Monday, August 31, 2015

It's Just Common Sense

Farms are never just one farm. We exist as a community. We share supplies, customers, equipment, labor, stories and knowledge with each other. This image of Boghadair behind the Highland cow skull reminds me of the connection I have with Common Sense Farm, just a few miles down the road. It's a commune of nearly a hundred Messianic Jews and while we have so little in common when it comes to faith, politics, and lifestyle - we are all farmers and grand friends. Bogh was born under their farm stand and was adopted as a tiny kitten years ago. That steer was raised by them and when the skull felt out of place on their farm they felt it fit mine perfectly (the previous owner of this farm decorated the barn with skulls, which remain there till this day!). It's not just a snapshot of a cat but a reminder of those fine folks who I adore and all of years of buying hay, shared meals, learning Hebrew dances, learning their culture, tea by fires, and watching their children grow up in this community. A blessing indeed.

P.S. Coolest thing I learned from those folks. Amen is Hebrew for "So be it"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Brewtemper!

Spending all this time at the local Brewery in Greenwich with friends has gotten my brewing bug going again. Planning on creating a pumpkin beer for Antlerstock and will be gathering ingredients soon. But here is the cool part, instead of doing it from a kit I am going to buy all the ingredients separately and cook the pumpkins in my own oven for a real down home brewing experience! I feel like this is something I can figure out, and want to make about ten gallons of pumpkin stout for the event. I'll share the process here!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hardworking Homestead Kitchen!








Firewood, Hay, and Home

I wanted to share some of the updates and things offered by this little business, for anyone inclined to support the farm going into Autumn. There is no crisis or emergency here on the farm but there is the very real coming of winter and as of today there is only one and a half cords of firewood and more needs to be bought in for winter heat. So does winter hay, which I have already set up a few hay accounts going into winter but need to pay the farmer who is providing the actual bales for the farm.

I have no interest in starting another kickstarter or Kiva Loan to achieve these winter income goals. I want the work of design, workshops, farming, writing this blog and events to get me to my goal and keep this place solvent. I can't kickstart a novel every September nor can I be certain book deals will come through. I am certain I will find a way to keep the foreclosure warnings just that, warnings and keep this place in my name and keep living the life I love. So I encourage you to come out for a day and learn to play the fiddle, shoot a bow, buy a logo, order come bacon seeds, learn about chickens and gardens or simply choose to start subscribing to it for a small amount monthly through Paypal.

For Sale:


WORKSHOPS! You can click this link to see all the events posted, and more are being added all the time. Every season at CAF hosts events where readers can come see the place they follow, meet the animals and the author, and just become a part of the story. There are several workshops posted and two more being added today. The dates for Spring Fiddle Day Camp is May 7th. April 2nd will be a beginner's Homesteading Day - dedicated to raised bed gardens, chickens, and rabbits mostly. Email me to sign up!

SEASON PASSES - If you live close enough to Cold Antler to take advantage of a season pass they are still on sale for $250 a person and covers every single event hosted here for a year from date of purchase. It is a heck of a deal, make a great gift to locals with a love of farm folk and fellowship, and new events are always been added along with long time favorites like Goats and Soap, Fiddle Camps, Archery and Chicken events! Email me to sign up!

LOGOS & GRAPHIC DESIGN WORK: You all know that I sell custom logos, and the regular price goes from $300-$500 a design. Right now logos are on sale for $250 and that includes the entire process, which is not billed hourly. You get a professional logo created by a BFA degreed graphic designer who has worked for corporations such as HGTV, Coldwater Creek and Orvis and that price also includes my purchasing of any font or image rights I may need. Logo designs take 2-4 weeks to complete (sometimes longer, depending on complication of design or if you simply need more versions to get to where you want the design to be) but most logos are started with comps and completed within 2 weeks of first designs. Email me to sign up! Your logo is literally a half month of heat or feed at this farm!

Co-own a Pig - Shares on Sale: I have 2 more piglets coming to the farm in the next few weeks and they will be raised over winter here at the farm for spring pork. Co owning an animal for freezer meat is a great way to support this farm! Quarter and half shares available on one pig, other pig is already sold! Email me to sign up!

