unfortunately the horses decided the food was for them and they ran for the barn to eat up the grain. One of the horses stepped on a Guinea hen and broke its leg. The bone is protruding and the Guinea hen is now living and laying in the barn. We are hoping that the broken leg will fall off and the bird will manage to survive with one leg.

The rest of the farm animals are doing fine and the baby goat that we are bottle feeding runs up to us when we go to the goat barn with a bottle. The other baby goat is nursing off its mother and appears to be very healthy.

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Saturday December 12, 2009

A sunny cold day

Last night a young black female goat gave birth to a black male baby goat. Both mother and baby are doing fine although the mother has large nipples which the baby might have a hard time nursing.

This morning, when we went down to the goat barn to bottle feed the baby goat whose mother has mastitis, we found an older goat in labor and having a hard time giving birth. Sue tried reaching into the goats uterus to help deliver the baby, but found that it was dead inside the mother’s womb. After a long time of trying to remove the dead goat from the mother and watching the mother pushing her insides out with her contractions we decided that the humane thing to do was to put the goat down to stop her suffering. After putting down the goat we gave the rest of the goats grain and warm water.

The rest of the day I hand split firewood and made sure the boxes in front of the house and the pile in front of the wood stove were well stocked.

I have started my round of chemo pills on Tuesday and so far I haven’t had any side effects.

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Sunday December 6, 2009

Cold Raw day following last night’s wet soggy snow storm.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at Scott and Katie’s new house in South Windsor. On Saturday Paula and Sam who flew from California to celebrate Thanksgiving with their family visited us before returning to their home.

This morning when David and I walked down to the barn to feed the animals we noticed that a goat had given birth. The mother has mastitis and we have to bottle feed the baby. Mary fed the baby (which we think is a male) 2 oz of milk in the morning and at 2 pm. Next feeding will be given around 6 pm.

While walking across the garden to feed the rest of the goats, we found a dead Muscovy duck. Last night something killed the duck and ate half of it in the garden on the path to the horse pen. Hopefully if it returns tonight it will only finish eating the dead duck and not kill any more.

After feeding the animals, David moved the goats to their winter pen that we have next to the pond, after placing straw on the floor so they could be warm. While moving the goats David noticed that one of the baby Guinea hens was acting sickish and not associating with the other Guinea hens. Hopefully it will start feeling better and rejoin the rest of the flock.

On Tuesday I am supposed to start another round chemo pills for five days. The last round knocked me for a loop and I slept on the couch for several days before I had enough strength to function. I am hoping for a better turn around this time.

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Tuesday November 24, 2009

Cloudy damp overcast day, everything outside is wet from yesterday’s rain.

This morning Mary and Tim, both from the Ct State Dept of Agriculture, stopped by the farm to take throat swab samples of my chickens to see if my birds are healthy and that the wild birds which visit the farm and the pond are not bring anything to infect the flock. Our farm is one of the farms which the state has chosen to participate in this study because of its location and because we have a pond which the wild birds visit.

On Monday morning, I spent the day making apple and pumpkin pies to give to people who I had promised. Then in the afternoon I delivered an apple pie and pumpkin pie to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, who gave me the apples and pears that I had canned. This morning when Sue left to go home after work, she took two pies to give to her friend Jerry for payment for fixing the small engines on the saw mill and log splitter.

I moved the log splitter with the blown engine into the garage and started to take it off the trailer. I asked Ted if he ordered a new engine and was told that he was waiting for some money to come in before he ordered one.

On Friday November 13th after the doctor reviewed the MRI he had informed Mary and me that he could not detect any evidence of the brain cancer growing only a cavity where it was. He said that we should do the next round of chemo pills that he has scheduled and that he would see me after the next MRI in January.

I have tried cutting boards on the sawmill for the new shed that David and I are planning to build, however I am having trouble keeping the blades on the wheels which runs the mill and have broken 3 blades. David has tried to align the wheels but I am cutting wavy boards.

The baby Guinea hens have given up roosting on top of the tractors and have joined the older Guinea hens in the silver maple tree next to the goat pen at night. David has nailed a couple of roost from the goat pen to the maple tree which some of the birds are using. In the morning they all call for me for food and start heading for the house looking for me.

Sales of firewood from the boxes in front of the house have been steady but the sale of cordwood has been non existent. I am continuing to hand split firewood to fill the wood boxes which are for sale in front of the house. Maybe when the ground dries out somewhat and the sun comes out I will use the new log splitter that I bought.

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Friday November 13, 2009

This morning the day was sunny and cool, but at 2PM it started to rain.

On Wednesday morning I bought a 27 ton tow-behind Troy Built log splitter from a neighbor and parked it in my barn because I could not find anyone to fix the engine on the other log splitter.

On Thursday morning my daughter Sue stopped by the house with her friend Jerry to check out the engines on the log splitter near the wood pile and the engine on the saw mill. They got both the log splitter and saw mill engines working. When I asked how much I owed them, I was told that all I had to do was bake an apple pie for Jerry for Thanksgiving.

After Sue and Jerry left, Mary drove me to the hospital for an MRI. The doctor reviewed it and told us that it looked fine. The tumor did not increase in size and was looking better than it did in the last MRI. I have started taking the next round of chemo pills, which is one pill in the morning and three pills before I go to bed. My next doctor’s appointment is supposed to be in January unless I have problems before then.

When I returned from the hospital, I cut a cedar log into ¾ inch boards for the neighbor, Mr. Wade and then decided to split some firewood using the log splitter near the firewood pile. The splitter was working well and I was getting a lot of wood split, however on the third tank full of gas, the engine started making a clanking noise and then stopped. When I examined the engine, I found a hole in the side of it with a section of it on the ground. There was oil everywhere. The engine had blown up and needs to be replaced. Shortly after this happened, it started to drizzle outside, so I covered the sawmill engine with a tarp and came in the house. The weatherman is calling for rain tonight and all day tomorrow.

At night, the baby Guinea Hens, which we release every morning, try to roost on top of the tractors and we have to chase them off and herd them into the horse stall and close the pen.

