Friday, December 24, 2010


Merry Christmas. We will be having a white Christmas here at Dog Trot Farm. December is a bittersweet month for me.... it is the month which holds my birthday and sadly the month which claimed both sets of grandparents.... and now my dear mother in-law. In the spirit of Christmas hold your loved ones a little bit tighter..... remind them how much they are loved. Merry Christmas from all of us here at Dog Trot Farm and Blessings for the New Year.

Monday, December 20, 2010


The snow is softly falling....the wood stove working girls are snuggled in their coop....and Winslow Homer has a full belly....all is right with the world. Peace-the other name for HOME.
~Kathleen Norris~

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Yesterday I turned another year older....and that is all I'm going to say about that. Amen. In honor of my birthday my husband took me to Strawberry Banke to partake in the Holiday Candlelight Stroll. Strawberry Banke is a historic museum located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The museum consists of 32 buildings on their original sites in the neighborhood of Puddle Dock. Many of the homes were decorated for the holiday season according to a particular era. We first were greeted by St. Nicholas in the Rider-Wood House, an early 19th century home of English immigrant and widow Mary Rider. At the Chase House an 1818's mid winter dinner party was happening with live harpsichord music in the formal parlor. At the 1870 Goodwin Mansion, Governor and Mrs. Goodwin had made a wonderful maze of colored ribbons on the Christmas tree-each leading to special color coded gifts for each individual child. The year was 1943 at the Marden Abbott House /Store where the family was preparing a special dinner to welcome home their soldier son who was on leave for Christmas. At the Shapiro House the year was 1922 and featured the family celebrating the last evening of Hanukkah with special food, games and music. At the Masons Historic Lodge-Pitt Tavern soups and hot drinks were available, a perfect amenity to a cold winter's evening. The Candlelight Stroll is a wonderful event to put one in the holiday mood. You will find musicians in many of the homes, carolers singing as you stroll along the dirt paths illuminated by candlelight. Warm spiced cider and hot chocolate were available and a bonfire to warm your bones.... In my case "old bones." If you have never visited Stawberry Banke place it on your list of places to see.... in my case I refer to this as my "bucket list". In summer the flower and vegetable gardens are amazing here and are especially enhanced with the view of Portsmouth Harbor and the smell of the ocean air. Thank you sweetie for taking your "old lady" out on the town.... it was a wonderful evening.

Friday, December 17, 2010


There is nothing finer to do in December.... when temperatures dip....and also to put one in the holiday spirit.... than attend The Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.... which was presented at the Wang theatre in Boston. My mom and aunt treated myself, and four cousins to this wonderful Christmas event. We boarded the Downeaster (train) and arrived in Boston two and a half hours later. What a convenient way to travel to the city.... no white knuckle driving.... If you have ever driven in Boston I am sure you understand what I am speaking of. As always the Rockettes did not disappoint. I have attended the Rockettes performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City....but the Wang Theatre is just as beautiful and the Rockettes simply magnificent. One of the most magical moments for me is "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers"....A precision military marching routine which has been performed in the holiday show each year since 1933. The most heart moving scene is "The Living Nativity" which upholds a tradition begun by St. Francis Assisi in 1223. This also has been a part of the Christmas Spectacular since 1933. Let me just say there was not a dry eye in the theatre....simply breath taking.

Winslow Homer is patiently waiting for Santa....We have begun to make progress with his diabetes....for two weeks now he has maintained his weight and his blood sugar has dropped from 500 to 298....

The days are passing quickly....every moment is precious....There are Christmas cards to send....presents to wrap.... presents to mail.... baking to accomplish....and loved ones to is a time for family and home. I'd rather be nestled here at Dog Trot Farm than any other place in the world....I am sure most of you feel the same way about your hearth and home. The lights of the Christmas tree are glowing....candles lit....a wood fire burning....and a pot of cloves and cinnamon boiling on the wood stove....tell me is there anything finer?


