Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hot Air Balloons and Memories

Over the past two weeks I have been thinking a lot about my grandfather.  In 1994 my father's father passed away very unexpectedly of a heart attack.  While my parents were in Turkey, my father got to ride a hot air balloon and sent me an amazing photo of the view he got to see.  The connection here is that, while my grandfather was alive, more than anything he wanted to take a hot air balloon ride.  I do not remember all of the details, but his family got him a hot air balloon ride as a gift, either for his birthday or his retirement, I don't quite recall.  But regardless, whenever I see hot air balloons, I think of my grandfather.  I think of him a lot actually.  Although I was pretty young when he died (12 years old), there are flashes of memories...swimming in the pool, jumping rope, eating cookies, his sailor tattoo, the way his chair smelled, and I could go on and on.  When my family gets together at holidays or for weddings, I always think of my grandfather and how much I wish he could see us all.  My grandfather had a big family, 7 kids total, and always worked hard to provide better opportunities for his kids than what he had. He loved us all tremendously, and when the grandchildren were over visiting, he loved just watching us play.  I wish I could remember more of what my grandfather was like, but I remember being loved, and I guess that is most important.  I often wonder if my grandfather would be proud of me and where I am now.  I wonder if he would have predicted this?  I hope and pray that he can see all the wonderful things his kids have done and his grandchildren have done.  I hope he knows that he played a huge part in that.  I selfishly wish I had gotten more time with him.  One day I will save up enough money to take a hot air balloon ride over Letchworth, so I can feel close to my grandfather and remember him.  I am so glad my dad got to experience that.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

What Greyhounds Do on a Snow Day

Ok, so this is not a greyhound nor was this taken on the snow day, but I needed to put it somewhere in my blog!  Little Bear and I sitting on the porch.
Zenon my Roman nosed boy.




Sabre...ok, I am now seeing that I need to wash this dog bed.

Sabre's nose...he is such a ham!

Sabre yet again...for my most obnoxious dog, he really is quite photogenic :)

Yay for a Snow Day in April!

Yesterday the news was all aflutter with a winter storm watch for western New York.  Being a native to this area, this type of weather was not outside the realm of possibility, even considering the fact that we are a week and a half away from May.  I refused to allow the thought of a snow day to even cross my mind, because as we all know, if you think it, it will not happen.  When I woke up this morning, it was still dark, and although it was cold, the morning lacked that feeling of a silent, muted, snow covered morning.  When the dogs came in from their morning rituals, they had snow on them, so I turned on the porch light and saw that there was maybe an inch of snow on the ground, definitely not enough to warrant a day off.  So, I continued my morning ritual, drinking my cup of coffee and preparing mentally for the start of a new week teaching mathematics to adolescents with spring fever and the approaching prom on their minds.  As I was finishing my cup of coffee, the phone rang.  A robotic, automaton voice stated that the school would be closed today.  I jumped for joy!  So, today I will spend the day sitting and spinning and reading.  This was a very pleasant and joyous surprise and something I will not take for granted.  So now, without further ado, here are some photos from the morning, and some photos of my new spinning wheel!     
Macho in the snow...although he can go inside, he seems to like being outside in the snow.  Go figure!

Macho with his icicle wool!

The view from my side porch of the April snow storm.

Riley checking out the new wheel, an Ashford Traditional!

Sabre approves of the new wheel.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Movie Review: Man on Wire

Last week I had the privilege of viewing the documentary "Man on Wire".  The documentary followed the life of Philippe Petit, a French tightrope walker, and his obsession with walking on a tightrope between the twin towers.  When I first heard a description of this film, I will admit that I was not sure how interesting 90 minutes of a guy tightrope walking would be.  However, after hearing a review of the film on NPR, I figured it would be worth giving it a shot.  What a wonderful film I almost missed out on!  The film not only shows him walking between the towers, which is a mesmerizing site in and of itself, it follows his years of planning a caper to trespass into the towers with a team of people and a huge tightrope all while having to escape detection by security guards and cops.  Philippe is a charismatic character who, along with a team that is as varied as it is unique, takes the viewer on a journey of fantasy, suspense, humor, and amazement as he strives to accomplish his dream.  You will not be disappointed in this film!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What a week!