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Tuesday November 10, 2009

Today is a cloudy overcast day with forecasted temperatures in the low to upper 60’s.

On Halloween night we did not get any trick-or-treaters so over the past couple of days; I ate and finished all of the candy that we bought. Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment with the chemo doctor who had a blood sample taken to determine if my body was reacting to the medication OK. He said it was and that I was ready to start taking the next round of chemo pills, which I am suppose to start next week.

Saturday and Sunday were nice sunny days and the outside temperature hit 70 degrees. I spent the two days along with yesterday hand splitting firewood (the gasoline powered log splitter is not working and I cannot find someone to come out and work on the engine). Pictures of the firewood that has been split and ready for sale can be viewed on the web site under products.

Work on the new shed that David and I are building has stopped because I can not get the engine for the saw mill running and we cannot make boards. Hopefully I can find out why it won’t start.
Yesterday morning, we decided to release the baby Guinea Hens which we had moved to a portable pen in the horse stall of the barn. When we opened the door to the pen at first the young keets did not leave but the older ones joined them to eat the food in the pen. Later on in the day the young birds joined the older birds and hung around the outside and inside of the barn. At night they all returned to the pen and we closed the door. Pictures of the young Guinea hens can be viewed on the web site under animals.

On Thursday morning the doctor who operated on me has me going to the hospital for an MRI to see how I am healing. I will post his findings on this web site when I know what he says.

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Saturday October 31, 2009

A warm windy drizzly Halloween day

Today is Halloween night and Mary and I have just returned from an overnight camping trip. Yesterday we decided to take a one day camping trip with our friends Ray and Shelly Finley to Sturbridge, MA in our Lance camper which slides into the back of the pickup truck. We figured it may be the last camping trip before we have to winterize the camper for the season. We stayed at Jelly Stone Campground. It was a nice campground, but Ray got carried away and cooked too much breakfast. After checking out of the campground and dropping off Ray and Shelly, Mary and I stopped by Katie’s house to give Aly some Halloween candy and camp home.

It is now 6 pm at night and I am going to turn off the computer and wait for trick-or-treaters while I sit in my chair eating candy.

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Saturday October 24, 2009

A rainy day spent in the barn and in the house by the wood stove

It has been a week or so since my I have finished taking the chemo pills and now the doctor has me taking 1 steroid pill in the morning when I take my blood pressure pill.
Three days ago my left eye lids were very sore when I blinked them or touched them. It might have been caused by the cyber knife treatment. The doctor mentioned that there might be some side effects after the treatment has stopped. Today when I woke up the right side of my head behind my ear in the area of where the surgery took place is swollen and very tender to the touch. If it continues I will call the doctor’s office.

On the farm scene, David finished disk harrowing the last pumpkin field and the flower garden and planted the rye seed. I drove the tractor and a trailer to Mary’s mother’s house and dug up a blueberry bush to move to our farm. On the way home the right tire of the trailer blew. When I brought it to Schaller Tire for repair they told me that the tire that blew they stopped making 60 years ago and they would replace it with something newer.

Before David disk harrowed the garden and pumpkin field I walked through the garden and picked some basil and parsley and made some pesto sauce and Italian wheat bread. Both came out tasting good. I especially liked the bread. For a copy of these recipes check my recipe section.

We hired the neighbor, James (J. P.) to start digging holes for the rear wall of the new shed we are planning to build. We still haven’t gotten the motor on the saw mill working. There were three tree stumps, one in front of the chicken coop, one behind the barn, and one in the area of the new shed that I asked a tree stump grinder man to remove. He came over and did the work and for payment he only wanted six bales of straw.

The 1951 VAC Case tractor has not been running very well and has been stalling a lot, so I called my friend Ray Finley and he told me that he would come over on Saturday morning to look at the tractor and help me get it going. When Ray came over he replaced the spark plugs, the distributor wires and cap, the rotor, and the points and got the tractor working again. However, the generator cut-out relay was sparking and Ray told me that I should buy a new one before the generator gets damaged.

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Monday October 12, 2009

A sunny breezy cool day

Today I met with the chemotherapy doctor and had blood samples taken to see if my body can handle the chemo pill that he was going to have me take. The doctor said there were no complications and that he was going to start me on chemo pills for five days.

On the 15th is my wife’s mother Roberta’s birthday, she will turn 90. Yesterday we had a family celebration for this special event at my brother-in-law’s house in Canton, Ct. The first names of those attending were as follows; Kids and spouses – Mary, Richard, Priscilla, Scott, Margie, Steven & Linda. Grandchildren and spouses – David, Sue, Katie, Scott, Megan, Kristen, Jamie, Tess, and Kira. Great grandchildren- Tyler, Beckett, Alyssa, & Emily.

When I came home from the doctor’s office David and I decided that today would be a good day to disk harrow the pumpkin field and plant some rye seed for a cover crop. Mary and I drove to New England seed to purchase the rye and David connected the disk harrow to the tractor. At the seed company Ted and Maureen put 600 pound of rye seed on the truck and we went home.

At home when David started Disk harrowing the pumpkin field he found about 30 green pumpkins which he picked and put them in a trailer and brought them home. A connecting pin on the bucket of the tractor fell off in the field while David was bouncing around and the bucket fell off. Mary and I drove to the John Deere dealer and purchased a new pin. As a result of this mishap and our trip we never got the rye seed planted, but we did manage to put the tractor back together. Right now the rye is in the garage.

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Friday October 9, 2009

A rainy, drizzly day

Today was my last treatment for cyber knife. Mary brought me to the hospital for an eight o’clock and we brought the nurses and staff donuts for a going away gift. They in turn gave me my cyber knife mask to keep. Maybe I will put it in the barn with the mask from my radiation treatments to hold my bee helmets.

On Monday I have to meet with the chemotherapy doctor and have a MRI taken. The doctor is going to start me on chemo pills for five days which will be two pills in the morning and two pills at night.

When I came home from the hospital today I chopped down a small dead maple tree in the area where David and I are planning to construct our new shed. Because it started raining I did not cut it up, maybe I will do that tomorrow.