Blog Subscriptions: Cold Antler Farm will always be free to read and follow along with both here in words as well as with the vlog series on Youtube. But if you want to make a small contribution every month as a way to voluntarily compensate me for the work of words and videos it is appreciated and encouraging. Five to Twenty-Five dollar a month subscription plans are set up through paypal and you can click on the link right there in the top right corner of this blog to do so. And if you don't want to commit to a monthly subscription you can make a one-time annual subscription of your choice by using the donate button below the Barnheart graphic here on the blog.

Free ways to Support CAF! Don't have the ability to buy a logo and not close enough to attend an event? No problem. Just reading this blog is a huge way to support it and there are ways to show your support without spending a dime. You can send emails to the non-changing sponsors here seen in the ads. Tell them you appreciate their support of CAF and opt to support them when you need supplies or gear.  Subscribe to the Youtube Channel (it's free) by doing this you show the folks at Ad Sense that my vlog is worth paying attention to, as clicking on ads there and here on the blog from Google do kick back a little income to the farm. And of course, sharing the blog with friends and like minded folks and generally getting the word out about my books and blog is a huge help. A simple Facebook sharing of a post you like can reach hundreds of new readers. Tweeting a link to a logo sale or event could reach a new customer.

Okay guys, there is my Dog Days of Summer pitch. I hope it rallies what this farm needs to sail into Autumn with a smile. Between this good work, getting Birchthorn ready for publishing and mailing, and a little luck all will be well and the firewood will stack high and the barn will bulge with hay, hope, and winter comfort literally in the bank.

Hallow's Eve Farm Workshop

If you don’t already have a date for Halloween this year, let me tell you what is planned for this little homestead in the woods. We’re going to throw a proper celebration of the day, and that doesn’t mean costumes and candy but instead conversation, memories, and warm blankets and hot cider around a roaring fire. I’m hosting a workshop for all the wannabes out there, including myself. Want to be a writer? A Homesteader? A full time farmer? A Blogger? a storyteller? A horseback rider? A market gardener? This Halloween we’re going to gather and talk about our goals and dreams and how to make them happen. It’s part advice, part inspiration, and part fellowship.

Let me paint the picture of the day. At 10AM folks will arrive to a farm covered in fall foliage on the side of this little mountain. I’ll be there to greet you with Merlin, riding him and then dismounting to show you around farm and forest here at Cold Antler. Meet the pigs in their woodland lot. Meet the sheep on the hill. See the chickens and the dogs and the whole world here I crafted from hope and force. Then we will bring hay bales and blankets (you provide the blankets, I’ll provide the bales) and head out into the cleaning behind the barn where a campfire will be kept burning all day. That fire will be for the memories of loved ones lost and stories we’ll tell but also to keep the mood going strong this Samhain. We’ll carve jackolanterns as we talk about possibilities, options, ideas and goals. We’ll share writing if we have any to bring (I’ll share writing from my new books) and we’ll talk about book proposals, publishing, and crowdfunding.

We’ll brake for lunch and either eat around the fire or you can head into Cambridge to shop at Battenkill Books or visit the Roundhouse Cafe and Jack’s Antiques or whatever strikes your fancy.

After lunch we’ll talk about getting farms and how I manage to keep this one. We’ll talk options from internships to housesitting to home loans and more. We’ll talk about what is keeping you from taking the leap? Think of this as a support group meeting for Barnheart, but at the ground zero of the disease.

The workshop will end at 4, but anyone is welcome to stay into the night for a bonfire. We’ll light the place up with the jacks we carved that morning and sit around the fire for good drinks, and the annual reading of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which I must say is extra special with a black horse listening from just 30 feet away in his pole barn! And if it rains, well, we’ll just come inside and sit around the wood stove instead. We'll make it work the way we always do around here.

So join me and others this Samhain at Cold Antler Farm for a day of making things happen with our words, deeds, and goals!

All Hallow's Eve Farm Writers Workshop 
October 31st 2015
10AM - 4PM
$100

Friday, August 28, 2015

In The Pail

This morning I did something I have not done in far too long, I poured a steel container of curds and whey into cheese cloth. With all the activity of summer — raising the pastured poultry, getting pigs into the woods, sheep moving, horse training, puppy raising and the graphic design work — the daily milking of my two goats left the world of my kitchen and became a free way to add protein to the pigs diet. I would do all the chores in the heat, milk the goats, and pour their full milk pail directly into the pig pen to their squeals of delight. It added yummy dressing to their grain, fallen apples, and kitchen scraps. They were fattening up so well it seemed a shame to bring any milk inside and so for a few weeks only the bacon seeds got watered with that amazing stuff.

