"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Digestive Stupor ? ( Northern Saw-Whet Owl )

I found what looked like a blood-tinged pile of feathers in our hay barn last week. I did not take time to examine the little bundle of fluff as I stepped around and over it several times to grab flakes of alfalfa for my sheep. The day was cold , the snow was deep, my sheep were baaing loudly to get their day's ration of food and I assumed it was a dead bird. I'd examine it after I finished my barn chores.
As I walked by the little pile of fluff carrying my bucket of chicken feed I was startled to see eyes peeking out at me as I passed. I observed this was definitely a live owl ! I was afraid the owl was injured because of the blood around it, and that the owl did not seem to be disturbed by my comings and goings even when I stepped over it.

I decided to put it in a hay-filled crate and take to facebook to inquire if there was anyone capable of tending injured owls in the area. I ran to the house to get my camera and grab a small cat crate. Returning to the hay barn I bent down to gently pick the little owl up and whoa ....
...look at those eyes ! I think this is the moment the little owl was truly aware of me after I began snapping pictures. A second after I snapped this last picture the owl flew swiftly up and away leaving behind the feet and wings of what had been a starling at least as big as the owl itself. That little owl must have been in a digestive stupor. It even ate the head of the starling.

According to our bird books this is a Northern Saw-whet Owl. We first thought it to be a Pygmy or Elf Owl .Our bird books state these owls feed primarily on insects , the experts might want to add a note to their description about feeding habits. "Northern Saw-Whet Owl ~ 8in. A very tame little owl; smaller than a screech owl, without ear tufts. Underparts have blotchy , reddish brown streaks. Bill black. Forehead streaked with white. - Habitat: Coniferous and mixed woods, swamps."  *Peterson's Field Guide to Birds

Friday, January 6, 2017

Time To Watch The Animals In The Snow

We've had snow here at Laughing Dove Farm since the last week of November. It is beautiful outside , especially as I view the winter-scape from indoors while sipping hot coffee. The birds in the picture above are sitting in branches just outside one of our living room windows. The cats seem to think this is just for them and occupy the window sill during daylight hours to watch the birds flitting from the branches to the bird feeders, bird bath and back again.
Luna, our 9 month old Lab puppy loves watching birds too, all birds. She is watching a Pileated Woodpecker  in our woods and would have followed the large and very loud bird if we'd not had her on a leash.
Whimsy, my German Shepherd has appointed herself Luna's best protector and playmate. Luna and Whimsy love the snow. Our below freezing temps and deep snow don't seem to affect them. Luna loves to roll around in the snow too.
My Sebastopol Geese appear to have such bright white feathers until the snow shows up the geese in bright whiteness. The geese too, do not seem to be bothered by the snow except for the lack of a continual supply of water for their bathing and drinking.

Every day I have to haul huge buckets of hot water out to the goose troughs. As soon as I pour hot water over the troughs full of ice the geese hop into their ice bath to drink ,bathe and play until they exhaust the small amount of water I am able to supply for the day.
Goth ( center of picture), my 12 year old Jacob Sheep ram and the rest of my flock of sheep are wearing their wool coats. The snow and cold don't bother them either.
Goth is having the best time of his entire life now. He has never had so much room to roam and on Laughing Dove Farm he has acres ! Since Goth has been a very good ram ( mostly ) I am happy to keep him in his old age. I am hoping he lives many more years and dies peacefully chewing a mouth full of sweet fresh grass. ( Goth is shown here with some of my flock, most of them are his children or grandchildren.)
My sheep heading back to the barn. The snow is much deeper now, the grass is a foot under the snow.
 Our old goat Thorin and Goth side by side.
We love our new home and the knee-deep snow too. The temperature has been below zero most nights and today it warmed up to 7 degrees above zero . The hardest part of so much snow has been doing my farm chores. I have a hard time walking in the deep snow while carrying buckets of grain and water and armloads of hay. Today we bought snowshoes for me so tomorrow's chore time should be a little bit easier. This is going to help even more if we get the predicted snow ( 1 to 4 inches) this weekend.

Our new home is snug and warm, the scenery all around us is so beautiful I sometimes can scarce take in that this is our home ! We've begun a few of the things we need to do to make this place work for us but because we're retired now we're taking our time. Time to gaze out the windows while sipping coffee or tea. Time to laugh at the silly things our animals do.Time to watch the animals play in the snow. Time to walk in the woods, play with our grandchildren. Time to go fishing and camping as soon as the weather permits EVEN IF there is a huge 'to-do' list attached to the fridge. That nagging 'to-do' list has been around as long as we've been married, I expect it to be here as long as we're alive. Time to be... simply be.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Village

Our Christmas village has grown so large over the years and it is our tradition to set it up every Christmas season. This year much of our village is still in boxes and we debated about setting it up because we still have so much to do and so many unpacked boxes sitting around our home.
Tradition won out and we set up a small portion of the village on a coffee table we placed under living room windows. When I plugged in the lights of the village and the little lighted Christmas tree glowed as the village townspeople twirled around the tree I knew we'd made the right decision.

Yes, when our youngest grandson walked into the living room, spied the village and marveled at the miniature goings on , we knew we'd made the right decision !
May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and take joy in the message of this season and for all time ~ " And she will bring forth a son , and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

Friday, December 23, 2016

Snow, Beautiful Snow !