A couple of weeks ago the 1951 VAC Case tractor stalled next to the pond on the way to the barn and David and I had to push it into the barn where it now sits. My friend Ray Finley is a teacher of auto mechanics and told me that he will come over on Saturday morning to look at the tractor and help me get it going.

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Tuesday October 6, 2009

Another sunny cool day on the farm

This morning and for the rest of the week I have to go to the hospital for my cyber knife treatment. Next week I start chemotherapy treatment again and then the doctors will inform me of what is next.

Yesterday the repairman from the New Holland dealer finished fixing the broken mower conditioner so today David and I greased it and put it away for the season. We are moving ahead with plans on constructing a new equipment barn and are gathering poles to build it.

The neighborhood boy James (J. P.) painted the goat barn, the chicken coop door, the hand cart, and the sheep barn. Tomorrow he is going to help me cut down some brush that is growing behind the barn.

We have a Copper hawk flying to the farm during the morning and afternoon attacking the baby chickens. We have lost several babies and the hawk seems to be quite content.

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Friday October 2, 2009

Today was a sunny, blue, windy, cool day and I wore a winter jacket outside

This morning I started my cyber knife treatment. I had to go to Saint Francis Hospital where I laid on a table in the cancer center treatment area while the nurses moved the cyber knife machine around my head treating me. On the ceiling of the room was a wide screen flat TV for me to watch which showed nature scenes. The treatment lasted for about 1 ½ hours and I did not feel a thing. As a matter of fact, I felt good all day. To learn more about cyber knife treatments check out St Francis Hospital’s web site.

When I got home, I felt so good that I hand split a couple of big chunks of logs for fire wood. The gasoline engine on the power log splitter is not working.

At lunch time Katie and the two girls, Aly and Emily, were visiting so I spent the afternoon in the family room with them. After they left, I decided that it was to cold outside to do anything so I stayed in the house and started a fire in the wood stove. Mary went to Burger King for supper and David put the tractor away and put the animals in their pens and barns.

The other day I bushed hogged every thing in the garden except the flowers. David hired the neighborhood boy James (J. P.) to dig up the gladiolas and to paint the goat barn. Today he finished those jobs. We paid him for his work and told him that he could come back next week and paint the sheep barn.

Because of the exceptionally wet summer that we had, all of the tomatoes, pumpkins, squash and everything else in the garden did not grow and we did not sell any produce in front of the house. People are calling looking for pumpkins and we have to tell them that we had a crop failure and the only thing that we have for sale is straw.

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Friday September 25, 2009

Today is a nice warm day and I spent the morning bush hogging the sunflowers next to the road

Yesterday I went to the hospital where they fitted me with a new mask so they could start me with cyber knife treatment. It seems that my last MRI showed a slight thickening in the area where they removed the last tumor and the doctor wanted to try treating it with the cyber knife machine.

On Monday, I went to the dentist where he pulled the root of my broken tooth and inserted an implant. The procedure was quite an eye opening one. Once the root of the tooth was removed, he tapped threads into my bone and screwed in the implant and placed a temporary cap on top of it. I will get a permanent cap when the bone heals. In the mean time I am taking anti-biotics in the morning, at lunch, and at supper time.

On the farm scene we have put up about 400 bales of hay in the barn. This should be enough hay for us but I do not think we could take care of our hay customers. David and I built a portable Guinea hen/chicken pen in the horse stall in the barn and moved the baby keets from the dining room to the barn.

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Tuesday September 8, 2009

A visit to the chemo doctors office to determine what pills I am to take

Today I start round 3 of the new chemo treatment. In this round I take 5 pills at night and 3 pills in the morning for 5 days.

On September 4th on the way home from my last doctor’s visit we stopped for a bite to eat and when I tried to remove a piece of meat caught between my teeth with my finger nail, I knocked out my #13 tooth which is located on the top left portion of my jaw. The tooth had been previously capped on a narrow nub of a sliver of the former tooth. Today I visited the dentist who recommended that I get an implant inserted to replace the missing tooth. I have to set up an appointment.

On the farm David and I have decided that we have to replace portions of the sheep fence and that we should construct a storage shed for some of our equipment which we currently keep outdoors exposed to the weather. So after going to the dentist, I spent the afternoon cleaning the yard behind the barn, getting ready for the changes to be made. We still have some haying to do, but the weather is supposed to turn rainy and David has to take a 3 day business trip to Virginia.

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Friday September 4, 2009

The trip to the doctor’s office who performed the first and second brain operations

On Monday August 31 the doctor who did the second brain operation removed the staples. He also told me that he did not drop any chemo wafers into my skull worried that I might have some adverse effects from the wafers. Next week I am suppose to see the chemo doctor to determine what pills I am to take and for how long. All I know now is this is the best I’ve felt since March. I just keep falling asleep on the couch and just can’t get my energy levels up where I want them.

Yesterday David, Sue, and I put up some hay. David, Sue, and April stacked it in the barn and reported that we’ve got about 250 bails up top. In the last couple of days three chickens were killed behind the barn. We do not know what killed them, but the neighbor said that he saw a coyote walk through his yard into ours.

On a bright note there is a small chicken walking in the sheep pen with a large clutch of tiny yellow chicks. All of the white Muscovy ducks have decided to sleep and stay by the pond. They have stopped coming to sleep under the back porch.

Because of all of the wet weather that we have had this summer, the garden has been a failure. We have not picked or sold any vegetables and people have noticed and asked what is up. Although we planted pumpkins in between the rain drops we have had a crop failure and it doesn’t look like we will have any for sale.

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Sunday August 23, 2009

Hartford County 4-H leader destroys Saint Francis Hospital’s Neuro floor Vendyne leg compression machine Saturday night

On Friday morning the doctors had to perform a second brain operation. After surgery the doctor who did the operation told me that the chemotherapy pills that I have been taking were killing the growth of the new cancer cells, but new ones were growing and pushing the dead ones into the brain. He thinks that he got the entire tumor and before he put me back together said he dropped some chemo wafers into the brain cavity in case he missed some. Time will tell.