Not this morning! This weekend Patty and Mark are hosting a Garden Party and I offered to bring some chèvre. I forgot how amazing the process of making cheese is and how ridiculously easy. All I did (I swear!) was milk my goats into a pail, strain that pail into a steel saucepan with a milk filter, and add one packet of chèvre culture. That is it. I didn’t need to use the stove because the body temperature of the goats is already perfect for making chèvre if you do it instantly after milking (milk was around 90-95 degrees). I let the culture dissolve and hydrate for a few moments and then mixed it in with a steel spoon. I set the cover on it and then went out to the Argyle Brewery to meet friends and enjoy my version of Cheers. Cheese making level 34, done.

This mooring that pot-o-raw-milk that never saw heat and never saw any skill besides stirring in $1.50 worth of culture powder was a perfect division of curds and whey. If you’ve never done this, imagine someone took greek yogurt that was REALLY thick and plopped it in some warm water. That’s how stark the divide is between the curds and whey. I got out some butter cloth, poured the container right over a bucket of pig chow, and let the whey spike the grain for the pigs’ breakfast.

I took that bucket outside with Gibson and Friday galloping at my sides. Gibson is 95% healed on his paw but he still favors it sometimes. Friday is all hell out there, running at his side and pulling at his ears until he growls at her to stop. His patience amazes me. I thought for sure he’d put up with zero fuss from her but he turns into a golden retriever with a toddler when she is hanging off him. My hats off to him.

After pigs were fed I took the fat-pigeon-sized meat birds and separated them by half. Putting the now older birds into two tractors instead of the one they were sharing. Friday thought this was magic. The fact I could make things chirp and squawk in my very hands had her eyes bugging out of her head. I think I made her day.

So this morning was cheese and chores and I had to wear a hoodie to ward off the chill. It was a reminder how fall is on the way and I better start getting in wood and figuring out some solvency before snowily. Working hard to sell another book with my agent and doing enough graphic design work to keep wolves from the door and for that I am grateful. But in the meantime there’s the Washington County Fair, Garden Parties, and a last hurrah of weather in the high eighties due for next week to remind me that the river is still for swimming and the sun can still lighten my hair.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

FAIR WEEK!




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Design Farm

This is a design-in-progess for the side of a food truck. I love it. It's one of the several clients I work with five days a week to get low-cost graphic design to farmers and foodies (or any small business for that matter), but since agriculture is the world that knows me best, most of my clients are in muck boots. This is fine by me, and slowly Cold Antler Farm is becoming a Design Farm. This actually warms my heart. Graphic design is what I went to college for and since graduating in 2005 I was able to travel all over the United States and live in three different regions (The South, The Pacific Northwest, and Northeast) because I had a trade that could travel. I worked for HGTV, Coldwater Creek, and Orvis as a web and email designer but what I have always loved is branding and logo work. Now I get to wake up, do chores, feed the dogs, and sit down at my laptop with a cup of coffee and a record on the turntable. I can work from the farm, earn extra income, and actually use my college degree as a part-time pig farmer. Snazzy.

If you would like to buy a logo for your own farm or as a gift, just let me know via email. The cost is now on sale for $250. That includes as many versions as you need to be happy and there is no hourly billing. The average time from seeing first comps to a complete design can be as short as 24-hours to 8 weeks. It really depends on what it is you are looking for and how long it takes to create it. This goat logo you see here was part of my shotgun sale I did on Facebook - to create a logo for only $150 within 24 hours (or three iterations, whichever came first). I am not running that sale right now, but that client was happy and went from payment to logo in under 5 hours!

Sometimes designs get very complicated and take longer. Some people are in no rush at all and others want the design yesterday but so far I have been keeping up with the demand and promoting the hell out of it on Facebook and Twitter.

So what does this have to do with homesteading? Everything. It's a cottage business I can take care of  from my own farm, serving the needs of a community lacking professional design for an affordable cost. I think any job you can do from wi-fi near your barn that helps pay the bills is an asset to anyone out there trying to make it as a Self-Employed Creative. Now while I am between book deals and trying to sell another book before winter - these logos are literally what is stopping threats to the farm and keeping the lights on. I feel lucky to have pictures of pigs and goats helping keep my own pigs and goats fed!

