Late Summer Treats

If the Morning Glories are blooming everywhere,


and if there’s plenty of fresh basil waiting to be picked and made into pesto….


AND if that pesto is getting put into homemade ravioli….


then that must mean my birthday is just around the corner!


It’s well and truly closing in on my favorite time of year.  Late summer and into fall is a glorious time, and even though I am a proper grown-up now I still do love my birthday.

Thankfully the basil came through the wet summer alright, if far less plentiful than normal.  But there’s enough for pesto to fill little pockets of ravioli, and there’s enough to make some lovely of the cocktails that my friend Lisa introduced me to:


She muddled a good bunch of fresh basil with some simple syrup and fresh lime juice and shook it up with some lovely gin.

Best late summer cocktail ever, and perfect for an early September birthday!


Today in Animals

After yesterday’s monsoons it was quite a treat to spend some quiet time outside with the flock while they soaked up the sunlight.


He’s got a very “I ain’t bovvered” look about him today, doesn’t he?



Nanny McPhee always has a smile on her face.  It’s deceptive, though, because she won’t let me any closer than this.


Caramel and Adelaide




This lady (I think it’s Lyra) does this every time I show up with the camera.




Beautiful Miss Hannah


Alabama looks (and feels!) like a giant cuddly teddy bear.






Cini, who insists on always being rightatyourside.


Aster, waiting by the feed trough.

Cross your fingers the weather stays like this for a good while.  We could use the respite from the rain!

Moving Forward

I cannot believe how dark and gray it is outside today.  Really, all summer actually.  It certainly feels as though we’ve relocated to south Florida.  Nothing but high humidity and rain every day.

The good news is that back in June we administered copper to the flock and as of this week they are still parasite free.  It was a long road for Susan getting to copper trials and I am thrilled to have her knowledge and experience to apply now as my own small farm is starting out.  Still, the wet and mud are not fun for anyone. I’ve been slowly reintroducing grain back to the sheep and goats to get some weight on them and going out in this nastiness has been a chore!  It’s made most of us want to throw in the towel on summer and just let it be fall already.

Indeed, last weekend the weather was gloriously fall-like.  Susan has been staying with us (bravely, I might add, what with my feral children careening about) while we clean out her house and pack her up for her next adventure, wherever that may be.  We hosted a two – day estate sale to clear out the clutter she’d been collecting the past few years that she will no longer need (seriously, who needs 9 beds????  She won’t anymore now that she’s no longer going to host farm stays!).

We had fun setting up the sale tables, creating Country Living-esque vignettes with the wares.


How adorable are those baskets!  And the Santa gourd with the Fu Manchu mustache?


Some farm yarn leftovers with dye-jobs that Susan swears were no good (I dunno, I thought they were fine!)



Susan’s office with all the treasures she is keeping.  She kept us in stitches with her funny signs.  The one on the pantry (where we were keeping our cameras and snacks) was labeled “No Entry. Area 51”

Okay, maybe you had to be there.


I scored these lovely french yogurt pots she brought back after a visit to her sister in Switzerland earlier this year.

Moving her out was definitely a mixed bag of emotions.  On the one hand, she hasn’t been living in that house for quite awhile now and the animals were moved ages ago, so it wasn’t a sad ending for the property itself.  On the other hand, seeing her divest herself of so many of the things I had come to associate with her was hard for me at first.  I have to say, though, after we cleaned it all out and sold it all off, it felt good.  It felt like she is lighter and freer and her options are limitless.

Obviously I hope she settles close by.  I love having her around, and I love having her animals around.  But it’s more important to me that she is happy and healthy.  She could decide to set up in the Australian outback and we would still be best friends and we would still stay connected.  That’s the beauty of friendships; they have nothing to do with possessions or location.

Susan is moving forward, on to the next phase, and I couldn’t be happier for her.


Sewing Camp

Since Susan has been staying with us while we work on getting her house packed up we though it would be nice to have a weekend where we could simply enjoy each others’ company and get some crafting done.

Our friend Tanya came up from Roanoke, and our friends Lisa and Erin came in from town.



