Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In the quiet of the night it came...
heavy wet snow...winter has arrived in New England...I am thankful the power remained on...there was much to get accomplished this day...the pies came together... apple and pumpkin... cranberry bread...made with locally grown organic Maine cranberries...and of course it just would not be Thanksgiving without my mother's recipe for cranberry relish...cranberries..walnuts...marmalade...sugar and lemon juice...delicious!Out in the coop...Little Josephine is a wonderful mother...she and her babe are safely enclosed in a cage tucked under the nesting boxes...the heat lamp is working overtime keeping them warm and snug...just a "wisp" of a thing this new babe...this is my first go around with egg hatching...Josephine left the nest on Sunday morning and joined the other chickens in the coop yard...I had intentions of removing the eggs...but she had been so committed I decided to give her another few days...and Tuesday morning we were in for yet another surprise...we here at Dog Trot Farm have been twice blessed...this little babe is the spitting image of his proud papa... I bet I can guess what you all are thinking...COCK-A-DOODLE-DO...Happy Turkey Day !

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


"For simple grace and dignity it is unsurpassed, this old pine table that is ours for awhile.
"Children growing up around it, that each generation nurtures the next in the home."
I recently came across those words which promptly brought to mind the story of the old pine table that now graces our home. In 1966, my husband and his family moved from suburbia to the country, to a "big old farm house." Needing a table to accommodate her large family (six children) my mother in-law commissioned local craftsman Austin Alden (who by the way is a direct descendant of the famed Pilgrim John Alden) to build a farm table, six side chairs, a lady's chair for the Mrs and a larger version to accommodate my 6 foot 4 father in-law. Mr Alden was reluctant, being elderly and ready to hang up his hand tools, but finally agreed ( I do believe it was the twinkle in my mother in-law's "blueberry blue" eyes that won him over). The pine table was built and soon ensconced in the old farmhouse. The six resident hound dogs found the table as an out of the way escape, TK the cat would jump on the table using it as a spring board to get to the safety of a nearby hutch. Over the years it has served the family well, the table has been part of celebrations, holidays, weddings, the birth of grandchildren and great grandchildren. There have been many happy times as well as sad. With the passing of my mother in-law last December it was agreed among the family that the old pine table would come to live with us. This Thanksgiving there will be memories shared of loved ones no longer with us, of the many blessings we are grateful for, and of future generations yet to be. The old pine table will serve us well...

Monday, November 21, 2011


Lord have mercy...there's a ruckus going on in the coop this evening...I grabbed Winslow Homer's leash and we headed out to investigate...a fox... squirrel... chipmunk...raccoon?With the recent loss of Iris and Charlotte I'm still on the edgy side...I find myself becoming a mother hen...a worry wart.. but...with my presence things in the coop began to settle down... I happened to glance over at Don Juan...I do believe I saw a twinkle in his eye... Miss Josephine was all aglow...and then there is was... the soft little noise...we... the girls and I all turned our heads in unison... under the warmth of Josephine's breast...a teeny... tiny... baby chick briefly appeared...and so the circle of life continues here at Dog Trot Farm...more tomorrow...this old hen needs to hit the nest...goodnight...

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Today...against many odds...Winslow Homer is turning eleven...
Our birthday boy is in good spirits and is enjoying life...Many days it was touch and go...but we have persevered... I am grateful for each and everyday I have with Winslow...My parents have arrived safely home to the island and have promised to behave is good!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Friends...thank you for your kind comments and concerns in regard to my parents well being. After a tense week both are finally on the mend. Anxious to return to their own home and Island community...Sunday...they will sail down the bay...home at last...
After the death of Iris my Buff, her sister Charlotte became quite despondent. Charlotte's appearance seemed to change overnight. Her crop and wattle went from bright red to white...she suddenly began to move and take on the appearance of an old hen...Sadly this afternoon Charlotte passed away...she was laid to rest in the perennial garden next to Iris...sometimes...a broken heart is just to difficult to overcome....even for chickens...goodbye my sweet girl...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


When life becomes stressful... I let my mind wander... I focus on a warm summer's day back in August, the scent of suntan lotion in the air and the cold Atlantic ocean lapping at my toes...I soon find myself centered once again...Long story short...My dad underwent back surgery 84 years young, he is in amazing condition, walking daily and a lifetime of playing tennis certainly has paid off. His surgeon is amazed at his resilience and promptly labeled him a "tough old bird." My mother on the other hand is just as tough and let me say as "stubborn" as they come. You see the day prior, my 82 year old mother was in the woods (alone) gathering pine boughs and red berries to fill her window boxes...her feet became entangled in some form of a vine and she fell. On the morning of surgery, I picked my parents up at the ferry terminal...we soon arrived at the hospital... my dad was admitted...the surgeon joined us and explained the mother asked if he would mind looking at her foot and wrist....long story short... x-rays showed a broken wrist and a badly sprained ankle...the doctor was amazed she was able to walk...everyone in the office had to get a look at it. Tonight, thankfully we are all safely gathered under one mother sporting a splint on her wrist and an ice pack on her badly swollen dad sporting an incision that has already begun to heal... So...I am happy to say the inn is full... all the beds are taken here at Dog Trot Farm...and I am grateful for all my blessings...Goodnight...

