Dexter and Lilly

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The storybook tree, the coop and Lilly and Dexter, kissing

The farm animals: Daisy, Banjo, Lucky & Sunny, and a bat

Morning light

Morning at the farm is delightful. I love going out, feeding everyone, and then sitting with my coffee in the goat pen, just taking in the sounds and sights around me. The early sun streams through the old tree that shades half of the goat run and most of the pig pen. It backs up to the side of the 100 plus year old barn. It's a storybook tree. Like the ones in fairy tales; old, rugged, outstretched, twisty arms and very, very majical. The starlings are busy feeding their babies that are hidden between the cracks in the barn siding. And the Wrens, and Jays and Bluebirds are all busy mating, nest building and feeding. The Barn Swallows gracefully swoop over the goats and pigs, who are oblivious to their acrobatics. It's so peaceful. I sit on the bench that we put in the goat run for them to climb on. Goats love to climb! I also dragged a large Maple branch that fell in a storm, and propped it up on the bench. Now Daisy and Banjo nibble the bark and leaves from the branch and jump on and off the bench. Eventually we will build a bigger, more elaborate play structure for them, but for now, they are happily entertained. I am getting two more goats in July. They are Miniature Silky Fainting goats. They are similar to my Nigerian Dwarfs in size, but have long silky hair and they faint when startled. Well, they don't actually faint, but they have a condition where their muscles tense up and they fall over. It's actually pretty funny to see. But I love them for their coloring and the fact that they are dog-like in personality. Sweet, affectionate and playful. Daisy, my female Nigerian is the sweetest goat ever! She loves to be petted, and brushed. And she loves to smell my breath. She has stolen my heart. Banjo is still so young, and developing his personality. I would say he is more playful and aloof. He is still being bottle fed, and going to get neutered next week. But he is a doll and the kids adore him. Lilly and Dexter are the Mini pigs. They love each other and sleep together in their pig hut. Dexter is neutered, but we may breed Lilly one day. For now though, they are just sweet, happy and very spoiled pigs. We also have two Pekin ducks, which we raised from day old ducklings. They free range around the yard and have a dog house that they sleep in at night. I think they are both females. And they are inseperable. The chickens are all almost full grown. We also raised all of them from day old chicks. We have eight total. One Coocoo Maran, one Silverlaced Wyandotte, one Goldenlaced Wyandotte, one Arucana, one Delaware, one Salmon Faverolle, and two Polish Cresteds. I would like to get a few Silkies soon and put them in a separate coop. Silkies are much more delicate, they are flightless and have fluff, not feathers. But they are so cute and sweet that they are hard to resist! We plan to build a 4 foot fence around the coops so that they can free-range without my dogs attacking them. It's a work in progress, but it's so much fun to be doing all of the outdoor projects first. We moved in right when Spring started so it has been all about the outside of the house. The painting on the inside can wait. Luckily the previous owners chose nice colors, so it still looks good. We also planted the front flower beds and did some tree trimming. And we opened the pool and got that ready for summer too. We need to stain the deck around the pool though, it looks like it hasn't been done in a few years. And we got the trampline up for the kids. The yard is beautiful! We have one huge old Willow tree that hangs over our gazebo and another smaller one in the yard that we hung our daughters horse tire swing on. We almost named the farm after the Willows, but we stuck with "Daisy Hill" since it has so much meaning for us. And of course I named my first goat Daisy, so she can be our unofficial mascot! With six acres, that are uneven, and hilly and rough in some areas, we needed to upgrade our riding mower. So Roger bit the bullet and bought an ExMark zero turn mower. It was worth every penny! For this kind of acreage, you need a durable, fast, powerful mower. Otherwise he would be mowing all day long once a week. Now it takes about 2 hours! So far I have learned a few things about farm living: 1. The floors are always dirty. I sweep at least once or twice a day. 2. We wake much earlier and are way more tired in the evening. 3. When a pig escapes it's pen, don't chase it, just let it come back to the door on it's own. You will NEVER catch a pig! 4. Bats, snakes, turtles, pheasants, wild turkeys, deer, and various wildlife also share our farm. Sometimes it's good, sometimes bad. 5. I am at my happiest when sitting with my animals, surrounded by nature. 6. My dog Lulu LOVES to eat duck, goat and chicken poop! So,the move was the best decision we ever made. We love Clarkston, and Ortonville. And we love the house and the property. I will post pics of the animals and the house.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Footloose farm