After the operation I was moved to Saint Francis Hospital’s Neuro floor where the doctors wanted to monitor how much urine I was producing and to place me onto the Vendyne leg compression machine to prevent blood clots from happening. They placed me in bed and told me not to leave. I had to pee into a plastic bottle and the nurses removed it and recorded the amount on a chart in my file for the doctors. Then it happed Around 12:30 am I had peed into the bottle and tried to swing my leg around the Vendyne leg compressor machine when my foot got twisted up into the rubber tubing at the end of the bed. Both the machine and myself fell to the floor where the tubing connections on the two rubber compression hoses snapped off and the oxygen hose slid along the staples in my head where several became torn and loose. The nurse on duty came into the room and disconnected the broken equipment and said she will have the doctor look at it in the morning.

In the morning the doctor looked at the damage done and said that even though it had been only one day every thing was healing well and that he wasn’t too concerned about the torn or loose staples as long as I did not rub them. He then gave me my choice of staying in the hospital one more day or going home. I went home while the hospital staff was trying to put back together their equipment. I was also told to not to do any heavy work on the farm including farm work. In addition I was told to call the doctor’s office on Monday morning so he can make arrangements to examine me and determine what actions to have me take.

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Thursday August 20, 2009

Another sunny day for the 2009 season

Today when I woke up I had to go to the hospital for an MRI. While I was gone, David got a call from the post office to come and pick up 30 baby guinea hens. He did and now they are living in a cardboard box on the dining room table.


Mary and I spent 3 days at the Hartford County fair and when we got home we found a check from the Middlesex Auction for the pigs. The boar weighted 932 pounds and sold for 2 cents a pound for a whopping 18.64. The sow, that bit me in the knee cap weighed 564 and sold for 12 cents a pound Total sale of 67.68. The price that we got for the 6 baby feeder pigs ranged from 15.00 to 27.50.

Tomorrow morning I am going to the hospital where the doctors will perform a second brain operation. Hopefully this time they will get all of the tumor.

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Thursday August 13, 2009

Fair Day

Today I am going to the 4-H Fair located in Somers at the 4 Town Fair Grounds. I am bringing my camper so I can spend the night. David will be in charge of the farm.

Last Thursday night two more baby goats were born – one male and one female. The mother refuses to let them nurse so they are living in the greenhouse so that we can bottle feed them. David named the goats “April’s Goat” and “April’s Other Goat” so that she would feel attached to them. It must have worked because she and Mary are doing almost all of the feeding. Their eating is very inconsistent. Sometimes they eat a lot and sometimes they barely eat at all.

It has been raining on and off all day today so the hay that we have cut and put into rows will have to be teddered and re-raked before we attempt to bale. On Monday while I was at the Doctor’s office David and Sue loaded up all of the pigs on a trailer and brought them to the Middlesex Action. They said the pigs were getting a little mean especially since the mother sow bite me. When I got home from the Doctor’s office I was told that I could not get any more pigs until I fix the pig pen area.

I will be coming home from the fair on Sunday night. Hopefully David will not make too many changes.

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Wednesday August 5, 2009

A warm summer day with a slight shower around 3 PM

Today I decided to bale some of the hay which I had cut and could not get to because of all of the rain and standing puddles in the fields. When I went to the lot on Filly Street I found the hay damp and moldy. I baled it anyway and dropped the bales on the ground. I also noticed that the Town of Bloomfield had bush hogged one of my hay fields off of Wintonbury Avenue. Maybe I can salvage some of it for hay.

On August 1, I had updated the pictures of the Muscovy ducks and Guinea Hens on the animal section of the web site. Later on that night all of the baby keets were killed. I found their bodies the next morning. After finding the bodies I contacted the Guinea farm in New Vienna, IA and ordered 30 baby keets. Hopefully they will arrive soon.

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours splitting fire wood with the log splitter that runs off of the tractor until I got super tired. My right leg is still sore from being bitten by the mother sow. Hopefully the bruise tissue will heal soon and the pain that I feel when I walk will go away. In the mean time I am doing a lot of work while sitting on the tractor and I am still taking a lot of naps on the couch in front of the TV.

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Thursday July 30, 2009

The wettest July on record continues to curtail farming actives

When I woke up this morning, it was raining. I was hoping that the rainy weather would give us a break so we could harvest some hay. I presently have a small patch cut and lying on the ground but because of all the rain I can not bail it. So far this year we have bailed about 50 bails and they are sitting atop of a hay wagon and are starting to get moldy and grow mushrooms. We are feeding out what we can but we need to harvest more hay soon. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can put some hay up in the barn.

Yesterday I had a friend come over to buy three of the baby pigs. While we were running in the pig pen trying to capture three of the babies, the mother sow managed to pin me against the pig house and bite my right knee cap. I was lucky that she happen to get a mouthful of my shorts along with my knee therefore the injury wasn’t that bad. When I finally got out of the pig pen, I had some skin missing and my leg was bleeding. The bite area was covered with mud which acted as a bandage and it stopped the bleeding. I ended up going to the house and washed and disinfected the bite area. This morning I did have a slight bruise on my leg above the knee cap but there was no infection.

The baby Guinea Hens are doing fine and the two chicks that where weak are doing fine and you cannot tell which ones they are. The other two eggs did not hatch so we ended up with a total of ten baby keets.

The baby Muscovy ducks are growing fast and are spending a lot more time in the pond and are starting to fly. They still come running up the hill when we ring the bell and sleep under the back porch at night.

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Wednesday July 21, 2009

The rainy summer continues to hamper farming actives.

Today we woke up to a rainy day which continued all day long. When I went to turn the Guinea Hen eggs, I was surprised to hear them peeping. When I examined them, I discovered that most of the eggs were cracked and that there was little beaks poking through the shells. Within two hours 10 baby hens had hatched. Two eggs did not hatch and one chick had died. Two other chicks are very weak and we will have to see if they survive.

