Tuesday, December 25, 2007


lolly didn't sleep a wink guarding all the presents

she thought the biggest bone was for her but it was for fortinbras

Sunday, December 16, 2007

big snow

snow, snow everywhere

louise never minds the weather and chooses to stay outside

the donkeys came out for a bit, but prefer to pass the storm eating in the shed

Sunday, December 02, 2007

new additions

olive, an icelandic lamb

a tractor! mika and clover working off some turkey after thanksgiving

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


poor lolly!

11 years of dog ownership, and this was the first porcupine incident we've had.

i couldn't believe how deep the quills were--i ended up using pliers!

Monday, August 20, 2007

oh boy

do you get the 'perezhilton' reference? if not, scroll down.

the lovely louise:

is in foal to this guy:

the resulting offspring will be a mule.

hooray louise!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


last week, we left three dog farm in capable hands for a five day getaway

we take a yearly summer trip to a family lakehouse in pennsylvania which we have dubbed our 'lakation'

the dogs love it. they get to swim and we get to relax and enjoy watching them swim.

we came back and everything and everyone was just as we had left it

with the exception of some new treasures...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

preparing for the harvest

i still have canned tomatoes from last summer's garden lingering in the cabinets. so, i've been trying to use them up to make room for the coming tomato crop. we have less plants this year, but we (we being fox) have been much more tentative to the plants and i think we may get a more robust crop than last year. we even have some tomato plants that have sprouted up from last years seeds either from tomatoes that had fallen or that the chickens got. it will be interesting to see what crosses they are. they are inches taller and much stronger than the plants we put in intentionally--got to love that hybrid vigor!

sunday i topped our local beef/pork meatloaf with a jar of homemade stewed tomatoes (everything but the vineagar, salt, and pepper from my garden)--here is is about to go in the oven:

and last night i busted out the last jar of yellow crushed tomatoes and we had it with eggplant from our garden and squash from a friend's garden. i love canning yellow tomatoes. they really make a nice sauce and they look so lovely in the jar:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

being a local hero

i've been slacking on my blogging to be sure. it has been a busy summer!

i've been really enjoying El's entries on her participation in one local summer. since i'm in the middle of writing my thesis, i have hardly spent any time in the kitchen or the garden this summer. but, i did want to post a bit about how living on 5 acres in a ruralish town has allowed me to begin to depend less and less on things from very far away.

we've been raising our own eggs for years and i have not bought eggs forever. in fact, i have an aversion to 'outside' eggs. i sell eggs to my entire department, neighbors, my vet, even my therapist! it always strikes me how much people 1) really LOVE fresh eggs, and 2) love getting eggs from someone they know who actually cares for the chickens. they like supporting me and my efforts to raise happy chickens and i get satisfaction in providing them with a product that i put my own time and effort into.

even though our town is right on the outskirts of a urban center, it is still quite rural. in fact, we are so very lucky to have a dairy right on our street! fresh milk in glass returnable bottles--i love it. it is one of the absolute best things about living here. recently, while i was stopping to get some milk the dairy owner noticed i almost had a flat tire and offered to pump it up for me. i pulled around back and he noticed the hay i had in the back of the truck. i usually buy my hay from the local feed store but the hay is imported from canada--it isn't local. he told me that he bales and sells his own hay and showed me some. i was sold! so now, right on my street, a source for local hay! here is a shot of louise enjoying some of it:

i've been getting my meat for years from a local farm. it is quality, fresh, naturally raised meat. you can see the animals and the family who raises them. i go once a month to buy my poultry feed from them and while i am there i stock up on meat. here is our booty from today:

and finally, my three sour cherry trees produced a small crop of cherries this year! it was our first fruit ever and to celebrate i made a small cherry pie. i am really looking forward to the next few years when we really start getting some fruit production and i'll be able to dry it, can it, and store it for the long winters. in the meantime, i am starting to buy lots of local berries to start canning preserves.

now, if i could only get these two hitched to a wagon so i wouldn't have to fill my gas tank so often!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

product endorsement

these are absolutely the best rubber boots ever made. i had to blog about them. we just survived an entire week of cold, hard rain up here in mass and these boots were and still are (mud!) being put to the test. they are better than the oh so trendy wellies in that they actually have a lug sole, arch support, etc. they aren't some thin sheet of rubber between you and the ground. and, bonus--they are so tough looking in a cute way. i know what you are asking though, what about the tongue? nope, totally waterproof. it is like an accordian tongue that is all one piece and tucks behind the laces. the only downfall, they are PRICEY (129US$). but, a sound investment as i don't think they will ever wear out. these are quality, swedish made boots y'all. check them out--make: tretorn model: ballena

Thursday, May 17, 2007

more fruit trees

my second order of trees arrived and this time i had help with the planting! i will say that i was more impressed with stark brothers than miller's nursery. both orders were excellent, but if i had to choose i'd say that stark brothers ship a more substantial tree.

here is what the trees look like when they come (these from miller's)

here is mikaj trying to dig yet another rock from the ground (we had to give up on this one--it was a boulder)

here is a newly planted and mulched apple tree

Saturday, May 05, 2007


at five days old, star has suddenly come to life. he is so fun to watch--running sideways and bucking.

i've got the feedings spaced to every 4 hours and i'll be stretching it to 5 by monday. i give the goats their hay right up against his cage, so he has been nibbling at it out of curiosity. i will begin introducing some alfalfa and grains this coming week.

