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Monday, October 8, 2018

Play Dead.

A long time ago we decided to go to a store every one of our friends had told us about.
     It was in the middle of nowhere. The directions went something like this Take the road that goes to Conway. Turn right at the grocery store. Go until you see a farm on your left with a sign at the end of the fence that says Meat Packing  1 mile. Turn left there and go down that dirt road until you come to a fork. Take the fork to the left and go until you see the store on your left. The road gets worse and worse, but keep going. You are in the right place.
       This is part of the explanation of how we ended up with 9 dogs and six cats. 
     One Saturday morning we got in the old Suburban we used as a farm vehicle. Can't drive it in the rain because it has some holes in the side and we don't want it to rust. Can't drive it in the freezing weather because the only heat comes through the vent and there is not enough to defrost the windshield.
    Can sell it because it has 4 new Michelin tires that are worth more than the SUV. We also use it to take small animals to the vet.
    Ah, I am going in the wrong direction. We got about six miles down the road and a Bassett hound was laying in the middle of the road. We stopped the car to see if it was hurt. That dog did not move a muscle. 
    My passenger jumped out of the car and ran to the dog. I sat in the Suburban with cars honking and going around while she took a look at the dog.
     As soon as she got to the dog and leaned over to check it out, the dog up, ran to the open car door and jumped in. She didn't stop there. She went over the back seat and the third seat and ended up in the cargo area.
      I was so busy sitting with my mouth wide open in utter amazement that I almost missed the other two dogs who ran out of the tall grass off the shoulder of the road and followed her exact path.
   We now had three dogs in the back of the car.
    We needed to move off the road and assess the situation. 

    My idea was to leave the dogs and if they were there when we came back we would pick them up.
     The answer was. "I couldn't live with myself if we came back and one of them was actually smashed on the road."
     I left all the windows down in the car while we were in the store so if they wanted to leave, they could. 
     They didn't,
      The Bassett hound had just had babies, the Rat Terrier was an intact male and the puppy looked like you would expect that match up to look like.
       I wanted to add a picture of Odie, the youngest one, but it is too dark outside.
      Zoi, the Bassett, crossed the Rainbow Bridge last year. Jack is sixteen and follows my every step. Odie is twelve. 
      Sometimes the seemingly most unhandy events turn out to be a  big blessing.
Come back and visit me again, There is always something going on at the farm.
Leave a comment here or you can reach me at susankeenebooks@gmail.com



    

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Meet Kay, the Halflinger Mule



Meet Kay the Halflinger Mule
Kay, affectionately known as Kaybo, is going on twenty-eight years old. The good news is the lifespan of a mule can be fifty or more.

I am sure most of you know what a mule is, but for those who don't, here's a little lesson. If a female horse and a male donkey get together, the offspring is a Mule.  If a male horse and a female donkey get together, the baby is called a Henny. A donkey is a donkey.
We bought Kay and her younger sister, Bec from a man in Joplin who was too old to care for them. They were twelve and thirteen. 


Bec who was a year young is no longer with us. She is in the great pasture in the sky. I know dogs cross the Rainbow bridge. In my heart, I don't think any type of animal is turned away and not permitted to cross.

When Kay began to look thin, we brought her out of the horse pasture and gave her free reign of the entire place  (except for the horse pasture). 
Since it is apple season and we have an orchard, we had to close the gate to it for now. She would go out and eat every apple on the ground and it wasn't beneath her to pull the ones off the low hanging branches. We were going to have to go from fattening her up to putting her on a diet.

She is both funny and a pain in the butt. Today when I tried to take her picture, she followed me so close she pushed me back to the yard.



One night I took a golf cart down the lane to get away from the light so I could watch an eclispe of the moon. 
I got out of the cart to get a better look at the sky. When you get away from the light of the house and outbuildings,  turn off the lights on the vehicle, it is pitch black. You can't see your hand in front of your face. 
I was there a few minutes when something touched my shoulder. I didn't know I could still move so fast.

It was Kaybo. She came up behind me and rested her head on my shoulder. If she had been a person I bet she would have said, whatcha doin'?

There are sheep in several of the places she can go. For the first six weeks, they ran from her. The only protection sheep have is to make a circle like a wagon train, stretch their necks to the ground and don't move. They get so close together, you couldn't put a hand between them.
 If we see that from the house, one of us runs out
to find what is causing them to be afraid. To realize how helpless they are upsets me when I see them in that position.

Thank goodness they have learned to walk around her. As with most animals, Kaybo lives for food. We keep treats in the golf carts and tractors for the horses and donkeys. Kaybo knows where every can is stored in every machine. If you don't give her one, she will get her own. 

 Come back and visit me again. Lot's of things happen on a farm.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Apples, Apples, and more Apples


  

Here on the farm, we have five varieties of apples-Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Jonagold, and Arkansas Blacks.
Seems like each year one variety takes the spotlight. This year it was Fuji. 

Due to the draught, our apples were small. When I sold them at the Farmer's Market next to a man who had 5000 apple trees (we had 154), he would laugh and say my apples were too small. His fruit looked as if it came out of a catalog. Of course, it looked like that because it was sprayed every month, twelve months a year.
 We are all natural. We use no sprays or fertilizers other than chicken, sheep, and cow manure.
 The Farmer's Market is where I learned how few children and adults in a certain group eat fruit. 
Diggitty the Dog at the Farm (The Adventures of Diggitty the Dog Book 1)
I took a wicker basket and filled it full of apples and pears. Every child who passed my truck, I offered a piece of fruit. At least two children a week ask - which is the apple and which is the pear? Kids were familiar with applesauce and apple pie, but not real apples. Most had never seen or eaten a pear. My goal the first year was to educate children about fruit.  Now mind you, it wasn't all the kids. But the ones who didn't know fruit belonged to the parents who visited the pie lady, the cookie lady, and the guy with the honey sticks.