Yesterday I managed to rake and bale the hay that I cut on Wednesday. We ended up picking and stacking 50 bales on a hay wagon. Luckily we covered it with a tarp and kept it from getting wet. Unfortunately I cut and raked another field of hay but did not bale it and picked it up and it is now wet and laying in the field. Before working in the hay fields, I had a doctors’ appointment at the hospital where I was told that the most recent MRI showed that my brain tumor is growing. The doctors are going to have me take another course of chemotherapy and reevaluate what the tumor is doing in August. If it is still growing they may have to go back in and remove what they can.

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Friday July 17, 2009

Showers ended a hot muggy day on the farm.

Today on the farm, I started replacing broken boards on the hay wagon that was used to bring in Benny Maulucci’s hay. On Wednesday we ended up bailing and stacking 145 bales on the wagon before one of the main carrying beams broke. Benny unloaded the wagon and brought the wagon back to the farm. I cut a little hay for myself also and was going to bale some of it on Thursday morning but it rained in the later in the morning and the rest of the hay got wet so now I’m waiting for it to dry. In between the rain drops, I planted hot peppers in the garden to replace some of the pepper plants that were choked by weeds or eaten by the guinea hens.

On Wednesday morning when David and I fed the animals, we found the newborn goat that was born while Mary and I were in Pennsylvania lying dead in the pasture. We suspect that it was not nursing from the mom.

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Tuesday July 14, 2009

Another sunny day on the farm without rain

Today we had a nice sunny day without any rain on the farm. Besides weeding part of the flower section of the garden, I was able to cut some hay on town owned land and across town on Benny Maulucci’s farm. Tomorrow I will tedder the hay and maybe rake it into rows for bailing.

On Sunday afternoon Mary and I had to go to Pennsylvania because my Navy buddy Bill Vaughn’s mother Vivian died and the funeral was Monday. While we were gone, a baby goat was born and Giuseppe, my Sicilian donkey got into the garden and ate a bunch of sunflowers from three rows that I had just weeded before I left.

At dusk, we have been herding the ducks into the fenced area behind the back porch to protect them from predators. While we were gone, David had conditioned them to waddle and run up the hill when he rings a bell. Boy were we surprised to see the eleven baby ducks giving us a show.

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Friday July 10, 2009

Another sunny day on the farm

Today I started the day by going to the hospital for a MRI and to talk to the doctor about my brain tumor. The MRI showed that the brain tumor is still there, but has shrunk in size. The doctor has reduced the amount of steroids that I am to take and said that hopefully I’ll be off of them all in a couple of weeks.

Because we have had a couple of days in a row without any rain the fields around the farm have dried enough that David and I were able to finally get in them to plow and plant the pumpkins and sunflowers. Hopefully we will get a crop that we will recover our cost. As for the rest of the garden, the weeds are doing great and they have taken over especially in the flowers. It’s going to take a lot of work to bring them back. After returning home from the hospital, I re-plowed the back half of the garden where I will plant the remaining plants left on the hay wagons that we did not sell.

While plowing the garden the mother pig walked the baby pigs along the fence and I finally got to count them. She has eight piglets which are white and black and I estimate that they weigh little over a pound each. The eleven baby ducks are growing fast and like to follow me around begging for food. At night I herd them into the fenced in area behind the house to protect them from predators.

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Thursday July 2, 2009

Overcast sky after heavy night time storm

Today the sky is overcast clouds with chances of rain. Last night we had heavy rain and yesterday during the afternoon we had showers. It sure is hard trying to farm while it is wet outside. We did however manage to harvest the rye grass Monday and Tuesday night and ended up with about 220 bales. We managed to put some of the bales into the barn but because of the rain we had to cover about 125 bales on the hay wagon with a tarp and we will move them later.

While we were bailing the straw on the afternoon of June 30th the pig gave birth to about eight piglets. The pen is awfully wet and I will have to wait for it to dry a little before I can get an accurate count.

I’m heading to bed now and it is starting to drizzle again.

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Monday June 29, 2009

The rainy weather seems to be winding down

It has been raining off and on now for over a month. The weather man is calling for showers for every day through the forth of July. His forecast has been off however and we have gone three days now without a sprinkle. This is good news for us because we haven’t planted our pumpkin crop which should have bee planted weeks ago. We have to harvest the straw out of the fields then plant the pumpkins. Yesterday we cut the straw and raked it into rows for the bailer. Today we bailed 81 bails and placed them in the horse barn. Some were heavy and slightly wet. Hopefully we placed them in an area where they will dry ok. Tomorrow we will bail the rest if it doesn’t rain on the straw and then we will plow the field and plant our pumpkins and some more sunflowers.

Hopefully we will convince people to buy pumpkins in November.

On 6/21 my Navy buddy Bill Vaughan drove from Pennsylvania to visit me. He stayed for three days but because of my withdrawal from radiation treatment and chemotherapy treatment I slept on the couch most of the time. On the day he left, Mary called the Doctor’s office and was told to put me back on steroids in the morning to see if I will get more energy. It seems to be working and I am staying awake more. The doctor wants to see me on July 10th to see how I am doing.

On the night of June 23 something killed three of the baby chickens that were living in the back of the barn. I set a trap in the barn to catch the critter but with no luck. On the bright side however there have been no further deaths.

On June 25th we received a dozen Guinea hen eggs that I ordered from a Guinea Farm in New Vienna, IA. We placed them in an incubator in the dinning room and hopefully in 26 to 28 days they will start to hatch.

The baby ducks are growing fast and tend to follow me down to the pond in the morning, where they sit on the edge of the water. They do not go into the water but after awhile the all waddle up to the house and go under the back porch where they sit and wait for someone to come out of the house to feed them.

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Thursday June 18, 2009

Rainy soppy days continue

Yes the rain continues and is quite heavy at times. I find myself quite tired all the time and have been sleeping about 14 hours a day. We continue to let the baby ducks wander loose in the grassy area behind the back porch; however we have some bad news about the large Muscovy male duck that used to walk up the hill to visit them. Today when the male duck failed to visit all of the baby ducks walked down to the edge of the pond. They stayed in the grassy area near the pond then returned about ½ an hour later to the fenced in area behind the back porch. Upon searching the yard, David found a duck foot laying on the edge of the garden. Apparently when the coyotes visited us on Tuesday night they got the large Muscovy male duck.