Do any of you out there have home businesses like this? Do you have a career that can make the transition to self employment? The arts aren't the only people out there consulting for sure and even teachers and nurses can leave their school districts or hospitals if they want to take up another version of their jobs at home. For many of us with Barnheart this is the dream. So how about yourself?


Monday, August 24, 2015

RED HEAD!

New Vlog! TIMBER!

Upcoming Events at Cold Antler Farm

Here is a list of workshops planned for the weeks and months ahead. Workshops are a fun, comfortable, and beginner-friendly environment to learn new skills, meet like-minded people, and support my work here as a writer/blogger/small farmer. You can pay per event or if you live relatively close you can buy a season pass, which costs the price of two and a half workshops paid up front for a whole year! Email me at jenna@itsafarwalk.com to sign up for a season pass or any workshop at all!

Most workshops cost $100. Special events like weekend-long camps or other events with instruments or gear cost more ($350). They are nonrefundable, however you can always use a missed workshop credit towards any other farm event, forever.

Indie Days!
These are personal workshops, private and full of one-on-one skill teaching time in everything from setting up a sheep fence to learning the fiddle. They are twice the price of a normal workshop but ten times the focus and attention.


Fiddle Day Camp - SOLD OUT
September 12th 2015
10AM - 4PM
COMES WITH FIDDLE
$225

So, guys. I have 2 spots left for Fall Fiddle Camp on Sept 12th. and can offer them to any pair of folks who want to come together for a killer rate.This event is one great fall Saturday at the farm - and COMES WITH A FIDDLE, BOW, and CASE. You arrive knowing nothing and leave with an instrument and knowing how to play it. It's a total beginner's course and the farm could use the support so come out and learn a skill! Also, makes an awesome gift! Can't make it on the 12th of September? Sign up for a private day of lessons on the farm! Same sale price! Details below on what a CAF fiddle camp is like - with references!

Arrow's Rising Day Camp
September 26th 2015 
10AM - 4PM
COMES WITH LONGBOW
$225

Come for a fall day on the farm for an absolute beginner's archery event called Arrows Rising. In the fall this will be just a single day workshop at a lower price than the summer weekend camp. All day long you'll be learning the skills, techniques, and equipment needed for traditional archery. That's right, traditional is what I said. We'll be learning the recurve and longbow, not compound bows. The focus is on instinctive shooting. The event will include a wooden, artisan-crafted long bow at a poundage and length suitable for beginners. Yes, you get a bow!

This may be the event I am most qualified to teach here, too. As a professional archery instructor, a team member of a traditional archery team, and a safety marshal for the Society of Creative Anachronism I have been teaching and educating beginning archers for some time now. You'll learn not how to pull and release but how to position your entire body, mind, breath, and heartbeat for the target. You'll be among other beginner's as well so no worries


ANTLERSTOCK!
Columbus Day Weekend 
Friday Night, Saturday, and Sunday!
$200

This is the biggest event of the year! A small two-day homesteading festival with speakers, authors, demonstrations, workshops, talks and events such as beginner's archery and soap making as well as traditional woodsman skills and primitive crafts. In the past trees have been felled, draft horses had moved logs, axes thrown at targets, herbalism tinctured, sourdough bred started, bees and beer and more discussed! It's a great way to meet people and learn a lot!

All Hallow's Eve Farm Writers Workshop
October 31st 2015
10AM - 4PM
$100

Come to Cold Antler Farm on Halloween for a very special workshop dedicated to talking about writing. Have you toyed with the idea of writing as a profession? Do you want to learn more about getting your work in print or how I went about publishing my own books? (I have gone through traditional publishers and am currently writing a book to be self-published.) Do you have writing you want to share with others, dreams of working from home on your own farm and making an income from writing at home? This is a workshop that will cover the freelance life as a small farmer. It will cover my personal experiences, successes, break downs, low points, high points, books, and what goes into a life this feral on a mountainside.

Meat Rabbit 101
Nov. 14th 2015
10AM - 4PM
$100

Taught here at Cold Antler as well as the lovely Livingston Brook Farm. This is a beginner's guide to what goes into raising safe and happy meat right at home in the form of meat rabbits! It's a whole day to learn all there is to know about raising, breeding, housing and butchering (and cooking) rabbit from your own backyard. Price is $100, or use your season pass! Season passes are still on sale, by the way and include big events like Antlerstock 2015! Consider one!

