End of June on the Homestead

End of June... where does the time go, friends? I am happy to share with you that - between the rain showers that just kept coming all month long - we managed to accomplish the task that we had hoped to finish in June. The duck coop got a makeover!

Our duck coop began its life as a rabbit hutch when many years ago we rescued several domestic rabbits and gave them a forever home on our farm. After the rabbits, we remodeled the hutch into a building with a run for some turkeys that we enjoyed keeping through their lifetimes.

And then, we converted the turkey coop into a duck coop. Today, the cozy shelter gives our little flock a safe place to sleep and bask in the fresh air when the ducks are not padding about their roomy pen in the sunshine... or rain, or snow. Ducks do seem to love all kinds of weather. I have always thought that ducks are the happiest critters on the farm!

This year, as we planned our summer homesteading projects, we decided to put "update coops" at the top of the to-do list. The duck coop needed a thorough scrub and some repairs and a fresh coat of paint...

Before :: The years of wind and rain and snow had done a fine job of fading the paint.

Before :: The frame of the run needed some tender-loving-care so the netting around the run could keep our ducks safe and secure.

During :: Here is an in-progress view of the coop's door all scraped and ready to be painted.

Ta-da! :: So nice, yes? We even painted the floor of the run. {smile}

The duck coop looks better-than-new now. We are quite pleased with the improvement.

And we also fixed our goat milking stand. It had fallen apart a bit, as things that sit unused for awhile seem to do. But it didn't take long at all to sturdy it up and make it goat-ready once again. I do hope we can add more goats to our homestead someday!

It is something I have given thought to and while I am vegan and I do avoid eating and using animal products as a habit of life, I would not hesitate to consume milk from our very own goats and eggs from our much loved chickens and ducks.

I am sure that decision may seem controversial to some vegans, but I know our animals and how much they are loved and how they are raised. Consuming surplus eggs and/or goat milk from our own homestead lines up nicely with my vegan convictions, and also my decision to eat whatever I want without restrictions.

Perhaps that choice as a vegan won't make sense to anyone but me. That is okay. {smile}

And into July we joyfully go...

A Grateful Heart

Happy Friday to you, dear friends. It was rainy earlier today, but it has now cleared off and the sun is shining. It was rather sunshiney for a good part of this week and we were able to get out and enjoy it which was really nice.

I am the type of person that *needs* to spend time in the sunshine, I have discovered. It is such a blessing to me to be able to abide in wide open spaces surrounded by wildflowers and breathe deeply of the abundant fresh air. Something within me just goes... "ahhhh" in that setting.

During those recent moments spent in nature we have seen birds of prey and a blue heron and foxes and deer. And the pheasant we hear so regularly even made an appearance just outside our fenced yard this week...

Isn't he magnificent!

Here are a few things from my ongoing gratitude list this week...

:: Tackling the transcript. Our just-graduated daughter and I have been working on her high school transcript this week. It has been fun as we reminisce about the classes she took and the projects we did together. It's bittersweet... those years they did zoom by in a flash... but the memories of those days will always bring a smile to this mama/teacher's face.

:: Finishing projects. We finished a painting project and started another. And earlier today I put the final stitches on the knitting project I have been working on. I plan to show-and-tell them to you very soon, Lord willing. {smile}

:: Jack. I just love my dog. He turned eight months old this week!

:: A slower pace. I used to be such a task-master toward myself... a total perfectionist and over-achiever. I still have lots of interests and way-too-many hobbies, but I don't really set goals or push myself anymore. I don't get to indulge in everything I love to do every day, or even every week, but they are still there when I get back to them. And if I don't get back to them or they no longer seem fun... well, I guess it was time to let those things go. It is a much nicer way to be, for me.

:: Summer. I tend to enjoy whatever season we are in (though fall may be my *very* favorite) but I am just loving this summer these days. Perhaps a blessing of getting older is learning to savor the very moment at hand and to really be in that moment. I'm racing toward 50 years old and I must say that almost-50 is a lovely, lovely age that I am enjoying immensely.

Thank you for coming by my blog today, friends. I appreciate all who read here (and here and here) and I wish you a cup brimful of gratitude wherever you are.


Eight Months Old

:: 8 months old ::
Another month has passed by in a flash and my yellow Labrador puppy is eight months old! Jack doesn't look much like a puppy anymore... and while I don't know what he weighs, I can barely lift him. {smile}

This image does a good job of capturing his boisterous personality, I think. Slightly out of focus, one ear thrown back, and what looks like a slight smile on his face. That's Jack - busy, playful, and always happy.

And since Jack spends so much time with his grazing barnyard buddies, he has learned to pull at the grass with his mouth. He doesn't actually swallow any grass, but he nibbles it out of the ground just like the goats and Matilda do and then he drops it. Ha!

I've never had my very own dog before, so I've never known or appreciated what the love of a dog feels like before Jack came into my life. His friendship and loyalty are balm to the soul. He is always there, always listening, always quick to give me a kiss (really - he will give me a quick lick right on the lips or the cheek) if I ask him for one.

One of our daily traditions is morning peanut butter. My dear hubby takes Jack outside and while they are out, I fill his hollow rubber toy with peanut butter and hide it. When he comes back indoors, Jack sniffs around until he finds it. I think that I perhaps look forward to this daily adventure as much as Jack does... so fun!

I'm so glad he is ours and we are his. Happy eight-month-birthday to the dog who has truly become one of my very best friends and part of our family forever.