Maddie kept little Marie occupied and happy so Lisa could work on a dress for her.




Creative mess!



We had plenty of good food as well, as is to be expected when this particular group gets together!  This was our brunch.  Gluten free crepes with fresh blueberries, maple whipped cream and brown sugar breakfast sausage.


Tanya made us a delicious burrito dinner with lots of fixings.

We all worked hard on our various sewing projects, but we spent plenty of time chatting and catching up as well.  I’m not sure anyone finished any of the projects they brought, but we all made some good headway on them.

This coming weekend we are having a sale at Susan’s house to clean out all of her stuff.  It will be sad, but good.  She’s moving to a smaller property and focusing on keeping only things that are meaningful to her.

Busy busy busy!

This Morning in Pictures

Well, it’s not oppressively sunny and brutal, but it’s pretty humid and yucky out.  The sheep aren’t doing too badly with it, but they’re still not totally comfortable.

I tried to do a little garden weeding and maintenance, but as you can see, it’s kind of a losing battle.


But the sunflowers are doing well anyway.  From what I can tell, the sweet potatoes seem to be thriving as well.  Hooray for small miracles!


Miss Adelaide is getting into the habit of getting stuck in the fence every morning.  Even though she has two giant tanks of fresh water easily accessible to her, she wants that water in the blue tub outside the fence.


Pretty much sums up goats.


Sweet Caramel.  Who is actually not so sweet anymore.  She’s decided she doesn’t like people.


The infamous Milkshakes.


Lovely Miss Hannah.


Darling Isobel.


Martin. As you can see, the Angora goats are looking forward to their fall shearing.




Well hello, there!




Alabama, hanging out in one of his favorite snoozin’ spots.

They are all ready for this wet, muddy summer to be over.  I can’t really blame them.  I’m kind of ready, too.  Their hooves grow ridiculously fast when it’s like this and it’s difficult to keep on top of when you don’t want to constantly round them up and stress them out in the heat.

Plus once it’s cooler and shade isn’t such an absolute necessity at all times, we can pen them into a smaller section and blanket the field with more grass seed.

For now let’s hope that what is left of summer doesn’t come back and smack with with any record heatwaves, shall we?

Beach Weekend 2013


Another beach weekend, come and gone!  It’s amazing how you can look forward to something for so long and then have it be over in the blink of an eye.

We had lovely weather for the most part; a bit of rain in the evenings but nothing that interfered with lounging by the ocean.  It’s wonderfully lucky that the ocean is close enough that we can drive there in just a few hours.




Sometimes it’s hard not to sit and stare at the ocean for hours; it’s peaceful and relaxing watching the waves come in and the boats go out.


First Landing State Park

We’re an adventurous group, though, so we did manage to take some time away from relaxing to take part in various fun activities.  Our first morning out we went for a Stand-Up Paddle Boarding tour.  It was our second year doing it and this time our guide was was incredibly enthusiastic and engaged with our surroundings.  He showed us all the oysters and barnacles on the shore line and piers and pulled up a crab pot full of blue crab to let us see what they look like.


He took us into a lovely little cove where the water was calmer and showed us how to do yoga on our paddle boards in the water.

I tried a few poses (mostly child pose, table, cat and downward dog) but he wowed us by doing a headstand.  On his paddle board.  In the water.  Without falling off.

I know.  Amazing.

Of course my friend Diana did us all even prouder later when she rode the Slingshot at the amusement park.  It’s basically a reverse bungee jump that shoots you 200 feet in the air.  She’s pretty brave, that one.


Mostly, though we did what we enjoy doing every year: spending time together at the beach.

I’m not big on getting colored by the sun (I’m pretty fair skinned and skin cancer is more of a threat than I think most people realize), so I love that we always rent huge umbrellas and create ourselves a shade fortress from which to enjoy the ocean breeze.  I had a book with me but honestly I barely looked at it.  I was either involved in conversation or napping.  Or looking forward to steamed clams for dinner.


Laura and Margie


Diana, Theresa, Jessie.

I really needed this recharge; summer is fading fast and before we know it school and related activities will be upon us again.  Let’s squeeze every drop of summer goodness we can get!