Friday, November 11, 2011


"November comes
and November goes,
with the last red berries
and the first white snow.
With night coming early,
and dawn coming late,
and ice in the bucket
and frost at the gate.
The fire burns,
and the kettles sing,
and earth sinks to rest
until next spring.
~Elizabeth Coatsworth
The month of November...where shadows are cast in early afternoon... primitive lighting adds ambiance to the country home...
battery operated candles have become my favorite primitive decorating accessory...seeing I almost burnt my house down last's a tip never burn cheap candles...I found out the hard way...the dehydrator is humming along...the fragrance of oranges and apples fill the air...once dried this fruit will be used in swags and potpourri... Pamela, proprietor of the blog "Our Pioneer Homestead" offered her blog readers suggestions in primitive decorating along with directions for primitive craft ideas. Below is one of Pam's projects, a Hanging Colonial Candle Dipper. I made two, one to hang and dry herbs (sage and mint from my garden drying for Thanksgiving) the other to hang candles. ( Where are the candles you ask? I am still in the process of making them) The Laura Ingalls School Slate...Pam mentioned that she had difficulty locating slates and improvised with a frame from the dollar store. I on the other hand had no difficulty locating a slate, but finding plain old white chalk was near impossible. Yes, there is an abundance of colored chalk and sidewalk chalk...I asked my friend to swipe (okay borrow) a piece of chalk from her daughter's classroom ( she volunteers)...nope no chalk in a classroom...I ask you what is this world coming to?... Needless to say I am pleased with the way my slate turned out...engraved on the front top of the frame is Laura's initials and age and below the date...There are many more craft ideas offered by Pam also for the month of December she will be offering primitive Christmas ideas...Thank you Pam, I am so happy I discovered your blog, you are one talented lady and very generous with your ideas...
This is where Winslow Homer spends his November days, warm and toasty in front of the wood stove...what's that you say? another stick of wood...Have a great weekend everyone...

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Don Juan is a lover...he adores his harem of three...with Josephine broody and on the nest...his harem is reduced to two...Don Juan has no interest whatsoever in any of the larger gals...he prefers his ladies on the petite side...
This is Phoebe...she is a big old gal and may I say proud of it...she has absolutely no fondness for Don Juan and his rowdy activities...when his fits of passion rise Phoebe is quick to intervene...she jumps on his back...grabs his comb...pulls him of the lady that he is attempting to service and promptly chases him off into the darkness of the coop... In other words, she has no tolerance nor appreciates any "hanky panky" going on in the hen yard...This Don does not give up so easily...he dusts himself off...shakes his feathers out and prepares himself for another day...or at least another attempt at does need to live up to their name and reputation...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


~ Musings on chicken keeping~

1. If you are searching for some good old fashioned wholesome entertainment... where language or adult content is of no concern...pop a bag of popcorn...grab your favorite lawn chair...and watch the shenanigans unfold...believe me when I say there is a "Lucy and Ethel" in every flock.

2. Chickens love the gift of girlfriends around...pull up a chicken...she's happy to lend an ear...

3. Need a patch of lawn mowed or maybe a flower garden weeded...chickens delight in this activity...just remember to purchase replacement plants as chickens do get carried away...a bath is usually involved...and let me just say you have not lived until you watch a chicken bathe...dirt flies...chickens roll while purring with delight...yes, you read that correctly chickens do in deed purr...

4. Now there is chicken keeping and keeping chickens...there is a friend keeps chickens...she is a true farmer...her chickens remain nameless...they are given adequate feed and water and if one dies...oh well...her chickens remain quite healthy and are fine egg layers...
Mine on the other hand have been pampered...okay spoiled... fed organically...treats of blueberries and other delights keep my grocery bill on the high side...I admit one of the draws to keeping chickens is naming them...chickens are the ideal candidate for using "old" names...I just know there is an Auntie Em or maybe a Delores or a Blanche in my future...Yes, there is heartache...chickens do die...but the delights far out way the sadness... This day Charlotte is still with us but grieving, I fear for the worst...and my Josephine has gone broody...This is my first experience with a broody hen...I kept removing her from the nest box, however, her persistence won me over...four tiny eggs remain underneath her warm body...I do believe a little joy and excitement is needed in this hen house...and Josephine just may be the girl to do it...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Dear Iris,
You are gone, truly gone. I had hoped you might be off on a little vacation, maybe discovered true love in a neighboring hen yard, or had decided to roost in a nearby tree. But alas it was not to be. It took me four days of searching, but finely I stumbled upon the crime scene. Your golden feathers lay scattered about, proof you put up a valiant fight, the enemy... a fox. The hen yard is not the same without you. I fear dear Charlotte will not get over your absence, she remains in the corner of the hen yard, patiently waiting your return. All hope is gone, it is not meant to be. Such is the life of a chicken keeper, a sad chicken keeper. Goodbye my sweet girl.