still tons of planting going on as things arrive in the mail...the first 24 fruit trees are in the ground, strawaberries and raspberries are in the ground, and tomorrow go the grapes and blueberries. more fruit trees are on the way because we had room for another row and stark bros had a sale flier that i couldn't resist.
i'll end with a shot of the girls looking for their treats.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

3 days old

so far so good. he is very strong and feisty at feeding time. he seems very content to hang out with the goats as long as i show up with the bottle on time. we are working up to feeding every four hours at the moment, so i might get a little more sleep tonight.

today i had him out and about in the barnyard to get some exercise. gina thinks she could give motherhood a try. she is very sweet to him. he is curious about everything, but mostly he sticks right next to my legs as if i were his mama. his legs are looking a lot better and he has no problem bouncing around on them.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

a star is born

guess what?

i am now the proud 'mother' of an orphan lamb.

welcome the newest addition to three dog farm!

what a unfortunate first lambing. poor freyja had a dystocia (difficult labor). the lamb had elbow lock, and therefore was stuck in the birth canal a little too long. all of freyja's efforts and hard pushing were not getting her anywhere. i knew that once labor had progressed to the stage where the nose and front hooves were presented, that she should be thrusting that baby out pretty quickly. i did an internal exam, and literally could feel that it was stuck. she had some strong contractions while i was examining her and the lamb didn't budge even when i assisted her a little. Time to call the vet!!! my vet was there in a flash and in minutes she diagnosed that the elbows were locked. so, i held freyja's head while she pushed the lamb back in, pulled the legs out straight, and then pulled the lamb free. It was such a sad few moments--he was totally lifeless with a blue tongue. but, amazingly, he came to life after some good shaking, swinging, and vigorous rubbing. this was an enormously traumatic event for freyja, and because of it she totally rejected the lamb.

here she is wondering what that black blob is.

we tried for a couple of hours to get freyja to bond with him. he was a very weak lamb, beyond the normal amount of wobbly, and all freyja wanted to to was butt him around the stall. he had no suckle reflex and was beginning to get hypothermia. we were able to get some great colostrum from freyja and so the vet tube fed him and i wisked him into the house for some blow drying. i was able to tube more colostrum in his stomach as the night when on, and then finally at 1:45 am (after much much much persistance and patience!) he began to suckle from a bottle. hooray! a big sigh of relief from me and i finally felt as though he would make it. i stayed up the whole night, feeding him every two hours. i have to give a HUGE shout out to fox, who got up everytime i woke him to trudge to the sheep shack and help me milk freyja. it was definitely a team effort.

his legs are a little funky, to say the least. i'm wondering about a possible genetic/development thing--strange leg conformation/ elbow lock might not be a coincidence. regardless, i do know horses are born often with very loose tendons for a variety of reasons. once they are up and about for a few days, the tendons seem to tighten up and the leg conformation resumes something resembling normal. sometimes splints are necessary to help the situation. this little guy had a really bad right hind fetlock joint so i made him a cardboard/vet wrap splint and he began keeping the hoof on the ground as opposed to walking on his turned under fetlock joint. i'm sure he won't be winning any prizes for conformation, but we will love him just the same.

now, for the fun stuff...i think he is grey! he is black, but there is white in his ears, muzzle, and his undercoat is white/grey. as he is intended as a wool animal (he will be wethered--no breeding for wobbly legs!), grey would be amazing! i have some grey lopi, and it is just the most fantastic stuff. such a unique, natural color for wool. black is great too, since i have white and brown fleeces already.

and last but not least, his name is 'staralfur' which means 'starry elf' in icelandic. it is also the title of an incredible song by sigur ros which you can here a sample of here. we can call him star for short.

here he is today, enjoying the warm sun from the safety of his crate. i have moved him outside to the goat stall, lest he grow up thinking he is human. he has a full view of the goats so he will begin to get the idea of eating hay and drinking water eventually. his is looking strong and eating very well so let's hope he is with us for the duration!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

happy birthday parsnip!

parsnip is officially a yearling. she is about 11 hands now and donkeys grow until age 4 or 5 so there is hope she will get a bit taller. she will definitely get stockier--she still looks very much like a baby. that is a fur belly she has, not a hay belly.

fox and i teamed up and sheared pattur this weekend. you can see what he looked like before here. i think his adult wool is going to be a bit darker than his lamb wool was. (i'm very excited to see what color his and freyja's lamb will be!)

i'm slightly getting the hang of shearing, but not quite. at least this time i got the fleece off almost in one piece. shearing is certainly an art and i hope to master it at some point in life. for now, i will just keep practicing.

freyja's udder has become quite noticeable so i am hoping for a lamb this week. from the date i last saw them breeding, i calculated her due date to be the last week of april. she seems to be right on schedule! the passed couple of days her belly has just exploded and she sort of has a wide stance. i wonder if she knows what is pending--i always wonder that about animals.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

making room for the orchard--part two

today we used our burn permit for the first time. we had two huge piles of dead vine/brush type stuff and there was no chance of it going into the chipper shredder so burning was our best bet. i'm not an advocate of burning stuff just to get rid of it but since we will be planting 25 trees in return for clearing the brush, i think the carbon will balance itself out. this photo was taken from the same exact spot as this before shot.

here are some other veiws of our newly cleared land:

the goats and donkeys have been loving the land clearing because they get all the pine we cut down.