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Tuesday June 16, 2009

Soggy days continue

The weather seems to be in a holding pattern, the skies are overcast and we get a shower at night and the temperature is in the 50’s. Because of the weather, we never harvested the rye and never planted the pumpkins. Hopefully things will dry out soon so we can get our crops in the fields. On Sunday night, around 12:30, we were visited by a large pack of coyotes. Okley and Maggie ran out the back door barking and chasing the coyotes down the hill into the back hay field. Mary and April, our house guest, went outside and penned up the baby ducks. Once the ducks were penned, they called the dogs back into the house and everyone went to sleep.

In the morning there was no evidence that the coyotes did any damage. We were greeted at the barn by a small bantam hen and 9 new chicks. The garden is very soggy and when you try to walk in it you sink up over your ankles. The weatherman is calling for more rain. We hope he is wrong, but time will tell.

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Tuesday June 9, 2009

The return of mid April on the farm

Today was a rainy day with the high temperature of 58. Yesterday although it did not rain the sky was overcast and threatening and the weatherman said it could shower at any time. As a result of the weather we did not plant in the garden the last two days. On Sunday in addition to planting the garden, we have emptied most of the greenhouse to three hay wagons in the front yard where we are trying to sell the left over plants. In addition to the plants we have for sale we have a table with jars of honey that we have recently extracted.

In an Email that we received today we were sent a picture of a jar of our honey that made it onto a cruise ship which is more than we can say for us.

We have built an enclosure for the baby ducks behind the porch and let them loose to wander in the grassy area. One of the large Muscovy male ducks living in the pond has noticed this and for the last three days has walked up to the enclosure and has gone inside with the babies for a couple of hours before he returns to the pond. So far the babies have shown no desire to follow him.

This weekend we are supposed to plant the pumpkins but before we do this we have to harvest the rye grass which we planted in the fall for straw. David and I are hopping the rain holds off long enough to harvest and put the straw in the barn.

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Saturday June 6, 2009

How I spent my 39th wedding anniversary

I am still feeling the effects to the radiation treatment, so after feeding the animals in the morning I spent most of the day sleeping on the couch in the family room. David and Mary spent the day rototilling and planting flowers in back of the house. Sue came over to the house around lunch time and sheared two sheep before she had to leave for work. She will be back to shear the rest. Tomorrow we have hired a boy to help plant the main garden next to the barn. Hopefully some of my energy will return and I can get something done.

The baby ducks are growing and are starting to grow their permanent feathers. We haven’t lost any baby ducks since the problems we had with the U S postal service. The baby chicks are doing fine and we haven’t lost any. The latest goat that was born is a female. She is also doing fine despite the fact that her mother has mastitis.

Because I didn’t do anything for Mary’s birthday, which was June 2nd, I decided that, because today is our anniversary, we should go out for dinner. In my defense she didn’t do anything for my birthday either, which was May 28th. So at 6 pm the three of us David, Mary, and I piled into the car and David drove us to an Italian restaurant in the center of Windsor, Ct. where we filled our tummies. Once we arrived home, David went out to the garden to rototill, Mary went over to her mother’s house, and I went on the computer to write this blog.

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Sunday May 31, 2009

Radiation and Chemotherapy is taking its toll

Today I woke up thinking that I would get a lot of work done in the garden. I didn’t do much yesterday and spent a lot of time sleeping. Unfortunately today was not much different. The doctors told me that I would be getting more and more tired and spend more time sleeping. They say some patients spend 20 hours a day sleeping. As far as how planting the garden is going, the flower portion of the garden is done. We have planted approximately 46 rows of flowers. Each row is 100 feet long. While I am working on this blog, Mary and David are in the garden planting beans and squash. Thank goodness for David and Mary.

Yesterday, we had a baby goat born and a chicken hatched 12 baby chicks in the sheep barn. I failed to notice of the gender of the new baby goat but will make note on the next blog. I did note however that the mother has mastitis on one side of her udder, however the other side is mastitis free and that is where the baby is nursing. As for the chicken with the 12 babies, she is keeping them in the sheep barn and is nesting with them under the riding lawnmower. The other chicken with the nine baby chicks that were born on May 1st brings them into the horse stall in the barn at night.

I am now ending this blog and heading down to the couch for a nap. I have four more days left of radiation treatments at the hospital but will continue with the chemotherapy treatment in pill form at home. Hopefully some of my energy will return and I will not be taking so many naps.

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Wednesday May 27, 2009

Another cold damp day

Today although it’s near the end of May, it is cold and damp outside. I couldn’t work in the garden, so I spent the morning transplanting collards in the greenhouse. The results are all of the plants that needed to be transplanted are now done. Now we have to sell them, plant them, or dump them onto the compost pile. I have too much broccoli and lettuce.

Over Memorial Day weekend I had some friends and family over to help plant the garden. We managed to plant the flower portion of the garden but did not get to the vegetable section. The flower portion of the garden consists of 36 rows. Each row is 100 feet long. Eighteen rows are different kinds of sunflowers.

Once it warms up and stops drizzling I will start planting the vegetables. I also have to figure out how to keep the horses and donkey out of the garden

As far as an update on the baby animals, the baby ducks are living in a cage behind the back porch, the baby chicks are living with their mother in the barn, the baby lambs and goats have found holes in their fence and are constantly getting out and into trouble.

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Monday May 18, 2009

Bee Days at the Farm

On Saturday, we got two 3lb packages of honey bees with two packaged queens. We also got a third packaged queen. Our friends Ray and Shelly Finley came over to help with the installation of the bees. We took brood from the big hive in the pumpkin field and placed the new queen with them and started a new hive. While working this hive, we also took ten frames of honey to be extracted. We set the other two packages of bees in new hives next to the main garden.