It isn't just a starry night,
Or snowflakes on the ground.
It isn't just a merry hearth
With good friends gathered 'round.
It isn't just a Christmas tree,
Or gifts that play part;
But peace and love
The season brings
To touch the seeking Heart.
~Roxie Lusk Smith~
Oh yes....Santa....we could do with a little snow....remember I said a little!

Monday, December 6, 2010


As with most of you.... finding the time to blog and do a days work is becoming most difficult.... especially since the Christmas holiday is just around the corner. Now.... I am not sure what proper blogger edict is....I do read my follower's blogs faithfully....and comment regularly....however.... lately it hasn't been everyday....Oh the guilt one feels....I know some of you feel as I do. Please know I truly appreciate each and everyone of you and eventually I will catch up with all of dear sweet blogging friends. This photo is of a canvas painting.... titled "Candy Cane Santa" by Lori Brechlin of Not Forgotten Farm. I entered Lori's giveaway and unbeknown to me I won! A week had gone past since I had last visited Lori's blog and the winner announced ...ME! See....I was playing blog catch up.... Lori's blog is one of the first primitive blogs I discovered and a favorite. I am in awe of her art and creativity and someday hope to visit Not Forgotten Farm and meet Lori in person. So....Lori thank you for my wonderful prize.... it will hold a place of honor in our humble home. Now.... off to begin the Christmas shopping....oh and Winslow Homers weekly date with Dr. Rust....

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Below.... the welcoming committee for the Shakers of New Gloucester Maine. Ten o'clock....friends of the Shakers were in line with tote bags and ready to shop....This is our fourth year attending this holiday fair. First year.... DH and I stood in line THREE hours to purchase the famous Shaker "ROSEMARY BISCUITS." Tender, soft and flaky they were.... however.... not to our taste....the rosemary DOMINATED the flavor of the biscuit. I was very disappointed and you can bet my DH won't be standing in line for three hours for ANYTHING again. Second year.... FRUITCAKE. There happened to be an article in our local newspaper regarding the DREADED Christmas fruitcake....the paper guaranteed that any fruitcake "nay sayer" would fall for the fruitcake offered by the Shakers. No long line for this baby....Now I am not a huge fan of fruitcake however.... I was willing to spend the fifteen dollars....yes you read that correctly.... for this loaf cake. I had to find out for myself if this cake was everything the newspaper made it out to be... It was good....more cake than fruit....and the fruit was large one and only complaint....too did get eaten. The Shaker fair also offers quality hand-made goods, herbs and spices, yarn, books, paintings, ornaments, etc. I just realized I can't show you my goodies as I am sending them to friends and family for Christmas. You'll just have to wait till after the holiday for a peek. Next up....on to Lizzie's Rags. A sweet little primitive shop also located in the New Gloucester area.
This is the door prize I won.... a very sweet little woven pillow. I also had a nice chat with the shop owner....who is a very sweet lady herself. You have one more week to visit Lizzie's Rags before the shop closes for the winter....otherwise you will have to wait till spring. Hope everyone had a great weekend....the days are flying by....

Saturday, December 4, 2010


As my feet touched the cool morning floor.... something caught my eye with the new dawning light....tis snow....
an early morning surprise....winter has arrived in is December after all.... the perfect accent to a Saturday morning drive to attend the Shaker Village annual Christmas craft fair....Oh, yes and off to Lizzie's Rags where I won a door prize....I can not recall what the door prize is, but am sure it will be primitively perfect. Will share my winning prize with you later this evening....Blessings to all.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Align Center"November comes and November goes,
with the last red berries and the first
white snows.
With night coming early,
and dawn coming late,
and ice in the bucket, and frost on
the gate.
The fires burn and the kettle sing,
and earth sinks to rest until next spring."