So it's been two weeks in the new house in Clarkston and we are so happy. I know it may sound predictable, or even boring that I am so happy, but it's true. Truer than anything I have ever said or thought. It is wonderful here. This house has a warm and inviting presence. And all of the new residents seem happy. The kids seem happy. The pets seem happy. I guess it's not what I expected. No resistance. No real adjustment period. No tears or moodswings. Just open mindedness. We all just moved in and took possesion, mentally and physically. It's like all of us and the house were meant to find each other. Today is Friday, and I let each of my kids invite a friend to sleep over. So I picked them all up from school and now the six of them are all exploring and playing and all I hear is happy, silly kids. It's raining, so rather than being outside on dirtbikes and dunebuggy's and scooters, or chasing the animals around, they are on the WII, dancing to "MC Hammer", and gaming upstairs on the X-box. And Lilly, the mini pig, is snorting around the parlor with the dogs, thrilled to be out of her crate. Our baby ducks are on the porch in a crate, resting from their first swim today. And 5 baby chicks are in my kitchen in a make-shift brooder, cardboard box. And a wide selection of junk food is scattered on the kitchen island, which is a rare treat for anyone in this family. But in the midst of it all, I am filled with joy and gratitude. I have never been happier! This life that we have created for our family is all I ever wanted. It's full of pets, kids, friends, noise and messes and craziness. There is always something to do or get done. Always chores, and work, and laundry, and some smelly, dirty, mess to clean up. I can't even count the wide variety of poop I have cleaned up in my day! But nothing phases me anymore. I take it all in stride. Some days are more stressfull of course. But days like this, when I can just be in the moment, enjoying the chaos, these are the times to cherish. Life is short. Too short to be too busy, or too distracted to enjoy all of it's beauty. Kids are amazing the way that they have no inhibitions. They just live life. Care-free and full force! They don't worry about the future or think about the past. They are present. As adults we lose that. We forget how to be present. It's such a shame. Take time to enjoy life/ Be footloose and fancy free! Here's a good quote for the day- "Forever is composed of nows."-Emily Dickinson

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Heaven sent

I need to write about something very special that happened with our move. When we decided to try to sell both of our houses and make the permanent move to a farm, I talked a lot to my deceased father and asked for his guidance. In his time he was a genious at making great real estate deals. He also played a big role in my love of nature and animals. He took me fishing as early as I could walk, taught us to ski as toddlers, took us hiking in the woods and beaches of Northern Michigan, and he always loved a great adventure! So, naturally, with him as our guardian angel, I asked him for help. I knew that if I could make it all happen that he would be really proud of me. And I also knew what a challenge it would be in the poor real estate market that is plaguing our country. But I tried it anyway. I talked to him many times a day. I begged him for help. And within a couple of weeks we had offers on both houses! It was real estate miracle!
And when we found our new house in Clarkston, an area that we weren't even looking in, it was perfect! It was all we had been dreaming of for the last 11 years. It was a Centennial home, historic, lots of acreage, outbuildings, tons of charm and original details, etc...We jumped on it right away. So, when we closed on all three deals, we went into town to celebrate. We ate lunch at the Clarkston Union, the place where Roger took me on our first date 15 years ago! We had never been back since that date!
And we sat in the booth next to the one we first sat in. Then, a week later, I took my mom to see the house. She couldn't stop talking about how she felt my dad's presence out here. He used to sell lots right down the road from our street. And my grandfather, his dad, lived out here on a horse farm. I agreed, I felt him more than usual at the new house. And I knew that he helped us to get the deals closed! So, I took my mom to the Union for lunch too. We sat at the end of the bar and when she looked around, she saw stained glass windows right behind us. She told me to look. They say, "Here's to Ivan." then next piece, "Gone to Glory."
I couldn't believe it! Talk about signs! If you look for signs, they are there, right in front of you. Amazing! He is here, and he is our angel. I believe he looks after us all the time. My children talk about him constantly and we keep him alive in our hearts. When things are meant to be, they happen. I believe that moving here, to this place, this house, this town, was meant to be. Call it fate, call it destiny, whatever. Either way, we are home, and my dad played a role in it. Cheers to Ivan!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