On Sunday I decided to work on the other hives replacing rotten boxes with new ones and while doing this I ended up taking an additional twenty frames of honey. I worked on all of the hives except three and decided that I should start extracting the honey from the frames that I collected. I conned my wife Mary into helping me do this chore. We managed to do all of the frames and ended up with several bowls of honey in our kitchen which needs to be filtered and bottled.

Today after going to the hospital for radiation treatment I decided to work on the three hives that I did not get to on the weekend. I found one hive queenless with no brood so I took some brood from another hive and placed it inside this hive. Hopefully the workers will make a new queen and the hive will survive. While working these three hives, I managed to pull an additional seven frames of honey to be extracted. Unfortunately several bees got into my hood and I ended up with about six stings on my neck. After this happen I decided to call it quits with working with the bees, and went into the house and made a honey tube cake with nuts, banana, and pineapple. The seven frames of honey which needs to be extracted, I placed in the back of the SUV to deal with later.

The total number of bee hives on the farm is twelve.

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Monday May 11, 2009

Machinery problems and happenings on the farm

After going to the hospital at 6:15 this morning for my radiation treatment I returned home to find that two more loads of fill were dumped on the land next to the garden. Yesterday the cable which helps dumps the bucket on the tractor broke, so I had to go to the John Deere dealer to purchase a new one. The dealer did not have one in stock so I ordered one which will be sent to my house.

When I returned home from the dealership I discovered that the contractor had left the keys to his caterpillar bulldozer on the dozer but had failed to push the dirt piles together. I figure how to start the dozer and started pushing the piles into one mound. While doing this the contractor showed up to retrieve his keys. When he saw what I was doing he informed me that I had done a better job than the man that he had sent over to do the task so he gave me the key to the dozer and told me to continue pushing the dirt into a pile.

On May 7, 2009 I received a delivery of white baby Muscovy ducks which I had ordered online awhile ago from J M Hatchery in New Holland, PA. According to the post office label the ducks were scheduled to be delivered on May 6th at noon. When the box was opened, I found 11 live ducks and 5 dead ones. A call was placed to the hatchery and I was given credit for the dead ducklings and the hatchery informed me that they were going to question the post office why they did not make the shipment on time.

On a brighter note, the mother chick and the 9 babies are doing fine and hanging around the barn where they are always running up to me begging for cracked corn.

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Wednesday May 6, 2009

A snapshot into the happenings of the bees on the farm

Today after going to the hospital for radiation treatment at 6:15 am I spent the day on my tractor moving piles of sand. The sand came from a contractor who is replacing a MDC water main line in the center of town. They delivered about 22 dump truck loads on top of the area where we are planning to plant pumpkins. I have to mix the sand with the clay and remove any asphalt which ended up in the load. While at the hospital, both the doctor and nurse told me that when I am outside in the sun, I should be wearing a hat to protect me from the sun radiation. They say that I don’t need to augment my hospital radiation with sun radiation.

About 6 pm my son David informed me that there was a swarm of honey bees in a bush next to the horse pen. At this point all movement of dirt piles stopped and David and I suited up to deal with the bees. We place an empty hive under the bush and cut the branch that the bees were clustered on and dropped them into the hive. Hopefully they will start a new hive. As of yesterday we have 7 active bee hives on the farm. We lost 3 hives over the winter and we are waiting for delivery for two more hives on May 16th.

On a sadder note, when I went down to the barn to take pictures of the 10 baby chicks that I mentioned on my last blog I found the mother and 9 babies walking and scratching in the dirt in front of the barn. Baby chicken number 10 was missing and no where to be found

Also, because of the delivery of the dirt, I have stopped work in the greenhouse. Mary has taken over for me and is doing a heck of a job. She has informed me that most of the plants except for the celery have been transplanted and that we are running out of room in the greenhouse.

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Friday May 1, 2009

Spring mishaps on the farm

Yesterday while helping the neighbor move debris from his property line I punctured the front left tire of the tractor when I ran over a buried metal fence pole. Today I repaired the flat tire. Two days before this mishap I got the tractor stuck in the mud when I attempted to plow some land for the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. My friend Benny Maulucci had to come over with his backhoe and pull me out the next day.

On a happier note, one of the bantam hens is walking around the farm with ten baby chicks. Pictures will be taken and posted on the web site.

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Tuesday April 21, 2009

Another rainy day on the farm

Today at 7 Am I started my radiation treatment at St Francis Hospital. It rained all day, so I spent the day working in the greenhouse. The doctors have me going to the hospital early every morning, except Saturday and Sunday, for my treatments.

On Friday, I found the new born baby sheep in a hollow spot in the field very cold and hungry. I brought it up to the house, but it did not survive and it died. The baby goat is doing good and is running and playing in the yard.

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Thursday April 16, 2009

Red Ram Day

Today I took time off from transplanting seedlings in the greenhouse and decided to work on rebuilding the disc harrow. Three of the discs were either broken or missing. Katie and Aly came over and helped me wire brush some of the rust and dirt from the parts prior to me painting. After cleaning the parts and placing them on a pallet, I painted them red and went up to the house and visited with Kate and Aly. When I returned to the back of the barn I discovered that my black ram sheep had butted the disc harrow and now sported a red head. Now I’ve heard of red bull, before but never of red ram.

Yesterday, on the farm, we had a white baby male sheep born and a brown and black baby female goat born. Both babies and mothers are doing fine and the babies seem to nursing ok.

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Saturday April 11, 2009

Rainy Day Fun

Today is a rainy day. After feeding the animals, in the morning, I spent some time in the greenhouse transplanting broccoli and lettuce seedlings. On Thursday, Sue and David help me castrate the two male baby piglets. At lunch time a person arrived at the farm and bought all of the baby pigs to raise for his personal use. Before he came we took pictures of the pigs and will post them in the animal section of our web site.

After lunch I had to go to Saint Francis Hospital for an MRI so that they can determine what to do next for my radiation and chemotherapy treatments. The treatments are supposed to start April 20th.