~Elizabeth Coatsworth~

My little squirrel friend Skippy left the shelter of his pine tree this morning to pay us a
visit.... and also indulge in breakfast. I enjoy watching Skippy's morning antics as does Winslow.
Unbeknown to Skippy he has become an intricate part of Winslow Homer's healthily living program. Monday we had our weekly visit at the veterinarians office. I am afraid I had placed my expectations to high. Winslow once again had lost weight.... two ounces.... his blood sugar level at 500. Needless to say I had hoped for better news. Yet again I was reassured that this scenario might be the routine for awhile.... his insulin was adjusted. Now.... there are some days when Winslow Homer is rather quite.... which is highly unusual for my feisty little dog. Enter Skippy the squirrel. If I mutter the word "squirrel".... spell the word "s-q-u-i-r-r-e-l" or now say the name "Skippy" Winslow's ears perk up and he is off on the run....out the door just as fast as his little legs will take him. Skippy of course always reaches the safety of his pine tree and Winslow Homer quietly sits below now on "squirrel duty". This is a good thing.... this is the Winslow Homer we know and love. So this evening I just want to offer a big THANK YOU to Skippy the squirrel.... I will make sure Santa leaves a special treat for you....peanuts....suet....anything your little heart desires.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Do you recall when I had an unfortunate incident with my oven?

Well allow me to refresh your memory. Last week I inadvertently left the last batch of sugar cookies in the oven (cookies from a Martha Stewart recipe that I had toiled over, rolled and cut into perfect little turkeys) when I pressed the "clean" button. When I realized what I had actually done it was to late.... the oven door was locked and locked good. Now, while my cookies were going up in smoke the UPS man left a package on my doorstep. The UPS man and I are on a first name basis.... I seem to be taking cookies out of the oven on his weekly arrivals. I always offer "John" a cookie or two for the road. No cookies for him on this day. Now.... back to the package....During all the commotion I completely forgot about the package till my husband walked through the door and said "honey this is for you." Me?.... I hadn't ordered anything. Well....Low and behold It was a gift from a sweet blogging friend.... Amy of Verde Farm. Verde Farm is home to the most wonderful menagerie of animals, also home to a "haunted" barn where a "spirit" likes to play pranks and rearrange their donkeys. Amy had gifted me a Verde Farm tee shirt,Verde Farm mug, and two of the sweetest bars of homemade soaps. Notice the couple embracing on the red bar. It was so very thoughtful and kind of Amy....It put a great big smile on my face. Two things I have taken from this incident.... don't try and multi-task when you are enduring a migraine and secondly.... blogging friends are simply the best. You can rest assured someday I am going to find my way to Verde Farm and meet Amy and her wonderful menagerie of animals. Thank you again Amy, someday "MAINE LICENSE PLATES" will be traveling up your driveway! Oh, thirdly....parchment doesn't burn, who knew?

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Good evening from snowy Maine. Well, not actually snow in the town I reside, (we did see a brief moment of flurries) but thirty-five minutes north in the town of Bridgton, Maine. Bridgton is home to Pleasant Mountain, a popular skiing mecca. The sight of snow on this beautiful Sunday certainly puts one in the holiday mindset.... add Christmas music and you have all the elements for a perfect Sunday drive. No malls or box stores for us, just a leisurely drive taking in the scenery. Perfect it was until I noticed as we drove along more and more homes already decked out in their holiday finest. I finally said "honey I think we better head home.... our Christmas decorations are calling." Lets take a step back to Thanksgiving. Wednesday morning found Winslow Homer waiting patiently for his Nanny and Papa to arrive. My little guy is holding his own, but still continues to lose weight. Tomorrow Winslow and I head to the vet for his weekly blood sugar check. He intuitively knows where we are heading when I show him his seat belt and say "ride-ee". Winslow hides, shakes, and whines.... not a pretty sight. Now I never bribed my boys when confronted with a negitive situation, but you can bet your bottom dollar I bribe Winslow Homer. Chicken (his favorite treat) chewies, anything he wants I will indulge....well within reason. All I want is for us to get in and out of the veterinarians without him (or for that matter me) having a seizure. Wednesday I could be found in the kitchen.... up to my elbows in flour and shortening. Thank goodness for King Arthur Flour.... their pie crust recipe has yet to fail me.
I must say my and pumpkin....came out to every one's satisfaction.

Not one disaster to be had in my kitchen.