This past week was our spring break from school.  What better time to do some intensive work on the farm!  The break began with what seemed a herculean task...cleaning out the shed and the basement.  I needed to clear out the shed to prepare a place for the sheep and the llama and I needed to clean out the basement so I would have a place to put what came out of the shed.  Oh, did I not mention the llama before this?  That is a story for another post, but suffice it to say I was getting a llama to help guard my sheep.  Anyhow, after what felt like hours and hours of hauling stuff from the shed, to the basement, and from the basement to the dump, I finally had everything prepared for the new family members.  On Tuesday April 10th, Mimi, Nan, and I drove in Nan's minivan down to Bliss, NY to pick up a llama named Macho from Terry and Gloria.  Terry and Gloria are a very sweet couple who, due to unforeseen health issues, were unable to keep their llamas.  Macho is a gelded male who they felt would make an excellent guard llama.  After visiting and getting the necessary details about Macho's care, we loaded him up in the minivan and were on our way.  Below are a couple of photos taken from our journey!

Macho riding in the van...I never knew a llama
was so good at riding in the van!

  Macho eating right away!

Then the following day, Wednesday April 11, Nan and I drove back down to Freedom, NY to pick up the three lambs!  This has truly been an amazing journey and I am looking forward to what is to come.  Below are some more photos of the sheep.  Enjoy!

Jack meeting Macho for the first time!

Macho, in all his glory, guarding Jack.  Macho is an excellent guard llama!

Jack is sooooooo heavy!  He was about 50 pounds when this photo was taken.

Weeble and her mama.

Here are some long overdue photos of one of my visits to Sandy's farm, Longmeadow Farm.

Preparing Dozer for a medical exam from the vet.

Here is Buddy, Sandy's wether, as she prepares to shear him.

He has gorgeous wool which Sandy has dyed and now has for sale!

Buddy's fleece :)

Monday, March 26, 2012


As I pulled up my driveway today, a huge bird flew from next to the coop up into the woods.  It was a hawk.  I think I now know what happened to my poor silkie roo :(  I decided to let the chickens stay inside today.  It was amazing to observe how the chickens reacted to the hawk.  When I got out of my car, even though the hawk was gone, there was not a sound coming from the coop and not a chicken to be seen.  After about 5-10 minutes, a rooster (Tito) slowly stuck his head out of the coop and looked around. After feeling fairly sure the coast was clear, Tito slowly walked into the protected part of their outdoor run, scanning the surroundings for signs of the hawk.  Once he had been outside for a couple minutes without further incident, the other chickens began to emerge.  I will have to keep my eye out for this hawk as she seems to know where she can find food now.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Love Weekends!

I now officially own 1.5 sheep!  Halfway there!  This weekend was our annual spinning retreat and I made my second sheep payment there.  I also was able to spend some time relaxing and spinning yarn for my shawl project.  I have also been taking the chicks outside to give them some time in the sun.  Below are some of the most recent photos.  My goals for the next 2 weeks are to purchase the fencing for the sheep and put it up, clean out the basement so items from the shed (which will be the new home for the sheep) can be moved into the basement, and begin preparing the garden.  So far I know I want to grow lettuce, collard greens, green beans, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and beets.  I also need to begin saving up money for my CSA share!  So much to do and so little time!  Enjoy the photos and I will post more as I make some progress this week :)
Our B^3 (B-cubed) chickens...this is our own new breed.   They are part Barnevelder, Bantam, and Buff Orpington.  Bred for great egg production, heartiness to the weather, and all around friendliness.

A close-up of Chipmunk, one of the chicks.

One of the guinea hens decided to fly up onto the roof!  These guys are amazing!