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Saturday April 4, 2009

Pig maneuvers

Because the baby pigs are eating on their own, we decided to move them into the horse stall to make it easier to catch them for market. Unfortunately, one of the male piglets had an umbilical hernia and its intestines were starting to drag on the ground. The other piglets, two males and two females, were fine and were moved. David and I decided that before the pig with the hernia got infected that the best thing to do was to butcher it. We did and the pig dressed out at about 25 pounds... It is now in the refrigerator waiting to be cooked.

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Tuesday March 31, 2009

Spring has arrived on the farm

Yesterday I had the staples in my head removed. The doctor informed me that the tumor that they removed from my brain was cancerous and that I would have to go to the hospital for radiation and kemo treatments. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Two days ago David found a dead long-tailed weasel lying on the barn floor. We think that OC (Okley’s Cat) got it. Hopefully it is the weasel that has been chasing and killing the chickens.

All of the flower and vegetable plugs have been transplanted in the greenhouse I am now sowing seeds and waiting for them to sprout.


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Tuesday March 24, 2009

March madness begins on the farm

On March 19th I had to go to Saint Francis Hospital for a brain operation. I came home yesterday and found that things on the farm were well taken care of. Now that I am home recovering I will be spending a lot of time in the greenhouse which measures 14ft by 100ft long and has a stained glass window at one end. My new job will be getting the flower and vegetables plants started. Every day running of the rest of the farm will have to continue with David and Mary in charge. Hopefully we will all survive each other.

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Monday March 2, 2009

March comes in as a lion

This morning we woke up to a nor’easter which is supposed to give us off and on snow all day. It was cold outside and the wind was very gusty so I fed the goats in their barn. All of the animals, me included, are getting tired of winter.

On Friday night it rained and on Saturday morning I found a baby pig frozen in front of the pig house. Apparently the baby fell out of the door and could not get back into the house. The other six piglets were in the house safe and warm.

On Saturday morning another ewe had a white baby female lamb. The lamb and mother are in the stall with the other lambs and are doing fine. The newborn baby is enjoying the heat lamp and is sleeping with the other lambs in the creep box.

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Wednesday February 25, 2009

Old Man Winter Continues to take hold on the farm

Sunday night when David went to the barn to feed the baby lamb, he notice that she was cold so he brought her up to the house and placed her next to the wood stove on the dog bed. Okley quickly adopted her and spent the night sleeping next to the lamb. For the next three days the lamb slept on the dog bed with Okley who licked her clean after she ate and went to the bathroom. The lamb was unable to stand on her own and did not mind being looked after by Okley. Shortly after drinking 4 ounces of milk at lunch time, I noticed that the lamb was no longer breathing and told Okley that we lost her. Okley licked the lamb a couple more times but she was gone.

The other two lambs in the barn are doing fine and are enjoying the creep and the heat lamb. Hopefully spring along with warmer weather will come soon.

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Sunday February 22, 2009

Winter Weather Chills Continue

The cold grip of winter continues and the animals on the farm along with me await the warmth of spring. This morning when I went to the barn to bottle feed the baby lamb, I found her under the brooder light unable to stand. I fed the mother ewes and then cradled the lamb and offered her the bottle. She was weak and I noticed that she had diarrhea, however she did drink the bottle and when she finished I placed her back under the lamp. I fed the rest of the animals but before going back to the house I checked on the lambs and noticed that the bottle fed lamb was standing under the light, soaking up the heat.

On Thursday night Sue (my youngest) stop over to help me castrate the baby male lamb and dock the tails of all three of the lambs. To my embarrassment we discovered that the last two lambs that, on the 16th, were both males and not a male and female that I previously stated. Sue and I castrated both males and docked the tails of all three of the lambs by using an elastrator and rubber bands.

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Wednesday February 18, 2009

A snapshot of time into the life of Okley the Wonder Dog

Okley’s Bio

Okley is a four year old black cocker spaniel. Okley came to Connecticut as a puppy from a puppy farm in the distant state of Oklahoma. Once in Connecticut he believed he could fly and he chased a chicken out of the hayloft of the barn breaking his leg in three places. Okley no longer flies but has assumed the roll of protector when he thinks that there is a threat of danger to the family farm. When this happens he transforms himself into Wonder Dog and runs –often to the aid of his former play things (fun things to chase) chickens and guinea keets- fighting for truth justice and the American way .

At eleven P.M. last night David went to the barn with Okley and Maggie, a 9 year old hound, to bottle feed the baby lamb. While David was in the stall feeding, Okley and Maggie went up to the hayloft and started barking. David went to the house and told me that there was a dead chicken in the hay loft and the dogs had an animal cornered. David and I went back to the barn with the dogs to get rid of the animal. The dogs had cornered a fat raccoon between the bales of hay and the side of the barn. Maggie went back to the house while Okley stayed to take on the raccoon (even though we knew that he couldn't and shouldn't do it alone). Without the help of Maggie we took care of the raccoon. We removed the dead chicken and the raccoon from the barn and had to force Okley to return to the house even though he was so excited and wanted to stay outside.

We have lost several chickens since late last summer finding their bodies or feathers in the barn and in the field next to the sheep. Hopefully by getting rid of this raccoon we will no longer loose any more chickens to predators.

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Tuesday February 17, 2009

Winter Weather Hassle

Last night the pig gave birth to a litter of 12 pigs. Unfortunately five were found frozen, three outside the housing and two inside next to the mother. After removing the bodies I gave the mother fresh water and a bale of straw.

On February 15 a ewe gave birth to two lambs, a black female and a white male. The mother did not produce any milk and we started bottle feeding the lambs. We placed the mother along with her lambs in the horse stall. On Monday, February 16, I found the male dead and the female cold so I made a small portable creep box and installed it in the stall and placed a brooder lamp on top to warm the lamb. A second ewe gave birth to two lambs on the 16th, this time a white female and a black male. This mother along with her babies was also placed in the stall. The second mother is producing milk and the two lambs appear to be healthy and are nursing from their mom.

The goats gave birth to their young in January. Unfortunately because it was so cold when they were giving birth six of the kids were frozen. We do have five kids that did survive and appear to be healthy and are starting to eat grain.

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Page Last Modified: July 21, 2012