Winslow didn't have the privilege of licking the plates this Thanksgiving, "I'm sorry little man you are on a high fiber diet," please forgive your momma.

Our family enjoyed a wonderful day as I hope did you and yours. I count my blessings each and everyday. Speaking of blessings... below is a gift my sweet dad made for me.... it is called a "kneeling" bench ....and I just love it.... thank you father. Finally, I would like to wish my dear sister in-law Jovan a very Happy Birthday. We all miss you down there in the Panhandle of Florida... the holidays just are not the same without you....can you come home now?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The days just seem to fly by, I mean honestly, I am up before the rooster crows.... I find myself doing battle each morning with this handsome little critter....I call "Skippy."
Most mornings "Skippy" leaves the safety of his pine tree....
and plants himself firmly in the middle of my bird feeder....
He is relentless....and oh how he torments poor Winslow Homer....Secretly I thank Skippy....he helps keep Winslow on his toes. Speaking of my sweet boy, Winslow Homer celebrated his tenth birthday. Winslow and I have a weekly Monday afternoon date with Dr. Rust. She continues to test his blood sugar, and is still in the process of adapting his insulin intake. Winslow has gone from an extremely high "500" to "170". He is now on a Science Diet dog food regiimen for diabetic dogs. We are hoping this will aid in regulating Winslow's weight loss. Many thanks go out to many of you who have sent well wishes and also those of you who have diabetic pets who continue to do well.... a special thank you to have given us hope. My younger hens, Fern and Phoebe have grown into such lovely ladies. They began laying about a month ago and produce the prettiest brown petite eggs I have ever seen.
The rest of my girls are doing well. Lulu Belle, my "rubber egg" layer continues to thrive regardless of her unusual offerings.Always inquisitive, my girls had to see what I was up to.
Finally the window boxes are filled.... fir boughs and red berries....a yellow star for a little bit of flair....I know Pip was secretly devising a plan to fly up and land in the middle of my creation. Do you recall she was the girl who liked to lay in my bathroom window box?
Now, when I did my last post on pantry cakes.... I was not very clear....I do pantry cakes are not edible....but fragrant and add to one's primitive decor. This picture below.... well I call these "Figgy Puddings." Same idea as a pantry cake, but from a smaller mold.

Once hardened and dry I rub with cinnamon and ground cloves. I garnished with holly and red berries.

This afternoon I whipped up "Martha Stewart's" sugar cookie recipe and proceeded to cut them out with my turkey cookie cutters. Just as I was about to remove the last batch of cookies from the oven, my phone rang. It was my much loved sister in-law who is now ensconced down in the "Pan Handle" of Florida. While catching up, I decided to hit the "self cleaning" button on the oven.... got to have a clean oven for that turkey on Thursday morning. Only problem was I forgot to take the last batch of cookies out.... I guess I am no longer capable of multi-tasking.... I was fortunate I did not burn the house down....the smoke....I sure was happy my DH had not arrived home

I think I'm better off.... no safer.... rug hooking.

A few more rows....binding....and I'm done! Have a great evening everyone.... If you were wondering if a handsome rooster moved in to Dog Trot Farm....the answer is girls enjoy life uncomplicated....If you get my drift....

Sunday, November 14, 2010


It is November isn't it? Yesterday the temperature shot up to the high sixties. Our street was abuzz with the sound of lawn mowers and leaf blowers. I finished painting the trim on the front of the house, moved pumpkins and gourds from the back porch to the wheelbarrow out front.... cleaned the hen house, the girls need to be warm and cozy with winter coming on.... raked and raked some more.... filled the porch window boxes with pine and fir boughs. You just can't take this unusually warm weather for granted.... it is crunch time....winter weather is lurking.... Inside, the last of my Halloween decorations have been packed away....I hate to see them go....but time marches on....everywhere you look there are Christmas displays....Christmas music....and Holiday craft fairs....I rebel at the commercialism of Christmas....I want to enjoy the up coming holidays at my own pace. Okay.... here is my pantry cake. It looks similar to hard gingerbread....smells of cinnamon and cloves and looks perfect on my wooden riser covered by a fly screen. In primitive shops you will find these priced in the $12.00 dollar range. I decided to make my own. I found a recipe on line offered by BITTERSWEET PRIMS.