Winter Finding Wool Day
Dec 5th 2015
10AM - 4PM
$100

This is a workshop dedicated to the basics of working wool. The class starts with a sheep in the field, learning the basics of wool breeds vs meat sheep (both are here on the farm) and what goes into raising a homestead flock for wool. We will sheer a little wool off a sheep bring it inside to process and talk all things fiber! Learn how to wash and prepare wool for spinning by hand using traditional tools like carders and a drop spindle. Try a spinning wheel out and see how it feels to move the roving through your hands and turn it into the beginnings of a hat or sweater. There will also be knitting lessons if you have never learned, and everyone who attends gets a set of needles as a thank you to take home with some hand spun CAF wool from a sheep you just pat on the head hours before!

NOTICE: Workshops are non-refundable for any reason. However, if weather or illness prevents you from attending, your credit is good as long as I am hosting workshops here so no money goes to waste!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Chicken in the Oven

The chicken is in the oven and I managed to spend another day at this farm. I consider that a fine night. What an amazing aroma, filling me with comfort and expectation. I have a honey mustard sauce to dip the bird in and some fresh tomatoes from my neglected jungle of a garden, but food is food and I am content. Honestly, it's hard to write with this house full of that smell. If men wore a cologne that perfectly mimicked what a roasting chicken smells like I would be done for.

I am wearing an eye patch and I don't care for it. by "patch" I mean a large bandaid cut into the shape of an eye patch but it'll do. It's one of several hacking jobs I needed to pull today. I cut my eye Friday night with my own finger nail taking out my contact lens and it is healing slowly. I have sterile eye wash with one of those delightful eye cups, lubricant eye drops, antibiotics, and this handy patch but it still stings like the dickens. I read that it can take up to five days to heal a bad eye abrasion but I am hoping that tomorrow morning there's more white than red in that right eye and I start looking less like one of the extras in the Walking Dead. Oh, the other life hack - I cut apart my computer charger cord that my kitten Bree chewed to pieces and re-wired it, saving thirty bucks. I felt like MacGyver.

This week the farm will be dedicated to the work of weeding, mucking out the goat pen, and setting up new pasture for the pigs in the woods behind the farm. Patty found electric hog fencing at the dump someone set aside for pickup and she gave me a couple hundred feet to borrow! What a score! The pigs are doing well and are mostly eating apples, goatmilk, cooking scraps and pig chow these days. The farm produces 60% of their calories and I am glad because feeding four pigs is a heck of a job.

I'm signing off for the night but I look forward to a productive and healthy week full of healing eyeballs and proper garden rows. The truck is back from the shop in Salem and has a brand new inspection sticker and I am in love. Over all, I'd say it was a fine weekend even with the eye patch. A farm girl takes what she is given, works with it, and finds a way to make it all better. I raise my haymason to you fine people out there and hope your weeks are just as keen.

One Chicken Dinner

There is a chicken defrosting in the kitchen and I am excited. I am as excited as I would be if I was getting ready for a rock concert. It really is that simple, folks. Sometimes all you need on a Sunday is the promise of roasting bird to make the whole day feel like you are getting ready for a first date.

That bird in the fridge is a story. A story as complicated and beautiful as a chicken dinner can be. Let me tell you just what goes into a bird rubbed down with some olive oil and seasoning on a Sunday night out here in the sticks.

This chicken and a hundred others were mailed here by Kendall and the folks at Freedom Ranger Hatchery who have support this blog for years. The birds were raised in the big brooder out in the barn. A brooder handmade by the Daughton Family as a gift to Cold Antler years before when I first moved to this home in Jackson. And when rats chewed through the worn plywood years later it was the ladies at Windwomen Farm who delivered hardware cloth and supplies to make it critter proof for this years batch! The feed, the pine shavings, the water fonts - all the gear inside was purchased at the Noble Acre Hardware store, downtown. These are people who know me and my life, who have Gibson's picture taped to their jar of biscuits on the counter, and who have never failed to help me in any home or garden project. And when those finally birds went outside on pasture three weeks later they did so in the tractors made out of inspiration from Darcie Confar (who mailed me the materials list and aided in design) and crafted by the good hands of the Connelly Clan who helped build the first model. Patty Wesner came over and helped me build the second one. The third tractor was made by the amazing Brett McLeod, it is wooden and strong and did its part with this chicken dinner as well. Oh, and let's not forget the friends and neighbors who helped pay for all this - by ordering birds from me as co-owners up front. Bailey in Greenwich, Miriam and Chris in Saratoga, Tori and her Mother, the folks who run The Stovery, and my neighbor Manya. Those birds were being raised to feed six families, no small honor or task.