It's been snowing off and on for the last few weeks. This is a picture of our first snow back in November. The little shed is my new wool shop . My husband is almost finished with it and I'll give you a tour in another post. This is where my looms are and all my wool is now stored , along with all the equipment I need in my wool working.
Snow along the fences and on the trees really do make this a winter wonderland.

Our new front yard . The fence you see in the picture separates our yard from one of our pastures. The wires in the background run parallel to the gravel road in front of our home where hills, forest, and low mountains are just a walk across the road away.
My view from my back porch, and I love it !
" Have you entered the warehouses of the snow , or have you seen the storehouses of the hail ?"
Job 38:22

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Oh Christmas Tree

 We're still getting settled in our new home and have many boxes stored in the barn we've yet to unpack. Many of the boxes are full of Christmas decorations . We knew we had a lot of Christmas decorations but boy oh boy, is it possible to have too many ? Especially since our new home is less than half the size of our home at Cedar Pond. ( Picture is of our youngest grandson helping my husband place the first few decorations on our tree.)
 We bought a new artificial tree for our first Christmas here. Yes, we have many beautiful trees growing in our forest that'd be perfect for us, but the woodstove in our new home keeps the whole house roasty-toasty and we did not want to worry about keeping the tree stand filled with water when we knew it would dry out every day with the heat and our cats and dogs drinking out of it. We chose this tree because it is narrow and nine feet tall, filling the window but not crowding us out of our new little living room.

Blizzard, our 20 pound cat, stretched out under the tree .
 We have a new puppy . She was born to a Labrador Retriever one of our granddaughters owns. We got her when she was 8 weeks old and now she is 8 months old. Her name is Luna and we love her. She discovered a long time ago she can peek into the house from the windows overlooking the deck. Our two cats seem to enjoy mocking the dogs from indoors. Here is Miss Marple almost taunting Luna. If Luna were indoors Miss Marple would be hiding under the bed or in the closet.

 The view of the tree from outside on a cold snowy winter's evening. You can see our other cat Blizzard looking out the window.
"The shining sparkling ornaments strung on our Christmas tree , Reach out and take me by the hand to years that used to be."  *  'To The Years That Used To Be '  from poem by Annette Victorin

Saturday, December 10, 2016

From Cedar Pond to Laughing Dove Farm

 Cedar Pond was sold last May and we moved out in June. This is a picture of the back of our new home from our hay field. Anyone keeping livestock can appreciate having their own hay field, and with 24 sheep we really do appreciate our hay field !
 A closer look at the back of our new home. We moved to a home half the size of our home at Cedar Pond but with 21 more acres of land. Plus, this cozy home is tucked into a valley below beautiful hills and mountains .
 My Jacob Sheep have pasture. Acres of pasture !
The weather is more extreme here. The winters are colder, the summers are hotter.
We have a few acres of forest too , forest with wild turkeys, deer, pheasant, cougars, coyotes, and bears. Most of them are seen frequently from our living room windows. ( pic of husband and 2 of our dogs walking through our forest.)

The move was a lot of hard work but the most frustrating part of moving has been getting our e-mail changed and receiving e-mails. As soon as we disconnected our phone line at Cedar Pond we lost every single e-mail contact and any e-mails sent to me since June 15th are lost to us. ( Don't ever make your main e-mail through your local land line phone provider if it is important to keep your e-mail contacts ! ) I am still in the process of updating so many important contacts and very often after a day of hard physical work outdoors I am simply too tired to fight with the internet. That's my excuse for not blogging for so long. That and the fact I did not have dependable internet until September.

Thank-you to those who e-mailed me and missed me, you touched my heart. I think I've successfully updated my blogs and am excited to get back to blogging. I know I've missed a lot and can't wait to see what's been going on in blog land with my friends the last few months !

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Our Last Days at Cedar Pond ?

The sale of Cedar Pond is pending. We had two offers to buy Cedar Pond right after the open house, the first day it was shown.
I see I haven't blogged since April 10th, but we've been busy packing, sorting, cleaning, moving things to our future home and depositing other items at the local dump and Goodwill.
I am still tending my gardens and sometimes have to distract myself so I don't cry. That is really the reason I haven't blogged lately. Every time I begin to post pictures or write on my blog , so many emotions flood my heart and mind that I opt for a snack to munch while watching t.v. or reading a book, or catching up with friends and family on Facebook. Quick distractions.
Of course, having kept chickens for many years now I have learned not to count my chickens until they hatch and I know Cedar Pond is not truly sold until all the paperwork is signed and official. But it does appear another family with young children will be loving life here at Cedar Pond soon.
We had a big work party in April when most of our family came together to help prepare Cedar Pond for sale and also help load a lot of heavy stuff into a rental truck. We drove 6 hours , over the mountains and far away, to our future home. We unloaded the truck , storing our belongings in the barn there. We still have at least 2 more truck loads of stuff to move  ( how did we accumulate so much STUFF ? ) not including my sheep, my geese, and my chickens.
I hope you don't get the wrong idea about my feelings though. I am prone to nostalgia and "what-if's", but not sorry to be moving . We built Cedar Pond from raw land almost 30 years ago. We raised our children here and enjoyed life here . I knew this was the right decision for many reasons, but I also knew I was ready to move for sure when the last few trips to our future home I did not want to return to Cedar Pond because I was home . My home over the mountains and far away !