4 Tablespoons used coffee grounds

1 Cup sea salt, I used kosher as this is what I had on hand

2 Cups flour

3 Tablespoons cinnamon

2 Tablespoons cloves

1 Cup water-add slowly

I also added cinnamon and clove oil.

Mix dough till everything is combined and not too sticky. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer....spray mold with cooking spray.... coat with spices. Press dough into the mold you are using.... making sure the bottom is even. Oven temperature is 170 for six hours.... let them sit in oven after it is turned off to cool. I took my mold placed it on a cookie sheet and put it under the wood stove for the night, worked like a charm. Six hours in an electric oven is not feasible.... I tea dyed cheese cloth.... cut strips and tied the cake and placed a piece of holly on the top. I think pantry cakes are a perfect primitive accent. I purchased eight of the small molds shown above at an antique store for $1.00. These smaller molds are drying under the wood stove as I type. Mornings now begin early at Dog Trot Farm, my feet hit the floor at 5:30 AM, time for Winslow Homer's insulin and breakfast....who said you couldn't teach an old dog a new up at 5:30....yes.... it's true!!! Please don't call after 8:00PM.... I've retired for the evening!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


A BIG heartfelt thank you from all of us here at Dog Trot Farm.... for all the kind words and well wishes in regards to Winslow Homer. We are adapting to a new routine here, Winslow now has BREAKFAST followed by an insulin shot at 6:00 am and another with supper at 6:00 pm. He certainly is not complaining about two square meals a day.... plus a snack! We have been informed of all the bad things that can occur in regards to canine diabetes, but prefer to focus on the positive. Blessings to each and everyone of you. ~Julie & Winslow Homer~

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


He is just a little dog, my Winslow Homer. He came to live at Dog Trot Farm nine years ago traveling all the way from Kansas. His mother's name was Julie Dee and mine, Julie with my middle initial D. It was fate and it was meant to be. That particular Saturday morning in February DH and I left Dog Trot to run errands. On our list, a new shedding brush for our dog Chloe. In the past our two dogs have been rough coated Collies, one of the most gentle and loving breeds of dogs. So to make a long story short.... instead of returning home with that new brush we arrived home with a puppy.... Winslow Homer. It has been a decision that we have never regretted. Winslow is now our only dog since Chloe's passing, he is a little dog with a big personality and a loyal and faithful companion. This week DH and I noticed Winslow was not quite himself, he was just to darn quiet. We thought the dreaded FLEAS.... lots of itching and chewing going on.... So Monday afternoon off to the veterinarian we headed. ONE FLEA was discovered and a nice healthy flea allergy. Winslow returned the following morning to spend the DAY for blood tests and x-rays....the diagnosis, Winslow Homer is now an insulin dependent diabetic....Twice daily for the rest of his life he will require insulin shots.... weekly blood sugar checks and once monthly full body workups. Just as with humans there is a lot of highs and lows with this disease however, Winslow's mom and dad are ready to take on the challenge. Surprisingly, I have become quite proficient in administering his shots, who knew?....I know he is just a little dog, but if you could find it in your heart to say a little prayer for him we here at Dog Trot Farm sure would be ever so grateful....thank you to our friends ~Julie&Winslow Homer~

Monday, November 8, 2010


Today's weather was dismal to say the least. Heavy rain and howling wind caused major power outages to a large portion of the state. Schools closed, roads flooded and trees came down. Fortunately for us our electricity returned in the early morning hours. Winslow and I however, elected to remain nestled in. I lit the wood stove and placed a pot of spices on top which soon had the house smelling of cinnamon and cloves. I then lit candles to add to the atmosphere and began "puttering". I cut wool for a new project, tis the season for projects and tried my hand at making "pantry cakes." Pantry cakes are a staple in primitive decorating and mine is still drying by the wood stove. Tomorrow I will show you my finished product.... also items I purchased at local craft fairs....tis the season for craft fairs, but for now I leave you with this.... "Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky, how beautiful it is?
All it's branches are outlined, and in it's nakedness there is a poem there is a song.
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for spring. When the spring comes, it again fills the tree
with the music of many leaves, which in due season fall and blow away. All this is the way of life.