And besides all these people involved, there is the story of the daily work of raising food. These are the chicks I bedded with extra hay on cold spring nights and set up with heat lamps on the lawn to keep farm from the chill and dew. I remember them glowing like paper lanterns on the side yard and confusing folks who drove by them on their way to dinner and a movie. I remember running uphill to protect them from thunderstorms and how strong I felt when I did so, naked and crouching under a solar shower, knowing once again that I love this life and the work involved. I think back on the days of heat waves, pulling them into the shade. I think of the days of rain - keeping them dry and comfortable. I think of hundreds of feedings and changed water. I think of how raising these birds meant living in one place, on one piece of land, and never taking a vacation from that fine duty. How being able to do that full time IS the vacation, and it is my whole life and all I ever wanted. I think of loading them up into my truck and taking them to Ben Shaw to be processed and singing Taylor Swift songs while Friday howled next to me over the hills and valleys of Washington County. And of course, I think of handing them out to the folks who supported me up front and the feeling of them driving off with pounds of meat raised with integrity and purpose for their families. That feeling of watching some one drive away with food from this place never gets old, in fact, it only gets richer.

So why all this background on a chicken dinner? Because it takes a village, literally, to defrost a chicken on this farm. If you think that is shameful you are missing out on the entire point. This is homesteading folks, this is it. Self-Relience is not the point and the longer I farm the more I believe that with all my heart. Homesteading is not about autonomy, it's about community. It's about making the choice once and a while to step outside the conventions of grocery stores and take out and opt for the road less traveled. Because you know what is on that road? Love.

All those people I listed above, all of them are only a part of my life because I chose this path. Not the path of raising chickens, but that is a part of it. I chose to make homegrown food a part of my life and that started with some potted peas in a windowsill and some backyard chickens in a rented space — and now here I am — on a piece of land I own in my own name, a single woman, living the life of her dreams in the service  of six and a half acres of blessed mistakes and victories. And while on that path I met people I only know because of this blog and this life. Moving to the country didn't isolate me or turn me into a new Pioneer - it turned me into a community builder and humble receiver of lesson after lesson. It brought me people I love, who I can't imagine being without, and who constantly keep coming into my life. If gratitude had weight to it I wouldn't be able to swim in the river, for fear of sinking right to the bottom. It's a good problem to have.

So that is why I am so excited about a dead bird. It's not just a meal, it's a manifesto.  It's what I work so hard to keep here through workshops, ad sales, stories, music lessons, logo designs and more. It's the reason I have not, and will never, give up on this dream. It's the reason I would rather stay home and turn up my iPod and dance with border collies or pony in the pasture while biting on a drumstick than leaving for a weekend in Montreal to see the band live. Because all of this good life, the "simple" life, comes from a complicated and beautiful tribe of lives who love this scrappy place.

Dinner is at 6, outside under the maple tree, come and join me friends.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Thank You

This morning Gibson had a follow-up appointment at the vet for his injured paw. We arrived and talked with the vet, had his foot inspected and went over the course of care. It has been ten days and is healing well, if a little jagged. He is putting weight on it and seems to keep the bandages on. Im just so happy it isn't broken and he doesn't need x-rays. After the visit I got more vet-wrap, some antibiotics, and pain killers and when all was said and done I carried him off to the truck and came inside with my check book to settle the bill. I was promptly told by the folks at the desk that my appointment was already taken care of? What?!

As it turns out one of you sweet readers called the Cambridge Valley Vet Hospital here in town and told them you'd cover my pup's bill today. I don't know who you are, but thank you so much. You can't possibly know how much that meant to me and how it brightened my day. This month had over a thousand dollars in unplanned expenses from the vet office and truck repairs to pass NY state inspection with Big Red. Today's visit was not a thousand dollars, but it was an act of kindness and care and I teared up driving him back home, looking at the pill bottles and wrappings. This was not something I asked for or would ever imagine, but I did accept it. I thought of a Ted Talk one of you recently shared with me again. I'll post it at the end of this entry.

I know I live and farm alone but I never feel alone. Every donation, email, letter, story, subscription, and comment means the world to me.