At last

It's official, we own our new farm and we couldn't be happier!
When we got the key to the front door and went inside, Roger and I just walked around trying to absorb that it was finally real! We stood in the empty living room, sun streaming through the windows, and he turned to me and hugged me, he said, "congratulations baby, it's ours," and I just cried tears of joy. It seems so surreal. But it's ours now and we can't wait to put our stamp on it!
So, now we can clean and paint and do all the things we want to it before we actually move in. It's so nice to have time to do that since we don't have to be out of our Franklin house yet. And with the weather the way that it is, it just makes me yearn for spring and new flowers to pop up, and everything to turn lush and green. The horses across the street even neighed when we pulled in, as if to say, "Welcome, welcome to our neck of the woods." It was music to my ears.
Our realtor Brad was so wonderful to work with. He was easy, and helpful and we really enjoyed getting to know him. Plus he gave us great tips about the area and fun places to go, shop, eat, etc...Clarkston is a lot like Franklin actually. It has that small town feel. Concerts in the park, a hometown parade, a farmer's market, etc...And we are only five minutes from the Village and close to all the convieniences. It will be a wonderful place to call home, and I hope to grow old in our new, very old, historical farmhouse.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A toast

The closing is getting closer! We are starting to pack the house. And I have reserved some chicks and two pekin ducklings at the feed store in Ortonville! I also found the mini Silky Fainting goat breeder in Michigan and as soon as the kids are born we can go pick out the two that we want.
They are so cool to look at, long silky hair like a dog, pretty colors and some even have blue eyes. Plus if you startle them, they freeze and fall over! Thus the name, Fainting goat! But they are very small, ony about 35 lbs full grown, so they are easy to take care of. I also looked at some mini pigs and we have a runt that we like. He's all black and the parents are small, around 35 lbs. He should be ready to go in mid March.
So, the menagerie is forming quite nicely. I am looking forward to settling in, and decorating. We have work to do, but it's mostly fun work. Painting, new carpeting, cleaning....The outbuildings will need work and the yard, gardens, etc...but that is nothing that has to be done right away. Right now we are just focused on getting organized here, sorting our "sell" piles, "give away" piles and "trash" piles. It's been 9 years since we have moved, so we have a ton of things to sort. But luckily we are getting a bit of an early start on it. So we should be fine.
The stress is slowly transforming into excitement. But still reserved excitement. No celebrations yet. Two more weeks til closings, then we can make a toast!
To a fun and long awaited new chapter in our life! Cheers!

Inspiration that helped me get here.

Keep your eye on the prize and hand on the plow. It's easy to lose sight of what you want, especially if you haven't gotten it. I know it's less work to put the wish away, to pretend that the wish itself has disappeared. But it's important to know what your prize is, because that is part of who you are. Whether it's financial stability, two children, a collection of poetry, or a happy marriage, take Winston Churchill's advice and never give in. Never give in. Never give in.

Food for thought

The increase in U.S. food prices from 1982 to 2009 rose 128%.In the same period, prices paid to farmers rose only 34%.

1 in 3 Americans born in 2000 is expected to develop diabetes in his or her lifetime.

Jargon-food sovereignty: the right of peoples to eat healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.

(from the declaration of Nyeleni, 2007)

32 hours, 50 minutes- The amount of on-screen media, including television, videos and video games that American children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old consume each week, according to the Nielsen Company.

A must see film

Food, INC. by Robert Kenner is a must see film. You can rent it or buy it on Amazon for $10.00.
It will change the way you shop, the way you feed your family and the way you look at food and farming in our country.
For small hobby farmers, and health conscious people alike, please, please, see this film! It is eye-opening to say the least!


I loved this so much that I had to post it. I cannot take credit, I found it on the web.

All I need to know I learned from my chickens.

Wake up early, stay busy, but always stay alert.

Visit your favorite places every day.

Scratch out a living.

Routine is good.

Plump is good.

Don't ponder your pupose in life, your brain is too small.

Accept the pecking order and you know your enemies.

Weed your garden.

Protect your children fiercely, sit on them if you need to.

Take them for walks, show them the little things, and talk constantly.

Brag on your accomplishments.

Don't count your chicks before they hatch.

Protect your nest egg.

Test your wings once in a while.

Squawk when necessary.

As you age, demand respect.

Leave a little something for those who care about you.

Chase butterflies.

About Me

My photo
I am a busy mommy of 3. Ages 10, 8 and 6. Two crazy boys and a just-as-crazy daughter. My husband Roger and I have been married for 11 years this June. He runs a family owned Architecture company in Bloomfield Hills. I am a clothing consultant for a wonderful company. But for the most part, I am just a country girl at heart. I have an amazing love of animals, all kinds, big or small. I love nature and feeling the rythms of the earth. I love to garden and grow my own veggies and fruits. So, it was only natural that I would some day grow up and buy a farm. I am just a mommy who wants to share my passion for all things natural with my family and friends. So, we are giving it our best shot!

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