Thursday, November 4, 2010


When my uncle passed away last spring, my aunt returned to my mother some old family photographs, one of which was a picture of my late grandmother -Lida Adelaide Ricker. My mother in turn gifted this photo to me. I had never seen a photo of my grandmother as a child or a young adult. This photo is one hundred years old plus, my grandmother was just shy of ninety-two years old when she passed away. When I look at this photo not only do I see a resemblance, but also the person from whom I inherited my dark brown eyes. My grandmother also held a love for animals and kept a flock of chickens when she was a young wife and mother residing on the Island. When my brother and I were young, "Lile" resided in the city of Portland, Kris and I would take turns spending a few days with her and "Papa Ray" during school vacations. One of my fondest memories was a trip to the "five and dime" where we would sit up to the counter -Lile would have coffee and I a milkshake. Later we would browse the "five and dime" where I was allowed to choose a new book of paper dolls, marbles or stamps.
Lile has been gone twelve years now, and a few days after she passed away I had a very vivid dream about her. I can recall what she was wearing, her fragrance and our conversation. When I awoke I could still feel the warmth from her kiss placed upon my cheek. I felt very comforted by this experience. Later that day, I shared my dream with my mother and I learned she too experienced an identical dream. We described identical clothing, jewelery, perfume even lipstick and coat color. My mother too woke with the warmth on her cheek from my grandmother's kiss. I keep my grandmother safe in my heart and I shall treasure her photo always.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Was it a ghost?...spirit? tell me.... First you need to know our home was built for us, it has had no other inhabitants, none human that is. Our bow roofed cape was built in the style of capes from long ago.... small rooms with low ceilings.... dark and cozy like a chipmunks nest. Another feature from the past is a "good morning" staircase. The main stairs ascend to a landing that splits in two opposite directions. The left landing connects to the right through our bathroom, which is located in the center. This particular incident occurred twenty years ago. I remember this day as if it were yesterday, it never seems to fade. It was summertime and my young niece was visiting us for the week. I had taken she and my two young sons to the pet store and "Auntie" allowed her to spend her money on a turtle. "Spike" spent the week lounging in our bathtub with an occasional swim in the pool.... what fun we four had. Yes.... Spike is still with us or shall I say with my niece. That particular evening it was hot and humid the kids and I had finished playing croquet and we all jumped into the pool with our clothes on. We had ice cream cones and then the kids readied themselves for bed. My niece, who at the time was around 11.... had long blond hair and was bunking in with her cousin Kristopher for the week. Later, In the quiet of the night I got up to use the bathroom, forgetting that Darlene was with us, I hadn't bothered to close the bathroom doors. While in the bathroom I happened to glance out the doorway and saw a young girl in a white nightgown.... with blond hair walk past.... then quickly turn and hurried back towards the bedroom. I thought, Darlene must have seen me sitting here and didn't want me to be embarrassed so quickly hurried herself back to the room. I quietly crept into my son's room to let her know I was finished, but to my astonishment Darlene was sound asleep.... in pink pajamas.... not a white nightgown....I just stood there dumbfounded....wishing she had on a white nightgown. I didn't tell a soul about that incident.... not for a very long time.... later some would say I was dreaming.... I know what I saw....It was not a dream....nor have I seen this apparition....spirit....ghost again. Now those of you who have had an odd encounter .... please do a sure would make me feel better....or should I say somewhat normal....

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Hark! Hark to the wind! Tis the night, they say, when souls come back from the far away-
The dead, forgotten this many a day!
~Virna Sleard~
Do I believe in ghosts, why yes I do and tomorrow I will tell you why.
Happy Halloween!