The past few years I was dealing with things I will never feel comfortable writing about here. But I do know that many times when people sent a kind note, email, or donation through the paypal link I usually was too overwhelmed and scared to stop treading water to sent back a note of thanks. Not because I wasn't thankful, but because adding even that simple task was too much on top of holding things together in my heart and homestead. I'm not defending the oversight, just explaining the reason. I'm a very flawed person, but trying to repair that part of my own worth. So today I went right home and drew a thank you card with my return address, placed a stamp on it, and asked that the folks at the vet drop it in the mail and send it to the person who went out of their way to make someone's life a little easier today. If you feel compelled to support this farm, the donate button is on the right side, under the Barnheart graphic. I can assure you you will receive a Thank you email.

Thank you, and keep your eye on the mail.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Let's Make a Deal

So the truck needs $600 worth of work to get inspected and legal on Saturday. So here is my idea: If four people looking for a deal want to take me up on this: I'll offer shotgun logos (meaning logos described by you and designed by me in under 24 hours) for a half rate of $150 through paypal.

The downside is this: you have to settle the design with me with either 3 iterations of back and forth changes or by 6pm Friday - whichever comes first.

Any takers?! I'll be just focussed on this until clients are happy, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Farm Girl


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Good Morning!

Well, I've got 14 fat birds loaded into the back of the new pickup and no dogs were injured in the process! Compared to last Tuesday that is a stellar start to the day. In a short while I'll be driving over to Greenwich to deliver the birds for slaughter at Ben Shaw's. Then they get either picked up or delivered to neighbors who already paid for their birds when they were chicks. It's a good feeling, handing over those future meals. The pride in it never gets dulled and never grows old.

I'm on my second mug of iced coffee and almost done with morning chores. It'a already sweltering out there, the day should reach over ninety degrees. That means this woman might find herself in the river later, and since it is a weekday that means having it practically to myself. I've changed Gibson's bandage and decided this morning he'll join me for the delivery of the birds. He's not as comfortable with the big bench seat in the truck (which I have started calling Big Red) but he'll manage. I gotta say, he looks damn good up in that cab with me.

Speaking of Damn Good, little Friday is coming along so well. She's half Gibson's size and her feathering on her butt and arms is turning red like her mother's coat. I don't know if she'll be a black border collie with red tips but if that is the case it will suit her. She's a total spitfire and starting to feel like she was always a part of this farm. She pays attention, comes when called, sits, lies down, and in a few months will start training with sheep (under the wisdom of our sheep shearer, Jim McCrae). I tried to take a photo with her and Big Red but she wanted to make out instead. (I told you she was a spitfire!)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Small Roads

You wouldn't believe the amount of cassette tapes coming in the mail. I think there are over fifty, for sure. I love it. Talk about a fun unboxing, man, each of you and all your different tastes and stories are in those tapes. So far I have driven along the backroads to Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Bluegrass hits, and the best music of 1982. All of them, winners.

Gibson is doing so well. He is starting to put weight on his foot again, which the vet said was the first sign nothing was broken (we didn't take Xrays yet), and that is wonderful to know. I see no sign of infection and while he is still on his antibiotics he seems to be eating, living, and sleeping normally. We go back to the vet on Thursday for what I hope is the final checkup.

Tomorrow is a morning of chicken slaughter and deliveries, followed by as much graphic design work as I can handle. It's supposed to be rainy and that is welcomed right now. Rain makes me feel good about sitting in the living room and playing records while I move vector lines around on my small laptop screen. You read about archery, logging with draft horses, and running miles across the landscape but most of my life is right here - at this computer. That's not a complaint either.

I'll end this short update with this. Tonight on my five-mile run a neighbor I know only from jogging past her place and making small talk asked me if I wanted a drink of water. It made my day. The only reason I know her and her dog Rosie is because I slowly trot by her place a few times a week and we chat here and there. She has a gorgeous cottage, a perfect lawn, flower gardens and veggies. I told her how much I adored her home and pat Rosie on the head. I doubt we have spent a total of ten minutes of our lives together but tonight she reached out to the chubby girl huffing by and offered a drink and while I declined (because if I stopped and drank something 2.5 miles from my house I wouldn't want to run back to it) I have never felt luckier to live in this place. So simple. So perfect.

So tonight I raise my glass to the Owner of Rosie and the safety of small roads. Hail!