I was so upset about it I wrote a children's book about how apples are grown in an orchard, Diggitty Dog on the Farm.

Do you know stone fruits, such as peaches, plums, and nectarines
bloom first and then leaf out? Fruits like apples get their leaves first and then the blossoms. Many peach crops don't make it in the colder regions because of it. We only get a peach crop here at the farm about every five years. 

 There are so many stories to share about the farm. Come back again soon. 
You can email me at susankeenebooks@gmail.com or leave a comment below.
Peace.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Susan's Musings: Get Rid of Spiders In Your Home This Winter

Susan's Musings: Get Rid of Spiders In Your Home This Winter: My favorite time of year is fall. I love apples, pears, fall festivals, Halloween, and cooler weather. I detest spiders. When you live on a ...

Get Rid of Spiders In Your Home This Winter

My favorite time of year is fall. I love apples, pears, fall festivals, Halloween, and cooler weather. I detest spiders. When you live on a hundred acres in the middle of nowhere, bugs are a huge concern. 
I came up with an organic spray for spiders. It doesn't kill them. They hate the smell and run away. They would rather live at the neighbors than to smell this concoction.  You must spray it every ten days, and don't spray around the animals. I sleep with my best friend Chili, I close her out of the room, spray around the baseboards, heat vents and windows. Leave the door closed for several hours and then allow her back into the room.

When I spray the rest of the house, I do it while they are outside on a potty break. An entire house has enough circulating air to keep pets from inhaling it. When I spray their beds, I keep them out of the house for an hour or so.


Recipe
Get a plastic spray bottle. You can buy a 16 oz. one in the laundry section at Walmart for around a dollar.
You will have to buy an essential oil. The ones that work the best are peppermint, lemon, and lavender. It is around $6.00 and it lasts a long time. I use peppermint. Put 10 drops in the bottom of your plastic container. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar. Fill the bottle nearly to the top with water, and then add four or five drops of liquid dish detergent. Put the sprayer on it, shake it and you are all set.

All those times you had to scream for someone to come save you from a house spider are over. But don't get overconfident. They won't stay away forever because the smell will fade and they are tenacious fellow critters. Mark it on your calendar so you can keep your space spider free.
Drop by next time and we'll talk about apples. I raise five varieties, three different kinds of pears and two of peaches. 
If you have any questions about my spider remover, leave your question below or at my e-mail, susankeenebooks@gmail.com

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Where do you have your morning coffee?


Where do you have your morning coffee or tea? I see all of the beautiful patios and decks in magazines, but I have neither. My little corner of the world is behind the backyard tool shed and across from the greenhouse.
If you look closely you will see the swing  I sit each morning after the last frost of the spring and before the first frost of winter. 
The plants come out of the greenhouse and take their summer homes in the sunshine. It doesn't start out 
this way. They come out a few at a time depending on how fragile they are. I'm not the one with the green thumb. Thank goodness someone here can grow things.

I was always taught, or maybe it is folklore, that before we all wore shoes we were healthier. In ancient times people didn't wear shoes and contact with the earth helped with common medical problems.
Is it true? I haven't a clue. I do, however, sit in the swing and let my bare toes rest in the grass beneath me, and wiggle them like a child.
If you look closely you will notice there are veggies mixed in with the flowers and plants. There are peppers, tomatoes, and even a pineapple.
The farm is quiet in the morning. The sheep are still sleeping in the barn and the cows have not yet started bellowing to see if it might get them some grain. I guess hay gets boring. 
It would be nice to know where you spend your coffee time.

Something that is fun is to get a pineapple from the grocery store and save the top. Set it in water until it roots and then plant it. 
Hint: It takes awhile.

Take a moment and leave a comment about your morning ritual. I will sign off now with a few more pictures. 

Have a marvelous week. 


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Follow a Butterfly

Butterfly, Blossom, Bloom, Painting, Oil, Canvas, ArtFollow a butterfly. Did you know every culture beginning with the ancients believed the butterfly to be the sign of a human soul?

Aristotle named them psyche which means soul.

I believe children, if left to think their own thoughts, know the truth about many things.  Last summer we went on vacation with the Grandkids.  Everywhere we went, a swallowtail butterfly tagged along. 

When we swam in the lake, the swallowtail fluttered about the deck. As we took a boat ride, it sat on the bow. Later we spied it on our walk. It flew in front of us four or five times and rested on a nearby bush and watched us have a picnic. Was it the same winged angel who covered great distances to follow my granddaughter? Maybe it was two or three or even ten who covered the activities of the day.

She said she didn't know where it stayed while she was in school, but it greeted her daily at her home, the soccer field, or her girl scout meeting in the evenings.

I listened but didn't say much. Who am I, I thought, to say what is real and what is imagined in his magnificent mystery we call life?

It didn't matter how many places we explored or miles we covered, Sydney's winged companion followed her.

"That butterfly is my mommy watching over me." She told us more than once. 

Being a realist, I asked her  "...in the fall who will look after you in the winter when the butterfly has gone away?"

Her answer-- "A cardinal Grandma. They are visitors from heaven."

I never see a butterfly that I don't remember my Molly who left us last year or the love I feel for both of them.

What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. 

a quote from Richard Bach.