By the Water

The sporadic rain of Saturday kept us from our painting project. But it didn't keep us from enjoying the day. We decided to go back to the park in the nearby town and relax for a bit away from the homestead.

Since our oldest-at-home daughter and I don't fish, I took my knitting along and we kept an eye on the activities and all of the wildlife we were blessed to see from our seats upon the spread-out quilt.

The older boys wandered up the shoreline a little way so they could cast their lines in by the bridge. The rest of us chose a spot in the sunshine that had a wide open and wonderful view.

This mallard came near to us... I suspect he thought we had brought him a snack. An osprey flew over and circled and eventually swooped down and caught a fish. How amazing to witness that!

When they began to tire of fishing, the little ones and I walked down to the shelter that is on one end of the lagoon. We like to admire the murals that someone has painted on the walls inside the shelter.

There were a few more ducks by that shelter. And a blue heron that had been flying back and forth across the water landed quite near to where we were exploring on the shore.

Our fisher-people only caught-and-released a couple of fish, but we had such a good time by the water and seeing the ducks and osprey and blue heron that no one seemed the least bit discouraged by the lack of fishing success.

I love where we live.

Wishing you a beautiful day where you are...

A Grateful Heart

Happy Friday to you, friends. It is yet another rainy day at our place. I'm not complaining about that, just making note of it as this is by far the wettest spring/beginning of summer I can remember. I have hardly used my clothes line for drying my laundry because of all the rain. And we are having a time getting our outbuildings painted between rain showers, too!

But there isn't any hurry, really, to get the painting done. Here a little, there a little, and we should be able to mark the task off of our summer to-do list before the snow flies. And rainy days often bring with them more time for knitting or sewing or reading. This week, we made play dough and had quite a good time exploring some squishy creativity.

And all of the rain has produced an abundance of green grass and beautiful wildflowers in the pasture. So today, along with snippets from my ongoing gratitude list, I have a few recent wildflower images to share with you. {smile}

Here are those wildflowers and some gratitude...

:: Playing outside. We have been spending a good deal of time in the out-of-doors, even with all of the rain. Going for walks, playing barnyard basketball, hooping, watching the birds, imagining shapes in the clouds. Doing chores, spending time with the animals.

I love a natural, simple approach to our days... especially during the summer when our family rhythm is a bit slower and more spontaneous. I am sure that limiting screen-time is a decision I will never regret!

:: A rescued peony. The other day, one of my goats chomped off one of my peony buds and dropped it on the ground. I decided to stick the bud in some water to see if it would bloom. It did!

:: My willing helper. Now that she has her driver's license, my girl is able to do errands occasionally. What a blessing it is! She and her brother are enjoying the freedom and responsibility of it, and they are proving themselves to be immensely helpful.

And how absolutely lovely that it is officially summer now. I am thankful for that, too!

Thank you for coming by my blog today, friends. I wish you a wonderful day where you are.


Sleek for Summer

While I doubt she realizes that summer has officially begun at last, Matilda's sleek coat and light color prove that her internal clock knows what time of the year it is. Her fur always lightens considerably from its reddish-brown dark winter color to a very light brown as summer approaches. And oh, my sweet cow-friend is looking good... yes?

Happy first day of summer to you, my friends!

Nature Walk

Welcome, sunshine! Oh how happy it was to have a sunshine-y day on the farm. After chores and breakfast this morning, my children and I decided to trek about the back pasture for a nature walk. To see what we could see!

We found lots of wildflowers. I thought the purple lupine and this yellow beauty looked quite sweet growing side-by-side.

And this pretty blanket flower was glorious as it looked toward the sun.

And there were ladybugs and crickets and a variety of butterflies out-and-about. We saw and heard lots of songbirds. And we enjoyed watching a nest of caterpillars that seemed to be dancing to a rhythm all their own. So wonderful, the varied creatures found in nature.

This lovely lady was all spread out upon this yellow wildflower. It looks as though her wings are damaged - perhaps from *all* the recent rain? Whatever the cause, I hope she heals quickly.

We returned from our walkabout refreshed and recharged from the sunshine and fresh air and togetherness... and we were ready to go on with the day.


Favorite Things

Birds of prey. Cows. Two of my favorite things... and over the weekend I was blessed to experience both of them simultaneously.  A Northern Harrier perched in our tree to take shelter from the rain. And there was a cattle drive on the country road. What a thrill!

The Northern Harrier was quite wet from the rain. He shook himself and preened and spread his wings while upon his perch. I kept my distance and he seemed quite relaxed in the tree that is just down the hill from our house.

And the both of us (that harrier and me) kept an eye on the cattle drive that was happening down on the country road. I just love cows! This bunch came up the road and then went up the mountainside across the way. How blessed I felt as I savored these simple pleasures of a simple life.

Wishing you a lovely day~

A Grateful Heart

Happy Friday evening to you, friends. I think this is the latest in the day I have ever published a post! It was an unexpectedly busy day and it kind of got away from me, I guess. {smile}

So I will make this brief and just share with you that we saw our first hummingbird of the year on our homestead today! Some of my children and I were sitting on the deck and we heard the hummingbird before we saw it. The telltale "buzzzz" of its wings... and then, there it was at our feeder! So exciting!

Lord willing, there will be lots of hummingbird pictures to come. I am so grateful that we finally saw one today.


Good News

Dear friends, I do hope you had a lovely Christmas! Ours was simple and quiet... we exchanged gifts, enjoyed family time, watched a few Chri...

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